Fixing BOOTMGR is missing error in Windows

An error message saying, “BOOTMGR is Missing. Press Ctrl+Alt+Del to restart” can bring fear into the hearts of the bravest tech-savvy people on the planet. To be fair, any kind of a black screen with a white lettered message will have the same effect.

Windows Boot Manager or BOOTMGR, for short, is a small piece of the entire Windows in charge of booting the operating system. It consists of several files stored in the boot directory and is usually the first thing that the BIOS pulls once you pass the POST (power-on self-test).

The error message may vary, but the essence is the same, and Windows will not boot.

What causes this error?

Unlike most of the errors you may get during booting, the cause for a missing BOOTMGR can be more than just a problem with the Windows installation or a virus. In some cases, you may be looking at a hardware problem. Don’t be alarmed; most of those hardware problems can be solved in a blink of an eye.

Today I’ll be going over the most common reasons you may get this error and how to fix them. All of them are quite simple and shouldn’t take you more than a few minutes.

Reboot before you panic

When you get the BOOTMGR is missing error, you also get the information on how to reboot your computer. Ctrl+alt+del or enter are the most common ways to do so. Even though computers are incredibly sophisticated, yet they can get confused, so try rebooting and see if everything is working.

Removable media

Depending on your BIOS settings, your computer may be set up to try and boot from removable media before or if it reaches for the drives on your computer. That means that if you have a USB or external drive plugged in, the BIOS will be looking for the boot files in that media, and if it doesn’t find any, it will show the BOOTMGR missing message.

To see if this is the problem, remove any media you have plugged and leave only your mouse and keyboard.

BIOS settings

The boot settings in your BIOS determine the order of which the BIOS will try to boot from. If you update your BIOS or made some changes, those settings may be changed, and your drive that has the installed Windows is not on the list, so you will need to make changes to it.

Laptop and motherboard manufacturers have different settings for getting into the BIOS, and for this, you will need to revert to your user manual to see how to do it. Go to the boot settings and make sure that the drive where your Windows is installed is on the top of the list or is the only one there. The layout and look of the settings will vary from device to device, so the manual will be your best friend on this.

Check your disk

A damaged disk can be a cause for a missing BOOTMGR. Checking and fixing potential errors on your drive is a two-in-one process. For this step, you will need a bootable Windows media, preferably a USB.

Boot from the USB either by selecting it as a temporary booting device or by changing the order of the boot priority in your BIOS. When the installer shows up, choose the correct options and click “Next.”

Go to “Repair your computer” on the bottom left.

On the next menu, click on “Troubleshoot.”

Choose “Advanced options” in the troubleshooting menu.

Click on “Command Prompt” and wait for CMD to load.

Type in this command “chkdsk C: /r /f” and wait for the process to finish. The duration will vary from system to system, but let it run as long as it takes. Once it is completed, you will get a report with any errors, if something is fixed, etc.

Repair the startup

Checking the disk and fixing the error you may have does not always do the trick, and you will need to perform a startup repair. To reach this option, you will need to follow the same steps as with checking the disk, in the Advanced Option you will need to select “Startup Repair” and sit back and wait for it to finish. When the PC reboots, remove the bootable USB and see if it works, but first, make sure the boot order in the BIOS is correct.

Check the cables

Moving away from the software problems, you should look into the hardware side of things, and a common problem is the cables and connectors. As the years go by, these things tend to degrade and start losing their flexibility or contact with the disk.

Open your desktop and check the cables. Unplug and replug them. If you have spare cables, replace them and see if that works. You should do the same to the power cables and try with another connector.

The chances of something like this happening on a laptop are slim because there are no cables. With that said, it is still a good idea to check the connectors in case you dropped your laptop or degraded over time.

Bad disk

I saved the best for last, and that is a faulty disk. Contrary to popular belief, even SSDs can have bad sectors, and if those bad sectors happen to be in the part of the drive that stores the BOOTMGR files, then you will have a problem. Running the chkdsk command will provide you with the report, and you will know if this is the source of the problem. If it is, be prepared to cough up the cash for a new drive.

However, if the above solutions fail to fix the error, follow the solutions in this article to boot the computer and recover lost data.

Conclusion

Missing some of the BOOTMGR files is a bad thing, mostly because you are left with a non-working computer.  Luckily, most of the causes for this error are easy to fix with the above solutions. In fact, several similar boot errors can also be fixed. By the way, to ensure that your data is safe, make sure to always make a backup of your files.

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