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How to Fix Inaccessible Boot Device Error in Windows ?

Windows users are often faced with errors and problems that can affect their experience and productivity with the system. Usually, these problems are caused by bugs in the software, compatibility issues with hardware, malware infections, or many other reasons. While some problems are pretty small and do not cause any problems for the overall functioning of the system, there are a few major issues that can hamper the functionality of the OS or sometimes even prevent the system from booting at all.

As you can imagine, if the system is not booting up, it can get quite difficult to understand the root of the problem, let alone try to look up a solution for it. Fortunately, Microsoft has developed a lot of failsafe within the Windows OS so that users can always get feedback from the system when such a problem occurs. In most cases, you will receive an error message or at least an error code to indicate the main cause of the problem.

Generally, the booting issue is followed by a common message for a lot of users, which is “Inaccessible Boot Device”. In this guide, we will go through the details of this problem and try to understand the reasons behind it as well as what you can do to attempt and fix the problem yourself. If you want to Reboot and Select Proper Boot Device to check the article.

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Inaccessible Boot Device Error

An inaccessible boot device error is a type of BSOD or blue screen of death error that prevents Windows from booting properly. When you are trying to boot up the system, it will be redirected to the Windows BSOD screen with the message “Your PC ran into a problem and needs to restart”,, followed by “Inaccessible Boot Device” in the additional error information. As the name suggests, it means that Windows is unable to access the system partition where the operating system files are stored. As a result, it cannot locate the files and services that are to be executed at the time of boot, and the process fails.

In this case, your primary boot drive may be your hard drive or an additional SSD that you may have installed later on in your system. However, since the system files for each system partition can only be stored in a single drive, the inaccessible boot device prevents the system from booting altogether, eliminating the possibility of accessing any of the drives at all. Sometimes, your PC may boot just fine at first, but you will be greeted by the BSOD with the error message at any point in case the system partition causes an error, restarting the system automatically.

Possible Reasons Behind Inaccessible Boot Device

Now that you have understood the problem let us try to understand what can cause this problem in a system. To find the correct solution, it is essential to first identify the root cause so that you can follow up with the appropriate steps. Otherwise, considering the instability of the latest Windows updates, it is possible that going with the wrong solution ends up creating more problems than before. So in this section, we will be explaining some of the common reasons that can cause the inaccessible boot device error in a system. Keep in mind that whether you are using Windows 10 or 11, the reasons can be the same for both cases.

Hardware Problems

Sometimes, the hard disk may have physical damage that prevents them from functioning properly. For example, the hard disk may have bad sectors, the SATA cable may be loose or faulty, or the BIOS chip may get corrupted because of external factors. These hardware problems can cause the system to fail to recognize or communicate with the hard disk, resulting in the Inaccessible Boot Device error. Apart from the hard drive, the problem can also lie in the motherboard or other peripherals that are part of the booting process.

Corrupted Drivers or System Files

Drivers are special software components that enable the system to interact with the hardware devices whereas system files are the OS files that enable the system to operate at the time of boot. However, sometimes these drivers or system files may get corrupted due to various factors, such as power outages, improper shutdowns, disk errors, or malware infections. These corruptions can cause the system to fail to load or access the hard disk, resulting in an error. But if this is the case, it is quite easy to fix the problem as drivers or system file issues can be fixed by simply replacing the files via a troubleshooting procedure or a complete factory reset.

Infected Boot Drive

The boot drive is the primary partition of your hard drive where the operating system files are stored. Sometimes, this boot drive may get infected by viruses that can modify or delete the boot configuration or the system files. These infections can cause the system to fail to boot or access the hard disk, resulting in an inaccessible boot device error.

Other Possible Reasons

Some other possible reasons can cause the inaccessible boot device error such as incorrect changes in the BIOS settings, Windows updates, or fault of external devices. For example, changing the SATA mode in the BIOS settings can affect how the system recognizes the hard disk. On the other hand, Windows updates can sometimes cause compatibility or stability issues with some drivers or system files which has been the case with the many system drivers with a couple of major Windows updates. External devices, such as USB drives, external HDDs, etc., can also interfere with the boot process or the hard disk. These reasons can cause the system to fail to boot or access the hard disk.

Is It Possible To Fix An Inaccessible Boot Device?

Yes, an inaccessible boot drive is one of the most common problems that occur with Windows OS. Therefore, there are a lot of solutions that can be used as a workaround to fix the problem, and a lot of cases have proved it in the past. As we mentioned before, the cause of the problem can be related to software issues. And as we know already, almost all software problems can be fixed one way or another. So, we will discuss some handy solutions that you can use to fix the inaccessible boot drive problem in your case. Just make sure you try out each of the solutions provided in the guide completely and follow each step carefully.

Remove Latest Packages

Sometimes, the inaccessible boot drive may be caused by a recent Windows update or a software installation that might have modified some system files or drivers. So, undoing these recent changes can easily fix the issue. To do this:

  • Boot into the Windows Recovery Environment by pressing F8 or Shift+F8 during the startup.
  • Then select Troubleshoot > Advanced Options > Uninstall Updates > Uninstall the latest quality update.remove latest pakages
  • You may also see the Uninstall latest feature update option depending on the latest system changes.
  • Once one or both of these features are removed successfully, you will receive an alert, and the system will restart automatically.

Update Drivers

If the recent Windows update has messed up the drivers of your system, you will have to manually update the drivers or roll back the drivers to the previous stable version. This will help the system to regain connection with the system partition and resolve the problem for you.

  • To do this, boot into the WinRE
  • Then, press F4 to enable Safe Mode. Windows safe mode allows you to access the system with minimal drivers and services.
  • Then, go to Device Manager and check for any yellow exclamation marks or red crosses next to the devices.
  • Right-click on the device and select Update Driver Software
  • Then follow the instructions to install the latest drivers.
  • Alternatively, you can also download the drivers from the manufacturer’s website and install them manually from this screen

Enable AHCI Mode

The inaccessible boot device error can be caused by the wrong SATA mode in the BIOS settings, which affects how the system recognizes the hard disk. When it comes to problems with the motherboard or BIOS, you will have to jump into the BIOS to fix these problems manually. The BIOS is basically the operating software of your motherboard, which boots before your operating system. Once the system boot starts, BIOS settings cannot be changed. So, you need to enter the BIOS before the Windows logo appears and make the necessary changes.

  • First, boot into the BIOS settings by pressing the appropriate key (such as F2, F10, or Del) during the startup.
  • Then go to the Advanced tab and look for the SATA Mode option.
  • Change it to AHCI or Advanced Host Controller Interface, which is the recommended mode for Windows.
  • Then, press F10 save the changes, and exit the BIOS settings.

Remove Pending Packages

It is possible that the error may be caused by some pending packages that may have failed to install or uninstall properly at the time of the recent Windows update, which is now interfering with the boot process.

  • To fix this, boot into the WinRE, then select Troubleshoot.
  • Then, head over to the Advanced Options and choose Command Prompt.
  • This will open a terminal window for you where you can execute commands.
  • Now, you will have to copy the following commands in the command prompt and execute them one by one.

dism.exe /image:C:\ /cleanup-image /revertpendingactions

dism.exe /image:C:\ /cleanup-image /startcomponentcleanup

Make sure to replace the letter C in these commands before you execute them in case your system partition is denoted by another letter.

Run SFC Scan on Drive

The SFC or System File Checker is a built-in Windows tool that is provided to offer an instant solution to problematic system drives. So if the error is caused by a problem with system files, this tool can easily check all the system files for you and even attempt to automatically fix the errors.

  • Boot into the WinRE and select Troubleshoot > Advanced Options > Command Prompt
  • Then, execute the following command: sfc /scannow /offbootdir=C:\ /offwindir=C:\Windows
  • This command will scan and repair any system files that are either corrupted or missing.

Run DISM Command

The DISM or deployment image servicing and management is a similar tool to SFC that comes built-in with Windows and can be accessed directly via the command prompt. The only difference here is that the DISM tool is created to help with the Windows Image. But, there is a DISM command that can be helpful for this error.

  • Boot into the WinRE and select Troubleshoot > Advanced Options > Command Prompt
  • Then, execute the following command: dism /online /cleanup-image /restorehealth
  • command scans and repairs any components that are corrupted or missing in the Windows image. Then, restart the system and see if the error is fixed.

Run CHKDSK Command

The CHKDSK is yet another command prompt Windows tool that is designed to check the file system of your hard drive partition and the possibility of a physical error on the drive. As you can imagine, this command can come in handy when you are facing problems with your system partition, as it lets you diagnose if you need to get your hard disk checked or install Windows on a different partition.

  • To do this, boot into the WinRE, then select Troubleshoot > Advanced Options > Command Prompt.
  • Then, type the following command and press Enter: chkdsk C: /f /r /x
  • This will check and fix any errors or bad sectors on the hard disk. Once the command execution is complete, you will receive the report on the screen for further action.

Disable or Update Antivirus

Sometimes, the error may be caused by some antivirus programs that may interfere with the boot process or the hard disk. To avoid this, you must boot the system in Safe Mode with Networking, which allows you to access the system with bare essentials along with internet connectivity. You will find this boot option right with the Safe mode option in Startup Settings. Then, go to the antivirus program and either disable it temporarily or update it to the latest version.

Perform System Factory Reset

Lastly, we will suggest you perform a factory reset of your system if none of the solutions provided here have worked out for you. If the system files are damaged beyond repair, then the way to fix such files is by replacing them. And if all system files are causing the problem, then performing a factory reset is essential as it will wipe your hard drive and reinstall the OS completely. But, performing the factory reset should be your last resort as it will erase everything on the system and restore it to its original state. This will also delete all your personal files and settings, so make sure you have a backup of your important data before proceeding.

  • To do this, boot into the WinRE, then select Troubleshoot > Reset this PC.
  • Then, choose either Keep my files or Remove everything, depending on whether you want to keep your personal files or not.
  • Then, follow the instructions to complete the reset process.

Fix Inaccessible Boot Device Error – FAQs

1. What does it mean when the boot device is inaccessible?

Ans: The error is pretty much self-explanatory as it indicates problems with the system partition and OS not being able to communicate with the hard drive to access the files necessary for the system to boot. However, it does not mean that the problem can occur only at the time of booting the system. In fact, it can occur at any point when the OS needs to access the system files, such as when updating system settings or changing registry values that are related to the boot process. And if you have noticed this error a couple of times already, it means that the problem is recurring, and you will have to resolve it using the solutions provided in this guide to get rid of the error.

2. Does an inaccessible boot device mean a damaged hard drive?

Ans: No, the inaccessible boot drive error does not necessarily mean that there can be physical problems with the drive, although it is one of the possibilities that can cause this problem. If the drive is physically damaged, it can disrupt the functioning of the drive and also corrupt crucial system data, including the system files. However, in case of a severely damaged hard drive, you probably won’t see this error. In such a case, the error message would rather be “A disk read error occurred” or “Missing Operating System”, indicating that the BIOS is unable to access the boot drive at all.

3. How to avoid the inaccessible boot device error?

Ans: To avoid this error, you can take some preventive measures like:
* Always keep your drivers updated, especially those related to the hard drive and the motherboard.
* Check your hard disk for errors or bad sectors regularly.
* Scan your computer for viruses or malware and remove them.
* Avoid making changes to the BIOS settings, such as the SATA mode, unless you are sure.
* Avoid installing or uninstalling software or hardware that may cause conflicts or compatibility issues with the system.
* Prolong Windows updates if they are problematic for the majority of users and wait for a stable update.


The inaccessible boot device error is a significant issue that can disrupt the normal booting process of a Windows system or sometimes cause the system to crash with a BSOD. So, it can cause loss of data as well as a lot of frustration for the user, especially when they are working on a time-sensitive project. It usually stems from various causes, such as a damaged hard drive or software-related problems like corrupted drivers, system files, or malware infections. Fortunately, there are several solutions available to address this error, and users can attempt to troubleshoot and resolve the issue themselves without any professional help. In this guide, you will find all the relevant information about this error, along with some hefty solutions that can fix the problem for you. If you are not sure about any of the solutions provided in this guide, you can reach us for more info via the comment section.

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