Here’s how to fix the Windows 11 Winload error

by Claire Moraa
Claire Moraa
Claire Moraa
Author
Claire likes to think she's got a knack for solving problems and improving the quality of life for those around her. Driven by the forces of rationality, curiosity,... read more
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  • The Winload error is a common Windows error that occurs when it is unable to load the operating system or when the boot sector is corrupt.
  • This file works by loading all the important files, registry files, settings, and drivers that are needed to load your Windows desktop.
  • If it fails, then you are likely to have a lot of errors on your PC, as well as other problems like slow performance and crashes & freezes.

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The Windows 11 Winload error usually comes up after you have made changes to your OS and then restarted your computer. The Winload error can also occur if you try to boot from an external hard drive or USB stick.

The winload.efi file is a necessary Windows file that is required for the proper functioning of your system. The file is one of the main executables which are responsible for loading the Operating System. 

If you face any error with this file then your PC may fail to start. This file can get damaged if your computer gets infected with malware or if it gets corrupted during a system shutdown.

What causes the Windows 11 Winload error?

  • Bad hard drive – The BIOS (Basic Input/Output System) is a firmware interface that allows communication between the operating system and the hardware. It’s responsible for doing things like detecting and initializing your hardware when you first boot up your computer. If you suspect that your hard drive may be failing, there are tests you can run to confirm or deny your suspicions.
  • Unsuccessful updates – The most common cause of the Winload error is that a recent update to Windows was unsuccessful. This can occur for several reasons, including the fact that a driver or a system file was not properly installed during the update process.
  • Unexpected shutdown – The most common cause of this problem is an unexpected shutdown of the computer. This can happen due to a sudden power surge or failure, or even a simple BSOD.
  • Damaged BCD – The BCD contains information about the partitions and hardware on your computer, so if this database gets damaged for some reason, the system won’t be able to load Windows properly.

Is the Winload error related to the BSOD error?

The Winload error appears when Windows can’t find the files that are necessary for booting. Winload.exe related errors are often caused by issues with your hard drive or Windows itself being damaged/corrupted.

In some cases, you might notice that this issue appears on your computer after installing a new update for Windows 11.

The BSOD error often occurs when a device driver is installed in the wrong way. If you have any problems with installing device drivers, then it’s likely that you need to update them regularly. You can also attempt our fixes for the BSOD error.

If you get the BSOD, it’s likely due to a hardware issue (CPU, RAM, hard drive) or software issue (driver conflict, virus infection). If you get the Winload error, it’s likely due to an installation issue (hard drive needs to be formatted or reinstalled completely).

How can I fix the Windows 11 Winload error?

1. Check your disk for errors

  1. Press the Windows key, type cmd on the search bar and click Run as administrator.
  2. Type in the following command then press Enter: chkdsk:/f

Alternatively, you can opt for a third-party tool that can scan, diagnose, and repair your system to resolve various PC issues such as DLL error messages, hardware failure, system crashes, computer freezing, and bluescreen.

Restoro is an easy-to-use and reliable software that will help you fix all damage and corruption inside the system.

2. Disable Secure Boot

  1. Press the Windows + I keys simultaneously to open Settings.
  2. Select the Recovery navigation option on the System tab.
  3. Click Restart now for the Advanced startup option.
  4. Select Troubleshoot.Select Troubleshoot to fix windows 11 error recovery
  5. Click on Advanced options.
  6. Choose UEFI Firmware Settings.
  7. Change the Secure boot state to disabled by toggling it off.
  8. Restart your PC and see if the problem persists.

3. Rebuild BCD

  1. Press the Windows + I keys simultaneously to open Settings.
  2. Select the Recovery navigation option on the System tab.
  3. Click Restart now for the Advanced startup option.
  4. Select Troubleshoot.Select Troubleshoot to fix windows 11 error recovery
  5. Click on Advanced options.
  6. Next, select Command Prompt.Command Prompt in Advanced options
  7. In the command window, type the following command prompts and press Enter when done: bootrec /fixmbr bootrec /fixboot bootrec /scanos bootrec /rebuildbcd

4. Disable Windows Firewall

  1. Press the Windows + I keys simultaneously to open Settings.open settings
  2. Type Windows Security in the search box and select Open.
  3. Navigate to Virus & threat protection.virus and threat protection steam error e502 l3
  4. Select Public network.
  5. Toggle Microsoft Defender Firewall off.

The Windows 11 Winload error is still there, what can I do?

If you have attempted all the solutions above but are still experiencing the error, do not despair. There is still something else you can do as a last resort.

Expert Tip: Some PC issues are hard to tackle, especially when it comes to corrupted repositories or missing Windows files. If you are having troubles fixing an error, your system may be partially broken. We recommend installing Restoro, a tool that will scan your machine and identify what the fault is.
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You can reinstall the OS. However, before you do, you will have to copy your boot drive to another drive.

To reinstall Windows 11. follow the steps below:

  1. Press the Windows + I keys simultaneously to open Settings.
  2. Select the Recovery navigation option on the System tab.
  3. Select Keep my files if you want to retain personal files and Remove everything if you wish to delete all files.
  4. Choose Local reinstall if you have ISO file downloaded and Cloud download if not.
  5. Click Next.
  6. Select Reset.

Is Winload exe a virus?

Winload.exe is a vital boot component of the Windows operating system It is stored in the windows boot directory and is used by the OS to load core drivers, such as the file system driver and device drivers for your hard disk.

Winload.exe is a legitimate component of the Microsoft Essentials program but malware programs sometimes use this name to avoid detection.

The file should not be deleted from your computer unless you think it has been infected by a virus or trojan program that masquerades as the original file for malicious purposes.

Normally, you will find the winload.exe file in the following folder:
C:\Windows\System32\ folder

But, if it appears in another folder, or if there are two files with such names in different folders, it may be a sign of virus activity on your PC.

Remember to secure your PC with reliable antivirus solutions to keep your system from getting infected with malware.

Feel free to visit our expert guide on how to fix Winload.efi errors in Windows 10 to bypass this issue.

Please let us know of any additional solutions or thoughts you may have on this topic in the comment section below.

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