Get the fix for the error Invalid partition table on Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 10.

About “Invalid partition table

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: “Invalid partition table” error screen on startup

A partition table is a table maintained on disk by the operating system describing the partitions on that disk. This term is most commonly associated with the MBR partition table of a Master Boot Record (MBR) in IBM PC compatibles, but it may be used generically to refer to other “formats” that divide a disk drive into partitions. If the partition table becomes damaged or corrupt, then the system becomes unable to locate the partition to boot from and the boot process is halted.

Invalid partition table error screen

Invalid partition table

Causes of this Error

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

Cause 1: Partition table is damaged

The most frequent cause of this error is a damaged partition table. It is located in the MBR(Master Boot Record) of the boot sector, which holds the information on how the logical partitions, containing file systems, are organized on that medium. The most common cause of that error is a failing hard drive, or a disk write error.

Cause 2: Two partitions are marked as active

Among all partitions available on the hard drive, only one should be set an active to indicate that this is the partition to boot from. If MBR detects two active partition on the current disk, then the system loading process halts. This is usually caused by errors made while configuring the partitions manually. that medium. The most common cause of that error is a failing hard drive, or a disk write error.

Fixing “Invalid partition table” 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: Rebuild the MBR with Easy Recovery Essentials

Easy Recovery Essentials can fix many errors such as this automatically using its built-in Automated Repair option. EasyRE is currently available for Windows XP, Vista, 7 and 8 and can be downloaded and created on any PC.

  1. Download Easy Recovery Essentials. Make sure to note your Windows version (XP, Vista, 7 or 8) 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 “Invalid partition table” error should now be fixed as your PC begins to load:
    EasyRE: Automated Repair

    Windows, booting up successfully.

You can download Easy Recovery Essentials from here.

Fix #2: Rebuild the MBR manually

You can try to rebuild the BCD if the winload.efi error appears because of a corrupt BCD file:

  1. Insert the installation disc
  2. Restart your computer and boot from the disc
  3. Click Repair your computerWindows 7 Install Now screen
  4. At the System Recovery Options screen, select Command PromptSystem Recovery Options in Windows 7
  5. Run the following commands:
    bootrec /fixboot
    bootrec /scanos
    bootrec /fixmbr
    bootrec /rebuildbcd
  6. Press Enter after each and wait for the commands to finish
  7. Restart your computer
bootrec utility results screen

bootrec utility results screen

Fix #3: Check partition status using Diskpart

The built-in Diskpart Windows utility can be used to check partition status and mark them as inactive if necessary. Note that the active partition must contain the Windows bootloader for Windows to load correctly.

Here are the steps to run Diskpart and change the disk’s status:

  1. Boot from the Windows install disc
  2. Click on Repair your computer after 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. Write the following command and press Enter afterwards:
    diskpart
  6. Then, write
    list volume

    to get the list of all available partitions, and press Enter. The active volume(volumes) will have an asterisk(*) next to its name.

  7. Then, write
    select volume X

    to select the volume you want to mark as inactive, and press Enter

  8. Then, write
    inactive

    to mark the currently selected volume as active, and press Enter

Here is an example screenshot of what the PC’s console output should look like after the volume is marked as inactive with Diskpart:

Diskpart utility results screen

Diskpart utility results screen

More Information

Linked Entries

Support Links

Applicable Systems

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

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

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