Install a boot-start driver

A boot-start driver is a driver for a device that must be installed to start the Microsoft Windows operating system. Most boot-start drivers are included in driver packages that are "in-the-box" with Windows, and Windows automatically installs these boot-start drivers during first boot of the system. If a boot-start driver for a device is not included in a driver package that is "in-the-box" with Windows, a user can install an additional vendor-supplied driver package for the device.

When possible, driver packages that contain boot-start drivers should be added to the image offline before the image is deployed to a system. For more information, see Add and remove drivers to an offline Windows image.

When running Windows setup on a system, if setup is unable to find the disk or partition you want to install Windows to, this may be because the installation media and Windows image is missing a driver for that disk. You can update the installation media to include a driver package that provides a driver for that disk. See Add device drivers to Windows during Windows Setup for more information. If running setup manually, during the disk selection interface, you can also select the "Have Disk" button to select a disk or file location that contains a driver package for the disks on that system.

If Windows fails to start, certain error messages that are displayed can indicate that a boot-start driver is missing. The following table describes several error messages and their possible causes.

Error message Possible cause
Inaccessible boot device The boot disk is a third-party mass-storage device that requires a driver that is not included with Windows.
Setup could not determine your machine type A new HAL driver is required. This error does not occur on most machines, but it might occur on a high-end server.
Setup could not find any hard drives in your computer The required boot device drivers for the hard drives are not loaded.