Top 7 Fixes for Boot Device Not Found Error Windows 10/8/7

The “Boot device not found” is one of the Windows errors that is caused because of a hardware failure. This is a very serious problem but the fixes are quite simple. You will find this article of extreme help if you ever have to go through this trouble.

What does the “boot device not found” error mean?

The “hard drive boot device, not found error” is an issue that is caused when the Operating System’s boot-up process is not supported by the hard disk. 

When this process is initiated, the OS is booted up into the RAM (Random Access Memory) with the help of the BIOS. This BIOS feature uses some files from the default bootable device, which is your hard disk. If this hard disk can not be accessed by the BIOS, this will throw the “boot device not found” error message at you.

Western Digital Scorpio Blue internal HDD

Error Messages that you can see

If your boot device can not be found, these are some of the error messages that you can see before the device boots up-

  1. No bootable disk – insert boot disk and press any key
  2. No boot device is available
  3. No Boot Device Found. Press any key to reboot the machine.
  4. Boot device not found. Please install an operating system on your hard disk. Hard Disk (3FO)

Factors that trigger the “boot device not found” found error

Several reasons can cause the Boot device not found error on Windows computers. It is important that we know and understand the cause of the issue before actually trying to fix it.

These are what could be causing the hard drive, error code 3FO, and error message Boot device not found the issue on your operating system: 

1. The Hard drive is physically damaged

If the hard disk is damaged physically, there is very little chance for the Operating System (OS) to detect the storage unit. This is a very unlikely scenario and it is important to handle hardware with care.

2. The Hard drive is connected loosely

If your hard drive is not attached properly to the computer motherboard, it is highly likely for it to not be detected and hereby bring up the hard disk error.

3. The SATA/IDE wiring is not properly connected or damaged

The SATA/IDE is an interface that connects the motherboard with the Hard Disk Drives (HDD) or the Solid State Drives (SSD). This requires short wiring. If these cables are wrongly arranged or broken this may cause a hard disk connection problem or disk failure.

4. Malware Infestation

Malware and viruses can be responsible for a lot of issues on your computer. Besides the well-known crashes and data loss, the boot device not found error can also be caused by malware.

5. The MBR or boot sector is damaged

The Master Boot Record (MBR) has the needed files that are important for the operating system. This may be corrupted and cause hard drive partition issues. If this is your case, the files will still be on the hard disk but they will not be detected. 

6. The Booting Sequence is not correct

A Boot sequence is a structure of storage units that the system boot process needs as the operating system loads on the PC. This order can be rearranged to start up with a bootable device, which is not apt if it does not have an OS in it or if it is not present.

Methods to Fix the “boot device not found” error

You may have been thinking that you will have to contact data recovery professionals to fix this issue. This can be easily fixed with no assistance, on your own. 

The following methods can help fix hard disks with caution:

  1. Reset your laptop the hard way
  2. Reinstall the OS again
  3. Restore BIOS setup default settings configuration
  4. Run the HP Hardware Diagnostics utility
  5. Remove and Reattach the hard drive
  6. Repair the OS through the Windows Recovery Environment
  7. Check the PC Boot order

Fix the “boot device not found” error message

1. Reset your laptop the hard way

A hard reset of your device can fix a lot of issues that can come up when the settings configuration is changed. This can give you a new link between the motherboard software BIOS and the hard disk and thus, fix the Boot device not found the issue on your laptop.

These are your steps to perform a hard reset:

  1. Switch off the laptop and remove all attached accessories, like a USB flash drive or a docking station, and power cord (AC adapter) from the ports. 
  2. Run a power cycle on the laptop by pressing the power button.
Power Button on a MSI laptop

This will flush out all the charge in the device.

  1. Set it aside for around 10 minutes and boot the laptop again.
  2. You will see the Startup menu open, as the operating system starts up. 
  3. Use the up and down arrow keys on your keyboard to choose the Start Windows Normally option.
  4. Hit the Enter key to proceed.

2. Reset the PC again

Reinstalling the Operating System can help put everything in the computer back to default. You may have to compromise some files. A simple reset can help you fix “hard disk not found” error on your system.

This is the procedure to reset your PC:

  1. Click on the Windows icon on the leftmost corner of the taskbar. You can, alternatively, press the Windows key on the keyboard. Open Settings by clicking on the gear icon.
The Settings menu in the Start menu
  1. Open the Updates & Security settings and select the Recovery option from the left.
The Update & Security option in Windows Settings
  1. From the Reset this PC category, choose the Get Started option.
The Recovery settings in the Windows settings
  1. You have to choose between keeping the files and deleting them over the reset. 
  2. After you follow all the steps that the OS asks you to do, wait for a while as the computer system gets reset.
  3. Reinitialize the system and set it up. 

It is important to perform a data backup to a USB drive or any storage device with a large storage capacity or cloud storage over the internet.

3. Restore BIOS setup default settings configuration

The BIOS settings may have changed. Wrong settings may not detect bootable devices. Restore BIOS settings on your computer back to default for the boot drive to be detected again.

  1. Switch on the laptop or desktop computer. Before it can completely boot up, tap the F10 key to bring up the BIOS setup screen. This may differ for different motherboards. You may have to press the F11 or Delete keys to bring up the BIOS menu.
BIOS setup utility
  1. Press the F9 key to reset all the settings back to default in the BIOS setup menu.
BIOS setup utility
  1. It takes a few seconds to load. Wait for it and press F10 again.
  2. Select Yes. When the Exit Saving Changes option is highlighted, hit Enter to keep the new changes. 
  3. Do as instructed by the wizard and restart the computer, after you finish everything. 

4. Run the HP PC Hardware Diagnostics utility

This method is exclusive to your HP laptop. There have been reports of HP laptops not being able to detect the boot device. The HP hardware diagnostics tool is a feature that is used in HP computers to detect hardware-related issues. 

This is how to detect issues with HP laptop Hardware Diagnostics:

  1. Start Windows on your laptop and tap the Esc key multiple times till you see the Startup menu.
  2. Push the F2 key to bring up the HP Hardware Diagnostics. 
  3. Choose the Components Tests option from the interface.
  4. Follow this path:

Hard Drive settings > Quick Test option > Run Once

  1. Some users may have two or more drives. They have to choose Test all Hard Drives.
  2. This operation takes a while. Once it is complete, you will get the results displayed. 
  3. You can try the Extensive Test option if the issue does not go away.

5. Remove and Reattach the hard drive

Removing and connecting the hard drive is not an easy thing to do. This is something you will have to leave to a technical professional. 

If you want to do it on your own, this is the correct way to do it:

  1. Turn off the system and take the power cable out. 
  2. Open the case and remove the hard disk carefully after removing all the cables that connect the motherboard and the hard drive.
Hard drive inside a CPU cabinet
  1. It is recommended that you clean it with a soft, clean cloth before you place it back inside, with caution. 
  2. Reboot the computer and the problem should be gone. 

6. Repair the Operating System through the Windows Recovery Environment

Your OS may have some system files or important folders that can be corrupted or lost. The absence of these files can cause the bootable device to not be detected by the PC. 

You can fix a boot device not found through the Startup Repair tool in the Windows operating system.  

These are the steps to do so:

  1. Download the OS installation media from the Microsoft download site.
  2. Install this onto a CD/DVD or a USB drive. 
  3. Connect this CD/DVD or USB, which is now an Installation tool, to your PC and turn it on.
  4. Launch Command Prompt while the installation takes place. 
  5. The next steps might differ on the basis of the OS version.
    1. If you have Windows 7, choose Startup Repair from the System Recovery Options section.
    2. For Windows 8 and Windows 10 users, follow this path:

Repair your Computer menu > Troubleshoot settings > Advanced options

If you had Windows 8, click on Automatic Repair and if you have Windows 10, choose Startup Repair, in order to proceed with the repair process.

Once these steps are complete, you should no longer be able to see the Hard disk error code 3FO issue.

7. Check the PC Boot order

The first boot device for the system is the main hard drive. If you replace a hard drive or transfer the OS to a different bootable hard disk, you may have forgotten to change the boot sequence accordingly and this wrong boot order may be causing the “No boot device found” issue. 

These are the steps to fix the incorrect boot sequence:

  1. Restart the computer and press the F9, F10, or Delete keys depending on the motherboard designers to launch the BIOS menu.
F10, F11 and Delete keys on a laptop keyboard
  1. Go to the boot tab and you can change the boot order here. 
  2. The hard drive with the OS has to be placed on top with the help of the arrow keys and the Enter key. 
  3. After changing it, press F10 to save and exit the interface.


The “No bootable device found” is an important issue, that has to be rectified immediately, in order to use the computer. However, this issue can be fixed without the help of a professional. It is wise to work on this with caution because improper care while handling hardware directly, can damage the components. If you are willing to fix it on your own, the contents of this article are what you need. 

Meet the Author

Abdul Rahim has been working in Information Technology for over two decades. Learn how Abdul got his start as a Tech Blogger , and why he decided to start this Software blog. If you want to send Abdul a quick message, then visit his contact page here.