Updated: June 06, 2023
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by Christine Tomas
Tech Expert & Writer
1461 resolved issues
Verified Expert in:
Smartphones, Networks, Tablets, Computers

When I turn on my computer it says reboot and select proper boot or insert boot media in selected boot drive and press a key

I don't want to lose any files or pictures from my desktop but I can't get on there

Short summary:

  1. Reinstall Windows with the option to keep files:
    Back up your important files to an external storage device or cloud storage.
    Obtain a Windows installation media (USB or DVD).
    Insert the installation media and restart your computer.
    Boot from the installation media and follow the on-screen instructions.
    Select the "Upgrade: Install Windows and keep files" option during installation.
    Complete the installation process and reconnect your external hard drives.
  2. Run Windows in Safe Mode:
    Restart your computer and tap the F8 key (or F2 key) before Windows starts.
    If F8 doesn't work, try F2 to access the BIOS settings.
    Change the "Secure Boot" setting to "Enabled" in the BIOS.
    Save the settings, restart your computer, and it should enter Safe Mode.
  3. Swap the drive and preserve data:
    Disconnect the 500GB SSD drive.
    Connect an external hard drive and install Windows on it.
    Reconnect the 500GB SSD drive and access it as an additional disk.
    Transfer your personal files to another storage device.

Hello, thank you for using Howly. I’ll be happy to help you out! May I ask your name?

Customer Replay


Nice to meet you, *****!
You need to reinstall windows it seems


Customer Replay

I was afraid of that but I don't want to lose my files

There is an option when installing new windows to keep the old files

Customer Replay

Does that include folders on the desktop

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All the files, *****

Customer Replay

Any idea on how or why this happened I got a blue screen then it restarted and popped up with that message

Multiple things could cause that
Damage to a hard drive, corrupted files, viruses
most likely it's the viruses

Customer Replay

I kept a weekly scan on viruses and malware and other stuff but guess can't catch them all

Yeah, these days the best thing to do is to just be careful on the web, some viruses mainly the newer stuff is hard to detect

Customer Replay

How can I send a picture is that possible

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To attach pictures to our chat, you need to press the paper clip button in the lower right corner of the chat window. Then you have either to choose an image on your device or take a photo right away. Then confirm sending.

Customer Replay

Says upgrade: Install windows and keep files, settings, and applications but it won't let me

What happens when you click on "Install windows and keep files"?

Customer Replay

Says the upgrade option isn't available if you start your computer using windows installation media. If a copy of windows is already on this computer and you want to upgrade remove the installation media and restart your computer. After windows has started normally insert the installation media and run setup

Try doing that, if not we'll try running it in safe mode

Customer Replay

How do I run it in safe mode

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Top answer

The Advanced Boot Options screen lets you start Windows in advanced troubleshooting modes. You can access the menu by turning on your computer and pressing the F8 key before Windows starts. Some options, such as safe mode, start Windows in a limited state, where only the bare essentials are started.

Customer Replay

F8 didn't do anything
I have a gaming computer it's ASRock motherboard

Did you do it on reboot, *****?

Customer Replay

Yeah I restarted the computer and tapping f8

Try F2 instead

Customer Replay

F2 took me into the bios but I don't see anything about safe mode

Select Settings, then select Security.
Change Secure Boot to Enabled.
Press F10 to save the settings, and then restart the system.

Customer Replay

Restarted still pops up with the reboot and select proper boot device
I tried tapping f8 and f2

I see, this is not good
Do you have one or multiple drives in your system?

Customer Replay

I have main 500gb ssd and 2 2tb external hard drives

And all the data you want to preserve on the 500GB one, right?

Customer Replay


Customer Replay

I really don't want to lose on that drive I have personal information on that one
If I can get it to load once I can put stuff on a USB flash drive if possible but it won't do anything right now

Well, we could technically swap the drive for an empty one just to put windows on it and extract the data from that 500GB one

Customer Replay

Install windows on one of the externals

If your machine allows it you could try that, sounds like it might work
Just to be sure- disconnect the 500gb drive so it won't get wiped

Customer Replay

Ok I'll give it a try

Take your time, *****

Customer Replay

It says that it has to be a NTFS how do I make it a NTFS

Top answer

Follow the instructions to format your SSD device using your PC/laptop:

  1. Connect your SSD to a PC or laptop.
  2. Click the Documents icon on your PC.
  3. Right-click on the drive to be formatted and click Format.
  4. From the drop-down list select NTFS under the file system.
  5. The drive will be formatted accordingly.
    But you'll need a running PC for that
    Or you could buy some cheap small capacity SSD and use it instead
Customer Replay

May have to do that

That would be easier imo
What's the model of your motherboard?
I'll find you something that would fit :)

Customer Replay

ASRock Bm450 I think


This thing is pretty decent for the price: newegg.com

Customer Replay

Thanks definitely worth the price I'll have to get it ordered I really hope I can get stuff from the other ssd once I do this

I hope so too, most likely the data should be fine, *****

Customer Replay

Ok even though that ssd has windows installed on it won't mess with the new hard drive once I install windows on it will it idk much about that stuff

It shouldn't, but again, better to disconnect the original drive for the installation, after that you'll connect it back and it pretty much should be looking just like another disc in "this PC" tab

Customer Replay

Thanks for your help

Glad to assist, *****:)

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June 12, 2023
buying a new SSD seems like the best solution
June 09, 2023
Thanks for explaining how to access safe mode.
June 06, 2023
reinstalling windows is a pain 😫 but at least I won't lose my files!

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