Windows 10 won’t boot? Here’s how to fix it

Elsie Otachi By: Elsie Otachi
9 minute read
windows 10 won't boot

Home » Windows » Windows 10 won’t boot? Here’s how to fix it

Did you just upgrade or install Windows 10 operating system, and when you try to start your computer, you discover that Windows 10 will not boot?

If this is your situation, try the solutions below to see if they’ll resolve the Windows 10 boot problem.

Windows 10 won’t start up? Fix it with these solutions

  1. Confirm that your computer completes the POST process
  2. Disconnect any external devices
  3. Check for the specific error message you get
  4. Boot in Safe Mode
  5. Reset your PC
  6. Perform a System Restore
  7. Perform Automatic Repair
  8. Connect different video outputs to your computer
  9. Boot in Safe Mode with Networking
  10. Perform a Clean Boot

Solution 1 – Confirm that your computer completes the POST process

In many cases where Windows 10 will not boot, the computer may not hand off control the operating system. If you boot your computer and the POST bar fills up completely, then disappears, then it has completed the POST successfully.


Solution 2 – Disconnect any external devices

disconnect devices Windows 10 will not boot

Sometimes a hardware may interfere with the normal Windows boot process. In this case, unplug all devices connected to your computer such as printer, scanner, digital camera, video recorder, USB device, CD/DVD, mp3 player, media card reader, and any other external devices you have plugged in.

Keep only your mouse, monitor and keyboard (if using a PC). Once you do this, unplug the computer from the power outlet on the wall, remove the laptop battery, hold the power button down for 10-15 seconds, then plug back the power outlet and restart.


Solution 3 – Check for the specific error message you get

blue screen windows won't boot

You can check online about the specific error message you get when Windows 10 will not boot. Such messages include a Blue Screen or Black Screen error, and how to troubleshoot them.


Solution 4 – Boot in Safe Mode

Safe Mode starts up your computer with limited files and drivers but Windows will still run. To know whether you’re on Safe mode, you’ll see the words at the corners of your screen.

If the Windows 10 will not boot issue persists, check whether it occurs while your computer is in Safe mode.

Follow these steps to start your computer in Safe Mode:

  1. Click on Start button.
  2. Select Settings – the Settings box will open up.
  3. Click Update & Security.
    settings update and security Windows 10 can't boot
  4. Select Recovery.
    update and security Windows won't boot
  5. Go to Advanced startup.
    advanced startup Windows 10 will not boot
  6. Click Restart now.
  7. Select Troubleshoot from the Choose an Option screen, then click Advanced options.
  8. Go to Startup Settings and click Restart.
  9. Once your computer restarts, a list of options will come up.
  10. Choose 4 or F4 to start your computer in Safe Mode.

A quicker way to get into Safe Mode is to restart your computer then do the following:

  1. From the Choose an option screen, select Troubleshoot>Advanced options>Startup Settings>Restart.
  2. Once your computer restarts, a list of options will come up.
  3. Choose 4 or F4 to start your computer in Safe Mode.

If Windows 10 will not boot issue isn’t there while in Safe mode, then your default settings and basic drivers are not contributing to the issue.

How to exit Safe Mode:

  1. Right click Start button.
  2. Select Run.
    run windows won't boot
  3. Type msconfig.
    msconfig windows 10
  4. Go to the Boot tab.
    system configuration Windows 10 will not boot
  5. Deselect or uncheck Safe Boot option box.
  6. Restart your computer.

Did this help? If not, try the next solution.


Solution 5 – Reset your PC

Performing a reset allows you to choose which files you want to keep, or remove, and then reinstalls Windows.

Here’s how to do this:

  1. Click Start.
  2. Click Settings.
  3. Click Update & Security.
    update and security Windows 10 will not boot
  4. Click Recovery.
    recovery Windows 10 will not boot
  5. Go to Reset this PC and click Get started.
    reset this pc Windows 10 can't boot
  6. Select Keep my files option.

Note: all your personal files will be deleted and settings reset. Any apps you installed will be removed, and only pre-installed apps that came with your PC will be reinstalled.

Does this fix the Windows 10 will not boot problem? If not, try the next solution.


Solution 6 – Perform a System Restore

If Windows 10 will not boot after an upgrade, use System Restore while in Safe Mode to create restore points when you install new apps, drivers or Windows updates, or when you create restore points manually.

Try and restore the system using the steps below and see if it helps:

  1. Click Start.
  2. Go to the search field box and type System Restore.
  3. Click Create a restore point in the list of search results.
  4. Enter your administrator account password or grant permissions if prompted to.
  5. In the System Properties dialog box, click System Restore.
    system properties Windows 10 will not boot
  6. Click Next.
  7. Click a restore point created before you experienced the problem.
  8. Click Next.
  9. Click Finish.

Restoring doesn’t affect your personal files. It however removes apps, drivers and updates installed after the restore point was created.

To go back to a restore point, do the following:

  1. Right click Start.
  2. Select Control Panel.
  3. In the control panel search box, type Recovery.
  4. Select Recovery.
    recovery Windows 10 won't boot
  5. Click Open System Restore.
    open system restore Windows 10 won't boot
  6. Click Next.
  7. Choose the restore point related to the problematic program/app, driver or update.
  8. Click Next.
  9. Click Finish.

Solution 7 – Perform Automatic Repair

In order to do this, you need to download Windows 10 ISO then create a Media Creation tool, which you can do from another computer.

Once you have the installation media, follow the steps below:

  1. Insert the Windows Installation disk or USB drive then restart your computer. You will see a message requesting you to Press any key to boot from DVD.
  2. Press any key to boot from DVD.
  3. Once you see the Install Windows page displayed, click Repair your computer to start Windows Recovery Environment (WinRE).
  4. In WinRE, go to Choose an option screen.
  5. Click Troubleshoot.
  6. Click Advanced Options.
  7. Click Automatic Repair.

Note: If you don’t see the Press any key to boot from DVD message, you need to change the boot order in your BIOS settings to start from disk or USB.

Be careful when changing BIOS settings as the BIOS interface is designed for advanced computer users because you may change a setting that may prevent your computer from booting properly.

You should only update BIOS when necessary like when solving a compatibility problem. It can be complicated, and render your computer inoperable in case of any errors.

Follow the steps below exactly as they are to change boot order then perform a repair:

  1. In the restart process, check for any instructions on how to interrupt normal startup.
  2. Enter the BIOS Setup Utility. Most computers use F2, F10, ESC or DELETE key to begin this setup.
  3. Find a tab in BIOS set up utility labeled Boot Order, Boot Options, or Boot.
  4. Use the arrow keys to go to Boot Order.
  5. Press Enter.
  6. Locate the removable device (CD, DVD, or USB flash drive) in the Boot list.
  7. Use arrow keys to move the drive upwards to appear as the first in Boot list.
  8. Press Enter.
  9. Your boot order sequence has now been changed to boot from DVD, CD, or USB flash drive.
  10. Press F10 to save changes and exit BIOS Setup Utility.
  11. Click Yes in the confirmation windows.
  12. Your computer will restart normally.
  13. Let the scan proceed for a few minutes to remove any malware infecting your computer.
  14. Select your preferred language, currency, time, keyboard or other input method.
  15. Click Next.
  16. Click Repair your computer.
  17. Choose the operating system you want to repair (in this case Windows 10).
  18. Click Next.
  19. On Choose an option screen, select Troubleshoot.
  20. Select Advanced Options.
  21. Click System Restore or Startup Repair.

Once the repair is complete, check whether Windows 10 will not boot issue goes away, otherwise try the next solution.


Solution 8 – Connect different video outputs to your computer

You can try different video output combinations such as the ones below and see if the Windows 10 will not boot issue persists:

  • Connect to a different adapter from integrated graphics to a discrete card, or vice versa
  • Connect to a different output from HDMI to DVI, DisplayPort to VGA, or any other combination

Solution 9 – Boot in Safe Mode with Networking

Safe Mode with Networking starts Windows in safe mode, including the network drivers and services you need to access the internet or other computers on the same network.

Follow these steps to boot into safe mode with networking:

  1. Restart your computer.
  2. When the sign-in screen is displayed, hold down SHIFT key while you select Power then Restart.
  3. After the computer restarts to Choose an option screen, select Troubleshoot.
  4. Click Advanced options.
  5. Click Startup Settings.
  6. Click Restart.
  7. Once it restarts, you will see a list of options. select 5 or F5 for Safe Mode with Networking.

Once you’re in safe mode, you can perform the following to try and resolve the Windows 10 will not boot issue:

  1. Run a System File Checker (SFC) scan
  2. Run the DISM tool

How to run an SFC scan

A System File Checker scan checks all protected system files, and then replaces the incorrect versions, with the genuine, correct Microsoft versions.

Here’s how to do this:

  1. Click Start.
  2. Go to the search field box and type CMD.
  3. Select Command Prompt.
    command prompt windows 10 won't boot
  4. Right click and select Run as Administrator.
    run as administrator Windows 10 will not boot
  5. Type sfc/scannow
    Windows 10 will not boot
  6. Press Enter.
  7. Restart your computer.

How to run the DISM tool

If you still get the Windows 10 will not boot issue, run the DISM tool, or Deployment Image Servicing and Management tool.

The DISM tool helps fix Windows corruption errors when Windows Updates and service packs fail to install due to corruption errors, like if you have a damaged system file.

Here’s how to run the DISM command on your PC to check if it helps:

  1. Click Start.
  2. In the search field box, type CMD.
  3. Click Command Prompt in the search results list.
    command prompt search windows can't boot
  4. Type Dism /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth

Once the repair is complete, reboot your computer and check if the Windows 10 will not boot issue persists.

If Safe Mode is stable, then the issue is most likely with drivers, but your computer could also need disinfection or system file repair as most upgrade problems in Windows 10 are corruption issues passed from previous operating systems.

In this case, while still in Safe Mode, do the following:

  1. Click Start.
  2. Go to the search box and type Update to check for and speed up critical updates taking time to install.
  3. Right click Start button.
  4. Select Device Manager.
  5. Import any missing or drivers with errors from the computer or manufacturer’s website.

Also still in Safe mode, download, install, and decline trial version of Malwarebytes and adware cleaners, then update and run full scans. Make sure you uninstall bloatware antivirus programs and enable built-in Windows Defender to test your PC’s performance.

Once the above are sorted, do the following:

  1. Right click Task bar.
    taskbar menu Windows 10 won't boot
  2. Select Task Manager.
  3. On Startup tab, disable everything until your install is stabilized.
    open task manager Windows 10 will not boot
  4. Restore only what you need including Windows

Check if Windows 10 will not boot issue is still there, or it is gone. If it persists, try the next solution.


Solution 10 – Perform a Clean Boot

If you manage to boot in Safe Mode, perform a clean boot to eliminate any software conflicts that may be causing the issue.

Performing a clean boot for your computer reduces conflicts related to software that can bring up the root causes of the Windows 10 booting failure. These conflicts can be caused by applications and services that start up and run in the background whenever you start Windows normally.

How to perform a clean boot

In order to successfully perform a clean boot on Windows 10, you have to be logged on as the administrator, then follow these steps:

  1. Go to the search box.
  2. Type msconfig.
    msconfig run windows 10 won't boot
  3. Select System Configuration.
  4. Find Services tab.
    system configuration Windows 10 will not boot
  5. Select Hide all Microsoft services box.
    hide all Microsoft services Windows 10 can't boot
  6. Click Disable all.
  7. Go to Startup tab.
  8. Click Open Task Manager.
    startup tab Windows 10 won't boot
  9. Close Task manager then click Ok.
  10. Reboot your computer.

You will have a clean boot environment after all these steps are carefully followed, after which you can try and check if the problem is gone.

Do the following to exit Safe Mode:

  1. Right click Start button.
  2. Select Run.
    run win+x menu Windows 10 will not boot
  3. Type msconfig.
  4. A pop up will open.
  5. Go to the Boot tab.
    boot tab Windows 10 will not boot
  6. Deselect or uncheck Safe Boot option box.
  7. Restart your computer.

Did any of these solutions work to fix the Windows 10 will not boot issue on your computer? Let us know in the comments section below.


Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in November 2017 and has been since revamped and updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.


RELATED STORIES TO CHECK OUT:

Discussions

Next up

Windows 10 v1903 blocked on PCs running 3rd-party antivirus tools

Rabia Noureen avatar. By: Rabia Noureen
2 minute read

Microsoft confirmed that third-party antivirus products are causing Windows machines to suddenly freeze. The issue appears on different Windows versions after users installed the April 2019 […]

Continue Reading

We couldn’t add all your attachments the Mail app error [FIX]

Matthew Adams By: Matthew Adams
3 minute read

The Mail and Calendar app, which comes included with Windows 10, enables users to attach files to emails much the same as most email software. […]

Continue Reading

The File is damaged and could not be repaired error [FIX]

Matthew Adams By: Matthew Adams
3 minute read

The “File is damaged and could not be repaired” error message pertains to the Adobe PDF software (including the Adobe PDF Reader Internet Explorer add-on). […]

Continue Reading