> Reboot and select proper boot device

Quickly Fix "Reboot and Select Proper Boot Device" Error of Windows

Description of "Reboot and Select Proper Boot Device" Error

When starting Windows 7, Windows 8/8.1, Windows 10, or other Windows OS, you may receive the error message "Reboot and Select proper Boot device or Insert Boot Media in selected Boot device and press a key". Below is a screenshot for the error message:

reboot and select proper boot device error

Even if you reboot the computer, Windows startup is still blocked here.

In addition, when installing Windows from USB flash drive, CD or DVD, you might receive the same error, too.

Indeed, this is an issue troubling a huge number of Windows users.

But you are lucky since you are reading this post, because we will show you what could result in "Reboot and Select proper Boot device" error along with effective solutions.

Causes for "Reboot and Select Proper Boot Device" Error

Both physical and logical factors could generate this error.

Physical Causes:
  • BIOS doesn't detect your boot disk due to a faulty cable, damaged SATA slot, or dead hard drive.
  • BIOS detects the boot disk but it isn't connected properly.
  • The boot disk has been damaged or failed. If it is an old disk, take this factor into consideration.

Logical Causes:
  • Set wrong partition active or there is no active partition. The partition saving Windows boot files should be the very active partition. If not, Windows will be unbootable.
  • Master Boot Record (MBR) is damaged or corrupted.
  • Wrong boot sequence in BIOS.
  • Boot files get lost or corrupted.
  • Operating system on boot disk corrupted.

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These are all possible causes we found, which could guide us to fix the issue.

Of course, there might be other causes for this error. If you find one, please share it in Comment part so as to help more people. Posting the solution is much better.

How to Quickly Fix "Reboot and Select Proper Boot Device" Error

With knowing the exact cause for this error, we could take the corresponding measure, but it's not easy for most people to find the exact cause from all possible causes. Therefore, users need to do a lot of attempts.

Luckily, the following tutorial shows what attempts should be done at first. In addition, aiming at different users, it gives different solutions. All these could help you save much time.

solution 1 Check Whether The Boot Drive Is Detected by BIOS or Not

All of you could check whether the boot disk or installation media is detected by BIOS, which should be the first step.

Please boot or reboot your computer and repeatedly press on F2, Del, Esc, or other required key to enter BIOS before Windows is loaded. You can find the exact key from the internet.

Then, under the "Main" or other tab, you'll find all devices detected by BIOS:

check whether hard drive is detected by BIOS

If the disk where you want to start Windows isn't here, shut down your computer, reconnect the hard disk, use another cable, or connect from another SATA slot.

Or reconnect the installation media if the "Reboot and select proper boot device or insert boot media in selected boot device and press a key" error appears when you are installing Windows.

Tip: if the boot disk or installation media is still not showing up after these attempts, most probably the hard drive or installation media has been dead or corrupted. Please send it to repair or test whether it is physically damaged.

Then, you should be able to start or install Windows if it is due to faulty cable, damaged SATA slot or improper connection.

However, if the boot disk or installation media is originally here, please try our second method.

solution 2 Check Boot Order in BIOS

Generally, you can find boot order or boot sequence in "Boot", "Startup", or similar tab:

check boot order 1

But sometimes, it is under "Advanced BIOS Features":

check boot order 2

If the disk you want to start Windows from is not the first boot device, please set it as the first boot device. Or if the Windows installation media does not enjoy boot priority, set CDROM or removable device as the first boot device. The "↑", "↓", "+", and "−" key could help change the boot order.

At last, remember to press on F10 to save changes and quit from BIOS. Then, you should be able to start or install Windows.

Trick: before quitting from BIOS, you'd better carefully view each tab to see whether there is a signal showing you are using UEFI boot mode. The following screenshot shows it is under UEFI boot mode:

check boot mode in BIOS

However, if it is not UEFI but Legacy, you are using Legacy BIOS boot mode.

In addition, sometimes it is CMS (compatibility Support Mode), which supports both UEFI and Legacy BIOS.

However, if the error "Reboot and select proper boot device" error still appears after you are setting the correct boot order or it is originally in correct boot sequence, please try doing the next attempt.

solution 3 Set Correct Partition Active (Recommended for Legacy BIOS Users)

To set active partition correctly, you’d better employ MiniTool Partition Wizard instead of Diskpart, because the former tool provides friendly GUI (Graphical User Interface) while the latter is a command-based utility.

Then, download, install, and register the program on another computer to get the main window below:


Here, please choose Bootable Media icon on the top right corner, and then you’ll get the following window:


At this time, please view the post How to Build Boot CD/DVD Discs and Boot Flash Drive with Bootable Media Builder and follow instructions to create a bootable disc.

Then, start the unbootable computer from the created bootable disc to get the main interface of MiniTool Partition Wizard:

set active

Generally, the partition storing Windows boot files should be set active, and it is always the system reserved partition. However, if you install Windows to an appointed partition, there will be no system reserved partition, and your C drive should be set active.

Therefore, you need to view status of each partition to see whether there is an active partition already. If not, select the system reserved partition or C drive and choose "Set Active" feature. However, if a wrong partition is set active, you'll need to set this wrong partition inactive at first, and then set the correct partition active. At last, click "Apply" button to make all changes performed.

Tip: in MiniTool Partition Wizard Bootable Edition, letters for each partition might be changed compared with those in Windows version, so you’ll need to view capacity, used space, label, or other features to find the correct partition.

After that, you can quit from MiniTool Partition Wizard Boot Disc to reboot Windows, but we highly suggest fixing MBR at the same time since this program is capable of rebuilding MBR, too.

solution 4 Rebuild MBR (Recommended for Legacy BIOS Users)

To rebuild MBR, you should also use the Bootable Edition.

rebuild mbr

In the main window of MiniTool Partition Wizard Bootable Edition, please select the disk where Windows is or will be installed and click "Rebuild MBR" feature.

At last, click "Apply" button to make this change performed.

Then, you should be able to start Windows. Otherwise, you'll need to make the next attempt..

solution 5 Set BIOS to Best Defaults

Setting to Defaults usually loads default values which are optimized for performance, without risking stability. Many users gave feedback and said this helped them fixed the "Reboot and select proper boot device" error flawlessly.

For different types of motherboards, their names vary, which might be Get Default Values, Load Optimized Defaults, Load Optimal Defaults, etc.

load optimal defaults

If all attempts above failed to work, most probably Windows boot files or the system itself has corrupted. Then, you'll need to fix boot or reinstall Windows, but both require Windows installation disc.

solution 6 Fix Windows Boot Files

Please boot from your Windows installation disk and press on Shift + F10 combination key when you see the following interface:

install Windows

Then, Command Prompt comes out, and users need to type the following commands.

For Legacy BIOS users:
Bootrec /fixmbr

Bootrec /fixboot

Bootrec /rebuildBCD

For UEFI users:
bcdboot C:\windows

And each type should be followed by a press on Enter key. Then, you can quit from Command Prompt to try restarting your system.

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If this attempt is proved to be useless, you'll need to reinstall Windows.

solution 7 Reinstall Windows

As we know, reinstalling Windows will erase all files saved on boot partition (it is always the drive C). So, what if there are important files saved in this drive? We believe all of you would want to transfer them out at first, but how to do the transferring when Windows is unbootable?

MiniTool Partition Wizard Bootable Edition can help you do this, too.

copy partition

Please select drive E (boot partition)and choose Copy Partition feature from the left action panel.

Trick: there must be an unallocated space to hold files of drive C. If there is no such space, please select the partition which has much free space left, and choose "Move/Resize Partition" feature:

resize partition

Here, just shorten the partition handle to create unallocated space.

Alternatively, you can insert an external device to copy drive C to, but it should have an unallocated space, too. In addition, if you connect external device after Partition Wizard has started, please tap on General tab and choose Reload Disk, which could refresh your disk list.

Then, select the unallocated space to copy drive E to and click "Next".

Next, you can edit partition size and location. Of course, you can choose to do nothing but click "Finish" to continue.

At last, click "Apply" button to make all pending operations performed.

Once a copy for E drive is created, you can reinstall Windows without worrying about losing important files. And the error "Reboot and Select proper Boot device or Insert Boot Media in selected Boot Device and press a key" error should be fixed.

However, if you failed to reinstall Windows or the new Windows is still unbootable, your hard drive might have corrupted.

solution 8 Send Your Hard Drive to Repair or Replace It

If useful files are saved in this dead drive, please backup them before repair or replacement. And MiniTool Partition Wizard Bootable Edition could help you do this, too. Just use its Copy Disk or Copy Partition feature to do the backup.

2 Special Cases

At last, we will give 2 cases where the "Reboot and Select proper Boot device" error is occasionally fixed. If all solutions above failed to work, try methods shown in these 2 cases, which might be useful for you.

Case 1: the user tried lots of methods found from the internet, including change boot order, rebuild MBR, set BIOS to defaults, and fix boot, but the error still exists. Then, he took out battery of COMS and then put it back. After that, the error is fixed magically.

Case 2: one user solved the problem by enabling CSM (Compatibility Support Module) in BOIS.

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Now, it's time to try these methods out. Should you have problems during fixing "Reboot and Select proper Boot device or Insert Boot Media in selected Boot device and press a key" error, just feel free to contact us. We will try our best to help you out.