“Reboot and select proper boot device” on Windows 10/11

Published by Nyau Wai Hoe - Updated on

When starting your computer, you might encounter the error message: “Reboot and Select proper Boot device or Insert Boot Media in selected Boot device and press a key”. This is a serious and complicated issue involving hardware problems. Here, we will explain this error in simple terms and provide solutions to fix it for both Windows 10 and Windows 11 PCs.

Reboot and select proper boot device Windows 10/11

Understanding the problem

If you are trying to boot to your primary OS drive where your Windows 10 or Windows 11 is installed, and you see the “Reboot and Select Proper Boot Device” error, it means that your motherboard’s BIOS chip cannot detect or read the particular hard drive. This error could also indicate that the BIOS cannot detect any operating system installed on the hard drive set to be the first boot in the BIOS, particularly if you have just purchased a new computer.

If you are trying to boot from a USB flash drive, and this error occurs, it may indicate that either the bootable was not set up correctly, or the USB flash drive is simply broken. In this case, try using another software to create the bootable USB drive or a different USB pendrive.

Also see: How to Startup Repair Windows 10/11 using Command Prompt

This issue may arise during the boot process from an SSD or a traditional HDD on both desktop and laptop computers, including those from brands such as Asus, Acer, Toshiba, and Dell. It is not restricted to any specific operating system, as it affects users of Windows 11, Windows 10, or earlier versions of Windows. Furthermore, this problem is frequently encountered in PCs equipped with recently manufactured motherboards from Asrock or Gigabyte.

How to fix the “Reboot and select proper boot device” error

Here are some solutions to fix the “Reboot and select proper boot device” error that appears when you boot your Windows 10 or Windows 11 PC.

Unplug HDD cables and plug them in again

One of the most common reasons for the error to show up upon booting is that the hard drive’s SATA or power cable becomes loose or was not plugged in correctly. Re-plugging the cables should fix the issue most of the time.

Unplug HDD SATA cable

Shut down your computer, remove your CPU casing cover, unplug both the SATA cable and the power cable from the HDD, and then plug them back again. This time, make sure the cables are fastened at both ends. Retry booting your Windows 10 or Windows 11 again.

Remove all USB drives and DVD

To make sure nothing is interfering with the boot-up of your Windows, remove any existing USB flash drives, DVD, or even Floppy from the PC. Then, reboot the computer and see if the “Reboot and Select Proper Boot Device” error is resolved.

Unplug USB drives from laptop

Check if you have the correct boot sequence in the BIOS

If your BIOS is set to first boot a drive that’s not your primary OS drive, and the drive has no OS, it will return the “Reboot and Select Proper Boot Device” error. Therefore, make sure your computer is booting the correct OS drive. You can check the boot sequence by going to the BIOS settings on your computer.

  1. Press DEL or F2 as soon as your computer starts, to boot into BIOS.
  2. In the BIOS settings, look for the option usually called Boot Priority or Boot Sequence.
  3. Set the First Boot to boot your primary OS hard drive.
  4. Press F10 to save the configuration and reboot your computer.

Bios boot sequence priority Windows 11/10

HDD hardware failure

When you’re sure your BIOS is booting the correct drive, and yet the “Reboot and Select Proper Boot Device” error still appears, it may indicate that your hard disk drive has failed or is starting to fail. Try shutting down your computer and letting your HDD cool down for several hours. Then, try to boot it again.

If it doesn’t work, try to place the HDD onto another computer and see if you can read the files in it. If you can read the files, you may want to back up all your important files and data while you still can.

Related issue: Hard Drive Doesn’t Show Up After Clone in Windows 11

Use diskpart command to set the partition as active

When the primary OS drive is not set as active, your computer will return the “Reboot and Select Proper Boot Device” error. Setting the partition as active again may solve the error.

To use diskpart, you need to have access to the command prompt tool. Try the following method to boot into Windows recovery.

  • While your computer is on the error screen, press and hold the power button on your computer to force shut down. Start it up again. Repeat this for 3 times. If Windows can boot into Windows Recovery on the third attempt, navigate to Troubleshoot > Advanced Option > Command Prompt.
  • If the method above doesn’t work to open Windows Recovery, you will need a Windows recovery drive or a Windows installation media (DVD or bootable USB). Set your BIOS to boot the Windows recovery drive, then navigate to Troubleshoot > Advanced Option > Command Prompt.

In the command prompt, enter the following commands followed by Enter key after each line of command.

Note that the second command is assuming disk 0 is your primary OS disk. To see a list of all disks and identify the correct disk number, type “list volume” before entering the “select disk” command. Reboot your computer and verify if the problem is fixed.

select disk 0
list partition
select partition 1

How to fix Reboot and select proper boot device

Run startup repair, CHKDSK and bootrec

If none of the suggested fixes above works to solve the error, you can try to run startup repair, CHKDSK, and repair the master boot record of your Windows 10 or Windows 11.

To run these tools, you have to boot into Windows Recovery. Boot into Windows Recovery as outlined above. To run startup repair, navigate to Troubleshoot > Advanced Option > Startup Repair. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the repair.

Startup Repair Windows 10 Recovery

To run CHKDSK and bootrec commands, open Command Prompt and enter the following commands followed by Enter key after each line of command (assuming C: drive is your primary Windows 10 or Windows 11 OS drive).

chkdsk c: /f
bootrec /fixmbr
bootrec /fixboot
bootrec /rebuildbcd
bcdboot c:\windows /s c:

Nyau Wai Hoe
Nyau Wai Hoe is the Founder and Chief Editor of WindowsDigitals.com. With a degree in software engineering and over 12 years of experience in the tech support industry, Nyau has established himself as an expert in the field, with a primary focus on the Microsoft Windows operating system. As a tech enthusiast, he loves exploring new technologies and leveraging them to solve real-life problems.

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