It’s annoying when Windows doesn’t start, but thankfully it will (usually) try and give a few hints as to why. Error Code: 0xc000000e is an unhelpful message, but reasonably easy to fix.
Is 0xc000000e caused by a virus or malware?
That’s the most common presumption by Windows users who see 0xc000000e instead of their desktop. It certainly can be caused by a virus or malware but that’s rather rare these days. 0xc000000e is caused by a problem with the Windows boot record and often pops up when a Windows update has gone badly wrong or when booting a freshly cloned drive. The simple solution requires using another Windows PC to create a bootable USB drive loaded with Macrium Reflect.
Where can I download Macrium Reflect for free?
Macrium’s software is fabulous for cloning, imaging and backup, but it also has a neat feature to fix Windows boot errors such as 0xc000000e. Although Macrium is commercial software, its free edition for home users – Reflect Free – is…free (spoilers!). In exchange for an email address, they’ll send you the download link.
How to create a bootable Macrium Reflect USB
Use the emailed link to download the software onto a working machine (you won’t need it for long). The installer will pull in the latest version and begin the installation. Tick the options to confirm that you’re using Macrium for personal use. You’re free to register (or not) but untick the option to install viBoot, it’s not required to fix 0xc000000e.
Insert a USB stick (8GB or above) and select Other Tasks then Create Rescue Media.
Select the USB from the Macrium Rescue Media Builder then select Build.
Go and have a cup of tea or do some light stretching, and by the time you’re refreshed, the USB builder will be complete.
Using Macrium to resolve 0xc000000e
You’re almost home and dry. Insert the Macrium USB into the non-booting machine, then turn it on. To boot from the USB drive, you’ll need to press a key – F1, F2, F11, F12 or Delete are the usual suspects. If you have a Lenovo laptop, look for the NOVO hole on the side of the chassis.
Once Macrium Boots, select Fix Windows boot problems. The software will not search the hard drive, looking for installations of Windows.
99% of times, only one Windows installation will be displayed. If more than one appears, then select the hard drive which is the machine’s boot drive. Select Next and the process will begin.
This won’t take long. When Macrium has finished, click Yes to restart the PC (don’t forget to remove the USB). The machine will shut down and then boot as normal, relegating 0xc000000e to a distant bad memory.
If Macrium hasn’t quite fixed your Windows boot problems, then have a look at some of our other guides, such as How do I repair Windows 10 whilst keeping all apps and data? or if your data is securely vaulted elsewhere, How do I install Windows 11 from a USB stick?