8 Ways to Fix the Reboot and Select Proper Boot Device Error

It’s never pleasant to turn on your machine only to be greeted by an error screen that prevents you from booting into your operating system or doing something for that matter. 

Reboot and Select Proper Boot Device Error

It causes anxiety and perplexity because you can’t access something, no matter how many times you reboot your machine. Many Windows 10/8/7 users experience this as they receive the “reboot and select proper boot device” black screen error message. 

Corrupted machine files, a failed or failing hard disk drive, or even tampering with the computer’s boot order can cause this error to appear out of nowhere.

About “Reboot and Select Proper Boot Device” Error

The error message “reboot and select  proper boot device” means that your computer’s simple input/output system, or BIOS, is unable to locate the boot device containing your operating system. 

It is requesting that you restart your computer, enter the BIOS system (UEFI), and pick the correct boot device with your operating system for the computer to boot from. This error message can be caused by a variety of factors, including hardware and software issues.

Physical causes include:

  • A faulty cable, a damaged SATA slot, or a dead hard drive prevent BIOS from detecting your boot disk.
  • BIOS detects the boot disk, but it is not attached correctly.

Causes that are logical:

  • There is no active partition or the wrong partition has been set as active. The partition that stores Windows boot files should be the most involved. Otherwise, Windows would become unbootable.
  • The Master Boot Record (mbr) is corrupted or destroyed.
  • The boot sequence is incorrect.
  • Boot files may become corrupted or lost.
  • The boot disk’s operating system was corrupted.

You will need to restart it and keep pressing a specific key that will enable you to access the system. This key can be any of the following: ESC, DEL, F2, F8, F10, or F12, and it is usually displayed on the post screen or in the manual that came with your computer’s motherboard. 

Symptom: Reboot And Select Proper Boot Device Error Screen On Startup

  • The boot order is incorrect. The hard disk (HDD) must be specified in the boot order.
  • Legacy mode enabled or disabled on UEFI-based computers. The “Reboot and select proper Boot Device” error can occur if your Windows 8 was installed with the UEFI Legacy mode disabled.
  • Hard disk failure – see Fix #2 on instructions on how to determine whether or not your hard disk has failed.
  • Partition is not set as active.
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Cause 1: Incorrect Boot Order

An incorrect boot order in BIOS is the most common cause of this mistake. This error screen appears when a computer attempts to boot from the wrong source.

Cause 2: Partition Not Set As Active

Another possibility is that a partition has been marked as inactive. This can occur as a result of disk write failures, power outages, or virus infections.

Solutions to Fix Reboot and Selected Boot Device Error

  1. Check the Power Cable Connecting Your Hard Drive Disk.
  2. Clean Your RAM
  3.  Check if Boot Drive is Detected in BIOS
  4. Check Boot Order in BIOS
  5.  Disable/Enable Legacy Boot.
  6. Set BIOS to Best Defaults.
  7. Use Command Prompt to Activate an Inactive Partition.
  8. Fix Windows Boot Files.

Check the Power Cable Connecting Your Hard Drive Disk

Your operating system‘s hard disk drive must be powered up and connected to your motherboard via a power cable. It’s possible that your hard drive isn’t being sensed by the device if the power cable is broken, frayed, or attached incorrectly.

  • Shut down and restart your machine.
  • Check to see whether the power cable connecting your hard drive disk to your motherboard is physically damaged or not attached properly.
  • If it appears to be linked correctly, but you’re still getting the error, unplug it and try it on another device.
  • Replace the power cable with a new one if the error occurs on the test device.
Power cable in hard disk drive

Clean Your RAM

If you haven’t cleaned or removed your RAM since you first got your machine, it may be the source of the problem. To clean the RAM:

  • Turn off your computer and remove the sideboard by unscrewing the screws from the tower/bottom of the laptop, then look for your RAM.
  • Remove the clamps that hold your RAM in place by unlocking them and slowly removing them.
  • With the soft cloth, remove any dust from the RAM and reinstall it in its slots.
  • Clamp them in place, turn off your monitor, and restart to see if the problem still exists.

Check if Boot Drive is Detected in BIOS

  • To enter your computer’s BIOS, restart or restart your computer and click the post-screen assigned key.
  • A list of all devices found should appear on the main screen of your BIOS. This includes your fans, hard drives, and other wired hardware, such as a DVD/CD drive.
  • Shut down your machine if your hard disk drive isn’t identified.
  • Link your hard device or insert boot to a different SATA slot in your motherboard with another SATA cable.
  • Check to see if your hard disk drive is detected by restarting your BIOS. If it is, you know it was either the cable or the SATA that caused the issue.

Check Boot Order in BIOS

The boot sequence may sometimes get messed up, resulting in the “reboot and select proper boot device” error. To check the boot order in your BIOS, turn on the monitor and press the post-screen key to access the BIOS.

  • Go to the “startup” or “boot” tab once you’re in the BIOS. The boot order can appear on the main screen in newer BIOS systems.
  • If you can’t find the boot sequence in the BIOS, use the advanced BIOS features to look for it.
BIOS Startup
  • Your boot disk should be the first computer mentioned in the boot sequence list.
Your boot disk should be the first computer mentioned in the boot sequence list
  • If it is not classified in the first position but appears in the chart, it should be moved to the top. To change the boot order in newer BIOS systems, drag and drop. You may need to use the arrow keys on older BIOS systems.
  • Save the changes and restart your machine with the boot drive in the first place.
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Disable/Enable Legacy Boot

In certain instances, your basic input/output system (BIOS) can have a legacy boot function, resulting in the “reboot and select proper boot device” error. The error message can be fixed by simply disabling or activating it.

  • Join the BIOS by restarting your machine
  • Look for the option to boot into legacy mode. You will need to search through all tabs and settings in your BIOS to find it
  • If it’s enabled, disable it once you’ve found it. If it’s turned off, turn it on
  • Exit the BIOS after saving the updates
  • Your machine should be restarted

Set BIOS to Best Defaults

Setting to Defaults usually loads performance-optimized default values without jeopardizing stability. Many users commented that this solved the problem “Reboot and select proper boot device Windows 10/8/7” perfectly.

Get Default Values, Load Optimized Defaults, Optimal Load Defaults, and other names for various types of motherboards exist.

If all of the above steps failed to resolve the reboot and pick proper boot device error, the Windows boot files or the system itself are most likely corrupted. After that, you’ll need to either patch boot or reinstall Windows, all of which would include a Windows installation disk.to either patch boot or reinstall Windows, all of which would include a Windows installation disk.

Use Command Prompt to Activate an Inactive Partition

The “reboot and select proper boot device” error message appears if the primary hard drive partition on your boot disk is no longer set to be active.

 You can avoid the error by making your primary hard drive partition active. This process will need a Windows installation media disk or recovery disk, which must be set as the priority boot media in selected boot BIOS.

  • Follow the on-screen prompts before the option to fix, restore, or recover your device appears.
  • If you click any of these, Windows 7/Vista users will see a System Recovery Options screen, while Windows 10/8 users will see a Troubleshoot screen.
  • Select the command prompt from the drop-down menu and type diskpart [enter].
  • Then type list disk[enter] to get a list of disks mounted on the machine.
  • Then type [enter] on the command line, select disk 0 [or whichever disk has the inactive partition on it].
  • Then type list partition 1 [or whatever section is inactive] into the command prompt and press [enter].
  • Then, to make it operational, type active [enter] in the command line.
  • The partition has been rendered active, according to Diskpart.
  • If the error continues, exit the command line and restart your computer. 
disk partition

Fix Windows Boot Files

If you’re not sure the error is coming from the BIOS and it’s not a physical issue with your SSD hard disk, you might try fixing the Windows boot files to see if they’re corrupted and causing the problem.

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 To complete the task, you’ll need a Windows media installation or startup repair disk. 

Insert boot media into CD/DVD drive. 

  • Place the startup repair disk in your CD/DVD drive and start it. You may have to tell your BIOS to boot from this disk.
  • Instead of clicking on install now when the Windows setup screen appears, click on “fix your device” to access the Windows Recovery Environment.
  • You’ll now want to open a command prompt.
  • For legacy BIOS users, type bootrec /fixmbr [enter], bootrec /fixboot [enter], and bootrec /rebuildBCD [enter] into the command prompt, pressing enter after each one.
  • Type bcdboot C: windows [the letter corresponding to your hard disk] for UEFI users.

Final Words

If none of the above solutions work to resolve the error message “reboot and select proper boot device,” try upgrading your SATA drivers in Safe Mode. If this doesn’t function, consider removing your motherboard’s CMOS battery, which is the memory system on your motherboard that contains errors.

If you think your operating system is corrupted or the hard disk boot drive is disabled, corrupted, or dead, you may need to reinstall Windows fully.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I fix reboot and select the proper boot device error?

Restart your computer.
Access the BIOS boot device and press the appropriate key. This key is determined by the manufacturer and model of your machine.
Select the Boot device or insert it from the drop-down menu.
Change the boot order to include your computer’s hard drive first.
Save the changes.
Your machine should be restarted.

What causes Reboot and Select Proper Boot Device?

In most cases, the error message “reboot and select proper boot device” that appears on the black screen before Windows starts up is caused by one of the following factors:
The boot loader is not functioning properly or is not detecting the hard drive because the BIOS has the wrong hard drive picked.
A hardware error has occurred on the hard drive.

What does selecting the proper boot device mean?

The “Reboot and Select Proper Boot Device” error appears when the BIOS of your operating system has difficulty locating the bootable drive or other bootable devices. To put it another way, your computer’s motherboard’s BIOS chip cannot identify the drive that contains your operating system.

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