If at startup your computer fails to boot to Windows and instead gives the error “PXE-E61: Media test failure, check cable” then that indicates some issues with your Pre-boot Execution Environment (PXE).
The PXE is a special boot mode that allows your computer to search for a bootable operating system from a server on the network before booting the operating system on a local hard drive. This would, of course, depend on the configurations in the BIOS with regards to the boot priority order.
In any case, for your computer to put out an error message like this, it simply indicates that the BIOS could not find a bootable sector or an operating system on the attached hard drive. In other cases, it could be that the hard drive wasn’t detected entirely.
This same situation could cause other related error messages to show up on your PC also.
Other related error messages
- Media test failure, check cable
- Exiting Intel Boot Agent
- PXE-MOF: existing ROM problem
- Boot Device not available
- No bootable device found, check boot disk and try again
- No Boot Device Found. Press any key to reboot the machine.
Other causes of these error messages
- The internal disk in the computer is damaged or jammed for some reason.
- The Master Boot Record (MBR) sector of the hard drive has been corrupted.
- Configuration setting changed by the Operating System.
- Malicious applications, viruses, or bugs might have infected the computer.
- Bad disk connector cable.
- Partially detached disk.
In any of the above situations, you can apply one or more of the following solutions to get your computer to boot into Windows again:
Solution 1: Check for loose hard disk connection
The most common cause of this problem is loose hard disk connection, and this is the first thing you should check out for.
Obviously, this is completely physical. It could happen due to some major vibrations or shock, needless to say that no matter what software solutions you try to implement, if this is the issue and is not resolved then nothing would work, that is why you should start off with this suggestion.
You will need to figure out where your hard disk is located, for most laptops, it is readily accessible from the back-cover underneath, others are more difficult to access especially is they are underneath the keyboard.
If your hard disk is that difficult to access, then maybe you can try out the other suggestions first before taking the extra pain to locate your hard disk. If you’re able to access your hard disk, all you need to do is to detach and reattach the hard disk firmly to the connector.
If you notice some dust or debris around the connector or port, then use dry cotton to wipe off the dust before reattaching. Couple back the laptop and try to boot it up again.
Solution 2: Check BIOS boot priority order
If the initial suggestion doesn’t resolve the problem, then the next thing you want to check is your boot priority order in the BIOS. Normally you should have your hard disk at the top of the priority order so your BIOS doesn’t try to boot into some other devices or disks with no operating system.
To check the boot priority order, you need to know the key or combination of keys that will take you to your BIOS. This could be the f2 or f12, or combination of escape key and some other function key.
Power on your laptop and immediately keep pressing the key until you see your BIOS page, it should look something like this or maybe a more different interface.
From the BIOS, try to find where it says boot, boot order, or boot priority, or something in that line. Some BIOS would have it under advanced settings or system configurations, check around and see where yours is located. For this laptop is right on the top menu, so I will navigate to it.
Here I have my boot devices, and as it shows here, any USB device attached to this PC will try to boot first before my hard disk, that needs to change except if I’m trying to run some installation from a USB, but that’s not the case here.
To change this order, the BIOS gives a clue that F6 takes a device up in the boot order while F5 brings it down, so with the arrow key I will move to my hard drive which is this HDD/SSD, then use the F6 key to take it to the top of the boot order.
After that hit F10 to save changes and then select yes to complete the process. If this is the problem in your case, then upon restarting it should boot you back into Windows.
Solution 3: Change boot mode
For this fix, I will be toggling between the UEFI and legacy or CSM boot mode from the BIOS. If you have the boot mode set to a format that is not supported by your hard disk then it won’t boot up even though you have a functional Windows operating system on it. This setting needs to be changed from the BIOS.
For most people, you may not know for sure what format your hard disk is configured to, so the logical fix would be to change your current boot mode to the other and try to see if that would resolve the issue.
To change your boot mode you need to get back into your BIOS, again this might be placed under some other menu, so you will need to check out where yours is located. For this Lenovo, is under startup, here you will see where it says UEFI/Legacy Boot.
Here is set to Legacy only, so I will use the arrow key to navigate to it, hit enter to reveal the possible options and again use the arrow keys to select my preferred mode.
This BIOS gives the option of selecting both boot modes, so if you’re unsure of your hard disk format, then this is the option to choose, but if you don’t have the both option, like the case with this Toshiba, then just select another boot mode other than your initial boot mode.
Remember to save changes using F10, and then try to boot up again and see if that resolves the issue.
Solution 4: Use Diskpart to Re-Activate Your Windows Disk Partition
This suggestion will require that you have a bootable USB with Windows installation files stored in it, if you are yet to make one, you can follow the step by step procedure HERE to do that.
Attach your bootable USB with Windows installation files and boot into it. Wait for the installation files to load. On this window, hit next.
Then on the page that follows, select Repair your computer.
Here select Troubleshoot,
Then select Command prompt,
A command-line terminal should pop up. Here run the following commands:
- Diskpart, and hit enter
- Next type, list volume and hit enter. That should show the different volumes you have currently attached to your laptop.
Normally the volume with your Windows operating system should have the letter C, which is volume one in my case, another way to verify the volume with your windows is to check the sizes of the different volumes, normally it should be the largest volume except you have configure it otherwise, as you can see the other volumes I have here are in MBs other than volume 5 which is my bootable USB. Volume 1 which is the volume with windows is about 60 Gigabyte. Here I’m working on a virtual machine, on normal windows PC, this should be close to the size of your hard disk, except if you’ve done some disk partitioning, then the volume with your windows should be the size of the partition where you chose to install your Windows.
- Now that I’m sure that volume 1 is the volume with my Windows, I will go ahead and type, select volume 1 and hit enter.
- Next type the command active and hit enter.
- Then type in assign and hit enter.
- Type exit and hit enter to close diskpart.
- Then finally type exit again to close the command line.
That should bring you back to this page, from here you can turn off your PC, remove the bootable USB and try to boot into Windows again.
Solution 5: Bad SATA connector
A quick way to check if the cable connection is good would be to connect another tested hard disk with a running Windows installation to the connector and try to boot into it. If that also fails to boot up, then is likely that you have a broken disc connector cable. If that is the case, then consider buying the new one from Amazon.
These cables vary quite widely depending on the model of your computer, as such be sure to search with the full model of your computer before placing an order. If possible you can physically compare the broken cable with what you find on Amazon to be sure is a perfect match before placing an order.
I hope one of these was able to help you out. If you have any questions regarding the procedures, please post in the comment section to get more help. The video below demonstrates most of the suggestions discussed above.
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