By Teresa / Last Updated January 9, 2020

The Error: Windows Failed to Start File Boot BCD

One of my clients says his computer failed to start when he powers up the machine. He gets following prompting message on his screen. He is pretty sure that there is no hardware change before this startup. And he bought that PC for three years and cannot find the Windows installation disc now, let alone to fix the problem as instructed. It seems like contacting manufacturer may not work because he made some changes to the PC a year ago. Then, what can he do to fix the boot BCD error in Windows 10?

Windows failed to start BCD

Searching online, except for “The Boot Configuration Data for your PC is missing or contains errors”, it is not difficult to find that there are other similar errors on boot BCD file and Windows failed to start. For example:

  • Status: 0xc000000f. Info: An error occurred while attempting to read the boot configuration data.

  • File: \windows\system32\winload.exe. Status: 0xc000000e. Info: The selected entry could not be loaded because the application is missing or corrupt.

  • File: \Boot\BCD. Status: 0xc0000098. Info: The Windows Boot Configuration Data file does not contain a valid os.

Some of them account for non system disk or disk error, while some have other causes. Therefore, it is important to figure out what caused the issue and what you can do to fix the issue.

What is Boot BCD file in Windows?

Before learning the causes, you may want to have a brief understanding of the Boot Configurations Data (BCD) file and how it works. Generally speaking, the boot sector loads the Windows Boot Manager (a file named BOOTMBR on either the system or the boot partition), accesses the BCD store and makes use of the information to load the operating system. And then the BCD invokes the boot loader and in turn proceeds to initiate the Windows kernel.

From the definition of BCD on Wikipedia, we can see that the BCD plays an important role during Windows startup. Anything wrong with the file will lead to aforementioned situations and errors. Then, what causes Boot BCD errors?

There are several main possible causes for boot BCD error in Windows 7/8/10. One is dual boot system on that disk and decides to remove one of them later. The BCD store may have been deleted inadvertently during the remove process. That could happen because of disk write errors, power outages, boot sector viruses, or errors made while configuring the BCD manually.

Simple Fixes for Windows Failed to Start File BCD Error

In a nutshell, you have two kinds of solutions available. If you have a Windows installation disc CD in hand, try the first solution. Several methods of fixing the problem provided. If you have no Windows installation CD, try the second one. It offers the simplest way of repairing MBR and BCD.

Method 1. Fix BCD Error with Windows Installation Disc CD

Boot up your computer via the Windows installation drive. In Windows 7, go Repair your computer > Next > System Recovery Options > Command Prompt. In Windows 10, go Repair your computer > Advanced options > Command Prompt. Alternatively, you can choose Start-up Repair at this step and let it repair automatically. In Windows XP, you need to boot from Windows Recovery Console. In Command Prompt, you can do following attempts to repair.

Scan and Repair MBR: Type following commands in turn and each command come with an Enter.

  • bootrec.exe /fixmbr

  • bootrec.exe /fixboot

  • bootrec.exe /scanos

  • bootrec.exe /rebuildbcd

Delete and Rebuild BCD: Type following commands in turn and each command come with an Enter.

  • attrib –r –s –h c: \boot\bcd (unhide BCD file)

  • del c: \boot\bcd (delete the BCD file)

  • bcdboot c: \windows (create a new BCD on C drive)

Tips: You need to restart your machine to make those commands take effect.

Clean the Disk Completely: For the user who wants to perform a clean install to fix “Windows failed to start file boot BCD in Windows 7/8/10” error or for other purposes, it is not bad to delete all data on the disk. Then, create a brand new boot BCD file along with the new operating system. Type following commands:

  • diskpart

  • list disk

  • select disk n (where n is the number of the disk you want to wipe)

  • clean

  • exit

Note: All data on the disk will be wiped, so the system won’t boot after you run clean. Think twice before you leap.

Tips: If you are not familiar with command user interface (CUI), you can wipe hard drive from BIOS using graphical user interface (GUI). Then, you can perform a clean install if you wish.

As mentioned, some users may not get used to command line operations, so GUI repairing is more helpful. In addition, it is also a problem if there is no Windows installation CD around. Don’t worry. Let’s learn how to do boot BCD error Windows 7 fix without CD in the next part.

Method 2. Repair boot bcd error without Windows Installation CD

To fix the boot BCD error 0xc00000f or the similar errors in this way, you need to prepare an USB flash drive and a functioned Windows OS based PC. The USB drive is used to make bootable media and the PC is where you do the making.

In this progress, you can turn to free AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard. This freeware can help create a bootable USB drive and then rebuild MBR for your disk. Download freely (Windows 10/8/8.1/7/XP/Vista supported) to have a try.

1. Connect an empty USB drive to a functioned PC and make sure it is detected and formatted. Install and run AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard.

2. Click on Make Bootable Media in the left Wizards pane. Then follow the wizard to complete the creating.

Make Bootable Media

3. Insert the bootable USB drive to your computer and start it. If it falls back to your original disk, you need to change boot priority in BIOS and boot computer from the destination disk. When it loads up, you’ll see AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard running.

4. Right click the disk that has boot BCD error and leads to Windows failed to start file boot BCD error and select Rebuild MBR.

Rebuild Data Disk MBR

5. Select the type of MBR for your Windows operating system.

Choose MBR Type

6. Click Apply and then Proceed to commit the operations. Restart your computer after it repairs.

Tips:

  • After successfully booting up Windows, you may want to run CHKDSK on the disk to see if there is any other error. Also, you can check hard drive for errors using AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard.

  • To fix Windows Server 2012 boot BCD error, please turn to AOMEI Partition Assistant Server edition.

Conclusion

Surely you know how to solve the problem if the “Windows failed to start file boot BCD” error emerges again in the future. No matter you have Windows installation disc or not, you can find the corresponding fix here.

AOMEI Partition Assistant also provides many other useful features in hard drive upgrading or management. For example, you can perform disk copy without reinstalling Windows and installed applications. Or, you can migrate OS to SSD and keep HDD for storage on desktop. Download to experience more.