When turning on your computer, you may encounter an error message saying “No bootable device found.” This means the computer is not detecting a drive with a bootable operating system installed. There are several potential causes and solutions for this issue that I will explore in this article.
What Does “No Bootable Device” Mean?
A bootable device is a drive that contains an operating system capable of starting up your computer. This is usually your main hard drive that has Windows, Mac OS, Linux, etc. installed on it. When you turn on your computer, the BIOS or UEFI firmware checks for a drive with a valid boot sector that it can load an operating system from.
If you see a “no bootable device” error, it means your PC’s firmware could not find a drive to boot from. Some common reasons for this include:
- The boot order is incorrect in the BIOS/UEFI settings
- The main hard drive with the OS has failed or become corrupted
- The OS drive has been disconnected from the motherboard
- You have a blank hard drive with no OS installed
Without a bootable drive, the computer does not know what operating system files to load and therefore cannot proceed past the initial boot sequence. The “no bootable device” message is the computer’s way of signaling there is no valid OS drive detected.
How to Fix the “No Bootable Device” Error
If you see this error message, there are a number of troubleshooting steps you can take to resolve it:
Check Cable Connections
First, check that all the power and data cables are properly connected to your hard drives and motherboard. Loose or disconnected cables are a common reason for boot issues. Check both ends of each SATA data cable and power cable to make sure they are firmly inserted into the drive and motherboard ports.
Inspect Boot Order in BIOS
Enter your system’s BIOS settings, usually by pressing F2, F10 or Delete during bootup. In the boot order configuration, make sure your primary hard drive with the OS is listed as the first boot device. If not, change the boot order so your main drive is first.
Replace Damaged Hard Drive
If reseating connections and checking the boot order does not help, the hard drive itself may be damaged or non-functional. Try removing the drive and replacing it with a known good hard drive that has an OS installed. Or connect the drive to another system as a secondary drive to check if it is detectable.
Reinstall Operating System
As a last resort, you may need to do a fresh OS installation. Boot from a recovery drive or installation media for your operating system, erase the existing drive partitions, and install the OS anew. This will overwrite any corrupted files or boot sectors.
How to Create a Bootable Device
If you need to install an operating system from scratch, you will need to prepare a bootable installation drive. Here are some ways to create one:
Windows Bootable USB
To create bootable Windows installation media on a USB drive, use the Media Creation Tool from Microsoft. Run this tool on a working computer to download and write the Windows ISO files to a blank USB flash drive.
Linux Bootable USB
For Linux distributions, use a tool like Rufus, Etcher or Startup Disk Creator to write the ISO to USB. Download the Linux ISO file, connect your USB drive, launch the app and select the ISO and drive to create a bootable Linux install drive.
Mac OS Bootable USB
For Mac OS, you need a blank USB drive that is at least 12GB in size. Use the createinstallmedia command in Terminal to write the installer files to the drive. This will create a bootable macOS installer you can use for reinstallation.
Change BIOS Settings to Boot from USB
Once you have your bootable USB drive ready, plug it into the computer and boot into BIOS. Here, find the boot order section and move “USB” or your USB drive name to the top of the list. Save changes and exit BIOS. This will allow your PC to boot from the USB to start the OS installation.
A “no bootable device” error indicates your PC cannot find a valid boot drive during startup. This is often due to cable issues, boot order problems, or a damaged hard drive. To resolve it, check connections, confirm boot order in BIOS, replace the drive if needed, and reinstall your operating system from a bootable USB or disc. With the right troubleshooting steps, you can get your computer booting properly again.