Hard drive is locked and need to unlock when refresh windows 8

I login to windows 8 Pro as administrator on my computer. When i attempt to do a refresh the system settings because of app crashes and go into recovery mode, Windows says that my hard drive is locked and I need to unlock it, and “Windows cannot be installed on GPT drive, only on MBR” error. But I haven’t setup bit-locker encryption. Now all apps and tiles are missing. How can I fix the locked Hard drive issues?

* Re-format your hard drive and do a “clean-install” Windows 8 OS.
* Another method. Insert the Windows 8 disc, Boot into “Repair your computer” and select Troubleshoot > advanced options. Go into the MS-DOS mode by choosing Command Prompt, type the command to run:
BCDboot c:/windows /s c: /l en-us (have fixed the wrong command)
BCDboot c:\windows /s c: /l en-us
That should fix the issues and works for me.

If you do the bootrec command and get the error like Bootmgr is missing ,“The system couldn’t find the specified path” or ACCESS DENIED, one way is to rebuild or repair Master Boot Record (MBR) in Windows 10/8.
* You need to create the Recovery USB drive and plug in your tablet or computer.
* Start the system and keep Pressing F8 key into the Windows Recovery Menu.
* Click on Troubleshoot > Advanced options, and select Command Prompt.
* use the Bootrec.exe tool to fix the bootrec issues. Type the command one and press Enter after the other.

bootrec /RebuildBcd
bootrec /fixMbr
bootrec /fixboot

* Then reboot your device to check if it is fine.


34 thoughts on “Hard drive is locked and need to unlock when refresh windows 8

  1. Thanks for your suggestion. I was able to recover from this horrible error. There was one typo in your suggestion. You wrote “c:/windows” instead of “c:\windows”.

    So the correct fix is:

    BCDboot c:\windows /s c: /l en-us

    I nearly gave up when my first attempt returned an error but I looked at the BCDBoot help info and noticed the typo.


  2. the BCD boot thingy doesnt work – I just get an error saying:

    Failure when attempting to copy boot files. And yes, I typed a \, not a /.

    • what i did to fix the problem was open up cmd(command prompt)

      type in diskpart

      then “list disk

      then “list volume

      then ” sel vol “n” n represent the number of the volume ex sel vol 0

      select the one with your main C:

      after you select it type in “format” let it format then get out of cmd then on the advance option refresh it or install which ever you want

      • I have the same problem exactly, but not understanding your commands, can you urgently explain as step wise, as i am not full expert but can do if guided. Thanks

      • I tried this and when I try to restore windows 8 from my recovery partition there’s not one found. I know it’s there because it’s listed in diskpart. What else can I do to restore windows?

  3. This really helped me out alot

    I went to install a windows 8 update from automatic updates and when I was asked to restart or shut off my pc, I shut it off to come back another time to restart it.

    I came back a different day to turn it back on and let it finish configuring updates while I was away from the computer, and when I went to use my computer it wouldn’t boot my harddrive, and upon reading this, I followed the instructions of method 2 and after reading other websites, my harddrive suddenly unlocked when my Bios got the UEFI for boot manager used that. Then my harddrive was unlocked. It finished updating and then I was good to go. Thanks!

  4. The command that worked for me is as the following…..
    BCDboot c:\windows /l en-us without the s and the c included.

  5. when i type this cmd the below error
    BCDboot c:\windows /s c: /l en-us

    Failure when attempting to copy boot files.

    Please send me the solution with details.

    • Your default system partition could not be properly identified. Try the command below to run:

      bcdboot c:\Windows /s c: /l en-us

      C: is the partition number where Windows is installed.

      If not working, run the commands one by one:
      1. diskpart
      2. select disk 0
      3. list partition
      note the partition number where you installed windows.
      4. select partition X
      X is the partition number where Windows is installed
      5. active
      6. exit
      7. bcdboot c:\Windows /s c: /l en-us
      Hope it works for you.

      • Hi guys, I was trying to install Linux on my PC, which had Win 8.1 preinstalled. I didn’t succeed to install Linux but I fucked up my Windows and now my PC cant be able to find any drive. I am following the steps mentioned above.
        On the list of the partitions I have the following info :
        Partition # | Type | Size | Offset
        Part 1 | Dynamic| 992 KB | 31 kb
        Part 2 | Dynamic | 100 MB| 1024 KB
        Part 3 | Dynamic |97 GB | 101 MB
        Part 4 | Primary | 18 GB | 97 GB

        When I tried to select 3 or 4 I received the following message : “Virtual Disk Service error :
        The operation is not allowed on invalid disk. The disk may be invalid because it is corrupted or failing or it may be invalid because it is OFFLINE”

        Any help on this matter will be highly appreciated!!!

        Thanks in advance people!

        Cheers :)

      • Hello, I tried all of that.
        When I do the bootrec I get it says “The system couldn’t find the specified path”
        When I do the other diskpart option and get to the second command (select disk 0) it says “There’s no selected disk” and I tried list disk and it says “There’s no disks”
        Don’t know what to try….
        Please help.


  7. Hi everybody.
    I have the same problem.
    I bought a new ASUS laptop and have it al set up.
    But i wanted to change the HDD to a SSD so i took out the disk and put it in my Win 7 computer to clone it.
    But to see it in Win / i hade to activate it.
    And now i can find the partitions, but cannot get it to bootright…

    But i have 2 more partitions before the so called C:/ drive…
    It´s a Rescue and some that i think is the 20 Mb that windows create or for UEFI.

    And when i try to activate my disc with discpart it says that it is not a fixed disk and therefore can not activate it..


  8. I Have Alienware m17xR4…..when i set the hard disk partition 5 as active it shows me error “slected partition in not fixed mbr disk ACTIVE command can only be used on fixed mbr disk”

    Drive Locked so cannot do Refresh and my DATA on Drive is imp…..auto repair doesnt work

    • 1. Use a bootable USB or insert the Windows 8 Installation Disc or
      2. Reboot your PC to Install now screen, select Repair your computer > Troubleshoot > Advanced options.
      3. Launch command prompt, and run the command below to fix the Fix damaged MBR/GPT:
      bootrec.exe /fixmbr

  9. I was remembering the BSD in windows 95, Microsoft has done it again. I had a power failure last night and now windows wont boot.
    I had set Home whatever, apparently, that is all you need to lock things up. Mircosoft is not forthcoming with solutions, nor are the listening to complaints. I hear that 9 will use the Metro shell even though they have heard from corporations and individuals that it is not practical.

  10. hey everybody,
    please help me out from this trouble.
    i bought laptop acer aspire v5
    i just want to reset my pc, because i’ve got error.
    i cant log on to my laptp
    and whn i tried to use automatic repair, it couldnt repair my pc, so i choose Advance Option, and choose reset my pc, it said, “Unable to reset yout PC. A required drive partition is missing” wht it means ? and whn i tried to used refresh pc, and it said, your drive is locked. it ask me to unlock the drive so i can refresh, but i dont know how to unlock the drive.
    whn i borrowed windows 8 dvd installation from my friends, to repair my pc, i change boot to dvd, but it doesnt work, or i dont know wht i must to do. and
    whn i wanted to change booting to normal, i cant get into bios setting, and now
    whn i turn on pc
    it alwas said operation system not found.
    i dont have any idea anymore to fix it,
    i dont want to re-installed my laptop because, it pre-installed windows 8
    please help me everybody

  11. I had a problem with continuous auto disk recovery looping. I used the command

    BCDboot c:\windows /s c: /l en-us

    This corrected my problem. You have to make sure you type it in just as it is here or it will give an error message.


  12. Pls I need help with my surface rt its local disk is saying ”ACCESS DENIED all my app shows ERROR I can’t optimize it please is there any thing I could do or download
    Anybody out there to help
    God bless for trying

  13. Hi I have a hp pavilion G6 running windows 8 ..the laptop has been running awfully slow so I decided to do a refresh during the refresh the computer got stuck at 90% for over 30 minutes so I force shut it down and turned it back on but it said windows installation was interrupted. ..your computer can’t boot. ..I enter windows recovery tried to do a refresh again but now it says hard drive locked. ..tried auto fix option it failed …tried factory resetting but nothing helps I’m locked out of the os and I can’t refresh my pc anymore please help me!!!!!

  14. I was given an acer lap top without a hard drive and tried to put a Toshiba 500 g hard drive in it. when I got to the place to select a drive for windows I’m getting the message that windows can not be installed on this drive. why?

  15. I have tried all these options, to know avail. After trying to do a refresh I also received the that the drive was locked try again. I tried every option. When I tried the BCDboot c:\windows /s c: /l en-us command it came back “Failure when attempting to copy boot files”. I then tried
    bootrec /RebuildBcd
    bootrec /fixMbr
    bootrec /fixboot
    Then ran ok, but I still was not able to reboot my pc, it came back with problem where it when into auto attempt to repair. So there is not a command from the recovery drive to unlock the drive that you are trying refresh ?

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