While Microsoft strives to make sure Windows works properly, not all hardware manufacturers and software publishers have the resources or incentives to provide products that work flawlessly.
If the hardware and software on your computer is not working properly, you need a way to boot Windows so you can find out which component is causing the problem. Learn how to clean boot in Windows 7/8/10 to troubleshoot hardware and software issues.
Safe Mode vs Clean Boot
A popular method for troubleshooting and diagnosing PCs is to boot into Safe Mode. In Safe Mode, Windows boots with a minimal set of drivers. For example, when you boot into Safe Mode, Windows only loads the standard VGA video driver. This is why your PC has a very low resolution when booting into Safe Mode.
Clean Boot is slightly different from Safe Mode. A clean boot starts Windows normally, but without background applications and third-party services. These background applications and services cause Windows to behave this way. Most people don’t even know that these Windows elements work.
Starting Windows with a clean boot is very easy. You just temporarily disable all third-party services and restart your computer. When it boots up, only Microsoft services will be running, allowing you to gradually enable various services until you find the problem.
Perform a clean boot in Windows
Log in to Windows using an account with administrator rights. Click Start Run. If there is no Run command on the Start menu, you can also hold down the Windows key on your keyboard and press R. In the Run dialog box that opens, type msconfig, and then click OK.
You should now see the system configuration window. Go to the Services tab.
Under the Services tab, you will see a long list of services available on your computer. Some have checks next to them, and some don’t. Those that do so are automatically loaded the next time Windows boots. This next step is extremely important, don’t skip it.
First, check the Hide all Microsoft services box. As the name suggests, this will hide all Microsoft services in the list. Most, if not all, of these services are essential for Windows to function properly.
Then click the Disable All button. By completing these two steps, you have effectively disabled all third party software services. All Microsoft services remain intact and ready to boot after Windows restarts.
In addition, you should also click the Startup tab and disable all startup programs. Note that this tab is a little more complex because there is no way to separate system launchers from third-party ones. Thus, disabling all of them can disable your wireless card, Windows Defender, etc. However, you can easily re-enable all of this later, so it’s worth trying once.
In Windows 7, startup items can be disabled from msconfig:
On Windows 10, you need to open Task Manager and click the Startup tab there.
Finally, click OK on the MSCONFIG dialog box and restart Windows. On reboot, you may receive messages that certain hardware and software is not available. This is normal. In fact, by disabling these components on your PC, you can go back to the Services tab in the System Configuration window and enable only those services that are known to work correctly. The rest you can turn on in turn to eliminate the errors that you received in Windows.
Unlike Safe Mode, Clean Boot allows you to disable all background apps and third-party services for troubleshooting Windows PCs. Once disabled, you can re-enable third-party services to diagnose your computer.
Just remember to hide all Microsoft services before using the Disable All button. Otherwise, you may encounter boot errors when you restart your computer. Enjoy!