How to Fix “BOOTMGR is Missing” in Windows 10.
If your laptop ends up with a horrible message on startup – “BOOTMGR is missing”, don’t worry, you are not alone. I lost my Windows bootloader file when switching from hard drive to SSD. In the end, I was able to fix this after a certain number of steps. So, if you’ve caught the same train, here are some ways to fix Boot Manager missing from Windows 10.
How to fix “BOOTMGR is Missing” in Windows 10
Before we start, let’s understand what Windows Boot Manager is. In Windows 10, Boot Manager is an application that stores boot environment variables and the location of boot files. In simple terms, a boot manager is a file that specifies the location of the operating system that needs to be loaded. Hence, when the boot manager goes missing, the system does not know what to download and where the other boot files are. The absence of a boot manager does not necessarily mean that your operating system has been removed. The file is simply missing and we will try to restore it using the following process.
1. The boot arrangement
First of all, you need to make sure that you are booting from the correct storage device. To change the boot order of the storage device, we have to go to BIOS (EFI firmware settings!). Now each device has its own BIOS menu, and yours will certainly be different from mine. However, in most cases, to access the BIOS settings, you must force the device off by long pressing the power button. Then reboot your device and press F2 until you get to BIOS settings.
Now change the boot order and move the SSD or hard drive up. In my case, I boot from a WD solid state drive, so I set it to the first position in the boot order. What’s more, you also get a missing boot manager error if your boot mode is set to Legacy. Make sure Boot Mode is set to UEFI instead of Legacy and Secure Boot is enabled. This ensures that GPT partitioned disks work and Windows 10 boots regardless of the boot device order.
If you don’t know about GPT, this is the new partitioning scheme adopted in Windows 10. GPT is more reliable than MBR and also stores copies of boot files in different locations. In addition, GPT supports many more partitions and disk sizes compared to MBR.
2. Startup Repair
There are rare chances that startup recovery will work, but we’ll get through it anyway as it leads to the second stage. First of all, we will need a Windows bootable USB drive, which can be made using the Windows Media Creation Tool or third-party USB bootable software.
Insert the bootable USB drive into your computer and restart the system. You can do this by pressing Ctrl + Alt + Delete or simply by pressing and holding the power button. After your system boots the Windows 10 boot disk, click Next.
In the installation window, you will see a small link titled “Repair your computer”. Click here.
Then click on Troubleshoot to see more options.
On the secondary startup screen, click Startup Repair.
The startup repair window will ask you for the target operating system. Since this is a bootable Windows 10 USB, the target OS will be Windows 10. Click Windows 10 and let Startup Repair program solve the problem.
3. The bootrec tool
If Startup Repair doesn’t work for you and you get to the next screen, click “Advanced Options” again.
Now in the Advanced Options menu, click on Command Prompt.
At the command line, we will try to fix the Windows boot files using the bootrec utility. It is a native Windows command line tool to repair and fix Boot Manager files. You can also resort to other GUI based tools like EaseUS, MiniPartition, which do the same task internally.
The bootrec command only works with Windows installations such as BIOS or disks with MBR partitions. In most cases, you will be using a GPT and UEFI partition, so skip to step 4
At the command prompt, enter the following command. bootrec / fixmbr
bootrec / fixboot
bootrec / scanos
The following command will restore the BCD (Boot Configuration File). bootrec / rebuildbcd
In my case, the scanned Windows installation number is 0 because I am using the GPT partition scheme and this method is for older MBR partition types. If the command works, you will see a “Windows Setup: 1” message asking you to add it to the BCD file.
4. Create boot configuration file
If Startup Repair doesn’t work for you and you get to the next screen, click “Advanced Options” again. We will rebuild the Windows BCD (Boot Configuration Data) file via the command line.
Now in the Advanced Options menu, click on Command Prompt.
The Windows BCD file tells the boot loader about the location of the boot files and other boot time configurations. Before we start creating a new configuration file, we will need to find and rename the old one. Again, you will have to go to the command line in the boot repair options. Run the following commands to export and rename the old BCD configuration file. bcdedit / export c: bcdbackup attrib c: Windows boot bcd -h -r -s ren c: Windows boot bcd bcd.old
Now that we’ve renamed the old BCD file, we need to re-create the new file. Use the following command to create a new file. bcdboot C: Windows
Post this, reboot and you should be able to boot to Windows. Using this command, I was able to fix the “Missing Boot Manager” issue. If that doesn’t work, go to step 5.
5. System Restore
In case you’ve ever backed up your Windows system, now is the time when it might come in handy. Again, you need to boot from a bootable USB and navigate to the Repair your computer options. In the recovery menu, you will see the “System Restore” option. Click on it and it will show you the previous Windows backup stored on your system.
6. Reinstall Windows
If none of these steps worked for you, your last resort is to reinstall Windows. However, to preserve your desktop, downloads, and document files, you can boot to Windows Live and back up all of these folders. To create a Windows Live Boot USB, we will need access to another laptop, a Windows ISO file, and a third party tool like WinToUSB. Once you’ve downloaded the WinToUSB tool, install it and plug it into your USB drive.
The free version of WinToUSB lets you download a real-time version of Windows 10 Home. The minimum amount of USB storage is 16 GB.
In the WindowsToUSB Tool, select the location of the Windows ISO and click Next.
On the next screen, select your USB storage device and leave the default partition scheme. It wouldn’t really matter as we just want bootable Windows 10 to back up our files.
Once you’re done with the installation, remove the USB drive and plug it into the Windows laptop that we need to fix.
Once the USB is booted, you will have quite a few general steps that are associated with a typical Windows installation. Go through that and let Windows Live boot. After installation, you will not see your partitions in File Explorer as they are disabled. Go to the disk management tool and bring them online.
After the drives are online, you should be able to see the section in File Explorer. Back up files and folders to a USB drive or Google Drive. Place the backup, you can proceed with a fresh Windows installation.
Those were the steps to fix missing Windows Boot Manager on Windows 10 laptop. If you have any additional issues or questions regarding Windows 10, let me know in the comments below.
Also Read: How to Transfer a Windows 10 License to a New Computer, Hard Drive, or SSD