Get the fix for the boot error “winload.exe is missing or corrupt” in Windows Vista, 7, 8 or 8.1.

If the error screen mentions winload.efi and not winload.exe, go to Fix: winload.efi is missing or corrupt.

Your “Status” error code may be 0xc000000d, 0xc000000e, 0xc000000f or different variations, but the file will still be “winload.exe”. This depends on your Windows version and other variables that are computer-specific.

If the Status error code is 0xc000000e, also have a look at the Fix for “0xc000000e” article covered here.

Sample winload.exe is missing or corrupt error at startup

This is the error message on a Windows Vista system:

Windows Boot Manager

Windows failed to start. A recent hardware or software change might be the cause. To fix the problem:

1. Insert your Windows installation disc and restart your computer.
2. Choose your language settings, and then click "Next."
3. Click "Repair your computer."

If you do not have this disc, contact your system administrator or computer manufacturer for assistance

File: \Windows\system32\winload.exe

Status: 0xc000000f

Info: The selected entry could not be loaded because the application is missing or corrupt

Fix: Use Easy Recovery Essentials

Easy Recovery Essentials is guaranteed to fix the “winload.exe is missing or corrupt” error 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 “winload.exe is missing or corrupt” 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 winload.exe is missing in Windows Vista, 7, 8 or 8.1

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 BCD with Bootrec.exe

BCD stands for Boot Configuration Data, contains boot configurations options and controls how your Windows is started.

Bootrec.exe is a tool built in the Windows Recovery Environment (Windows RE) that can repair boot configuration data and master boot records. You can access Bootrec.exe using a Windows installation disc.

  1. Insert your Windows install disc and boot from it
  2. Press any key at the “Press any key to boot from CD or DVD” message
  3. Choose Repair your computer after you select the language, time and keyboard method
  4. Select your Windows installation drive (usually C:\) and click Next
  5. Select Command Prompt in the System Recovery Options box
  6. Write bootrec /rebuildbcd and press Enter:
    bootrec /rebuildbcd
  7. Press Enter
  8. Wait for the program to finish

Fix #2: Use sfc /scannow

A sfc /scannow (sfc stands for System File Checker) command will scan all Windows protected files to try replace the corrupt ones with the correct versions.

Here are the steps to run sfc:

  1. Boot from the install CD
  2. Select your language, time and keyboard method
  3. Click on Repair your computer
  4. Select your operating system when the System Recovery Options box appears, but note down the drive’s letter (e.g. F:, G: etc.). In our example this will be D:.
  5. Select Command Prompt
  6. Type the following command with your hard drive’s letter:
    sfc /scannow
  7. Press Enter
  8. When scanning is complete, type exit to quit the Command Prompt:
  9. Press Enter
  10. Restart your computer

More Information

Linked Entries

Support Links

Applicable Systems

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

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