Fix: Dell No Boot Device Found / No Bootable Device / Boot Device Not Found

How To Fix Dell No Boot Device Found No Bootable Device Boot Device Not Found

It’s a scenario many of us dread – powering up your Dell computer only to encounter the frustrating “No boot device found” error.

This common problem signals that your system is unable to locate a device it can boot from, leaving you stuck in digital limbo.

Ready for some techno-troubleshooting? Let’s dive right in!

Causes of the “No Bootable Device Found” Error on Dell Laptop / Computers

1. Incorrect boot sequence configuration

An incorrect boot sequence configuration can often result in a “No Boot Device Found” error message on Dell systems.

This typically happens if the system is set to start up from an unbootable source such as a network, DVD, or USB drive / failed to load the operating system.

For proper startup, your hard disk should be the first option in the boot order list of BIOS settings. If other devices are prioritized over it by mistake or due to malfunctioning hardware, your Dell computer fails to load Windows and throws this unsettling error message instead.

To fix this issue, you need to access your BIOS setup during startup and adjust the sequence accordingly ensuring that the internal HDD/SSD is listed as primary in boot order configuration.

Follow these steps to change the boot sequence:

  1. Power on your Dell system and continuously press the designated key (such as F2 or Delete) to enter the BIOS setup.
  2. Once in the BIOS setup utility, navigate to the “Boot Tab” or “Boot Sequence” section using the arrow keys.
  3. Look for a list of available boot devices ( boot list ) or a similar option that allows you to prioritize them.
  4. Ensure that your primary boot device (usually your internal hard drive) is listed first in the boot sequence.
  5. If it isn’t listed first, select it and use the appropriate key (typically F6 or F5) to move it up in priority until it is at the top.
  6. Save your changes by pressing the designated key (often F10) and confirm changes when prompted.
  7. Exit BIOS setup and allow your computer to reboot.

2. Loose or faulty hard drive connection

When your computer struggles to access the disk containing boot information, a problem that typically ties back to problematic cables or Windows boot files.

To resolve this situation, it’s important to physically inspect your hard drive connections and ensure they’re secure.

However, hardware issues aren’t always visually apparent. Running in-system diagnostics can help identify any underlying problems with your device’s HDD or SSD. 

Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Power off your Dell computer and unplug it from the power source.
  2. Open the computer case by removing the screws or latches.
  3. Locate the hard drive, which is typically a rectangular-shaped metal or plastic component.
  4. Check if the cables connecting the hard drive to the motherboard are securely attached. Firmly push the cables into their respective ports to ensure a proper connection.
  5. If you have multiple hard drives, make sure they are all properly connected and secured.
  6. Carefully examine the SATA (Serial ATA) data cable for any signs of damage or looseness. Replace it with a new cable if necessary.
  7. Similarly, check the power cable that connects to the hard drive from the power supply unit (PSU). Make sure it is firmly plugged in and not damaged.
  8. Once you have checked and reconnected all necessary cables, close the computer case and tighten any screws or latches that were removed earlier.

3. Corrupted or missing operating system files

This typically occurs when the critical files needed to boot your PC are inaccessible due to damage, corruption, or removal.

It’s often the result of abrupt shutdowns, hardware failures, disk write errors, power outages, or a virus infection targeting your computer’s hard drive.

The core system may become unstable rendering it unable to locate and access necessary bootable device information during startup.

To resolve this issue, one can utilize tools such as Startup Repair with a Windows installation disc or run CHKDSK command which helps in scanning and repairing potential issues causing these file corruptions on your hard drive.

Here are some steps:

  1. Start your Dell computer and press the F12 key repeatedly while it boots up to access the boot options menu.
  2. Use the arrow keys to navigate to “Repair Your Computer” and press Enter.
  3. Select your language preferences and click “Next.”
  4. Enter your username and password if prompted.
  5. In the System Recovery Options window, click on “Command Prompt.”
  1. Type `chkdsk /f` and press Enter.
  2. The command will initiate a disk check on your system drive to find and fix any errors.

4. Faulty Drive (HDD or SSD)

One possible cause of the error on Dell computers is a faulty drive, whether it’s a traditional hard disk drive (HDD) or a solid-state drive (SSD).

This can occur if there are mechanical issues with the HDD or if the SSD becomes corrupt.

In either case, the computer may not be able to access the necessary boot information stored on the drive, resulting in an error message. 

5. Run diagnostics to identify hardware issues

Here are the steps you need to follow:

  1. Access the BIOS settings by restarting your Dell computer and pressing the designated key (usually F2 or Del) during the boot process.
  2. Navigate through the BIOS menus to find the option for running diagnostics or system tests.
  3. Run a comprehensive diagnostic test that checks all hardware components, including the hard drive.
  4. Pay attention to any error codes or messages generated during this test. These can provide valuable insight into which hardware component is causing the issue.
  5. If a specific component, such as the hard drive, is flagged as faulty or not functioning correctly, you may need to replace it.

6. Launch Windows Startup Repair

If you encounter the “No Boot Device Found” error on your Dell computer, one of the troubleshooting steps you can try is to launch Startup Repair. This feature in Windows allows you to fix various startup issues, including boot errors. Here are the steps to launch Startup Repair:


  1. Start your Dell computer and wait for the Dell logo to appear.
  2. Press the F8 key repeatedly until the “Advanced Boot Options” menu appears.
  3. Use the arrow keys on your keyboard to highlight “Repair Your Computer” and press Enter.
  4. Select your language preferences and click “Next.”
  5. Enter your administrator credentials, if prompted.
  6. On the System Recovery Options screen, select “Startup Repair” and click “Next.”
  7. Wait for Startup Repair to diagnose and attempt to repair any issues it finds with your computer’s boot process.
  8. Follow any on-screen instructions provided by Startup Repair.

7. Repair or reinstall the operating system

Here are some steps you can follow:

  1. Run diagnostics to identify any hardware issues that may be causing the error.
  2. If there are no hardware issues, try launching Startup Repair from the Advanced Boot Options menu.
  3. If Startup Repair doesn’t fix the problem, check the disk status and diagnose any problems using built-in Windows tools.
  4. You can also try rebuilding the Master Boot Record (MBR) using Command Prompt.
  5. Set the primary partition as active to ensure it is being recognized as a bootable device.
  6. Running CHKDSK to check for errors on the hard drive and fixing any detected issues might also help.
  7. Use Command Prompt to troubleshoot and fix any boot-related information problems.
  8. If you have a RAID configuration, troubleshooting RAID issues may be necessary.
  9. In case all else fails, it may be necessary to replace the hard drive and then reinstall the operating system.

8. Rebuild MBR

Rebuilding the Master Boot Record (MBR) can be an effective solution to fix the error on your Dell system. The MBR is a crucial part of your computer’s boot process, containing important information about the operating system and how it is loaded.

When the MBR becomes corrupted or damaged, it can lead to booting issues and result in the error message you are experiencing. Rebuilding the MBR involves recreating this essential boot record to resolve any issues that may be causing the error.

Here are the steps:

  1. Start by accessing the Windows Recovery Environment. You can do this by restarting your computer and pressing F8 repeatedly until you see the Advanced Boot Options menu.
  2. From the menu, select “Repair Your Computer” and press Enter.
  3. Next, choose your language preferences and click “Next.”
  4. Select your user account and enter your password if prompted.
  5. In the System Recovery Options window, click on “Command Prompt.”
  6. Once in Command Prompt, type “bootrec /fixmbr” without quotes and press Enter.
  7. Wait for the command to complete its task, which should only take a few seconds.
  8. Afterward, type “exit” and hit Enter to close Command Prompt.

Rebuilding the MBR should resolve any issues related to a corrupt or damaged boot record, allowing your Dell system to boot up properly again.

9. Set Primary Partition as Active

This can help ensure that the computer boots from the correct partition. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Start by accessing the BIOS settings on your Dell computer. You can usually do this by pressing a specific key (such as F2 or Del) during startup. Consult your computer’s manual or Dell’s website for the exact key to access BIOS.
  2. Once you’re in the BIOS settings, navigate to the “Boot” or “Startup” tab using the arrow keys on your keyboard.
  3. Look for an option related to boot priority or boot sequence. This is where you can specify which devices should be checked for bootable files first.
  4. Use the arrow keys to highlight the option that corresponds to your hard drive or SSD where your operating system is installed.
  5. From here, look for an option to set the selected partition as active. This may be labeled differently depending on your BIOS version, but it commonly appears as an “Active” or “Bootable” option.
  6. Select this option and save changes before exiting the BIOS.

10. RAID issues?

Here are some tips to help you troubleshoot RAID issues:

  1. Verify RAID Configuration: Check that the RAID configuration is correct in the BIOS settings. Ensure all drives are properly recognized and configured as part of the RAID array.
  2. Replace Faulty Drives: If any of the drives in the RAID array are faulty, they may need to be replaced. Look for signs of drive failure, such as unusual noises or slow performance, and replace them if necessary.
  3. Rebuild RAID Array: If a drive has been replaced or removed from the array, you may need to rebuild it to restore functionality. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for rebuilding the RAID array.
  4. Update RAID Drivers: Outdated or incompatible RAID drivers can cause boot device errors. Visit Dell’s website to download and install the latest RAID drivers for your specific model.
  5. Run Diagnostic Tools: Dell provides diagnostic tools that can help identify and resolve hardware issues. Use these tools to check for any problems with your RAID configuration or individual drives.

11. Replace Hard Drive and Reinstall System

You may need to consider replacing the hard drive and reinstalling the operating system. This method is typically used when all other options have been exhausted and there is a hardware issue with the existing hard drive.

  1. Back up your data: Before replacing the hard drive, it is important to back up any important files or data that you have on your current drive. This will ensure that you do not lose any valuable information during the replacement process.
  2. Acquire a new hard drive: Purchase a new hard drive that is compatible with your Dell computer. Make sure to check for compatibility specifications before making a purchase.
  3. Install the new hard drive: Carefully disconnect and remove the old hard drive from your computer. Then, install the new one in its place, ensuring that it is properly connected and secured.
  4. Reinstalling the operating system: Once you have installed the new hard drive, you will need to reinstall the operating system. Insert your Windows installation disc or USB and follow the prompts to reinstall Windows on your newly installed hard drive.


1. What does the error message “no boot device found” mean on my Dell computer?

The error message “no boot device found” typically indicates that the computer is unable to locate a valid operating system or bootable device, such as a hard drive or solid-state drive.

4. Should I seek professional help if I encounter the error on my Dell computer?

If you’re not comfortable troubleshooting technical issues yourself or if you suspect hardware problems, it’s recommended to seek professional assistance from authorized technicians who specialize in repairing Dell computers. They will have access to diagnostic tools and expertise needed to accurately identify and fix any underlying issues contributing to the error message.

I am a computer engineer holding a bachelor's degree in Computer Science, complemented by a Master's in Business Administration from University of Strathclyde, Scotland. I currently work as a Senior IT Consultant in Melbourne, Australia. With over 15 years of...