The Windows operating system is usually loaded when the computer starts or boots up. Windows begins by executing many files and starting many processes. There can be several reasons why windows won’t boot or a computer, laptop or PC cannot load the Windows operating system.
To fix the problem on your computer, review the possible causes and resolutions options below:
Sometimes new hardware in a computer can make it hard for the computer to boot into Windows properly or at all. Turn off your computer, remove the new hardware, and restart it after you have installed new hardware.
Try reconnecting the hardware again. If the problem persists, it may be incompatible or defective hardware.
If the computer can boot into Windows after removing the new hardware, it may be incompatible or defective hardware.
Continue to the next section below if the computer is not booting into Windows due to no new hardware inside.
Corrupted or outdated hardware drivers
To understand how to communicate with and work with the hardware in a computer, Windows uses drivers. A corrupted or outdated driver can cause Windows to become unstable and sometimes cause the computer to be unable to boot.
In order to update or reinstall a driver, you can boot the computer into Safe Mode (choose Safe Mode with Networking).
Open the Windows Device Manager in Safe Mode and check for any devices marked with a yellow exclamation point or a red X.
If any devices have an exclamation point or red X, right-click that device and select Update driver to look for an updated driver.
If you cannot find an updated driver, try right-clicking the device, selecting Uninstall device, and restart the computer.
By uninstalling the device and restarting the computer, it forces Windows to try and reinstall the device automatically and sometimes fix the issue.
Continue to the next section if updating the drivers or uninstalling and reinstalling the device does not resolve the Windows boot issue.
Files on the system are corrupt
Windows executes many system files when it is loading. Windows may not load properly or at all if one or more of those system files are corrupt.
A Windows restore point can be activated, or the Windows repair process can be used to fix corrupt system files.
Activate the restore point
It may be possible to activate a restore point before the Windows boot issue began if Windows restore points were created. If Windows is not booting normally, you can activate a restore point in Safe Mode.
Go to the Safe Mode menu.
In the menu, select Safe Mode with Command Prompt.
Type rstrui.exe at the command prompt.
Follow the steps provided to find and activate a restore point before Windows had trouble booting normally.
Try Windows Repair if activating a restore point doesn’t fix the Windows boot issue, or there are no restore points available.
During the initial boot of some laptops or computers, the Recovery Console or the system recovery environment provides the repair option.
Usually, one of the function keys, such as F1, F2, F10, or F12, or possibly the R key, gets you to the Recovery Console.
Check the Options tab for the option to Repair or Fix Windows in the Recovery Console. Your files should not be deleted during the repair process, since it only replaces the Windows operating system files.
Access Windows Repair with a Windows installation disc or USB drive if you do not have access to the Recovery Console, system recovery or Repair or Fix option.
Boot the computer from the Windows installation disc. If you see a Windows Repair option on the installation menu, select it.
The repair process will begin. Your files should remain intact, and only the Windows operating system files should be installed.
You may move on to the next section below if running the Windows repair process did not resolve the issue.
Hard drive problems such as bad sectors
The failure of Windows to boot up can be caused by problems with a hard drive, such as bad sectors. In many cases, hard drive problems can occur without warning, but can also be fixed.
You can test a hard drive for failures using different free utilities, some of that are already available on your computer. Hard drive manufacturers often provide scan and test utilities for their specific hard drives.
More on hard drive repair in our previous article here.
If a hard drive failure is found, run the available fix process to repair it. It’s likely that you’ll need to replace the hard drive if there are too many failures or if the fix does not resolve the issue.
More on how to upgrade a hard drive or SSD in our previous article here
If the hard drive is working correctly or repairing any hard drive issues does not fix the Windows booting problem, continue to the next section below.
Hardware failures elsewhere
The problem could be caused by another existing piece of hardware in the computer if no new hardware was installed and the hard drive is working. It is possible for Windows to fail to boot if the motherboard, video card, or RAM is defective.
Creating and using an Ultimate Boot CD can be used to check for hardware issues, since it contains a variety of troubleshooting utilities that help identify, and sometimes fix, hardware problems.
In the event that a defective piece of hardware is found in your computer, it is recommended that it be replaced and then tested to see if Windows can be loaded.
Fresh Windows Install
The best course of action if the Windows boot issues persist after trying all the above troubleshooting options is to reinstall Windows. With a full Windows reinstall, all files on a computer are erased and Windows is reinstalled.
Removing the hard drive from the computer and connecting it to another computer as a secondary hard drive or an external hard drive using an enclosure kit is a good idea. Back up your files so that you don’t lose anything.
Back up your files, then reconnect the hard drive to the computer again and reinstall Windows. Make sure the option to erase all data on the hard drive is selected during the installation process.
In this way, you can ensure that Windows is properly reinstalled and works again after it has been installed.
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