Let’s see together what can we do if Windows won’t boot, so as to get back to work or study quickly and save us the trouble of having to take the computer to a qualified IT technician.
READ ALSO -> If your PC isn’t moving or responding, how to unlock it without restarting Windows
1) Preliminary checks
First of all, let’s check that the problem is not a triviality such as the power plug not connected or an initial configuration error. If trying to press the power button the PC does not react at all, or the plug is disconnected, or the battery is discharged or the power supply is broken. In the case of a laptop, let’s try to disconnect the battery (where possible) and check if it turns on by connecting it only to the power outlet; if it does, then the battery is broken or the power connectors between the battery and the PC have been damaged.
Each computer, upon power-up, performs a hardware test called POST (Power On Self Test) which is recognizable by a screen full of writings that disappears after a second. In these writings, the cause of the boot failure could be found because one of the hardware tests has failed. Unfortunately on new computers this screen is hidden by the manufacturer’s logo and is not visible. However, to be sure there is not a problem with an external device, unplug everything from your computer and try turning it back on.
To learn more we can read the article what happens when you turn on your computer and why it can fail.
2) Boot order in the BIOS
If the computer turns on and shows at least the initial screen with the manufacturer’s logo or with some writing on a black screen, it means that the BIOS is loaded. The BIOS is the motherboard firmware, the first thing a computer loads when it turns on, which contains system startup instructions. To enter the BIOS you have to press a key (usually it’s the Delete key or one of the Function keys, above the numbers) repeatedly after turning on the computer.
In the BIOS, which in modern computers is called UEFI, there is a setting to check, that of the boot order that must have the main disk of the computer in the first place Trivially, if there is a problem with the boot order, simply unplug any external drive or USB pen and remove the DVD from the player.
To learn more we can read the guide on how to change the boot order to have the clearest procedure.
3) Specific error message
The appearance of a message or error code with a black screen or blue screen is, all in all, fortunate because at least it gives us some indication of what to look for. We then write down the code and, from another PC, look for a recognized cause and solution. The boot failure can occur for various reasons: Bad RAM, bad disk, compromised registry, compromised boot sector, or errors with system files (damaged or blocked by viruses).
In any case, to verify or correct these types of errors you must have a Windows installation media at hand or create a recovery disk from another computer that contains all the troubleshooting and diagnostic tools.
To proceed we can read our guide on how to create a recovery disk or USB stick in Windows 10, 8, and 7. Then restart the computer and start it from the DVD or the newly created USB stick (to do this immediately press the button for the boot menu or change the order from the BIOS as seen above). The set of options proposed by the Rescue Disc contains tools to repair your computer.
In Windows 10 we can also use the option to reset the system, so as to reinstall everything without losing personal files (even if you will lose the installed programs). For more information, consult the guides How to reset Windows 10 (Reset PC) e How to create a recovery USB stick in Windows 10.
4) Windows restarts continuously (loop)
If the PC is in a loop and always keeps restarting it takes very little to proceed with the recovery since Windows 10 shows automatically a recovery environment after 3 failed boot attempts or after 3 forced restarts (by error or by user). From this menu, we can intervene with automatic tools that restore the correct versions of system files if some of them are damaged. In the same menu, there are also options for restoring the operating system which is then a reinstall.
To learn more we can read our guide Stop the Windows 10 automatic recovery loop.
If there are problems with the recovery console, see also how to open the windows 10 recovery console
5) The screen remains black
The so-called “Black Screen of Death“It’s a difficult kind of mistake to fix because it doesn’t give any information about what happened. There are two types of black screens: the one with a blinking dash and the black screen with just the mouse cursor. The problem may be related to the graphics card drivers that Windows loads by default after installation. It may also be that the hard disk is not detected correctly and then you can try to solve it from the BIOS, changing the boot order (as seen in point 2) or turning on the PC and changing the SATA port to which the disk is connected.
On the subject, we can read our guides Solutions for the black screen with cursor error on PC startup e Fix black screen problem in Windows 10.
6) Infinite update screens
A frequent startup problem is the one related to an update that does not install and that turns the computer on and off continuously as it tries. In this case, it is better to do a system restore using the tools of the recovery disk (point 3) or the advanced boot menu (point 4).
7) Restore from the cloud
On the new versions of Windows 10, we can also immediately download an image of Windows 10 and restore the correct functioning of the system in a few simple steps. If the PC starts with some problem or we have access only to the recovery environment, it changes little: make sure to start the Windows recovery and, when choosing the recovery, make sure to press on Download via the cloud.
By choosing the item download from the cloud the system it will connect to Windows Update via your active network connection (we recommend connecting via Ethernet, so you never have problems), it will download a clean Windows 10 image and will restore the damaged system, solving most of the problems presented at startup.
A Windows PC that does not start can certainly generate frustration and anger, but it takes very little to recover the situation and get back up and running quickly, correcting the most common errors and quickly restoring the system when necessary.
Basically, when windows fail to start, you can save everything and reinstall it from scratch.
In Windows 8 and Windows 10, you can still use the system reset option, to reinstall everything even without losing your personal files (even if you will lose the installed programs).
For more information see the guides for:
– Repair Windows 8 if it does not start
– Repair Windows 10 and recovery disk
In another guide then it is explained instead how to check if the disc is damaged or broken and what to do.
READ ALSO: Guide to repair your computer without going to the technician