The other day I received a recovery error message when I turned on a PC with Microsoft’s Windows 10 operating system. The recovery screen indicated that “your PC / device needs to be repaired.The boot configuration data for your computer contains errors or is missing”.
The PC closed the previous day correctly and everything was mysterious. The recovery screen suggested using recovery tools or contacting the administrator of the PC or the manufacturer of the PC / device for assistance.
Keep reading to find out how the PC was repaired and how you can do it too.
Boot BCD startup errors
Starting problems related to Boot BCD come in many different forms. Here is a brief list of error messages that Windows can throw during startup:
- Your PC / device needs to be repaired. The boot configuration data for your computer is missing or contains errors
- There was a problem with a device connected to your PC. An unexpected I / O error has occurred.
- Your computer needs to be repaired. The boot configuration data file does not contain valid information for an operating system.
- Windows failed to start. A recent hardware or software change could be the cause.
A common denominator is that the recovery screen refers to the file \boot\bcd.
Cause of startup errors related to BCD
The error can be the result of (among other reasons):
- An unexpected closure.
- Blue screen or other errors that require a restart.
- Corruption of data.
- Failing hard drives.
- Corruption of the Boot BCD file or incorrect configuration.
- Malicious software
What is BCD?
Boot Configuration Data (BCD) was introduced in Windows Vista by Microsoft. Replaced the boot.ini file in Vista. The BCD contains important information related to startup, including the list of available operating systems.
In short, it stores vital start information required to start Windows. If the BCD is missing, damaged or altered, Windows may not start properly but the Recovery screen appears at the top.
Fix Boot BCD problems
All the problems described above have in common that you can no longer start in Windows. You can not use tools such as the Visual BCD Editor to correct the problem in the affected machine because it can no longer start in Windows.
In general, you need to start at advanced startup (Windows 10 or 8.1) or system recovery options (Windows 7) and run several commands from the command prompt there.
If you have a Windows installation medium, you can use it to boot from and access the recovery options.
Windows 10 users can download Microsoft media instead.
Step by step guide
- Insert the installation media into the PC. Connect the USB drive to the PC or place the DVD in the DVD drive.
- Discover how to access the BIOS / UEFI of the machine. This should be displayed during startup. The common keys are F1, F12 or DEL.
- Change the boot order for the computer to boot from the USB or DVD drive before it boots from internal hard drives.
- Click on next in the first configuration screen. That screen should highlight the installation language and keyboard.
- Select Repair your computer in the following screen.
- When the “choose an option” menu opens, select Troubleshoot.
- Select Advanced options.
- Select Symbol of the system. This opens a system prompt interface.
- Input the commands below one after the other:
- bootrec /fixmbr: this option writes an MBR to the system partition but does not overwrite the system partition in the process. Fix MBR corruption and problems with non-standard MBR code.
- bootrec /fixboot: this command writes a new boot sector in the system partition. Repairs damaged boot sectors, non-standard boot sectors, and problems caused by the installation of earlier Windows operating systems (before Vista). Ignore any error that may arise.
- bootrec /rebuildbcd – This option scans all connected hard disks for Windows installations. If you find additional facilities, you will be asked to add them to the BCD Store. Windows should choose the operating system installed. Be sure to add it to the BCD store. Select (a) for everyone during the notice, or add installations individually instead.
10. Exit the command prompt window.
11. Restart the PC to find out if the repair was successful.