There are two possible ways to fix the problem of “Access is Denied” when trying to run the bootrec /fixboot command in Windows. This command is normally used for fixing a number of startup problems you might be having in Windows. Problems like “Windows Failed to Start a Recent Hardware or Software Change Might Be The Cause”, blue screen of death that says “Your PC Ran Into a Problem and Needs to Restart”, black screen on startup, missing boot device, et cetera.
The bootrec command rebuilds the Boot Configuration Data file (BCD) in cases where the file is missing, corrupted, or isn’t properly configured. This is why the bootrec command is quite important. But what do you do if bootrec denies you access to some command extensions like the fixboot command? Below are two possible ways to solve this problem.
METHOD ONE: Recreate the EFI Directory Structure and Reconfigure the Boot Files Using BCDboot Command
To do this, on the terminal where you got the access is denied error, type in the command, diskpart, and hit enter. Wait till you see the diskpart prompt, then type the command, list disk and hit enter, this should display all the disks you have attached to your PC.
Next, you want to select the disk where you have your Windows file, normally is the disk 0, so type select disk 0 and hit enter. It should say disk 0 is now the selected disk. Now type list vol and hit enter. It should display all the volumes you have on all the disks attached to your PC.
Next you need to select the volume with your System Reserved partition, yours might be combined to the partition with your Windows operating system, in some cases, it’s clearly defined as System reserved, which is the volume 1. This is where you have your EFI directory.
Next run the command, select vol, it should say volume 1 is the selected volume. Now you will need to assign another letter to this volume, you can choose any letter you want, but note that some letters are reserves by windows and others like FCED in some cases are already in use so you have to use some other letters. Here I will use letter V.
So I will run the command, assign letter=V:. It should say diskpart successfully assigned the drive letter. Now type exit, and hit enter, this should close your diskpart session. Next type V: and hit enter, it should take you to the V volume.
Here type the command md \efi\microsoft\boot\ and hit enter. Next type the command cd /d V:\efi\microsoft\boot\ and hit enter. Then type, bootrec /fixboot and hit enter. It should say the operation completed successfully. After that type bcdboot c:\windows /l en-us /s V: /f all and hit enter. It should again say the operation completed successfully.
Type exit and hit enter to close the terminal. It should bring you back to the page below.
From here if you go back to the command line terminal, you should be able to run the bootrec /fixboot command successfully.
If for some reason this doesn’t work for you, then you can follow the second approach to fix this problem.
METHOD TWO: Using Windows 10 Build 1703 Media Files
There have been several reports that this error is peculiar to the later Windows 10 installation media files, like build 1709 and the latest build 1803 install media. So running the same command using an earlier version like build 1703 will not cause this error.
Unfortunately, if you try to use the Media creation tool from Microsoft official download page, you will end up with the latest Windows 10 build on your USB stick. So for this second fix, you will need to configure a bootable USB with the 1703 build installation files in order to run your bootrec commands without errors.
This process will not downgrade your Windows from any version to 1703, it only provides you the command line terminal from the 1703 build from where you can run the bootrec commands without errors.
To do that you will need a USB stick which is at least 8GB in size and has no files in it. Then using the disk management tool, mark the USB as active.
To do that, attach your USB stick to your PC, again ensure you have no files in it, you can choose to format it in case it has some initial configurations. Then right-click on your windows start icon and select disk management.
On the disk management page, locate your USB, right-click on it and select mark partition as active.
Download Windows 10 Build 1703 media files. After downloading, simply copy all the downloaded files to your USB drive. With that, you should have a bootable USB with Windows 10 build 1703 installation files. Now you can use this USB to repair any version of Windows 10 you might be having problems with.
The Installation media in the link above has both the 32-bit and 64-bit editions, so you can choose on startup which edition you want to run. Of course, this is quite a heavy file, about 6GB in size, so you should ensure you have a good Internet connecting before proceeding with the download.
Please share your comments, questions, and feedback in the comment section below.
The following video demonstrates the solutions in this tutorial.