I was greeted by a Recovery error message the other day when I powered up a PC running Microsoft's Windows 10 operating system. The recovery screen stated that "Your PC/Device needs to be repaired. The Boot Configuration Data for your PC is missing or contains errors".
The PC shut down properly the day before and the whole thing was mysterious. The Recovery screen suggested to use recovery tools or contact a PC administrator or the PC/Device manufacturer for assistance.
Read on to find out how I repaired the PC and how you can do it as well.
Boot problems related to the BCD come in many different forms. Here is a short list of error messages that Windows may throw during boot:
One common denominator is that the Recovery screen references the file \boot\bcd.
The error can be a result of (among other reasons):
Boot Configuration Data (BCD) was introduced in Windows Vista by Microsoft. It replaced the boot.ini file in Vista. The BCD holds important boot-related information including the list of the available operating systems.
In short, it stores vital boot information required to start Windows. If the BCD is missing, corrupt or altered, Windows may not start properly anymore but display the Recovery screen at the top.
All issues described above have in common that you cannot boot into Windows anymore. You cannot use tools like the Visual BCD Editor to correct the issue on the affected machine because of that as you cannot boot into Windows anymore.
Generally speaking, it is required that you boot into the advanced startup (Windows 10 or 8.1) or system recovery options (Windows 7) and run several commands from the command prompt there.
If you do have Windows installation media, you can use it to boot from and access the recovery options.
Windows 10 users can download media from Microsoft instead.
Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.