Fixing Windows Invalid Partition Table Error

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The “Invalid Partition Table” error in Windows is a boot-up issue where the system cannot access partitions due to a corrupted or improperly configured partition table. This error typically results in a black screen on startup, preventing the operating system from loading.

To resolve the “Invalid Partition Table” error in Windows, there are several methods you can try.

1. Change the Partition Scheme of Your USB Drive

When preparing a USB drive for Windows installation, the partition scheme must be compatible with your system’s configuration. The process involves using a utility like Rufus to adjust the partition scheme.

  1. Using Rufus:
    • Insert the USB drive into a computer.
    • Open Rufus, and the drive should be automatically detected.
    • Select the Windows installation ISO file.
    • Change the partition scheme using the drop-down menu. If the bootable USB was created with a GPT partition scheme and your system requires MBR, select MBR, and vice versa.
    • Once the USB drive is ready, use it to boot the problematic computer.

2. Reconfigure Boot Sequence

Adjusting the boot sequence in your PC’s BIOS settings ensures the system boots from the correct disk, especially when multiple disks are connected.

  1. Accessing BIOS Settings:
    • Restart your PC and press the necessary key to enter BIOS settings as the system starts. This key is often F2, F8, F10, or Del, but may vary by manufacturer.
    • Within the BIOS menu, navigate to the Boot Manager or Boot Order settings.
    • Adjust the boot order so the disk containing Windows is listed first.
    • Save the changes and exit the BIOS setup.
    • Restart your PC to see if the issue is resolved.

3. Convert Hard Drive to GPT or MBR Using Command Prompt

Converting your hard drive to the correct partition table format (GPT or MBR) can be crucial for resolving the Invalid Partition Table error.

  1. Using Command Prompt:
    • Access the Command Prompt from the Windows Recovery Environment.
    • Type diskpart and press Enter.
    • Enter list disk to display all disks.
    • Select the desired disk with select disk [number], replacing [number] with the actual disk number.
    • For converting to GPT, type convert gpt. For MBR, type convert mbr.
    • Once the conversion is complete, exit Command Prompt and restart your computer.

4. Use DD Mode to Create Bootable USB

Creating a bootable USB drive in DD mode can offer more consistent results, particularly when facing partition table errors.

  1. Creating a Bootable USB in DD Mode:
    • Open Rufus on a computer.
    • Insert the USB media into the PC.
    • Ensure the USB drive is selected under the device label.
    • Under ‘Boot Selection’, select the Windows ISO file.
    • When prompted, choose to write in DD mode.
    • Wait for the process to complete before using the USB to boot the problematic computer.

5. Update BIOS Firmware

Updating the BIOS firmware can resolve compatibility issues that might lead to partition table errors. This is particularly important if the BIOS is significantly outdated.

  1. Updating BIOS Firmware:
    • Identify your motherboard model and check the manufacturer’s website for the latest BIOS firmware.
    • Download the BIOS update onto a USB drive from a working computer.
    • Insert the USB into the problematic computer and boot into the BIOS setup.
    • Find the option for updating/flashing the BIOS and select the BIOS update file from the USB drive.
    • Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the update.
    • Restart your computer after the update is complete.

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6. Repair or Rebuild MBR

Repairing or rebuilding the Master Boot Record (MBR) is essential when it’s corrupted, leading to partition table errors.

  1. Using EaseUS Partition Master to Rebuild MBR:
    • Create a WinPE bootable disk using EaseUS Partition Master.
    • Boot from the bootable USB or CD/DVD created.
    • Launch EaseUS Partition Master and select ‘Rebuild MBR’ under the Toolkit section.
    • Choose the disk and MBR type, then click ‘Rebuild’.
  2. Manually Repair MBR with CMD:
    • Boot from a Windows installation DVD or USB.
    • On the welcome screen, select ‘Repair your computer’.
    • In Command Prompt, enter the commands:
      • bootrec.exe /rebuildbcd
      • bootrec.exe /fixmbr
      • bootrec.exe /fixboot
    • Exit Command Prompt and reboot your system.

7. Check and Repair Bad Sectors Using CHKDSK

Bad sectors on the hard drive can lead to partition table errors. The CHKDSK utility in Windows can be used to scan for and repair bad sectors.

  1. Scanning and Fixing Bad Sectors:
    • Access Command Prompt from the Windows Recovery Environment.
    • Type chkdsk C: /f /r and press Enter to start the scan.
    • Wait for the CHKDSK utility to complete the scan and repair process.

8. Inactivate Non-OS Partitions

Having multiple active partitions can cause boot issues. Inactivating all but the OS partition may resolve the error.

  1. Inactivating Non-OS Partitions:
    • Use Command Prompt from the Windows Recovery Environment.
    • Enter diskpart and then list disk.
    • Select the disk containing the OS using select disk x command.
    • Type list partition and identify non-OS partitions.
    • For each non-OS partition, use select partition x followed by inactive.

9. Repair Partition Table Using Windows Disk Management

For drives that don’t contain the primary OS, the partition table can be repaired by deleting the problematic volume and creating a new one. This method will result in data loss, so it’s crucial to back up any important data beforehand.

  1. Using Disk Management to Repair Partition Table:
    • Open Disk Management by typing “disk management” in Windows Search and selecting “Create and format hard disk partitions”.
    • Right-click on the drive with the invalid partition table error and select “Delete volume”.
    • Confirm the deletion. The space will show as unallocated.
    • Right-click on the unallocated space and choose “New Simple Volume”.
    • Follow the steps in the New Simple Volume Wizard to create a new volume with a fresh partition table.

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