How to Fix the "Error Loading Operating System" Issue?

“Error Loading Operating System” is the issue users usually get on the black screen when they try to switch on the Computer. This error gets displayed while loading the operating system and often appears when there’s a problem with the hard drive or operating system.

When you get this error on the screen, the computer will not boot and you will not be able to access your system and work on it. This error hinders the boot process of the computer system and will not allow the system to start.

The “Error Loading Operating System” might occur when you install a new operating system, or when there’s a sudden power failure or a system crash.

However, there are many other reasons for the error to occur. In this article, you’ll find all possible reasons for the error and solutions to fix the “Error loading operating system” issue.

Table of contents:

Why is the OS not loading?

When you turn on the computer, the power is applied to the system, the main processor (CPU) begins to execute the firmware i.e BIOS, then communication between hardware and software components of the system takes place via CMOS chip, that puts the system into "normal mode", at that point the system checks the hard drives for the operating system, which is then accessed and booted.

During this boot process, if there are any issues with the hard drive or the operating system, the boot process will not be completed and you will not be able to access your desktop or any files on the computer.

Reasons behind the “Error Loading Operating System” Issue

The major reasons that may cause the “Error loading operating system” are stated below.

  • The system partition of your hard drive is damaged due to sudden power cuts or virus infection.
  • The files and folders of the operating system are damaged.
  • The hard drive is not supported by the system BIOS.
  • The hard drive is physically corrupt.
  • Multiple hard drives are connected to your computer and due to which the primary hard drive which has the operating system & system files is not being detected.

These issues can be manually fixed by following certain procedures mentioned in the later section of the article.

Solutions to Resolve “Error Loading Operating System” Issue

It is important to identify the issue with your computer and then act on it.  To check what’s causing the problem “Error Loading Operating System” you should make use of a CHKDSK command a built-in tool to check the general health issue of your computer system. This will let you evaluate the possible causes behind the error and help to rule out the issues.

1. Use Windows CHKDSK to resolve the issue

Follow the steps below to perform a general health check-up of your system using the CHKDSK command.

  • Right-click on the drive you want to check the error for and click on Properties.

Go to properties error loading operating system

  • Click on the Tools option. Then under the Error-checking box click on Check.

click on check to load operating system

  • After clicking on Check, a dialogue box appears, then click on the Scan option on it, the scan process will begin.

Scan CHKDSK to fix error loading operating system

  • You can fix the errors if you find any, if you haven’t found any errors, proceed to the next step.

2. Check the BIOS Boot Sequence

If you have several hard drives in your system, then you need to ensure that the hard drive that has your Operating System in it is set as the bootable hard drive to load the operating system.

Sometimes the system may set the other hard drives that do not have Operating System installed in them as the bootable drive and this could cause the error loading the operating system.

If that is the case you might need to change the boot sequence and set the hard drive containing the Operating system as a bootable drive. To do so follow the steps below.

  • Restart your system and press a specific key to get into your BIOS.
  • The key to open the BIOS will be displayed on the first screen that will appear before loading the Windows logo. The key that will be displayed on the screen will likely be F2, F8, F10, F12, Esc, Del.
  • Press the specifically asked key and it will take you to BIOS setup.

BIOS setup to fix operating system error

  • Then go to the Boot tab and set up a boot sequence by pressing the prompted keys. Make sure that you set up the right dive as a bootable drive.
  • You can now press F10 to save the changes and restart your system with a new boot sequence.
  • Sometimes when you change the boot sequence, your HDD or SSD might not get detected. Then you should try to fix undetectable SSD in BIOS to make your system function properly.

However, if this method did not resolve the “Error Loading Operating System” issue, then you will probably need to update your BIOS firmware to a new version and move to the next method to update BIOS.

3. Update System BIOS to the latest version.

You should always take extra care while updating your system BIOS, if you face any power failure or system crash during the upgrade process you will end up corrupting BIOS firmware.

It is always better to take a backup of all your data before proceeding to BIOS update.

Follow the steps below to update your system BIOS:

  • To update BIOS, first, you need to check the current version and model of your BIOS firmware.
  • Go to System Information App, and Click on System Summary, the model and version of your BIOS firmware will be displayed.

error operating system not loading

  • Then visit your system’s motherboard manufacturer's website and download the latest version of BIOS by searching the model of your version in the available list.
  • Download the BIOS update and run it. Restart the system once the update is complete.

Anticipating that the above step helped you resolve issues with loading the Operating System. However, If updating BIOS could not fix the OS not loading issue? Then probably the Master Boot Record needs to be repaired.

4. Repair the Master Boot Record (MBR)

Sometimes the “Error Loading Operating System” problem is caused by damaged MBR. If the MBR is damaged the entire boot process will get interrupted and Windows cannot startup. That is why it is necessary to fix the damaged MBR to resolve Operating System not loading error.

Note: To perform this step you need to have an installation disk provided with your system.

Firstly, insert the removable drive like CD or USB i.e the installation disk/drive provided by the manufacturer in your computer, with that you can troubleshoot and repair errors.

  • After inserting the CD or USB drive, restart your system and boot from the installation disk.
  • Press on the displayed key to boot your system from the installed drive.
  • Then click on Repair your computer. Select Troubleshoot option.
  • Open Command Prompt, then you need to enter four commands provided below in sequence and press enter after each command and wait till each operation is complete.
    • bootrec /FixMbr
    • bootrec /FixBoot
    • bootrec /ScanOs
    • bootrec /RebuildBcd

Error loading operating system

  • Remove the installation disk inserted in your system and exit, Restart the system. This will fix the OS not loading issue.

Inspite, if this didn’t work well then you have to reinstall your Operating system.

However, before you head to fix the “error loading operating system” issue by reinstalling Windows 07/08/10/11, you need to have a backup of your system files as there is a high chance of permanently losing data on your system’s drives and partitions when you Reinstall your Windows Operating System.

It is always better to use a professional to recover data. The widely used Remo Recover tool comes in handy when you want to recover lost files during such data loss scenarios. It is well designed to recover all the files, photos, videos, and partitions. It is a safe and secure way to recover all your data on the drives and partition effortlessly. Download and Recover Now!

5. Reinstall your Operating System.

The system shows “error loading operating system” when there are damaged or corrupt folders and program files of your Windows OS. If the above methods could not solve the issue and if the hard drive is also working fine, then the only option is to reinstall the Windows operating system. Reinstall your Operating system and try to resolve the error.


Try the aforestated methods to troubleshoot the system error that can be caused due to a damaged hard drive or corrupt operating system files. If you find any other good solutions to fix the error loading operating system, or if you have any queries, you can leave a message in the comment section below.

How to Fix the "Error Loading Operating System" Issue? was last modified: December 6th, 2021 by Tony Landry

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