An ‘Invalid Partition Table’ error is one of the errors you would encounter if you haven’t booted the computer to the right device. This post tells you how to fix this particular error.
Did You Know?
Manufacturers now use GUID partition systems that allow a maximum of 128 partitions, unlike the older Master Boot Record (MBR) which allowed only 8.
Partition tables or partition maps store information to help load the operating system into the computer. The BIOS is a firmware that stores partition tables and the associated memory data. It’s the first thing that loads when you switch on the computer. The BIOS is required to check whether the partitions are in working condition. The most common use of the BIOS is to format your system or re-install a better operating system (OS).
So imagine how you would feel when your OS doesn’t load, and shows a message Invalid Partition Table. Partition systems of old contained the Master Boot Record, which was responsible for the booting of the system. Since Windows Vista, manufacturers have started using a new system, GUID Partition Table (GPT), which allows the computer to be split into multiple partitions, extremely useful for dual-booting systems.
An invalid partition table error occurs due to the following reasons:
- The MBR is trying to boot from some other device than the DVD-ROM, which is the first option in the boot priority order.
- When some other device is connected to the USB port, like a flash drive or an external hard disk drive (HDD).
- There is no operating system installed on the computer.
In the following sections, we shall tell you how to fix the invalid partition table error.
On Windows XP
Step 1: Analysis
- Download Hiren’s BootCD, a free bootable software that will run at the time of booting, irrespective if your operating system works or not. Burn it to a CD/DVD and insert it in the CD drive to make it run.
- Press Ctrl+Alt+Del to restart your computer.
- Press F12 to enter BIOS and enter 1st Boot Setting : CD-ROM Group. Change the booting order to reflect the changes.
- Save the changes.
- Now restart the computer once again. Select Mini Windows XP from the options when it boots.
- After the OS gets loaded, go to Start – Programs- Administrative Tools- Disk Management to see the status of each partition, i.e. C, D, and however many drives you may have. The amount of memory allocated to each partition can be seen.
- If everything’s fine, go to Windows Explorer and check C Drive to see if an OS is installed.
- If it isn’t, restart your computer once more.
- Now run the Boot CD, and go to Master Boot Record Tools – Partition Table Doctor 3.5. This is not compatible with Windows Vista, 7, and 8.
- Click on Partition Table Doctor 3.5, and make sure all data is saved, before clicking on OK.
- You should scan bad sectors, if any, with HDD Regenerator. This software shows if any sectors have become corrupted and repairs it.
Step 2: Recover Data
- To recover data from the C drive, use recovery software like EASEUS Data Recovery or GetDataBack.
- Copy-paste the files from the D drive and save this in an external hard disk drive or flash drive.
Step 3: Fix Partition Table
- Boot the CD and choose Next to go to the next menu.
- Choose MBR (Master Boot Record).
- Next, choose Partition Table Doctor from the options.
- Click on OK.
- Now the program will open up. Click on the Operations menu and click on Rebuild Partition Table, to start repairing the damage to the partition.
- Exit the program and eject the CD.
- This would have taken care of the error. Now insert a bootable CD/DVD of your respective operating system and install it again to get your system running.
On Windows Vista, 7, and 8
- Load the Windows Vista OS (or Windows 7 & 8) bootable disc, and press any key to boot from the DVD.
- Choose the language, time, and currency. Now click on Next to continue, and click on Repair Your Computer.
- When the System Recovery dialog box pops up, choose Command Prompt.
- Type bootrec.exe and press Enter. This rebuilds the partition and fixes the problem.
These are the ways to fix the partition error on your computer. For novices and beginners not comfortable working with the BIOS, it’s recommended to get the error checked by a professional.