July 20, 2024
Home » Inaccessible Boot Device Windows 11: How To Fix
Inaccessible boot device
Cloning a Windows 11 SSD to NVMe M.2 SSD

I was thrilled to receive my brand new 1TB Crucial NVMe M.2 SSD in the mail and excited to replace my nearly full 250GB SSD drive, until i got the error Inaccessible Boot Device on Windows 11. Although I had experience cloning disks in the past, I anticipated encountering some boot problems. However, I didn’t expect to spend hours troubleshooting the issues. Despite facing multiple startup repairs that failed, stop codes, and an inaccessible boot device, I refused to give up. I was determined to get my OS on that 1TB drive, and starting a new Windows installation, as some comments on the internet suggested, was not an option. In the end, I succeeded.

Disable Bitlocker Encryption

Before cloning your drive, check if Bitlocker is activated on your computer. Bitlocker encrypts your hard drive to prevent unauthorized access in case your computer is stolen. If Bitlocker is activated, temporarily suspending it may not be enough; you may need to deactivate it entirely. Also, make sure to back up your Bitlocker recovery key before reactivating it. You may be prompted to provide the key multiple times during the cloning process. Saving the key to your Microsoft account is a good idea, as it allows for easy access if needed.

Cloning With Clonezilla

I successfully used Clonezilla to clone my 250GB SSD to the 1TB NVMe drive without any issues. Clonezilla is a free tool that I had used a few times in the past. While it is not very user-friendly, it gets the job done. Some people suggest using Macrium Reflect instead and creating a boot disk. I might try that next time for fun. Apparently, there is now a 30-day trial for Macrium Reflect, whereas it was previously free. If you are comfortable with partitions and disk utilities, Clonezilla is a reliable option.

Inaccessible Boot Device Errors

I encountered several errors when I tried to boot into Windows 11. Unfortunately, I didn’t document all of them. Automatic startup repair failed, and safe mode and safe mode with command prompt also failed. Eventually, I was faced with a blue screen of death error indicating an inaccessible boot drive. At this point, I had to use my second computer to create a Windows 11 boot disk. Alternatively, you could boot into your old SSD to create a boot disk. Once I booted from the disk, I tried to repair my computer and run startup repair, as recommended by various help articles. However, that didn’t work either, so I opened command prompt and tried the following:

  • Bootrec /fixmbr (which was successful)
  • Bootrec /fixboot (which gave me an access denied error)
  • Bootrec /scanos (which found Windows on E:)
  • Bootrec /rebuildbcd (which found Windows but failed)

Although these commands had worked for me in the past when I faced boot issues, they didn’t work this time. I was frustrated because my drive was in GPT format with Windows in UEFI mode, and attempting to fix the problem risked my original OS.

Veeam Backup and Restore

I decided to use my trusted backup software, which had never failed me in the past. I have even restored entire Windows servers to different hardware without any issues. So, why not restore my latest backup to my new NVMe drive? However, to my shock, the restoration took me back to square one, and I was unable to access the boot drive.

I almost gave up at this point, but I knew that the issue had to do with the Windows EFI partition, and that some link was broken. I realized that I needed to dig deeper and find a solution. Finally, I came across some instructions that helped me fix the problem.

How To Fix Inaccessible Boot Device Windows 11

Follow these steps as for these fix:

  1. Boot the computer with a Windows 11 boot disk.
  2. Select Repair your computer.
  3. Select Command Prompt.
  4. At the command prompt, run the bededit command.
  5. Lists of items appear under Windows Boot Manager and under Windows Boot Loader. Look for the values for the following items:
    • Under Windows Boot Manager, the Device item should be set to unknown.
    • Under Windows Boot Loader, the Device and osdevice items should be set to unknown.
  6. Run the following three commands to correct the settings, and then restart the computer.
    • bededit /set {default) device partition=c:
    • bededit /set {default) osdevice partition=c:
    • bededit /set {bootmgr} device partition=c:
  7. Or, locate X:\Sources\Recovery, and then run Startep.exe to start a quick automated startup repair utility that corrects boot environment values!

After following the instructions to fix the broken link in the Windows EFI partition, my computer finally booted into my brand new 1TB NVMe drive. Now, Windows 11 is running blazing fast, and I have four times more space than before. The hours of persistence paid off, and I’m glad that I can now write a helpful article about it. If you need any assistance, or if these instructions worked for you as well, please drop a comment below!

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