Is your computer showing the “No Boot Device message?”
You may have difficulty understanding if it’s the first time you’ve seen this message.
You may not even know what a boot device is, let alone how to make it recognizable.
However, there’s no need to panic since it’s a straightforward notion, and you can easily fix the issue.
What Is A Boot Device?
A boot device is a permanent storage component that stores the operating system and all the data and files required for booting the computer.
If this device is absent or faulty, your operating system can’t boot up.
Average computer users have their operating systems stored on their hard drives because it’s the default boot device.
Modern computers have solid-state drives as their permanent storage, which can also serve as their boot drive.
You can have portable boot drives and store your operating system on a bootable CD, DVD, USB, or external hard drive or SSD.
Advanced computer users may also use a remote connection, network, or device to boot their computers.
These devices allow you to run your OS, but the best one is the hard drive or the SSD, which is directly connected to the motherboard through the SATA ports.
External boot devices are slow and may be used in emergencies when you want to troubleshoot your OS currently installed on the hard drive.
Remember that simply storing your operating system on a storage device doesn’t make it a boot device.
You must also store all the necessary files for booting the operating system.
Otherwise, your operating system is just a piece of software that can’t perform anything.
Boot Device Vs. BIOS
If you’re familiar with basic computer terms, you may know that the BIOS also has to do with your computer’s bootup process.
You may wonder how it’s different from or similar to a boot device.
The most important difference is that BIOS is software, whereas the boot device is a piece of hardware.
The BIOS is the firmware stored on the BIOS chip and contains all the basic information for booting the computer.
It tests basic computer hardware components and ensures they’re operational and error-free.
This test is known as POST (Power-On Self-Test) and shows you your computer hardware is faulty through a sequence of beep codes.
After ensuring all the basic hardware components are healthy, it looks for the operating system by checking all the available boot devices.
When it locates the operating system, the BIOS will give the boot device control, allowing the OS to boot up.
On the other hand, a boot device is simply a storage media that keeps the operating system.
It can’t determine whether the operating system is healthy or control anything related to it.
It should only be available for the BIOS to detect it and let the operating system boot up.
How To Make An External Bootable Device
As mentioned, your operating system is on the internal hard drive or SSD to make it run faster.
However, everyone needs an emergency external boot device to avoid getting locked out of their system.
You may experience instabilities or issues that don’t let your operating system boot up.
In such cases, you can use your device and access your files using an external boot device.
The process is simple and only involves getting the Windows ISO from Microsoft.
You can keep this file on your external storage device and use it in emergencies.
Note that this process is different from installing a fresh copy of Windows.
In this process, you get an image of your current operating system with all the drivers, apps, and files to avoid losing your data in case you get locked out of your system.
Here’s how to do it:
First, you should get a 32GB flash drive.
Go to Microsoft’s dedicated page to create a Windows 10 installation media.
Go to Create Windows 10 installation media and click Download now.
After completing the download, go to your download folder and look for the MediaCreationTool file.
Open the file, click Yes to accept Terms and conditions, and select the second option, Create installation media (USB flash drive, DVD, or ISO file) for another PC.
Click Next and adjust the settings in the new window.
If you don’t know what to select, check Use the recommended options for this PC.
Click Next and choose the media, USB flash drive, in the new window.
Insert your USB flash drive into the PC’s USB port and click next to select it from the list.
If you have more than one flash drive connected to your PC, choose the right one.
Otherwise, you’ll lose the data on your flash drive.
After selecting the right flash drive, the wizard will start creating the image file, which can take up to 30 minutes.
After the process is complete, you can use the flash drive to install or reinstall your Windows 10.
How To Change The Boot Order
The default boot device is the hard drive under normal circumstances.
However, you must change the system’s boot order if you want to boot your Windows from an external boot drive.
The boot order determines which device has the priority to boot Windows if you have more than one boot device connected to your PC.
To do so, you need to enter the BIOS menu.
The BIOS menu is independent of the operating system, so even if you can’t boot your current OS, you can enter the BIOS to make the OS boot from a different boot device.
To enter the BIOS, restart your computer and press F2 while it’s booting up.
Depending on your motherboard manufacturer, you may need to hit another key, like F10, Del, or ESC.
Search your PC model and brand to find what key gets you into the BIOS menu.
Different manufacturers may use different wordings and setups to refer to the same thing.
Once in the BIOS menu, look for an option that indicates Boot Order.
You may have a submenu labeled Boot, which you should enter.
You may need to enter Advanced Options or Advanced BIOS Features if there are no direct Boot Options or Boot Orders.
Check out the instructions at the bottom of the menu to see how you can navigate to a specific option and what buttons you should press to select an option.
After finding the Boot Order option, you can see a list of all available boot devices from which your motherboard allows the OS to boot.
You can change the current default order by pressing the arrow keys and the + and – buttons.
After changing the boot order, save the changes and exit the BIOS menu.
Common Problems With Bootable Devices
When you start your computer, the BIOS identifies the boot device and lets it boot the operating system.
All these processes happen in the background, and you can see your system boot up.
However, some internal issues may prevent the BIOS from recognizing the boot device, although it’s still there.
That’s one of the most common problems related to boot devices, leading to the message, “Bootable device not found.”
When you get this message, you may panic because the computer doesn’t start normally, and you only see the BIOS’s blank screen.
In such cases, take a deep breath and start troubleshooting the issue.
Different factors can cause this issue, so you need to rule each out to find the culprit.
1. Wrong Boot Settings
The BIOS contains a set of fixed instructions necessary for booting the computer.
These settings don’t change by themselves.
However, the boot order may have changed if you’ve recently made changes to your BIOS menu.
Check the boot sequence in the BIOS and make sure your hard drive, or any other selected boot device, has the highest priority.
2. Corrupted Master Boot Record
The Master Boot Record (MBR) is one of the most common factors that can prevent the BIOS from recognizing your boot device if it gets corrupted.
Since you can’t access your Windows interface, you need to insert your installation media or enter the Windows Recovery Environment.
Turn off the computer and turn it back on twice, and the third time you turn on the PC, it will load into the WinRE.
Click Repair your computer and select Troubleshoot Advanced options > Command Prompt.
If you use the installation media, you can find Repair your computer under Install Windows.
Enter the following commands one after another, pressing Enter after inputting each line:
Close the window, restart your computer, and see if you can boot it now.
3. Fix Your External Boot Device
If you want to boot your Windows from an external boot device, like a USB flash drive, you can have more flexibility in looking for issues.
If the device isn’t recognizable by the BIOS, you could use another device and copy your installation media on the new device.
Make sure the new storage device is functional by checking it before copying the installation media on it.
If it’s a USB device, use different ports and insert the device directly into the USB port instead of a dock.
In addition, it may help to disconnect all other USB devices to avoid incompatibilities and power issues.
Don’t plug several boot devices into the computer simultaneously.
The BIOS may get confused and have trouble recognizing the correct boot device.
4. Hard Drive Damage
If your default boot device is your hard drive, it may have logical and physical damage, preventing the BIOS from recognizing it.
Hard drive damage is common because its mechanical parts are sensitive to physical shocks and drops.
You may need to take it to a technician, especially since you can’t access your OS and need to check different factors to make sure the hard drive is healthy.
You should look for physical signs of damage, like broken connections and wires.
Check the power cord and the SATA wire going into the hard drive to ensure they’re not loose or broken.
Listen to the hard drive carefully and make sure it’s spinning.
If not, you should disconnect the hard drive cables and reconnect them.
However, if you hear ticking or screeching noises from the hard drive, it may indicate damage.
In addition, you can take out the hard drive from your current PC and check it on another computer.
If it works, you can be sure that the “No boot device” error is due to another factor.
Otherwise, you need to replace the hard drive and will lose your data unless you have a backup of it elsewhere.
5. Fix Hard Drive Damage
If you’re technologically savvy, you can boot your OS from an external bootable device and troubleshoot your hard drive after the OS boots up.
Alternatively, you could enter the troubleshooting menu in WinRE through the same steps described above.
After opening the Command Prompt window, input chkdsk C: /f /x /r and press Enter.
The tool will look for bad sectors and logical damages to the hard drive and repairs them if possible.
6. Enable Automatic Hard Drive Detection
The BIOS should automatically detect the hard drive if it’s your default boot device.
You can check the “Automatic hard drive detection” feature in the BIOS.
After going into the BIOS menu, go to the System Setup page.
Look for the Hard Drive Auto Detection feature and make sure it’s on.
Save changes and exit the menu.
7. Update The BIOS
If your computer is old, it may have outdated BIOS, leading to problems like not recognizing the boot device.
In such cases, you can update the BIOS and see if it helps.
However, since the BIOS contains sensitive firmware, it can permanently get damaged if you don’t update it properly.
If you run into issues like a power outage while updating the BIOS, it will get damaged, and you can’t use your device.
Proceed with caution and do it only if you have enough technical skills.