I am getting the following message whenever I start my laptop:

Windows Boot Manager  

Windows failed to start. A recent hardware or software change might be the cause. To fix the problem:   1. Insert your Windows installation disc and restart your computer.   2. Choose your language settings, and then click "Next."   3. Click "repair your computer." If you don't have this disc, contact your system administrator or computer manufacturer for assistance.   File: \Boot\BCD   Status: 0xc000000f

I have googled about the error, and from the message it looks like I need to boot my laptop from the Windows installation disc.

My laptop has Windows 7 Professional SP1 x86 installed, but when I try to insert Windows 7 Professional x86 I get the same error. Do I require an SP1 disc? I did setup CD/DVD drive as first in the boot order, but I still got the same error.

Also what other options should I try to get to the Windows 7 System Repair Screen, so that I can repair/rebuild the BCD file?

  • The wrong "BIOS SATA Operation" can also cause this error when changing from HDD to SSD. For me it needed to be "ATA".
    – Mr Rubix
    Commented Sep 13, 2021 at 3:43

5 Answers 5


It sounds like your Windows 7 disc is broke and you should try to create a new one.

Creating a bootable USB

If you have good internet connection, then you can download your windows 7 version here (you still need a legit key ofcourse).
Then you can use Microsoft own tool to make a bootable windows 7 USB.

  • Start up Windows 7 USB/DVD download tool when you have downloaded and installed it
  • Select the iso file you downloaded in the Source field and click Next
  • Insert your USB drive which you want to use (4GB is enough)
  • Select USB DEVICE and click Next
  • Select the USB device you want to use and click BEGIN COPYING

When it is done, you should have a working bootable Windows 7 USB

The same steps are used for creating a DVD, just select DVD instead of USB device.

BCD Repair

Windows already have a tool for this purpose, called BCDboot.

If the system partition has been corrupted, you can use BCDboot to replace the system partition files with new copies of these files from the Windows partition.

When you have booted to the Windows disc, then go to the command prompt (see here) and type the following to recreate the BCD on the C drive:

  1. attrib -r -s -h c:\boot\bcd - unhide BCD so it can be deleted
  2. del c:\boot\bcd - delete the current BCD
  3. bcdboot C:\windows - create a new BCD on the C drive

From here you should be able to boot into Windows again.

  • Thanks for the inputs. I would surely created Windows 7 Bootable USB. But please let me know how to execute BCD Repair commands you have mention if I'm not able to enter the Windows? Moreover from where I'm suppose to execute the BCD Repair commands. Is it inside cmd or from system repair CMD?
    – xorpower
    Commented Aug 5, 2013 at 10:19
  • To add more to my comments: Does it make any difference if I load from DVD Windows 7 Pro x86 OR Windows 7 Pro SP1 x86??
    – xorpower
    Commented Aug 5, 2013 at 10:21
  • 1
    Well you could make a Windows repair disk, which will only have the system recovery options. I've updated the above post to include a link to, "how to get to the command prompt". The Windows version doesn't matter if you just are going to be using the recovery tool. Commented Aug 5, 2013 at 10:35
  • Thanks Jesper. I am assuming that the 3 steps of commands you have mentioned need to fire in System Repair CMD Screen (Correct me if I'm wrong). Moreover, let me create a repair disk and see how things shape up. I'll get back to you soon for this.
    – xorpower
    Commented Aug 5, 2013 at 11:24
  • Yes, when you get into the CMD, you fire those command Commented Aug 5, 2013 at 11:46

I had this exact same problem and I did what most people did which was google for an answer and hope for the best. The win 7 install disk has a repair computer option that allows some automatic startup failure fixes to be implemented. Sometimes this does work, but this time it didn't. Think like a computer had a blog post that ended up being the saving grace.

But to make a long story short, here is what I did after I got the 'windows failed to start' error:

  1. boot from win 7 DVD or usb stick, preferably with the same version and type of windows you have on the target boot drive. For usb stick, use usb 2.0 port (3.0 may cause unexpected errors)
  2. After picking the language, select 'Repair your computer' (do not install win7!)
  3. Select 'use recovery tools that can help fix problems starting Windows...'
  4. Select 'Command Prompt' (CMD) to launch CMD with admin privileges.
  5. type “diskpart” (without quotes) and press enter to launch DISKPART utility:

    • type “list disk” to get a list of physical disks installed. Identify which disk has windows boot partition.
    • type select disk 0 where 0 = disk # with Win7 boot partition
    • type list partition. Win 7 has a 100 or 200MB boot partition size and is primary.
    • type 'select partition 1` where 1 = the boot partition #
    • type detail partition and check to see if the partition is active. If active, go to next step.
      • to make boot partition active, type active and when CMD reports the partition is active, restart the computer into recovery/repair mode (win7 install disk again) and return to CMD prompt.
    • type exit to exit out of DISKPART utility
  6. type c: to get to the boot partition drive's root folder. (c: is the drive letter of boot partition

  7. type bootrec /fixmbr. Should get 'The operation completed successfully' message.
  8. type bootrec /fixboot. Should get 'The operation completed successfully' or 'element not found' message.
  9. Restart the computer back into recovery mode/repair mode and load CMD prompt.
    • Switch to your boot partition directory if you are not already there (usually c:)
  10. type bcdboot c:\Windows where 'c:\Windows' is the exact path to your windows folder. Keep in mind that in recovery mode, the path of the boot partition and path to windows may be different. In my case it was **e:**\Windows.
  11. Restart computer (remove startup disks). Windows 7 should load normally.

I had windows 7 64 bit intel i5 3rd generation with an SSD drive. I used a usb thumb drive with win 7 64 bit loaded on it (rufus 1.4.9). Make sure you use usb 2.0 port. USB 3.0 port may give you errors in certain steps (3.0 drivers unavailable at the bios level in most cases).

My copy of win7 was more recent (2014) and had an additional option for recovery tools that includes windows explorer. I used that in addition to the CMD prompt to see which partition had windows installation folder.

This repair trick may also work for win 8 and/or win2k8/2012 server editions. What didn't work: Trying the use bcdedit to repair/rebuild the bootloader file. I got 'element not found' errors. Also, changing the boot order of the drives in bios didn't do anything.

edit 20 May 2018: I've upgraded to win8.1x64 + classic shell several months ago after a few programs crashed that I couldn't get working again after several reinstall attempts; never looked back. Whether you are able to fully recover or not, consider the upgrade.

  • 1
    Pitty I can't upvote more! Very comprehensive guide! Saved me lots of looking around, especially the failure part in step 10! Many thanks friend! Commented Jul 11, 2015 at 16:13
  • 1
    Thanks, you gave me right answer related to Win7. All most common Microsoft boot recovery methods were failing to one thing: Cannot find \Boot\BCD. For example bootrec /rebuildBCD: "The requested system device can not befound." After booting to command prompt from recovery CD (or installation DVD), boot location was drive C: and actual Windows at drive D: i.e. the correct command to fix boot was: "bcdboot D:\Windows /s C: /l fi_FI". That creates the boot files to drive C: while other Win7 files are at D:, small letter L stands for language, specify whatever you need in your case.
    – ajaaskel
    Commented May 19, 2018 at 12:58

I had this exact same problem, i use bcdboot to fix boot partition

  1. boot from DOK
  2. diskpart
  3. list disk
  4. select disk 0
  5. list partition, to verify all partition are there
  6. select part 1, this is the 100m boot partition
  7. detail partition, to get the partition Ltr (in my case it was c:) and to verify it is active
  8. exit, to leave diskpart

now after i know windows partition and boot partition letters i can use bcdboot to fix boot partition. this command will copy boot files needed to boot process from windows partition to boot partition.

  1. bcdboot d:\windows /s c:
  2. now i can restart and boot process will work

Good luck


Before doing all of this, check your bios. In my situation, my RAID arrays changed due to formation of a new array onthe system volume. The boot order was changed and therefore windows could not load. After updating the bios, windows starts up no issues.


Or you can do what I did, I used MiniWindows to browse to c:\boot and deleted "bcd" file which as I remember it was 32kb. restart and ... here you are with a working system.

but my advice, after this Take the first chance to install a fresh copy of Win.

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