[SOLVED] "Reboot and select proper boot device" message appearing after my PC was off for 14 days

Feb 12, 2021
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I've been using my 9 year old PC just fine everyday, having no issues neither performance hinders.
But recently I took a 2 week vacation outside home-- I did turn off my PC, unplugged it, and had a happy road trip!

Unfortunately when I came back and plugged it back in, I tried to start my PC and after seeing the BIOS startup logo, I get the following message:
"Reboot and select proper boot device. or Insert Boot Media in selected Boot device and press a key"
Also, I'm seeing that one of the case coolers isn't working.

This never happened to me before. I doubt anyone has used my PC while I was out as I live alone, but certainly it's very weird that after leaving it powered off for two weeks, now I'm getting this error. What could be causing it? Dirty/Dusty cables, or faulty components? Maybe Windows 10 messed up the boot with an update (doubt if this is possible)?

Specs:
CPU: Intel i5 3470
Motherboard: Asus PZ877-M
Storage: 1 SATA HDD: WD Green
RAM: 2x4GB Kingston HyperX
GPU: Radeon HD 6670
Case: Thermaltake Commander ms-i
OS: Windows 10
 
Last edited:

dorsai

Distinguished
It's likely not the HDD...it sounds more likely that your BIOS battery died. It's an older motherboard...the coin battery will only last a few years.

If you power off the PC and the battery dies the BIOS will reset to default settings when you turn the power back on. Default settings almost always try to use the wrong HDD or other device to boot from.

Go to your nearest drugstore and look in the camera battery section for a replacement. The battery will be found just below the GPU slot on your board and is typically a 2032 quarter sized battery, but check the old one to make sure.

Once you've replaced the battery you'll have to go into the motherboard BIOS and select both the proper boot order and the proper device for Windows to load.
 
Reactions: sergiously

Henry577

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Feb 8, 2014
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I've been using my 9 year old PC just fine everyday, having no issues neither performance hinders.
But recently I took a 2 week vacation outside home-- I did turn off my PC, unplugged it, and had a happy road trip!

Unfortunately when I came back and plugged it back in, I tried to start my PC and after seeing the BIOS startup logo, I get the following message:
"Reboot and select proper boot device. or Insert Boot Media in selected Boot device and press a key"
Also, I'm seeing that one of the case coolers isn't working.

This never happened to me before. I doubt anyone has used my PC while I was out as I live alone, but certainly it's very weird that after leaving it powered off for two weeks, now I'm getting this error. What could be causing it? Dirty/Dusty cables, or faulty components? Maybe Windows 10 messed up the boot with an update (doubt if this is possible)?

Specs:
CPU: Intel i5 3470
Motherboard: Asus PZ877-M
Storage: 1 SATA HDD: WD Green
RAM: 2x4GB Kingston HyperX
GPU: Radeon HD 6670
Case: Thermaltake Commander ms-i
OS: Windows 10
This happens when there is a problem with the storage device your pc is trying to boot from. There are a few things that could be going on here. Worst case scenario your hard drive passed away in its 14 day sleep. Best case scenario some dust settled where it shouldn’t have or a cable has come loose or something but I doubt it.

Even if you think you know what you’re doing (I’m not saying you don’t) it’s best to take drive issues into a repair shop. These guys are properly trained to fix stuff like this and probably have a hell of a lot of experience. If there is anything salvageable left on the drive, they are the best chance you have of retrieving anything. It’s worth spending a bit of money to have professionals work their magic than trying to tinker with it at home and possibly make things worse. Obviously check their reviews or something first though, if they have 1 star on trip advisor (or whatever the Karen’s use these days) find somewhere better.
 
Reactions: sergiously
Feb 12, 2021
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2
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Thank you very much for your answer! As for the possible error cause:

(...) Worst case scenario your hard drive passed away in its 14 day sleep (..)
I really hope that's the worst case scenario, as I'm more worried about the fact that one of the case coolers isn't spinning when I boot the PC, and that never happened to me before. I'm worried that the problem could be beyond the HDD, maybe the motherboard broke, Maybe the CMOS battery got faulty after 14 days off? Maybe a rat got into the case and munched a couple of cables? Sorry for the ridiculous question, but I'm trying to find out alternatives before replacing components or taking it to a repair shop.

Anyways, I'll be opening the case right now. Will clean it and replace some cables, just to exhaust all the possibilities. Fortunately I have a backup of all my important data so I don't mind replacing the HDD myself, but if I see more weird behavior I'll be taking it to a repair shop I know.

Again, thank you very much for your advice. I'll update this thread once I discovered the fault
 

dorsai

Distinguished
It's likely not the HDD...it sounds more likely that your BIOS battery died. It's an older motherboard...the coin battery will only last a few years.

If you power off the PC and the battery dies the BIOS will reset to default settings when you turn the power back on. Default settings almost always try to use the wrong HDD or other device to boot from.

Go to your nearest drugstore and look in the camera battery section for a replacement. The battery will be found just below the GPU slot on your board and is typically a 2032 quarter sized battery, but check the old one to make sure.

Once you've replaced the battery you'll have to go into the motherboard BIOS and select both the proper boot order and the proper device for Windows to load.
 
Reactions: sergiously
Feb 12, 2021
4
2
15
0
If you power off the PC and the battery dies the BIOS will reset to default settings when you turn the power back on. Default settings almost always try to use the wrong HDD or other device to boot from.
The boot order was the same as 14 days before, time and date were correct, and the custom settings I saved into the BIOS didn't change, neither reset to default.

Anyways, you're right: The MB is old and I should replace the battery as soon as I have the chance. Thank you for your advice on finding a new one!
 

dorsai

Distinguished
The boot order was the same as 14 days before, time and date were correct, and the custom settings I saved into the BIOS didn't change, neither reset to default.

Anyways, you're right: The MB is old and I should replace the battery as soon as I have the chance. Thank you for your advice on finding a new one!
If the battery is weak it can cause initialization errors on the motherboard...it would explain why fans are suddenly not working and the HDD isn't found at boot. They are cheap so it's always wise to do the easy steps before diving into the deep end of the pool.
 
Reactions: sergiously
Feb 12, 2021
4
2
15
0
If the battery is weak it can cause initialization errors on the motherboard...it would explain why fans are suddenly not working and the HDD isn't found at boot. They are cheap so it's always wise to do the easy steps before diving into the deep end of the pool.
You're a legend. I wouldn't have thought it in a million years. Basically these were the solutions I followed:

  1. Opened my case, fully cleaned it and replaced cables -- Still the same error, but now the cooler works.
  2. Did the paperclip test with the PSU -- No errors
  3. Connected my HDD to another SATA port -- Still the same error
  4. Checked boot menu -- It is in order
  5. Replaced CMOS Battery -- Now it works as before!!
Still have no words to thank you. You saved me a lot of headaches and money! Thank you very very much!
 
Reactions: Henry577 and dorsai

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