How to Fix 'BOOTMGR Is Missing' Errors

A troubleshooting guide for BOOTMGR errors in Windows 11, 10, 8, 7, & Vista

What to Know

  • 'BOOTMGR is Missing' errors can happen because of upgrade issues, corrupt hard drive sectors, and misconfigured files.
  • 'BOOTMGR is Missing' displays while the computer is booting up.
  • Common ways to fix 'BOOTMGR is Missing' include restarting, changing the boot sequence, and several others.

The most common reasons for BOOTMGR errors include corrupt and misconfigured files, hard drive and operating system upgrade issues, corrupt hard drive sectors, an outdated BIOS, and damaged or loose hard drive interface cables.

Another reason you might see BOOTMGR errors is if your PC is trying to boot from a hard drive or flash drive that is not properly configured to be booted from. In other words, it's trying to boot from a non-bootable source (i.e., one that doesn't contain proper boot files). This also would apply to media on an optical drive or floppy drive that you're trying to boot from.

BOOTMGR issues apply to Windows 11, Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, and Windows Vista operating systems only. Windows XP doesn't utilize BOOTMGR; the equivalent function is NTLDR, which produces the NTLDR is Missing error when there's a similar problem.


There are few ways that the "BOOTMGR is missing" error may show up on your computer, with the first error listed here being the most common:

  • BOOTMGR is missing Press Ctrl Alt Del to restart
  • BOOTMGR is missing Press any key to restart
  • Couldn't find BOOTMGR
The "BOOTMGR is missing" error.

The "BOOTMGR is missing" error displays shortly after the computer is turned on, immediately after the Power On Self Test (POST) is complete. Windows has only initially started to load when the BOOTMGR error message appears.

How to Fix 'BOOTMGR Is Missing' Errors

  1. Restart the computer. The BOOTMGR error could be a fluke.

  2. Check your optical drives, USB ports, and floppy drives for media. Often times, the "BOOTMGR is Missing" error will appear if your PC is trying to boot to a non-bootable disc, external drive, or floppy disk.

    If you find that this is the cause of your issue and it's happening regularly, you might want to consider changing the boot order in BIOS so the hard drive is listed as the first boot device.

  3. Check the boot sequence in BIOS and make sure the correct hard drive or other bootable device is listed first, assuming you have more than one drive. If the wrong drive is listed first, you could see BOOTMGR errors.

    We sort of hit on this in the troubleshooting step above, but it's important to call out specifically that you might have the wrong hard drive listed since many BIOS/UEFI systems allow you to specify a particular hard drive to be booted from first.

  4. Reseat all internal data and power cables. BOOTMGR error messages could be caused by unplugged, loose, or malfunctioning power or controller cables.

    Try replacing the PATA or SATA cable if you suspect it might be faulty.

  5. Perform a Startup Repair of Windows. This type of installation should replace any missing or corrupt files, including BOOTMGR.

    Even though a Startup Repair is a common solution for BOOTMGR problems, don't worry if it doesn't fix your problem. Just continue troubleshooting—something will work.

  6. Write a new partition boot sector to the Windows system. This will correct any possible corruption, configuration problem, or other damage.

    The partition boot sector is an important piece in the boot process, so if there's any issue with it, you'll see problems like "BOOTMGR is Missing" errors.

  7. Rebuild the Boot Configuration Data (BCD). Similar to the partition boot sector, a corrupted or incorrectly configured BCD could cause BOOTMGR error messages.

    The following troubleshooting steps are much less likely to help fix your BOOTMGR problem. If you've skipped any of the above ideas then you may have overlooked a very likely solution to this problem!

  8. Check the hard drive and other drive settings in BIOS and ensure they are correct. The BIOS configuration tells the computer how to use a drive, so incorrect settings can cause problems like BOOTMGR errors.

    There's usually an Auto setting in BIOS for hard disk and optical drive configurations, which is usually a safe bet if you're not sure what to do.

  9. Update your motherboard's BIOS. An outdated BIOS version can sometimes cause the "BOOTMGR is Missing" error.

  10. Perform a clean installation of Windows. This type of installation will completely remove Windows from your PC and install it again from scratch. While this will almost certainly resolve any BOOTMGR errors, it's a time-consuming process due to the fact that all of your data must be backed up and then later restored.

    If you can't gain access to your files to back them up, please understand that you will lose them all if you continue with a clean installation of Windows!

  11. Replace the hard drive. Then, install a new copy of Windows. If all else has failed, including the clean installation from the last step, you're most likely facing a hardware issue with your hard drive.

  12. Assuming it's not a hardware issue, your BOOTMGR should be fixed.

  • Where is the BOOTMGR file stored on the hard drive?

    The BOOTMGR file is hidden in the root directory of the Active in Disk Management partition on your hard drive. Never move, change, or compress the BOOTMGR file.

  • How do I fix “BOOTMGR is compressed”?

    If you see the “BOOTMGR is compressed” error, you need to rebuild the Boot Configuration Data (BCD). This will recreate the BOOTMGR file.

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