After a failed Windows 7 install, you may encounter the “BOOTMGR is missing” error when you make another futile attempt to install or run the OS. It will show you a black screen. There are no fixes provided alongwith the error. It will simply say to press “CTRL+ALT+DELETE” or “RESTART” your computer. Just like many illogical Microsoft solutions, this solution is also stupid.
For people who don’t know about computer error messages or less knowledgeable about OS, will try to fix with their intuitive solutions like wiping out the hard disk, repetitively running the install DVD or USB several times, playing with BIOS etc. If you faced this error you must have done that. Didn’t you? (Don’t be timid, I have done this several times myself).
The major problem lies in the Windows 7 boot loader and you need to repair the MBR (Master Boot Record). This is the most common problem and solution. Other problems exist, and require different solutions.
Just like any other computer or software error, this issue also has several reasons and fixes. So before I gives some typical solutions for this problem, let us understand the “booting process” first.
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What is BOOTMGR and Why this Error?
This is a tiny piece of program that resides in your boot drive. It automatically runs when you start your PC. It loads your OS from your hard-drive. So basically it’s like a middle-manager between your hardware and OS. It is the crucial link for the OS to initiate. Earlier there was a boot loader called NTLDR in the XP and NT era. But from Vista to Win 10, currently this “little code piece” links the hardware to OS.
First of all let’s see the many reasons why you get this message immediately after starting the computer.
- Corrupt and Misconfigured files
- Hard-drive and Operating system upgrade issues
- Corrupt Hard-drive sectors (hardware related)
- OutDated BIOS
- Damaged or Loose Hard-Drive Interface cables
[Source : pcsupport.about.com]
To know the process for this error, let us know a few more things.
- When your PC starts, the BIOS starts a set of processes known as POST (short for Power On Self Test). This happens just before the Windows boot.
- POST generally checks for RAM, peripheral devices, hardware etc. The error appears just after this little process is complete.
- After these tasks are completed by BIOS, the Windows BOOTMGR starts, where this error appears. The common reason for “BOOTMGR is missing” is, when the BIOS fails to find this “tiny piece of program”.
- It can be due to several reasons – BOOTMGR file may be missing, may not be existent on the boot drive, boot sector viruses, faulty hardware, BOOTMGR corrupted by failed Windows installs etc.
Different Things to Try to Eliminate “Bootmgr is Missing” Error
As said above, the cause of this error can be many. But just like a good doctor, who doesn’t know the cause of a “typical fever”, we will to try to implement some solutions by eliminating each cause.
First read this article thoroughly before you dwell to implement these solutions. This will save you lot of time. I gathered this solutions after reading several forums, posts and from my own experience. For the complete procedure of each solution, you can lookup the source.
First let’s implement the Microsoft support solution itself.
a. Run Startup Repair from Windows Recovery Environment (WinRE)
b. Rebuild the boot configuration data (BCD) from WinRE.
c. Run System Restore from WinRE.
d. Use Startup Repair on Windows OEM machines like laptop etc.
Check your bootable source. For example, it can be a DVD or CD or USB drive. Make sure the ISO image of the Windows 7 installation file is correct and from a reputable source. Sometimes, the DVD or flash drive can be corrupt, which also may cause this error. Also make sure all the installation files are included in the source.
Make sure, you are not inserting a DVD in a CD drive. This can also be a cause for the “Bootmgr is missing” error. This may look silly, but some users have done this type of error. The solution is of KISS standard. Just put a reliable DVD drive and insert the appropriate media.
There is another trick which can solve the above error. You can force the computer to go into ADVANCE BOOT. This is generally done by pressing the F8 button recurrently, before the booting process starts or right after restart. For different companies like Dell, Samsung etc, these are the keys.
Asus – F8
HP/Compaq – Esc
Sony – F2
Acer – F12
Gateway – F10
eMachnes – F10
Toshiba – F12
Dell – F12
IBM/Lenovo – the blue Thinkvantage button
This is generally useful, if you face non-bootable source problem. Before that make sure, that you change the BIOS options to choose the right boot source. Once the installation disc or media starts, you can apply Fix #1.
Check the hardware of your computer or laptop. These can be faulty hard-disk, RAM, SATA cables connecting different media etc. Better you can do a memory test or a hard-disk test, to make sure each block or sector respectively, is working fine.
Sometimes a more easy solution is to bypass the HDD and boot from an installable media souce like DVD. Before that remove all the USB devices, any secondary hard-disks which do not contain Windows 7 or OS.
This is generally the solution if Windows 7 is already installed and may be some files are corrupt. You need to have an DVD or flash drive containing Windows 7 installable source and ONLY the HDD which has the OS.
When the error appears, just unplug the connection to the HDD. Sometimes you may get an error “DISK ERROR – PLEASE INSERT”. Now the booting will take place from DVD. So when you come to a phase to detect OS HDD, then plug the disk again. You should be good to go.
You can use third-party software to eliminate this error. Two popular software that removes this error, if the boot entries or BOOTMGR is corrupted.
1. Easy BCD
2. Easy Recovery Essentials.
Normally the partition (primary or logical) on your HDD containing the Windows 7 or OS is called the active partition. Generally, the BOOTMGR also resides on it, if it’s only 1 single OS.
But for unknown reasons (like tickling with disk managment and computer management tools ) the partition may become inactive. In such cases, you just need to make that partition active again, fix boot files and rebuild boot files again.
You can also try this /force command to the bootsect option.
The command that is generally used in this case is –
bootsect /nt60 h: /force
where h: is the bootable and active drive.
[Source : forums.anandtech.com]
Sometimes in order to save space on HDD, you may try to compress files on your hard-disk. Unknowingly this can also, compress your boot records or boot manager files. So generally it is recommended not to COMPLETELY compress your boot or main partition like C:
[Source : Windows7themes.net]
This solution mainly helps in dual-boot issues related to “BOOTMGR is missing”.
Another reason why you get this problematic error message is the computer trying to boot from a non-bootable source. What does this mean? For example if you are trying to boot from an USB or optical drive or floppy drive which is not properly configured to boot from or doesn’t have the facility with that particular BIOS or computer, you can see this message.
The most general case is you have broken something and this error popped up. The other major cause for this problem is when you have installed an older version of Windows like XP on the same PC, that has already Windows 7 installed. This wipes out the boot loader and you need to re-install it.
Boot from the Windows 7 Installation DVD
- Change your BIOS settings to boot from CD/DVD and boot off the install disc. Click through until you see “Repair your computer” link in the lower left hand corner.
- Select the correct installation of Windows (if you’re multiple booting Windows or have more than 1 Windows installed) and click the Next button.
- There you’ll get the System Recovery Options, where you find the option of going to “Command Prompt”.
Repairing the Master Boot Record
- To restore the master boot record, you can simply type in the following command.
- To write a new boot sector onto the system partition use this command. (more helpful)
- To see the remaining options for the base command, you need to type
Replace Win XP NTLDR Boot loader with Win 7 BOOTMGR
If you installed Windows 7 first and installed XP next, you’ll find that you can’t boot into Windows 7 anymore. You can use the following commands to restore the Windows 7 boot loader.
bootrec /FixMbr bootrec /FixBoot bootrec /RebuildB--
Then re-boot. This will replace the NTLDR boot loader and you can boot into Windows 7 again. This will also remove the dreaded “BOOTMGR is missing” message.
The final alternative, when all the above solutions fail is to completely wipe off the hard-disk. Then do a fresh install. Only keep 1 HDD initially and working Windows 7 installation source (DVD/USB/CD) and uncorrupted ISO image Windows 7 installation file.
You can take the help of DBAN Boot and Nuke to wipe the drive completely. Generally it may take some time, if you have lot’s of data. (like 6 to 12 hours). Then you can install the Windows 7 fresh using upgrade disc or installation ISO file written to DVD.
There are several videos on YouTube which explain the solution for BOOTMGR failure, fixing MBR records and boot files.
Most of the times, when Windows 7 install failed, you may get this error. If it’s only single OS and single HDD, you can just wipe-off the disk completely and start from installation phase again. This will 100% definitely resolve the error. This is like “1 nuclear weapon” for any cause and in most of the cases is fast and easy.
But if you already have an existing Windows 7 installation, then you cannot do the above. In that case, use a piece of software like EasyBCD to correct your boot entries and installing the BOOT Manager is the easy and working solution.
Also, don’t forget to check your hardware (like DVD, HARDDISK, RAM, CABLES etc) before you try these solutions. Also always use working installation disks and ISO files downloaded from Microsoft or reputable sites.
If you like this article, just leave a comment below on your experience in solving the BOOTMGR is missing problem. You can also share with your friends about this solution which is common in Windows OS. Apart from Windows 7, the above solutions also work for Windows 8, 8.1 and 10 also. It took 2 days to write this article, so at least leave a thanks if you like it.
Booting from a recovery DVD or the installation media always solves it for me. So, I would recommend trying these two methods first.