What Is the Windows Boot Manager?

The Windows Startup Manager is a small piece of software that runs during system startup.

Your boot manager code is loaded from the beginning of the active system partition and is sometimes assigned a system reservation tag so you don’t accidentally overwrite it with a cat selfie. The startup manager can help you start the Windows installation. The Windows boot manager itself is universal and does not meet the operating system requirements during system load.

When there is only one version of Windows, the system will boot to that version without displaying the boot manager selection screen. However, once you install another operating system, this process changes and you can choose which operating system to use.

Boot Configuration Data

Modern Windows versions store Boot Configuration Data (BCD) in a registry-like database. Previously, you managed your boot screen options using the tiny boot.ini file (and Windows NT boot loader, ntldr). However, a single insecure text file is vulnerable to attack. Hence, this was changed to a more secure but universal solution.

Moreover, BCD provides both BIOS and EFI-based systems the same opportunities to edit configuration data using a boot option editing tool like BCDEdit (more on this in a moment).

Here are four ways to remove old boot manager options from your system boot process on Windows 10.

1. Hide the Options

Okay, so the first option isn’t strictly removing the entry, but you can hide the alternative boot options using the Windows Advanced startup menu.

  1. Press Windows Key + I to open the Settings panel.
  2. Head to Update & Security > Recovery, and under Advanced startup, select Restart now. (Alternatively, press Shift while selecting Restart in the Start menu.) Please note that this instantly restarts your system, so make sure to save any important documents before hitting the button.
  3. Select Use another operating system > Change defaults. Here you can set the Windows Boot Manager timer screen and Choose a default operating system. Selecting your default operating system doesn’t remove other installations, but it does stop the Boot Manager from appearing in each system startup.

Alternative Method: Use MSConfig

You can achieve similar results using the Windows System Configuration window.

  1. Type msconfig in the Start menu search bar and select the Best Match.
  2. Open the Boot tab.
  3. You can set your default operating system, the timeout screen, and other boot options.

Furthermore, you can “delete” old entries from the boot process, but this doesn’t actually remove them from your system (it does stop the boot manager operating system selection screen from appearing, though).

How to Delete Old Boot Menu Options on Windows 10 " Windows Boot Manager "

2. Use BCDEdit to Remove Boot Manager Options

BCDEdit is the built-in boot manager editing tool. A word of warning: deleting the wrong boot manager entry has very frustrating results. Double-check every edit before hitting Enter.

  1. Type cmd in the Start menu search bar, right-click Command Prompt and select Run as administrator.
  2. Once the elevated Command Prompt window opens, type bcdedit /export c:\bcdbackup and press Enter to create a backup of your BCD settings.
  3. Next, type bcdedit /v to list the boot loaders currently on your system. Here’s what happens when I run this command on my desktop:
How to Delete Old Boot Menu Options on Windows 10 " Windows Boot Manager "

The Windows Boot Manager section describes the location of the boot manager and other identifiers. The Windows boot loader section describes the Windows 10 boot loader for this system, the unique identifier, where to find winload.exe to continue the boot process, if the partition is enabled for recovery, and the root directory of the directory of the system.

If you have multiple installations of Windows, you can find bootloader information here. The type of operating system is displayed next to the description. Also, Legacy OS Loader will appear under separate brackets.

Copy the identifier (the long alphanumeric string) of the bootloader you want to delete. Now, input the command bcdedit /delete {identifier}, swapping out identifier for your own alphanumeric string.

Double-check you have the correct entry, then press Enter to delete the additional bootloader entry. The integrated BCD Editor is one of the quickest ways to remove a boot option from your BIOS, but it isn’t for everyone.

RELATED: How to Create a Bootable USB Drive From Your Windows CD

3. Using Visual BCD Editor

If using the Command Prompt isn’t for you, there is the option of Visual BCD Editor.

Visual BCD Editor implements a huge range of BCDEdit commands in an easy-to-use visual GUI. You get the same experience and functionality as using BCDEdit within the Command Prompt, but without worrying about entering the exact command.

How to Delete Old Boot Menu Options on Windows 10

Deleting an old entry is an easy task. Download and install Visual BCD Editor, then open it. The tool will take a short moment to scan your system. In the left-hand option tree, you’ll spot Bcdstore > Loaders > [your bootloader options]. Select the bootloader you want to remove and hit Delete at the bottom of the right-hand information panel.

As with the integrated BCD Editor, Visual BCD Editor makes it easy to remove old boot menu entries. However, as Visual BCD Editor comes with a handy GUI, this is likely the easiest boot menu removal option for most users.

4. Removing EFI Boot Manager Options Using BCDEdit

I started writing this article because my EFI boot manager has many old Linux boot loader entries. Again, they don’t cause any problems, but over time, they accumulate and become annoying.

EFI Boot Manager is part of the UEFI firmware management pack. If you have ever booted from a USB flash drive or other media source, you may encounter this situation, and you can usually access it by pressing a function key during the boot process.

To delete old EFI entries, open an elevated Command Prompt, type bcdedit /enum firmware, and press Enter. Unlike the command used for the Windows Boot Manager, the “enum firmware” command lists all objects available in the BCD store, including any Linux installations.

Copy the identifier of the firmware entry you want to delete and run the following command bcdedit /delete {identifier}, again replacing identifier with the alphanumeric string matching your entry.

RELATED: How to Check the Health of Your Windows 10 PC or Laptop

Your Boot Manager Is Now Clean

Your Windows Boot Manager has now cleared any unwanted entries. Or, you have optimized the boot process to ignore any alternate installations on the system, leaving you free to boot to the default operating system.