What to Do When Windows Won't Boot From Hard Drive [7 Fixes]

It is possible to meet Windows won’t boot from hard drive issue, then you might be looking for solutions to fix it. In this article, we will discuss why can’t boot from HDD and what to do when Windows won’t boot [7 solutions included].


By Hedy / Updated on May 12, 2023

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The symptoms of Windows won't boot from hard drive

If you can't boot Windows, it means your computer doesn't respond after you press the power button or don't allow Windows to load properly on your system. When boot failure happens, it shows that there is a problem with your software or hardware, usually along with these signs:

➹ Overheating.
➹ Unstable hardware connection.
➹ Black, blue, or White screen of death errors
➹ Unwanted and continuous noises
➹ Drained battery.
➹ ...

Reasons for Windows won't boot from hard drive

Dozens of causes are behind the problem that you can't boot from HDD. Here is a list of most possible reasons:

★ Inappropriate boot order.

★ Bad sectors prevent accessing the system.

★ Viruses damage boot files.

★ MBR (Master Boot Record) error

★ Windows system failure.

What to do when Windows won’t boot from hard drive?

If you are facing disk boot failure in Windows 10, don’t worry, this part will show you seven helpful tips and fixes to make your PC start up again. Let's have a look at how to fix Windows won't boot up issue.

▶ Fix 1. Change boot order

If your Windows 10 won't boot from the cloned hard drive, maybe you forget to set the cloned drive as the first sequence. Thus, the first option is to check the boot order. You can follow the following steps:

Step 1. Restart the PC and press the function keys (Esc, Del, F10, F2, F8, or F12)to open the BIOS.

Step 2. Go to the boot tab to change the order and position the hard drive in the first place.


Step 3. Save the settings and exit. Then, restart the computer.

▶ Fix 2. Remove newly installed hardware

If you have recently added new hardware, it may cause some incompatibility between the new and old hardware. So, you can remove the newly installed hardware and then reboot your PC to see whether the Windows 10 won't boot from hard drive issue can be fixed.

▶ Fix 3. Remove all peripheral devices

Actually, any peripheral devices like a USB keyboard, flash drives, external hard drives, etc may lead to a fault or error in the booting process. Thus, it's workable to remove all the peripheral devices connected to your computer. After that, restart your PC again to see whether the computer can boot up normally.

Note: If the problem is solved, you can choose to connect the devices one by one to figure out which one is the culprit. Then, dispose of it in case a similar issue appears again.

▶ Fix 4. Run Startup Repair

The Startup Repair tool is a Windows built-in utility that can fix many common problems and troubleshoot some complex startup problems as well. Therefore, when you can’t boot from HDD, you can run Startup Repair to have a try.

Step 1. Force the computer to shut down at least 3 times to enter the "Automatic Repair" screen.

Step 2. Once entering the "Advanced options", go to "Troubleshoot" > "Advanced options".

Step 3. On the Advanced options screen, select "Startup Repair".


Step 2. Windows will start the repair and then restart your PC.

▶ Fix 5. Try Safe Mode

The fifth way is to restart into the Safe Mode. Under safe mode, only a part of the files and drivers will be loaded and all third-party apps are disabled by default, which can narrow down the causes of boot failure so as to fix problems within your operating system.

Step 1. Do the first two steps in Fix 1. Under "Advanced options", click "Startup Settings" > "Restart".


Step 2. Enter Safe Mode by hitting F4, F5, or F6 in different cases by following the onscreen instructions.


▶ Fix 6. Rebuild MBR

If your Windows won't boot from hard drive after you tried all the methods mentioned before, you can rebuild MBR instead. An MBR error is a decisive factor in hard drive boot failure. Hence, repairing MBR is a great way to get rid of the boot issue.

Here I recommend you a powerful disk manager called AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional to make it. This is because you can't boot into your computer normally, a Windows 10 bootable USB is needed. And AOMEI software can create a bootable media and rebuild MBR at the same time, which can save you lots of energy and time.

Download the demo version to see how to finish these two tasks to fix Windows 10 won't boot from hard drive problem.

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Step 1. Download Windows installation media from the official website and plug a USB flash drive into a working Windows 10 PC.

Step 2. Install and launch AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional. Click "Tools"> "Make bootable Media" and hit "Next" to proceed.


Step 2. Choose your USB flash drive after ticking "USB Boot Device". Click on "Proceed" to continue.


Step 3. Then, you'll be promoted that the operation will format the USB. Click on "Yes" to move on.


Step 4. Wait until the media creation process is completed. Then unplug the bootable USB.


Step 5. Insert the bootable USB into your problematic PC, change the boot order in BIOS, and boot from it. Then, AOMEI software will launch automatically. Right-click the system's primary hard drive and select "Rebuild MBR".


▶ Fix 7. Reinstall Windows

What to do when Windows won't boot? Your last choice is to reinstall Windows. Please note that this method will erase everything on the desktop and C drive. So thick twice before you perform the Windows 10 clean install. If you have no questions, go ahead to the article: Install Windows 10 on the hard drive.

Bonus Tip: Clone your hard drive as a backup

As you can see, Windows won't boot from hard drive issue is such a headache. If you don't fix them properly, you may suffer data loss. For the sake of the reappearance of boot failure in the future, you are suggested to clone your hard drive as a backup. Therefore, you can restore your computer from the backup to a good state as before.

AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional, the best disk cloning software, can help you complete the clone without restarting and reinstalling Windows. Most importantly, you can clone hard drive from bootable USB if you have already failed to boot your Windows. Follow the below guide to have a look.

✿ If you don't have a big disk, this software allows you to clone a larger hard drive to a smaller one.
✿ The "Migrate OS to HDD/SSD" feature enables you to transfer only OS to a different drive for the purpose of backup.

Step 1. Connect another hard drive to your computer, open AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional, and go to "Clone" and "Clone Disk".


Step 2. Select a disk clone method as you like. Here we choose "Clone Disk Quickly" which clone only used space to another disk. 


Step 3. Select the source disk and click "Next".


Step 4. Then select another drive as the destination disk and click "Next". Tick "Optimize the performance of SSD" to make SSD 4K alignment if your destination disk is SSD.


Step 5. In the new windows, you can resize the partitions on the new drive. Select the one based on your need and click "Next".


Step 6. After reading a note about how to boot from the cloned disk, click "Finish" and then click "Apply" to commit the operation.



Keep calm when your Windows won't boot from hard drive next time. This article has taught what to do when Windows won't boot by providing seven useful solutions. Hope at least one of them works for you.

To prevent other PC problems, you are suggested to take good care of your computer such as cleaning up the junk file regularly, removing large files from time to time, or force deleting the corrupted folder in time.

Hedy · Staff Editor
Hedy is an editor of AOMEI Technology. She is very good at solving problems of partition management, and she wants to share all the problems she had already solved to users who met the same questions.