Get the fix to the 0xc0000428: Windows cannot verify the digital signature for this file boot error message affecting Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1 and Windows 10.


About the “0xc0000428” error

The following information on this error has been compiled by NeoSmart Technologies, based on the information gathered and reported by our global network of engineers, developers, and technicians or partner organizations.

Description and Symptoms

The error messages, alerts, warnings, and symptoms below are tied to this error.

Symptom 1: 0xc0000428 error screen on startup

As a part of the system startup procedure, the BOOTMGR bootloader introduced in Windows Vista and subsequently used in Windows 7, Windows 8(.1), and Windows 10 reads boot configuration data and displays the operating system selection menu. Sometimes, however, when a user installs a newer version of Windows on a top of already existing older one, or installs a service pack, the BOOTMGR entries are not updated properly, and the following message appears:

Windows 0xc0000428 error

A recent hardware or software change might have installed a file that is signed incorrectly or damaged, or that might be malicious software from an unknown source.

If you have a Windows installation disk, insert the disk and restart your computer. Click "Repair your computer", and then choose a recovery tool.

Otherwise, to start Windows so you can investigate further, press the Enter key to display the boot menu, press F8 for Advanced Boot Options, and select Last Known Good. If you understand why the digital signature cannot be verified and want to start Windows without this file, temporarily disable driver signature enforcement.

File: \Windows\System32\winload.exe

Status: 0xc0000428

Info: Windows cannot verify the digital signature for this file.

Causes of this Error

This error has been known to occur as a result of one or more of the following:

Cause 1: BOOTMGR is outdated after system update

This error may occur if something went wrong during the Windows installation process. If the user has installed a newer version of Windows on top of an older one and the BOOTMGR file is not updated properly, then this error may appear and the boot process halts.

Cause 2: An older boot disk is used with a newer version of Windows

Sometimes the user may install a newer version of Windows on a hard drive, and then connect another hard drive with an old version of Windows to set up a dual boot mode. In that case, however, the old version of BOOTMGR will be used, and the boot process halts.

Cause 3: BOOTMGR is outdated after a service pack update

This error may also occur if a user installs a new service pack that changes the BOOTMGR file fails to update an already existing BOOTMGR. If that’s the case, an updated version of Windows is left with an old version of BOOTMGR, and is unable to load properly.

Cause 4: Existing installation disk was disconnected before installing Windows

As a precaution against the corruption of an existing, working install or to safeguard against dataloss during a system update, many users are advised to disconnect their primary boot drive prior to installing a new version of Windows. However, this advice can cause the system bootloader on the primary boot disk to remain outdated, and will cause the error shown above once the drive is returned to the system.

Fixing “0xc0000428” on Windows

Windows Setup CD/DVD Required!
Some of the solutions below require the use of the Microsoft Windows setup CD or DVD. If your PC did not come with a Windows installation disc or if you no longer have your Windows setup media, you can use Easy Recovery Essentials for Windows instead. EasyRE will automatically find and fix many problems, and can also be used to solve this problem with the directions below.

Fix #1: Repair BOOTMGR via Easy Recovery Essentials

Easy Recovery Essentials’ one-click automated system repair feature incorporates full repair and reconstruction of the BOOTMGR to resolve the “0xc0000428” error, even in cases where Windows won’t boot as a result of the error.

Easy Recovery Essentials is guaranteed to fix the “0xc0000428” error automatically using its built-in Automated Repair option. EasyRE is currently available for Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, Windows 10, and Windows 11 and can be downloaded and created on any PC.

  1. Download Easy Recovery Essentials. Make sure to note your Windows version (XP, Vista, 7, 8, 10, or Windows 11) before you download EasyRE. This guide can help you identify what version of Windows you have installed.
  2. Burn the image. Follow these instructions on how to burn the bootable ISO image very carefully, as making a bootable CD can be tricky! Alternatively, these instructions explain how to create a bootable EasyRE recovery USB stick/drive.
  3. Boot up your PC from the Easy Recovery Essentials CD or USB you created.
  4. Once EasyRE is running, choose the “Automated Repair” option and click Continue.
    EasyRE Home

    Choose “Automated Repair” in Easy Recovery Essentials

  5. After EasyRE scans your computer’s drives, identify and select the drive letter for your Windows installation from the list, and then click on the Automated Repair button to begin.
    EasyRE displays a list of found Windows operating systems

    Choose the drive associated with the Windows installation you’re trying to repair.

  6. Easy Recovery Essentials will start analyzing the selected drive for problems. EasyRE will test for and attempt to automatically correct errors with the disk, partition, bootsector, filesystem, bootloader, and registry. No intervention is required, as EasyRE’s repair is fully automated:
    EasyRE: Automated Repair

    Easy Recovery Essentials searches for errors and makes corrections to the selected Windows installation.

  7. Once the process is complete, EasyRE will report its findings. Click on the Restart button to reboot your PC and test the changes.
  8. The “0xc0000428” error should now be fixed as your PC begins to load:EasyRE: Automated Repair

You can download Easy Recovery Essentials from here.

Fix #2: Update BOOTMGR manually

Since the boot error is often caused by an outdated BOOTMGR, replacing it with the correct version is often a good and effective solution.

Here are the steps to replace the BOOTMGR:

  1. Boot from the Windows install disc
  2. Click on Repair your computer after selecting proper language, time and keyboard input.
  3. Select the Windows installation drive, which is usually C:\, and click Next
  4. Choose “Command Prompt” when the System Recovery Options box appears
  5. Type in the following command and then press Enter:
    Bcdboot C:\Windows /s D:\

    Where C:\Windows is your Windows installation folder and D:\ is your active boot partition.

Here is an example screenshot of what the PC’s console output should look like after the BOOTMGR is updated correctly:

Windows 7 BcdBoot utility screen

Windows 7 BcdBoot utility screen

Note that it isn’t necessary to use bootsect.exe to update the MBR or the bootsector, since the fact that BOOTMGR launches indicates that they are both correctly configured.

More Information

Linked Entries

Support Links

Applicable Systems

This Windows-related knowledgebase article applies to the following operating systems:

  • Windows 7 (all editions)
  • Windows 8 (all editions)
  • Windows 8.1 (all editions)
  • Windows 10 (all editions)

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