There’s nothing worse than your Windows computer randomly shutting down, or worse, not turning on at all. If you don’t have your data backed up or you simply can’t afford to lose the computer, having to deal with a malfunctioning PC is definitely one of the most stressful situations.
However, if there’s a will there’s always a way. While some Windows computers may have reached their limit and simply won’t boot no matter what, many computers simply need to be tweaked a little bit in order to get them back to their former glory.
Here Are 6 Ways to Help Get Your Windows Up and Running
1. Launch Windows from Safe Mode
Safe Mode on Windows computers is a special way to launch Windows when there is a critical error preventing you from getting into your normal Windows operating system. While in Safe Mode, you’re usually able to troubleshoot the issue to determine what’s causing the problem.
However, if your computer is having trouble booting up in general, it’s likely that you’ll experience some difficulties getting into Safe Mode.
Here are few steps you can try:
Method 1: Enter Safe Mode From Windows Recovery
If your computer is able to get to the Windows splash screen or the Windows recovery screen, you’ll be able to get into Safe Mode. When your computer boots to the Windows logo, simply turn off your computer. If you repeat this process 3 times, you’ll end up in Windows Recovery.
From the ‘Choose an Option‘ recovery window, choose ‘Troubleshoot‘, then ‘Advanced Options‘, and then ‘Startup Settings‘.
From ‘Startup Settings‘, you can reboot the computer into Safe Mode, either with the internet enabled or disabled. You can choose either option, as you can still troubleshoot from there!
Method 2: Enter Safe Mode Using a Windows 10 Recovery Drive
If you can’t enter Safe Mode through Windows Recovery, you can always do so by setting up a recovery drive.
To set up a recovery drive, you’ll need to have access to another Windows 10 computer and a USB drive with at least 512MB of storage. If you want to create a system backup (you’ll see an option to back up system files to the recovery drive), then you’ll need 16GB of storage.
When you’re on your other Windows computer, here’s what you’ll need to do:
Launch Control Panel then ‘Create a recovery drive‘.
Then follow the guided instructions.
After creating the recovery drive, you’ll be able to boot your computer from it – but first you’ll need to make the USB drive bootable, which you can do through UEFI or BIOS. After making your USB drive bootable, insert the USB into your computer and restart the computer.
2. Try a CMOS Reset
CMOS is the memory chip on your computer’s motherboard that stores the BIOS, which deals with your computer’s rudimentary settings. Oftentimes if your computer isn’t booting correctly, the CMOS chip in your computer simply needs to be reset. It’s fairly simple, and a great way to get your computer working properly.
If Your Computer is a Desktop:
- Turn off the computer.
- Unplug the computer tower from the power outlet.
- Press and hold the power button on the tower for 30-45 seconds, even though the computer is disconnected from its electrical source.
- After holding down the power button for 30-45 seconds, you can plug the computer back in. Wait a few moments, and then press the power button to turn your computer back on – your computer should then restart into Windows.
If Your Computer is a Laptop:
- Turn off the laptop.
- If the laptop has a removable battery, you can remove both the battery and the power charger from the computer.
- Press and hold the power button for 30-45 seconds, even though the laptop is disconnected from its electrical source.
- Then plug the power charger into the computer without re-inserting the battery.
- Press the power button to turn the computer back on, and you should restart back into Windows.
Keep in mind that some laptop batteries are easier to take out than others. If you’re running into difficulty locating the battery, we always recommend consulting a guide for your specific computer model!
3. Turn off Fast Boot
Most computers that use Windows 8 and higher come equipped with a Fast Boot setting which allows computers to boot rapidly by preloading some of the computer’s drivers. However, sometimes a Windows update can break the Fast Boot’s compatibility. Typically, Fast Boot can be switched on and off, which is good news for your computer!
To switch off Fast Boot, you’ll need to enter your computer’s BIOS, however the way to get into BIOS differs from computer to computer.
Here are instructions about getting into your computer’s BIOS:
- Make sure your computer is fully turned off
- Locate your computer’s BIOS key – usually its ESC or F2, but you can check our guide here to be sure.
- Once you’ve identified your BIOS key, turn on your computer and immediately begin tapping on the BIOS key.
- You will be brought into your BIOS (keep in mind that only your keyboard will work here).
- Once you’re in BIOS, you can typically find Fast Boot in the Advanced tab, however depending on your computer, it may be located elsewhere.
4. Use System Restore or Startup Repair
In the chance that you’re able to boot to the Advanced Options screen (through your Recovery USB or perhaps just through a standard boot), you’ll be able to access some pretty helpful utilities, namely System Restore and Startup Repair.
System Restore is a utility that returns your computer to a previous Restore Point when your computer was working normally – effectively remedying any changes that may have caused your computer to not boot.
Startup Repair is a process that scans your hardware for any errors that are preventing the computer from starting up properly. If your issue is caused by a hardware error, it’s likely that Startup Repair will help get your computer running again.
5. Run a FixMeStick Scan
Sometimes when your computer can’t boot it isn’t an indication of a hardware error, but rather that your computer is infected with malware. Typically these types of virus operate within your computer’s command center, effectively keeping your computer from booting up properly.
If this is the case, running a malware scan is a step towards getting your computer back to normal. Since you can’t run your Windows normally, you won’t be able to run your standard virus protection software, like McAfee Total Protection, which requires access to Windows to run.
We recommend using the FixMeStick to clean your computer of any malicious threats that could be impacting your ability to boot your computer.
To run your FixMeStick, you’ll first need have to access your Boot Menu.
Here are some instructions for accessing your Boot Menu.
- Make sure your computer is fully turned off
- Locate your computer’s Boot key – usually its F10, F12, or F9, but you can check our guide here to be sure.
- Once you’ve identified your Boot key, turn on your computer and immediately begin tapping on the Boot key.
- You will be brought into your Boot Menu (keep in mind that only your keyboard will work here).
- Once you’re in the Boot Menu, you’ll want to locate the FixMeStick boot option (or any option related to USB HDD).
Typical antivirus protection isn’t always 100% effective, and only work when your computer is running. The FixMeStick is a Linux-based device that runs before the infected operating system boots, allowing you to detect and remove malware that your normal antivirus won’t pick up on.
6. Use a StartMeStick to Revive Your Computer
If you’ve tried everything and STILL can’t get your computer running, you might feel like there’s nothing left that can save your computer. That’s where the StartMeStick comes in!
The StartMeStick revives old computers with its fast, private, and secure operating system on a stick – meaning that if your previous operating system is giving you trouble, you’ll be able to use the StartMeStick operating system to do everything you want online!
Similar to the FixMeStick, the StartMeStick requires access to the Boot Menu to launch. As long as you’re able to go to the Boot Menu, the StartMeStick will allow you to use your computer again with increased speed and efficiency!
At the end of the day, sometimes a computer has simply reached its end despite doing all you can to revive it. While there’s little you can do to reverse the problem, there are always steps to take to ensure you’re prepared, just in case.
Backing up your files and running a virus scan with your FixMeStick regularly are great ways to ensure your computer is in its best condition, letting you get the most out of your computer for as long as possible!