If you’re reading this article, you’ve probably installed a new disk drive (HDD or SSD), and when you turned on your computer, it failed to boot.
You might have even got the “Boot Device Not Found” error at startup.
When you entered the BIOS to find out the issue, you noticed that the disk drive isn’t listed on the boot priority menu.
If a storage drive doesn’t show up in BIOS boot options, it won’t be visible to Windows, either.
This article will guide you through a series of solutions for getting rid of such a problem and having your PC up and running in no time.
What Is The “Boot Device Not Found” Error?
All computers use a boot device to start the OS.
A boot device is a storage disk such as a hard disk drive or HDD, a solid-state drive or SSD, a USB, and so on that identifies itself to your computer’s BIOS and your motherboard as a bootable storage device.
Your motherboard keeps a boot sequence or boot order, a prioritized list of all the storage devices attached to your computer.
The first device that identifies itself as a bootable device is the one the system will boot from.
The BIOS contains the hard disk’s hardware address, and the instruction sets necessary for reading the hard drive’s boot sector or master boot record (MBR).
The MBR then starts the Windows because it holds the operating system’s startup location.
If the system can’t locate a bootable hard drive, it won’t find the MBR or boot sector.
Therefore, instead of loading Windows normally, you’ll be stuck looking at the black screen of the startup command prompt after turning on your PC.
You’ll get one of the “boot device not found,” “boot device not found please install an operating system,” or “no boot device” errors.
However, sometimes you’ve installed more than one bootable device, Windows boots okay, but you won’t see the name of the disk drive you want as the bootable drive in the list of drives.
Once you enter the BIOS, you won’t see it in the boot section, either.
The important thing is that the cause of these two issues is the same, and we’ll discuss them along with their fixes in the following section.
Hard Drive Not Showing Up In Boot Priority Windows 10 (Causes, Fixes)
1. Check Cable And USB Port Connection
The first culprit that comes into mind when your system can’t detect a hard disk drive, and it doesn’t appear on the BIOS boot list is that it’s not connected correctly.
Two cables connect a disk drive to your computer.
The first is a SATA cable that connects the device to the motherboard, and the second SATA cable connects it to the Power Supply Unit where it gets its power from.
If you’ve installed one of these cables wrong or if they’ve gotten loose over time, the system won’t recognize the storage device.
Also, the cable you’ve used for the connection might be faulty, or the USB port might be dead.
Try reconnecting the storage drive, swapping the cable, and using another port to solve the issue, hopefully.
Remember to do this while your computer is off and the power cable is disconnected from the wall.
2. Hard Reset Your PC
A hard reset might be the only thing your computer needs to re-establish the connection between the BIOS and the hard drive.
Go through the following steps to perform a hard reset:
- Turn off your PC.
- Unplug the power cable from the wall outlet.
- Press the power button and hold it for about 20 seconds to drain the remaining electricity in the system.
- Let go of the power button, plug the power cord back in, and press the power button once more.
- Hopefully, Windows will normally start this time.
3. Turn On USB Port In BIOS
Some motherboard manufacturers disable the unused ports automatically through the BIOS.
The port you’re trying your hard drive to might not be up for use.
To verify its current state and change it, you’ll need to access the BIOS:
- Once you’ve entered the BIOS during boot time, use the arrow keys on the keyboard to select Advanced.
- Now select Onboard Devices or Integrated Peripherals from the menu.
- Select the USB Controller option and then press + or – to change the settings to Enabled.
- Lastly, press the F10 key on the keyboard to enable the USB ports.
- Exit the BIOS and restart the system.
4. Update Or Reinstall Disk Drive Drivers
If Windows boots up fine, but BIOS can detect one of your hard drives, then damaged or outdated drives may be the cause of it.
Here’s how you can update or reinstall the storage drive’s drivers through Windows integrated tools:
- Right-click on the Start button and choose Device Manager from the list.
- Find the Disk Drives category and click on the arrow next to it to expand.
- Find the name of the hard drive and right-click on it.
- Choose Update Device from the drop-down menu.
- Select the Search automatically for the updated driver software option in the pop-up window.
- Wait for the update to finish and restart your PC.
- If the issue continues, go back to the Device Manager and, this time, choose Uninstall from the drop-down menu.
- Once you restart your system, Windows will automatically install the latest drivers.
Note: If a yellow exclamation point appears next to the hard drive device’s name at any point, right-click on its name, choose Properties, head to the General tab, and then click on Troubleshoot.
Follow the instructions to solve the issue that Windows has detected.
You can also use third-party tools for updating the corrupt or missing drivers quickly.
One of the best automatic driver updater applications is the Bit Driver Updater.
You can download, install, and update not only your disk drives but all the other ones, too.
- Download and launch the Bit Driver Updater software.
- Hit the Scan Drivers button.
- Find the hard drive’s driver in the list and click on the Update Now button next to it.
- If you’d like to update all your outdated or missing drivers, hit the Update All button.
- After the complete auto-installation of the driver is over, restart your PC.
Driver Easy is yet another helpful software capable of recognizing troublesome drivers and installing their latest versions automatically.
- Download, install and open Driver Easy.
- Click on the Scan Now button.
- Find the flagged hard drive driver in the list and click Update.
- In case you purchase the Pro version of the app, you’ll be able to update all your problematic drivers by hitting the Update All button.
5. Initialize Hard Disk Drive
Many times, when a drive or partition doesn’t appear in the File Explorer list, it’s not initialized.
BIOS can’t recognize a hard drive that’s not initialized, and you can’t save data on it.
That usually happens to a new hard drive, and if the disk doesn’t have a valid signature, it can’t be properly registered with the system.
You can use free third-party tools like AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard for initializing the hard drive.
- Download, install and launch the AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard.
- Right-click on the hard drive that you want to initialize and choose Initialize Disk.
- Next, you need to select the partition style. It’s best to use MBR instead of GPT.
- Once you’ve initialized the new disk, you can create a new partition on the unallocated space and format it to a file system that Windows can recognize, such as FAT32, NTFS, or exFAT.
This way, BIOS is most likely to show your hard drive in the boot priority list now.
6. Update BIOS
Sometimes, updating the BIOS can help with the hard drive not detected issue.
There are three ways to update the BIOS, and you can see the instructions here:
(Before you start, ensure you’ve got power back-up while you’re updating the BIOS because if the computer shuts off during the process, the BIOS might get corrupted.)
Update The BIOS manually
- First, you need to visit your motherboard’s manufacturer’s official website.
- Search for your product by name, service tag, or serial number.
- Go to the BIOS section and if there are multiple files listed, select the latest one.
- Download and save the file, which is usually in .exe format.
- Once you double-click on the file, it’ll restart your system and bring up a BIOS update page.
- Follow the instructions to complete the update.
- Remember that this process can vary slightly from one manufacturer to the other.
Update The BIOS Through A Bootable USB
If your computer doesn’t boot up to Windows, you can save the BIOS .exe file on a USB flash drive and complete the update.
- Download the BIOS update file from the manufacturer’s website on a working system and copy it to a USB flash drive.
- Insert the USB to the computer you need to update the BIOS for.
- Reboot the PC and press the F12 key.
- From the menu, select the USB device and select Return.
- Once the system opens up a command prompt, follow the onscreen instructions to complete the update process.
Update The BIOS Using Update Applications
Most motherboard manufacturers have their own applications dedicated to updating the BIOS.
Search for yours and download it from their official website.
For instance, Dell has the Dell Update Utility.
ASUS provides the MyASUS BIOS update utility.
Lenovo users have access to the Lenovo System Update Tool, and HP offers the HP Support Assistant.
7. Restore BIOS Default Settings
Restoring the BIOS defaults seem to have helped many users solve their issue.
Here’s how to do it:
- First, enter the BIOS.
- From there, hit either the F9 or F5 key depending on your motherboard to bring up the Load Default Options section.
- There must be a Window at the bottom of the screen, asking you “Load Optimal Defaults?” and you should answer Yes.
- If you don’t see the option here, head to the Security tab and find the option for resetting the BIOS there. Different motherboards will have different settings.
- Save before you Exit.
- If you don’t have any of the mentioned options, click on the Exit link.
- The system will display various options, including discard and restart, save settings and restart, load defaults, and so on.
- Choose the Load Defaults option or a similar one to reset the BIOS.
8. Check Bad Sectors On The Bootable Hard Disk
Defective clusters of storage may have developed in your hard drive.
They’re called bad sectors, and they may appear due to multiple reasons, including physical damage.
In case there are bad sectors present in the hard drive, it won’t respond to read/write requests, and BIOS may not recognize it.
To fix the issue, you’ll need a disk management tool like EaseUS Partition Master to help you perform a surface test for the bootable disk.
- If your system does boot up to Windows, download and install the EaseUS Partition Master app the normal way and launch it.
- If not, create a WinPE bootable disk at first and then start your PC from the bootable disk.
- Once the app is open, right-click the disk in question and select Advanced and then Surface Test.
- After the operation is complete, the app will mark all the bad sectors as red.
Bad sectors are either logical or physical.
Logical bad sectors can be fixed by CHKDSK /F or SFC command lines.
However, too many physical bad sectors that resulted in a boot device not found issue aren’t repairable, and you’ll have to replace the hard drive with a new one.
9. Fix And Rebuild Damaged MBR
As explained earlier, the Master Boot Record or MBR is the data in the first section of any hard disk that identifies where the operating system is located and how to boot it.
The MBR can be wrong or go missing due to disk failures, malware attacks, or MBR overwrites.
You can use third-party tools to rebuild MBR.
The first utility you can use is the EaseUS Partition Master:
- Create a WinPE bootable disk if Windows doesn’t boot up normally and start it from a bootable flash drive.
- Once the EaseUS Partition Master is open, right-click on the hard drive and select Rebuild MBR.
- Choose the type of MBR depending on the current operating system and then hit OK.
- Hit the Execute Operation button located at the top left corner of the window and then click on Apply.
The second application is the MiniTool Partition Wizard.
- Download and install the app.
- Launch the app and select the disk.
- Select Rebuild MBR and select Apply.
10. Replace Your Hard Drive And Install Windows Again
If none of the mentioned methods have solved your issue, unfortunately, your hard drive is damaged.
You can bring it to a service shop or get a free repair if it still has a warranty.
However, it’s unlikely for a hard drive to become as good as new again.
You’ll most probably have to replace it with a new one.
If you have issues with booting up Windows as well, you’ll have to install Windows onto the new hard drive and install a fresh version of it to get your PC running again.
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