> The drive where Windows is installed is locked

Fix "The Drive Where Windows Is Installed Is Locked" Error in Few Steps

Overview of "The drive where Windows is installed is locked" Error

When Windows 8, Windows 8.1, or Windows 10 is unbootable or runs in errors, many users choose to refresh or reset their PC for fixing since this may restore their computer to the state when it works well, with keeping personal files intact.

In most cases, you can do refresh successfully, but sometimes you may receive the following error message:

"The drive where Windows is installed is locked. Unlock the drive and try again"

Below is the screenshot of the very error:

the drive where windows is installed is locked error

Are you troubled by such an issues? If yes, you might be interested in what resulted in this error as well as how to fix it, right?

Luckily, these are topics we are going to talk about in today's post. Keep reading this post to get what you want.

Possible Causes for "The drive where Windows Is installed is locked" Error

It is difficult to say what is the exact culprit for this error, so here we just list 4 possible causes, including:
1.MBR (master boot record) is damaged.
2.Windows system files are corrupted or damaged.
3.BCD (boot configuration data) is damaged.
4.There are errors on the disk.

With knowing causes, we are very likely to fix the error. Next, let's see how to fix.

"MBR damage, system file corruption, and BCD damage could result in the 'The drive where Windows is installed is locked error'. Share your new findings with your friends."

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4 Ways to Fix "The drive where Windows is installed is locked" Error

Kindly reminder: to keep data 100% safe, we highly suggest making a backup for system disk, because any accident during repair could result in data loss. Of course, you can also choose to create a backup for boot partition (C drive) only, but backing up the entire system disk is more reliable though it costs more time. If you do not know how to backup data when Windows is unbootable, see the following section.

How to Backup Data for Unbootable Computers

For most desktop users, they can easily take out hard disk and slave it to other computers to do backup. So, they can clone disk or boot partition with MiniTool Partition Wizard Free. But for laptop users or desktop users fearing of mistaken operation during disparting hard disk, they need to use MiniTool Partition Wizard Bootable CD Free, which makes it possible to do backup on the unbootable computer.

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Well, how to backup data with this freeware? Here, we take Partition Wizard Bootable CD for example to show users detailed steps since both editions require nearly the same operations except that Bootable CD requires creating a bootable disc in advance.

Firstly, please download the free bootable partitioning manager MiniTool Partition Wizard Bootable CD on another computer.

Then, burn the downloaded .iso file to USB flash drive, CD or DVD. For steps to make a bootable disc, please see How to Build Free Bootable Partition Manager with Pwfree91.iso.

Next, connect a disk to the unbootable computer, which will be used to hold the copy of source disk, and then boot computer via the bootable partition manager.

1. All data saved on the second disk will be erased, so please transfer all important files out in advance.
2. If you are still employing Legacy BIOS + MBR boot mode, please enter BIOS to set USB drive or CD/DVD as the first boot device. For how to set, please see How to Boot Your Computer from a Disc or USB Drive.

Once booting computer via the bootable partition manager, we will see the following interface:

copy disk with partition wizard bootable CD select system disk

Here, all recognized devices, both internal and external, are shown. Please take the following steps to backup system disk.

Step 1. Select the current system disk and choose "Copy Disk" feature from the left action pane. However, if you choose to backup boot partition, just select the partition and choose "Copy Partition" feature.

copy disk with partition wizard bootable CD select target disk

Step 2. Select the disk that is used to hold the copy of system disk and click "Next".

copy disk with partition wizard bootable CD choose copy method

Step 3. Choose a copying method and click "Next".

copy disk with partition wizard bootable CD click finish to continue

Step 4. Click "Finish" to continue.

copy disk with partition wizard bootable CD apply changes

Step 5. Click "Apply" button to make all changes finally performed.

Kindly reminder: this may take some time if your system disk saves a great number of data.

After Partition Wizard says the operation is applied successfully, the backup for system disk is created. Then, you can try our methods to fix the error without worrying about data loss. Of course, before doing fix, you can try booting computer from the backup disk to see whether Windows is bootable and other data are intact.

"Before doing any repair, you'd better backup useful files in advance. MiniTool Partition Wizard could help you create such a backup. Share this method with your friends."

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Method One: Rebuild MBR with MiniTool Partition Wizard Bootable CD

Note: This method does not apply to users who are running Windows with UEFI/GPT boot mode.

MBR (master boot record) is a special type of boot sector at the very beginning of partitioned computer mass storage devices. It contains a small amount of executable code called the master boot code, the disk signature, and the partition table for the disk. And the master boot code scans the partition table for the active partition, finds the starting sector of the active partition, loads a copy of the boot sector from the active partition into memory, and transfers control to the executable code in the boot sector. Once the master boot code is damaged or corrupted, you are very likely to receive error message when booting or refreshing computer. So you can try rebuilding MBR to see whether this can fix the "The drive where Windows is installed is locked" error.

If you have used MiniTool Partition Wizard Bootable CD to backup data, just try using it to rebuild MBR. It's very easy to complete this work.

rebuild MBR select target disk

Firstly, please select the system disk and choose "Rebuild MBR" feature from the left side.

rebuild MBR apply changes

Then, click "Apply" button to make the rebuilding finally performed.

When Partition Wizard shows it applied the change successfully, you can exit from the program and try booting Windows or refreshing your computer.

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However, if this method fails to help you get rid of trouble, maybe more files related to booting Windows are corrupted, not limited to MBR. Then, you can try our second or third solution to fix more files.

Method Two: Repair Your Computer with Windows Installation Disc

The Repair your computer feature in Windows installation disc could fix problems that are preventing Windows from running. After repair, your Windows might be bootable, and there is no need to refresh the computer. Even if Windows is still unbootable, the error "The drive where Windows is installed is locked" could be fixed, and then you can refresh your computer.

To take this method, you'll need to prepare an installation disc or repair disk, either USB or CD/DVD.

Tip: you'd better use the installation disc which is for the same edition of Windows you are trying to repair.

Then, boot computer from the disc to get the window below (here we take Windows 8 installation disc for example):

repair computer via installation disc choose language

Here, just choose a language, a time, a currency, a keyboard, or an input method, and then click Next to continue.

repair computer via installation disc start repairing

Then, choose Repair your computer rather than Install now.

repair computer via installation disc troubleshoot

Next, choose Troubleshoot → Advanced options → Automatic Repair (Windows 8) or Startup Repair (Windows 8.1) → choose Windows 8 to repair. Then, Windows will look for and fix problems.

After the fix is completed, you should be able to start Windows or refresh your computer. But what if this also failed to work? Try the third way.

Method Three: Fix Boot-related Files with Bootrec.exe Tool

Bootrec.exe is a Windows snap-in tool to troubleshoot startup issues, and it can repair Master Boot Record, Boot Sector, and Boot Configuration Data. On the internet we found lots of people give feedback and said this method helped them fix the "The drive where Windows is installed is locked" error, so we hope this can also help you get out of the trouble.

Then, let's start repairing.

Firstly, please take operations introduced in Method Two to enter Advanced Options:

fix the error via bootrec.exe choose command prompt

This time you need to choose Command Prompt rather than Automatic Repair.

Then, type bootrec.exe in command prompt and press Enter key to launch the tool.

Next, type the following commands, and each command should end with pressing on Enter key:

bootrec /FixMbr

bootrec /FixBoot

bootrec /RebuildBcd

Tip: if you are running Windows from UEFI/GPT boot mode, there is no need to type the first command, because it is used to fix MBR which is only seen in MBR disk.

After the repair is completed, you can quit from Command Prompt and try starting Windows or refreshing computer.

In addition, apart from 3 methods above, we also find other 2 solutions. When the former 3 are finally proved to be useless, try the following 2.

Method 4: Fix Disk Errors with CHKDSK.exe

CHKDSK is a Windows built-in utility to report disk/volume state if we run it without giving any parameters, and repair problems caused by, or related to, bad sectors, system errors, cross-linked files, directory errors and lost file clusters if we use it by specifying parameters, like /f, and /r. It examines disks and can correct many types of common errors on FAT16, FAT32, and NTFS drives. So you can follow instructions below to try fixing the "The drive where Windows is installed is locked" error.

Enter Advanced options as Method Two shows, and choose Command Prompt.

Then, type the following command:

Chkdsk C: /R or chkdsk C: /F

Tip:  C is the letter of the drive where Windows 8 is installed. If your Windows 8 is installed on D: drive, replace C with D. In addition, with specifying the parameter /R, chkdsk.exe will cost much more time to fix errors compared with giving the /F parameter, because the former will locate bad sectors and recover readable information, not limited to fixing errors.

Then, you should be able to refresh your computer or start Windows.

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However, when all methods above failed to function, try the last solution.

Method 5: Use System File Checker to Repair Missing or Corrupted System Files

System File Checker (SFC) is a utility in Windows that allows users to scan for corruptions in Windows system files and restore corrupted files.  ----- from Microsoft

To use this tool, please open Advanced options as Method Two shows, and then choose Command Prompt.

Then, type the following command:

Sfc /scannow

And then press Enter key to perform the operation.

After that, you can try rebooting Windows or refreshing computer to see whether the error still exists.

"Here are 5 ways to fix the 'The drive where Windows is installed is locked. Unlock the drive and try again' error. Share them with your friends."

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Nevertheless, when all our methods failed to help you fix the error, you may need to reinstall Windows. If you have created a backup for important files by using MiniTool Partition Wizard Bootable CD, now you can do reinstallation without worrying about data loss. If haven't, create one at once, and then reinstall Windows via installation disc. Below is a general tutorial, but operations for you might be a little bit different, depending on the version of your Windows.

Boot computer via the installation disc, choose language/time/currency, tap on Install now, type in the product Key, accept license terms, choose Custom, select the original boot partition to hold Windows, and specify PC and system settings.

For more details of Windows installation, you can refer to the post Windows 8 Clean Install Step-by-step Guide.

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Now, try our methods to fix the error "The drive where Windows is installed is locked". Should you have any other problem on this issue or operating MiniTool products, just feel free to contact us via [email protected] or leave message in Comment part below.