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Error: The boot selection failed because a required device is inaccessible (Windows 7, 8)

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This document applies to HP computers with Windows 7 or Windows 8.
Windows fails to start, and an error message appears: The boot selection failed because a required device is inaccessible .

Why does this error occur?

When your computer starts, the system BIOS begins to check a pre-determined list of drives and devices that may contain an operating system (Windows 7 or Windows 8). Normally, the computer boots from your primary hard drive, or a boot device that you have selected, where the operating system is stored. If the boot device is damaged, or if the computer attempts to boot from a different device, the operating system does not start up and you receive an error message. There are numerous possible causes and solutions for this error. Use this document as a guide through the troubleshooting process.

How can I fix this error?

Try the following troubleshooting steps, in order, until Windows starts normally.

Step 1: Check the computer cable connections

Make sure that all computer cables are connected properly to the correct ports. Check the connections at both ends of each cable. If you recently moved a cable to a different port on the computer, move it back to the original port, if possible. When finished, restart the computer.

Step 2: Remove all external devices

Disconnect all peripheral devices from your computer (for example: printers, memory card readers, external hard drives, and external CD/DVD drives), except the keyboard, mouse, and monitor (if applicable). With all devices disconnected, restart the computer. If the computer starts normally, it was attempting to boot from one of the external devices. Reconnect the devices one at a time, restarting each time, to identify which device was causing the problem.

Step 3: Select a different boot device

The boot order may have been changed, or a partition was added or removed, causing the computer to attempt to boot from the incorrect device or partition. Reset the default boot order or select a different boot device using the steps in the appropriate section for your computer:
NOTE:BIOS configurations vary depending on the computer model. The BIOS settings are generally found in the Maintenance and Service Guide, available on the HP product page for your computer model.
NOTE:The steps for modifying the boot order can vary depending on the computer model. Use the following steps as a guide while paying attention to the on-screen instructions. Some steps may be slightly different on your computer.
Reset the boot order on a Windows 7 desktop using the following steps:
  1. Hold down the Power button for approximately 10 seconds to shut down the computer.
  2. Wait a few seconds, and then press the Power button again. Immediately press the Esc key repeatedly until the Startup Menu appears.
  3. Press the F9 key to access the Boot Menu.
    Figure 1: Boot Menu (F9)
    Boot Menu (F9)
  4. On the boot device selection screen, press the Esc key to boot using default settings. Or, to customize the boot order, use the up/down arrow keys to move the highlight to your preferred boot device, and then press Enter to select the device.
    Figure 2: Select boot device
    Select boot device
To reset the boot order on a Windows 7 notebook, use the steps in the HP support document Configuring the Boot Order in the System BIOS .
Reset the boot order on a Windows 8 desktop using the following steps:
  1. Press the Power button to shut down the computer.
  2. Wait a few seconds, and then press the Power button again. Immediately press the Esc key repeatedly until the Startup Menu screen appears.
  3. Press the F9 key for the Boot Menu.
    Figure 3: Boot Menu (F9)
    Boot Menu (F9)
  4. On the boot device selection screen, press the Esc key to boot using default settings. Or, to customize the boot order, use the up/down arrow keys to move the highlight to your preferred boot device, and then press Enter to select the device.
    Figure 4: Select boot device
    Select boot device
Reset the boot order on a Windows 8 notebook using the following steps:
  1. Press the Power button to shut down the computer.
  2. Wait a few seconds, and then press the Power button again. Immediately press the F10 key repeatedly until the BIOS screen appears.
  3. Use the right/left arrow keys to navigate to System Configuration .
  4. Highlight Boot Options and then press Enter .
    Figure 5: Boot Options
    Boot Options
  5. In the UEFI Boot Order list, press the F9 key to reset the boot order to the default settings. Or, to customize the boot order, use the up/down arrow keys to move the highlight to your preferred boot device, and then press the F6 key repeatedly until the device is moved to the first position in the list.
    Figure 6: UEFI Boot Order
    UEFI Boot Order
  6. Press F10 to Save and Exit, and then press Enter to confirm.

Step 4: Repair startup with the Windows installation disc or recovery media

If you have the Windows installation disc that came with your copy of Windows, or if you created Windows recovery media (DVDs or USB drive), use the Startup Repair (Windows 7) or Automatic Repair (Windows 8) feature to fix the startup error:
Use the following steps to attempt an automatic fix for startup errors in Windows 7:
  1. Remove any external storage devices connected to your computer (for example, flash drives and external hard drives).
  2. Insert the Windows 7 installation disc, or recovery media.
  3. Press a key when prompted.
  4. Select the language, time and currency format, and keyboard or input method, and then click Next .
  5. Click Repair your computer .
  6. Select the operating system you want to repair, and then click Next .
  7. Click Startup Repair .
  8. Follow the on-screen instructions, and respond to any prompts in the Startup Repair process.
  9. When the Startup Repair process is complete, click Finish to restart the computer.
Use the following steps to attempt an automatic fix for startup errors in Windows 8:
  1. Remove any external storage devices connected to your computer (for example, flash drives and external hard drives).
  2. Insert the Windows 8 installation disc, or recovery media.
  3. Press a key when prompted.
  4. Select the language, time and currency format, and keyboard or input method, and then click Next .
  5. Click Repair your computer .
  6. Click Troubleshoot .
    Figure 7: Troubleshoot
    Troubleshoot
  7. Click Advanced options .
    Figure 8: Advanced options
    Advanced options
  8. Click Automatic Repair .
    Figure 9: Automatic Repair
    Automatic Repair
  9. If prompted to choose a target operating system, click Windows 8 .
    If prompted to choose an account, select your account from the list, enter the password (or leave the field blank if there is no password set), and then click Continue .
  10. Automatic Repair begins scanning your system to diagnose the startup error. Automatic Repair attempts to automatically fix any detected problems. When finished, remove the Windows 8 recovery media or installation disc, and then restart the computer. Windows should start normally.
    If Windows does not boot, proceed to the next troubleshooting step.

Step 5: Use the bootrec.exe tool in the Windows Recovery Environment

If you have the Windows installation disc that came with your copy of Windows, or if you created Windows recovery media (DVDs or USB drive), use the bootrec.exe tool to troubleshoot and repair the Master Boot Record.
If you are using Windows 7 , perform the steps in Use the Bootrec.exe tool in the Windows Recovery Environment to troubleshoot and repair startup issues in Windows (in English) from Microsoft support.
If you are using Windows 8 , perform the following steps:
  1. Insert the Windows 8 installation disc, or recovery media.
  2. Press a key when prompted.
  3. Select the language, time and currency format, and keyboard or input method, and then click Next .
  4. Click Repair your computer .
  5. Click Troubleshoot .
    Figure 10: Troubleshoot
    Troubleshoot
  6. Click Advanced options .
    Figure 11: Advanced options
    Advanced options
  7. Click Command Prompt .
    Figure 12: Command Prompt
    Command Prompt
  8. In the Command Prompt window, type bootrec.exe /fixmbr , and then press Enter .
  9. When finished, remove the Windows 8 recovery media or installation disc, and then restart the computer. Windows should start normally.
    If Windows does not boot, proceed to the next troubleshooting step.

Step 6: Test the hard disk drive

Use the instructions in one of the following HP support documents to test the hard disk drive in your computer:
If the results indicate the hard drive has failed, the hard drive needs to be replaced. Have the computer serviced, or look up the hard drive replacement procedure in your product's Maintenance and Service guide, available on the HP product page for your computer model. After replacing the hard drive, use recovery discs to reinstall your operating system on the new drive. If you did not make a set of recovery discs, refer to Looking for Recovery Discs? for information about ordering recovery discs from HP.
If the hard drive is working normally but Windows still does not boot, proceed to the next troubleshooting step.

Step 7: Perform an HP System Recovery

If a new hard drive was added, hard drive partitions were created or removed, or you installed a different operating system, and if none of the previous troubleshooting steps have corrected the error, you may need to perform a recovery on your computer to fix the error. Use the steps in one of the following HP support documents to perform a system recovery: