Being stuck on the boot device screen can be frustrating. This screen appears when your computer is having issues detecting your boot drive or loading your operating system. Thankfully, there are several troubleshooting steps you can take to get your computer back up and running.
What Causes the Boot Device Screen?
The most common reasons for getting stuck on the boot device screen include:
- Boot order not set properly in BIOS
- Hard drive failure or corruption
- Disconnected hard drive data or power cables
- Damaged hard drive
- Incompatible operating system
- Corrupted system files
Essentially, this error occurs when your computer cannot find a bootable drive to start up the operating system. Without a functioning drive to boot from, you’ll just see the boot device screen when you power on your computer.
How to Get Past the Boot Device Screen
Check cables and connections
First, check that all the cables connected to your hard drive are plugged in correctly. This includes the power cable and SATA data cable. Ensure the connections are snug. Also inspect the cables for any damage or bent pins.
If you have multiple hard drives installed, double check that your primary bootable drive is properly connected and receiving power. Try disconnecting any secondary non-bootable drives to see if that allows your computer to boot properly.
Inspect your boot drive
Next, inspect your primary hard drive for any signs of failure. Listen for clicking or beeping noises which can indicate a mechanical problem. If you suspect your boot drive has failed, you may need to replace it before your computer can start up properly.
You can also try removing the boot drive and connecting it to another working computer as a secondary drive. This will help determine if the drive itself has failed or is being detected incorrectly.
Adjust BIOS settings
Accessing your BIOS settings menu on startup allows you to troubleshoot boot order and drive detection issues. Enter your BIOS setup utility either during initial boot or by pressing a key like F2, F10 or Delete during the manufacturer splash screen.
Within the BIOS, check that your boot drive is listed under boot options. If not, it may need to be enabled. You can also rearrange boot order and move your desired boot drive to the top of the list.
Save changes and exit BIOS to see if your computer can now boot from the correct drive.
Try automatic repair
If you’re running Windows 10 or 11, you may be able to use the automatic repair feature to fix boot problems. On the boot device screen, select “Advanced options” and then “Troubleshoot.” This will bring up the advanced recovery tools.
Select “Advanced options” again and then “Startup Repair.” This will search for and attempt to automatically diagnose and repair issues that are preventing Windows from booting properly.
Boot to safe mode
Booting into Windows safe mode starts your computer with just the essential drivers and services. This can allow you to boot if certain software is causing startup problems.
On the boot device screen, select “Advanced options” then “Troubleshoot.” Go to “Advanced options” again and select “Startup Settings.” Click “Restart” to reboot your PC into the startup settings menu.
Here you can choose safe mode to load a minimal version of Windows. If it boots successfully, you can then troubleshoot software issues that may be preventing normal startup.
Refresh or reset Windows
If your Windows system files have become corrupted, refreshing or resetting Windows may resolve the boot issue. This will reinstall Windows while keeping your personal files and settings.
From the boot device menu, go to “Troubleshoot” then “Reset this PC.” Choose either the refresh or reset option. Refresh will reinstall Windows while keeping your files. Reset does a clean install of Windows and removes your files and data.
A clean install of Windows is often the most foolproof way to resolve any underlying operating system issues causing boot problems. Backup any important data first.
You’ll need a Windows install disc or bootable USB drive. Boot from the media, select your language and edition, then follow the on-screen prompts to install Windows.Formatting your boot drive during setup ensures any filesystem errors are corrected.
More Complex Solutions
For more stubborn boot issues, you may need to try repairs using the command prompt or recovery tools.
Use bootrec commands
The bootrec tool in the Windows Recovery Environment can fix certain boot configuration issues. To use it, boot from your install media then go to “Troubleshoot” and “Command Prompt.”
Run the following bootrec commands:
- bootrec /fixmbr – Repairs the master boot record
- bootrec /fixboot – Writes boot files to the system partition
- bootrec /rebuildbcd – Rebuilds the BCD boot configuration data
After each command, restart your PC to see if it fixed the issue before running the next one.
Use start up repair
Startup Repair is an automatic diagnosis and repair tool in the Windows Recovery Environment. It works by looking for and replacing corrupted system files that may be preventing Windows from starting properly.
To use Startup Repair, boot from your install media, go to “Troubleshoot” then “Startup Repair”. Let it run through its automated repair process which may take several minutes.
System restore from recovery media
If you have a system image backup or Windows recovery media, you can try restoring your computer back to an earlier working state. This can fix software issues that are preventing Windows from booting.
Boot from your recovery media and select “Troubleshoot.” Go to “Advanced options” and then “System Restore” to choose a restore point that was created before you had boot issues.
Remove software drivers
Problematic drivers can sometimes prevent Windows from starting properly. If driver issues are suspected, boot into safe mode by following the steps above.
Once in safe mode, use the Device Manager to uninstall devices and drivers that may be causing conflict. Reboot to see if removing the drivers resolved the startup issue.
Check system file checker
System File Checker is a tool that scans Windows system files for problems. Corrupted system files can lead to boot issues.
To run System File Checker, boot to safe mode with command prompt. Type “sfc /scannow” and press enter. This will scan your system files and replace any that are corrupt or missing.
Preventing Boot Issues
Once you resolve your current boot problems, there are steps you can take to help prevent this from happening again:
- Keep your BIOS updated to latest stable release
- Maintain backups of important data
- Use a surge protector to prevent power fluctuations
- Avoid overclocking components
- Perform regular system file checks
- Don’t install unnecessary boot utilities
- Ensure drives and connections are secure
Catching and addressing boot issues promptly can save you the headaches associated with troubleshooting. Familiarize yourself with the boot and recovery tools available in Windows so you can diagnose and repair startup problems as quickly as possible.
Getting stuck on the boot device selection screen can certainly be annoying. But in most cases, this issue can be resolved through relatively straightforward troubleshooting. By methodically checking connections, adjusting BIOS settings, using automatic repair capabilities and reinstalling Windows, you should be able to get your computer successfully booting again.
The key is to remain calm and tackle each solution step-by-step. Don’t be afraid to seek help from computer repair professionals if needed. With patience and care, you can get past the boot device screen and have your computer operating smoothly once again.