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

Milan Stanojevic
by Milan Stanojevic
Windows & Software Expert
Milan has been enthusiastic about PCs ever since his childhood days, and this led him to take interest in all PC-related technologies. Before joining WindowsReport, he worked as a front-end web developer. Read more
Affiliate Disclosure
  • If Windows 10 won't boot, it can mean that certain hardware interferes with the process.
  • Keep in mind that corrupted files are also a cause. See what tool you can use in order to repair a damaged system.
  • Troubleshooting from the BIOS menu is another method you can apply when Windows 10 won't start up.
  • You can also try to boot in Safe Mode. Simply rely on the article below to guide your every step.
windows 10 won't boot
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Did you just upgrade or install Windows 10 operating system, and when you try to start your computer, you discover that Windows 10 won’t boot?

Many users have reported this error and it turned out that their device either needed to be restored to a previous state or it required to be booted in Safe Mode.

If you have issues booting your system we recommend you try the solutions we detailed for you in this comprehensive guide below, so check them out and see which one suits your particular situation.

How do I fix a Windows 10 PC that doesn’t start up?

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 of the operating system.

Some users claimed that what helped them in this particular situation was to troubleshoot directly from Safe Mode as we detail in this comprehensive guide.

If you boot your computer and the POST bar fills up completely, then disappears, then it has completed the POST successfully.

2. Disconnect any external devices

Sometimes hardware may interfere with the normal Windows boot process, that’s why sometimes it is recommended that you unplug all your other devices.

Unplug peripherals and gadgets connected to your computers such as a printer, scanner, digital camera, video recorder, USB device, CD/DVD, mp3 player, media card reader, and others.

Keep only your mouse, monitor, and keyboard (if using a desktop PC). Once you do this, unplug the computer from the power outlet on the wall.

You also need to remove the laptop battery, hold the power button down for 10-15 seconds, then plug back the power outlet and restart.

3. Check for the specific error message you get

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

Sometimes these specific errors are generated by corrupted files or out-of-date programs. We recommend you access this article if you want to find out more about how you can fix BSoD.

4. Check your hardware and their connections

If the system refuses to boot completely and you get a blank screen instead, you have plenty of reasons to try and get a bigger picture of the insides of your PC.

That, of course, if you have a desktop PC and if you’re not voiding any warranty in the process. If that’s the case, you should contact the vendor for diagnostics and repair.

If you can open the case without suffering any consequences, here are the main things that you should look at:

  • Hard drive or SSD: If the main booting drive is not connected properly or it’s malfunctioning, you will not get the system to boot. So, check the data and power cables are properly connected at both ends.
  • RAM/ memory modules: Try to detach and reattach the memory modules on the motherboard. Sometimes, a loose connection there may cause this problem.
  • PCI-E modules: Detach and reattach all the PCI-E cards. Although it’s less probable to cause the booting problem, there is a possibility for them to trigger this behavior.

5. Repair your Master Boot Record

There might be the case that your PC is not booting up because it simply doesn’t have a Master Boot Record or it’s corrupted.

This is a major cause for this kind of problem although you should get a Master Boot error in the booting process somewhere.

Anyway, if that’s the case, we’ve got an excellent guide on what to do if the Master Boot Record is missing.

6. Perform an Automatic Repair

  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.

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.

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. This is because you may change a setting that may prevent your computer from booting properly.

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

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 above exactly as they are to change boot order then perform a repair. In the restart process, check for any instructions on how to interrupt normal startup.

Run a System Scan to discover potential errors

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

7. Connect different video outputs to your computer

When your computer won’t boot in Windows 10 you can try different video output combinations and see if the issue persists.

One method is to try to connect to a different adapter from integrated graphics to a discrete card, or vice versa.

You can also connect to a different output from HDMI to DVI, DisplayPort to VGA, or any other combination.

9. Boot in Safe Mode

  1. Restart the PC, and when Windows 10 tries to load remove the power supply or press and hold the Power button to force shutdown (Repeat this process three to four times, until Windows loads the Boot options).
  2. You may also press the F8 key when Windows starts to load to trigger the Boot options to appear.
  3. 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.

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.

Once you’re in safe mode, you can perform a System File Checker (SFC) followed by running the DISM tool and see if the Windows 10 boot issue is solved.

Run an SFC scan

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

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

Run the DISM tool

  1. Click Start.
  2. In the search field box, type cmd.
  3. Click Run as administrator under Command Prompt.
  4. Type the following command: Dism /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth

If you still notice that Windows 10 will not boot, you should 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.

Once the repair is complete, reboot your computer and check if the booting process in Windows 10 is still an issue.

If Safe Mode is stable, then the issue is most likely with drivers, but your computer could also need disinfection or system file repair.

Manually update drivers

  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.

Most upgrade problems in Windows 10 are corruption issues passed from previous operating systems.

Restore Windows

  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

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. Check if Windows 10 will not boot issue is still there, or if it’s gone.

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.

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

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