How to Fix 'PXE-E61: Media Test Failure, Check Cable' Error

A troubleshooting guide for the PXE-E61 Error

PXE-E61 errors are related to the Preboot eXecution Environment (PXE) supported by some motherboards. PXE is a special boot mode that lets the computer search for and load a bootable operating system over the network instead of from a local hard drive.

It’s common to see a PXE-E61 error message on a computer that’s inadvertently trying to boot to a network device when one doesn’t actually exist. This is often caused by a misconfigured setting in the BIOS but could be caused by a failing hard drive.

PXE-E61 & Related Errors

Here are some ways you might see these errors show up:

  • PXE-E61: Media test failure, check cable
  • PXE-M0F: Exiting Intel PXE ROM.
  • PXE-M0F: Exiting Intel Boot Agent.
  • No Boot Device Found. Press any key to reboot the machine.

It's seen before the computer starts, often in white text on a black background, and usually with additional text displayed above the error.

Illustration of a PXE-E61 error message that reads 'Media test failure, check cable'
PXE-E61 & PXE-M0F Error.

How to Fix the PXE-E61 Error

  1. Change the boot order in BIOS to boot from the hard drive instead of the network. This will force BIOS to look for an operating system installed on a local hard drive, which is how most computers are set up.

    Try your best to complete this step. Changing the boot order to use the hard drive first should prevent any PXE related error messages.

  2. Access BIOS and make sure it can detect the hard drive. You might see the PXE-E61 error if the computer tries to boot to a hard drive that doesn’t work or is disconnected.

    Find the Boot menu and make sure the Boot Drive Order screen (or something similarly named) shows a hard drive and doesn’t read “No Boot Drive.” If BIOS doesn’t detect a hard drive, shut down the computer, open the computer case (if you're on a desktop), and make sure the HDD cables are properly attached.

    If the cables are securely connected and the hard drive still isn’t detected, you might need to replace the hard drive. Before you do, make sure it’s actually dead by using a hard drive testing program (if it’s not working, then those programs won’t find the HDD either).

  3. If you’re trying to boot from a USB device like an external hard drive, make sure the device is actually bootable. If it’s not, the BIOS will look for a different device to boot from and might try to use the network, thus throwing the PXE-E61 error.

    You can use a program like Rufus to make a bootable USB device. See How to Burn an ISO File to a USB Drive if you need help doing that.

    Also double-check that the boot order is configured to boot from USB, that the device is fully connected, and that the USB port isn’t to blame—try moving the device to a different port if you’re not sure.

  4. Enter BIOS and disable the PXE if you don't actually want to use it. It should be called something like Boot to Network or Ethernet, and is usually found in the Boot menu.

  5. If you do want to use the PXE to boot to a network device, check that the network cable is fully plugged in. If there isn’t a solid connection, then the PXE won’t be able to communicate over the network and will produce the PXE-E61 error.

    Replace the cable with a known good one if you suspect that it’s gone bad.

  6. Update the network card drivers to fix the Media test failure, check cable error. An outdated, missing, or corrupted driver can prevent the computer from accessing the network, which in turn stops the PXE from working properly.

    Since you most likely can't boot to your computer to update the drivers, attempt to start in Safe Mode or change the boot order to use the local hard drive first. After updating the network card drivers, try booting from the network once more.

  7. Clear CMOS to reset the BIOS. If the PXE-E61 error is due to a misconfigured BIOS setting, resetting BIOS to its default options will hopefully clear out the error.

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