This error usually appears when you are already having a problem on your computer and you are performing some of the basic recovery steps you found suggested in your specific scenario. However, when you want to fix some of the boot settings handled by the Boot Manager via the “bootrec /fixboot” command in Command Prompt, you receive the Access is Denied message.
There are quite a few things which may cause this problem and you will need to adapt to the situation and try out the methods best suitable for your situation. If you are having boot issues, this command may be the most helpful and it’s hard to replace it.
Solution 1: Name the Hidden Boot Partition on Your Drive
First of all, you should find out whether your PC or laptop has this boot partition reserved on their main storage drive (hard disk or SSD) before trying to proceed with the solution. A simple Google search will be able to help.
If there is one, you are not able to repair it since it doesn’t have a name. Still, you can assign it one using diskpart and repair it easily by following the steps below. We will suppose that you are having boot issues and that you are not able to access your OS.
However, with Windows 10 you can create your own recovery media and use it to fix your computer in no time.
- Download the Media Creation Tool software from Microsoft’s website. Open the downloaded file and accept the terms and conditions.
- Select the Create installation media (USB flash drive, DVD, or ISO file) for another PC option from the initial screen.
- The language, architecture, and other settings of the bootable drive will be chosen based on your computer’s settings, but you should uncheck the Use the recommended options for this PC to select the correct settings for the PC which has the password attached to it (if you are creating this on a different PC, and you probably are).
- Click Next and click on the USB drive or DVD option when prompted to choose between USB or DVD, depending on which device you want to use to store this image on.
- Click Next and choose the USB or DVD drive from the list which will show the storage media connected to your computer.
- Click Next and the Media Creation Tool will proceed to download the files necessary to install create the installation device.
Now that you probably have your recovery media, we can start actually solving the booting issue by opening the Command Prompt from within the recovery drive which you should boot from.
- Insert the installation drive you own or which you have just created and boot your computer. The following steps are different from one operating system to another so follow them accordingly:
- WINDOWS XP, VISTA, 7: Windows Setup should open prompting you to enter the preferred language and time and date settings. Enter them correctly and choose the Repair your computer option at the bottom of the window. Keep the initial radio button selected when prompted with Use recovery tools or Restore your computer and click on the Next option. Choose Command Prompt when prompted with the Choose a recovery tool selection.
- WINDOWS 8, 8.1, 10: You will see a Choose your keyboard layout window so choose the one you want to use. The Choose an option screen will appear so navigate to Troubleshoot >> Advanced Options >> Command Prompt
- Now that you have opened Command Prompt, try running the following set of three commands in it and make sure you click Enter after each one:
diskpart sel disk 0 list vol
- Verify that the EFI partition (EPS – EFI System Partition) is using the FAT32 file system and assign a drive letter to it. This can be done with the following set of commands. Note that <number of volume> needs to be replaced with the number you see next to the EFI partition and <drive letter> is any letter you want to assign to it as long as another volume is not using it.
set vol <number of volume> assign letter= <drive letter>: exit
- Now that you have assigned a letter to the boot drive, type in the first command below to navigate to the Boot folder. This time, <drive letter> should be replaced with the same one you used above for the EFI partition.
cd /d <drive letter>:\EFI\Microsoft\Boot\
- This command is used to fix the EFI Partition which is used to boot your computer and you shouldn’t receive the Access denied message when running it:
- The last step consists of rebuilding the BCD via two commands. The first one will backup the old BCD and the seconds one will recreate it. This time the <drive letter> placeholder should be replaced with the drive you use to assign the EFI partition:
ren BCD BCD.old bcdboot c:\Windows /l en-us /s <boot letter>: All
- Check to see if the problem still appears on your PC.
Note: If you still receive Access denied on the 5th step when running the command, try running this command instead:
After that, simply type in exit and skip the 6th step completely.
Solution 2: Run Automatic Repair After Naming the Volume
This solution is used as an addition to Solution 1. If you have performed the steps above up until naming the volume by assigning it a letter but you are still struggling with Access denied when running bootrec commands, you can now use the Automatic Repair utility to fix the problem automatically for you.
- Insert the installation drive you own or which you have just created and boot your computer. You have probably created and prepared it in Solution 1. The following steps are different from one operating system to another so follow them accordingly:
- WINDOWS XP, VISTA, 7: Windows Setup should open prompting you to enter the preferred language and time and date settings. Enter them correctly and choose the Repair your computer option at the bottom of the window. Keep the initial radio button selected when prompted with Use recovery tools or Restore your computer and click on the Next option. Choose Startup Repair (the first option) when prompted with the Choose a recovery tool selection.
- WINDOWS 8, 8.1, 10: You will see a Choose your keyboard layout window so choose the one you want to use. The Choose an option screen will appear so navigate to Troubleshoot >> Advanced Options >> Automatic Repair/Startup Repair
- Now that you have accessed Automatic Startup Repair, the steps will now differ from one operating system to another once again. On Windows 10, you will see a window saying Preparing Automatic Repair followed by a prompt to choose your Account and enter a password.
- After that, a new loading window will appear so make sure you stay patient and follow the instructions on the screen. Check to see if Automatic Repair has managed to solve your problem.
Solution 3: Target Volumes with BOOTMGR Compatible Code
This useful command executed from an administrative Command Prompt will change the Boot Manager settings to target boot volumes and you may avoid having to name any volumes in this step. Good luck!
- Navigate to Command Prompt by following the same instructions from the Solution 1 in this article and follow them according to your operating system.
- Execute the following command and make sure you hit Enter after you type it. Wait for the operation completed successfully message or anything confirming the process was successful.
- After that, try using the problematic fixboot command and check to see if you still receive the Access denied error.
Solution 4: Disable Fast Boot in BIOS
This option causes more problems than it does good. The Fastboot, Quick POST or Quick Boot option (which is located in BIOS settings) enables you to somewhat speed up your booting process. Certain tests are run each time you boot your computer. All of these system tests are not needed every time you boot and can be turned off to save time and that is what Fast boot does.
- Turn your PC on again and try to enter BIOS settings by pressing the BIOS key as the system is about to start. The BIOS key is typically displayed on the boot screen, saying “Press ___ to enter Setup.” or something similar to that. There are other keys as well. The usual BIOS keys are F1, F2, Del, etc.
- The setting which you need to turn off is usually located under the Boot tab which may be called different depending on the manufacturer. Another alternative is for it to be located at the general screen or under the Advanced BIOS Features tab. The setting is called Fast Boot, Quick Power On Self Test or Quick Boot. Once you locate the correct settings, set it to Off or Disabled.
- Also, Secure Boot needs to be disabled for this to work. Use the right arrow key to choose the Security menu when the BIOS settings window opens, use the down arrow key to select the Secure Boot Configuration option, and press Enter.
- Before you can use this menu, a warning will appear. Press F10 to continue to the Secure Boot Configuration menu. The Secure Boot Configuration menu should open so use the down arrow key to select Secure Boot and use the right arrow key to modify the setting to Disable.
- Another option that users had to do is changing the boot mode from UEFI to Legacy. The Boot Mode option which you will need to change is located under different tabs on BIOS firmware tools made by different manufacturers and there is no unique way to find it. It’s usually located under the Boot tab but there are many names for the same option.
- When you locate the Boot Mode option in any area of the BIOS settings screen, navigate to it and change its value to Legacy.
- Navigate to the Exit section and choose to Exit Saving Changes. This will proceed with the computer’s boot. Make sure you try to boot your computer again.