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[ The PC Guide | Troubleshooting and Repair Guide | The Troubleshooting Expert | Troubleshooting The System Overall | Troubleshooting Boot-Time Error Messages ]

Operating system not found on boot device or boot sector bad (either hard or floppy disk)

Explanation: The system found a boot device--either a floppy disk or a hard disk--and tried to boot it, but could not start the operating system because the operating system files are not on the booted volume.

Diagnosis: The most common cause of this problem is trying to boot a non-bootable floppy or hard disk, that is, a disk that has not been made bootable using the "FORMAT /S" or "SYS" commands. If this occurs on a disk that was already prepared to be bootable, it means that the operating system startup files have become corrupted.


  • If trying to boot from a floppy disk, replace with a bootable disk and try booting again. See here for more on boot disks.
  • If trying to set up a new hard disk, first set up the hard disk so it is bootable.
  • If this type of error is encountered in an existing system, there is a good chance that the disk has become corrupted somehow. Troubleshoot this here.

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