What to do if Windows 10 is not restarting

Aleksandar Ognjanovic
by Aleksandar Ognjanovic
Troubleshooting Expert
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  • Restarting your PC is an excellent way of fixing some of the most common Windows 10 issues. More so, it is a recommended step that you should follow when installing or uninstalling software.
  • Some Windows 10 issue scan prevent your PC from restarting, and that's exactly what we will be covering in the guide below.
  • We've covered plenty of similar articles in our hub dedicated to fixing System errors, so check it out if there are other issues bothering you.
  • We have many more troubleshooting guides in our dedicated Fix page, so check it out.
windows 10 not restarting

Besides the standard power options, we’ve always had Shut Down and Restart options on Windows computers. And Microsoft kind of managed to break it for some users who upgraded to Windows 10 over Windows 7 or Windows 8.

Additionally, other affected users run into the same problem after a major update. Both were unable to restart their PC, as the PC is shutting down instead of rebooting.

We made sure to shed some light on this rather peculiar problem and provide you with a few applicable solutions.


What can I do if Windows 10 won’t restart?

  1. Run the Power troubleshooter
  2. Try with the Clean Boot and SFC/DISM
  3. Boot into Safe mode
  4. Disable Intel Management Engine
  5. Uninstall a third-party antivirus and scan for PUPs
  6. Rollback Windows update or reset your PC to factory settings
  7. Perform a clean reinstallation

1. Run the Power troubleshooter

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Choose Update & Security.windows 10 not restarting
  3. Select Troubleshoot from the left pane.
  4. Expand the Power Troubleshooter and click on the “Run the troubleshooter” button.windows 10 not restarting

Let’s start by relying on the built-in troubleshooting tool to resolve the problem. Most reports suggest that the problem occurred after an update, which isn’t exactly uncommon for Windows 10.

Every major update is similar to a fresh installation in regards to drivers, and meddling with those consequently leads to massive issues. Either way, let’s give the troubleshooter go, and if it fails, we can safely move to the next step.


2. Try with the Clean Boot and SFC/DISM

  1. In the Windows Search bar, type msconfig and open System Configuration.
  2. Under the Services tab, check the “Hide all Microsoft services” box.
  3. Click “Disable all” to disable all active third-party services.windows 10 not restarting
  4. Reboot your PC with a physical.

And, to address concerns about a possible system corruption, we’ll need you to run two built-in utilities from the elevated Command Prompt. Here’s how to run SFC and DISM on Windows 10:

  1. In the Windows Search bar, type cmd.
  2. Right-click click on Command Prompt and run it as admin.
  3. In the command-line, type sfc/scannow and press Enter.
  4. After its done, type the following command and press Enter after each:
    • DISM /online /Cleanup-Image / ScanHealthwindows 10 not restarting
    • DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth
  5. Reboot your PC when everything ends (it can take some time) with the physical button.

If you’ve upgraded to Windows 10 over the Windows 7 installation, it’s quite common for certain third-party apps to fail you later on. On the same note, it’s not uncommon for that transition to come out with corruption of system files.

In order to address the first possibility, we’ll need you to start your PC in the Clean Boot mode (without any third-party applications starting with the system).


3. Boot into Safe mode

  1. Press Windows key + I to open Settings.
  2. Choose Update & Security.
  3. Select Recovery from the left pane.
  4. Under the Advanced startup, click Restart now.windows 10 not restarting
  5. Choose Troubleshoot.
  6. Select Advanced options and then Startup settings.
  7. Click Restart.
  8. Choose Safe mode or Safe mode with Networking from the list.
  9. Try restarting your PC from the Safe mode.

If the Clean Boot and utilities failed you, let’s make sure that some of the first-party secondary devices aren’t causing the problem. Some reports state that the Intel Management Engine (common on many laptops) is causing the problem.

When in the Safe Mode, Windows 10 shouldn’t load this driver. If you’re able to restart your device from the Safe mode, we suggest checking the next step which explains how to disable this service.


4. Disable Intel Management Engine

  1. Right-click on the Start and open Device Manager.
  2. Navigate to System devices and expand this section.
  3. Right-click on the Intel(R) Management Engine Interface and choose Disable device from the contextual menu.windows 10 not restarting
  4. Shut down your PC and start it again.
  5. Try restarting it again.

As we already noticed in the previous step, the Intel Management Engine tends to break the restart option. We made sure to explain how to disable it and, hopefully, resolve the major stir it caused. In order to do so, you’ll need to navigate to Device Manager and disable the device there.

Hopefully, you’ll be able to restart your PC through the system UI without any issues.


5. Uninstall a third-party antivirus and scan for PUPs

  1. Download Malwarebytes AdwCleaner, here.
  2. Run the tool and click Scan Now.windows 10 not restarting
  3. Wait until the tool scans your system and click Clean & Repair.

While this built-in utility is a known culprit for the problem, we can’t neglect a possible negative impact an antivirus has on Windows 10. This, of course, shouldn’t be the case, but it sadly is.

Certain third-party antimalware solutions and Windows 10 are not cooperating properly, especially if you have an older version installed.

After you’ve dealt with the antivirus (this might be temporary, you can reinstall the latest version later), we suggest downloading and running AdwCleaner.

The AdwCleaner by Malwarebytes is a great anti-PUP (Potentially Unwanted Program), and it should remove all bloatware (some cleaners and similar tools included), and resolve the problem.


6. Rollback Windows update or reset your PC to factory settings

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Choose Update & Security.windows 10 not restarting
  3. Choose Recovery from the left pane.
  4. Click Get started under the “Go back to the previous version of Windows 10 section.windows 10 not restarting

And this is how to reset it to factory values:

  1. Navigate to Settings > Update & Security > Recovery.
  2. Click Get started under Reset this PC.windows 10 not restarting
  3. Choose to keep your files and continue with the procedure.

If you’re still stuck with the error at hand, we can only suggest turning to a couple of Windows 10 recovery options. Now, you can either roll back to the previous system release or, even better, reset your PC to factory values.

Both options allow you to keep your data but will relieve you off of some third-party applications.


7. Perform a clean reinstallation

Finally, if none of the previous steps haven’t relieved you of the issue at hand and you’re still unable to restart your PC, we can only concur that a clean reinstallation is the next logical step.

If you’re not sure how to reinstall Windows 10, we made sure to provide you with the in-depth instructions in this article. After the reinstallation, you shouldn’t have any more issues.


FAQ: Learn more about the Restart function

  • Why should I restart Windows 10 instead of using Shutdown and then booting?

When restarting your PC, you have the added advantage of saving time. Speaking of which, you could also make use of Windows 10’s Fast Boot feature to get even better results.

  • Why am I prompted to restart my PC after a software install?

Most software setups need a reboot in order to finalize the setting of all of their system files. This step is not mandatory, but you may encounter issues with the program until the next reboot.

  • Is there any way I can speed up my PC’s restart process?

Certain third-party tools have been known to help with speeding up the Windows 10 boot process.


Also, make sure to tell us whether one of the steps helped you in the comments section below. Your feedback is of utmost importance to us.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in December 2018 and has been since revamped and updated in April 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

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