How to use Windows 10 Clean Boot to Fix PC Errors?

By ivan.diskin | February 14, 2018 |

greater than 8 minutes

Clean boot is a mode of OS boot up in which your PC starts Windows with a minimal set of startup programs, drivers or without third-party software.

If your PC suddenly starts behaving strangely or exhibits unexpected behavior, you can diagnose the cause of the problem(s) by simply eliminating the likely factors and narrowing the possibilities. Issues like systems freezes, noticeable slow-downs, blue screen of death and so on can be caused by one or several factors. Since clean boot prevents drivers and third-party applications from loading, you can easily exclude their influence as the cause of your problems if the problems are not found after you have performed clean boot.

If the problems ceased to exist at all during clean boot, you can narrow the cause of your system issues to a specific driver or program by manually starting each of them one after the other and observing your system state. This way you can easily identify or troubleshoot the problematic drivers and other software.

The most common issues usually occur after a Windows update or after users install programs that come into software conflicts with others.

Note if the issues you are experiencing prevent you from even booting into Windows, skip the steps for clean boot and go to this article that explains how to boot Windows 10 into safe mode in details. Otherwise, continue reading.

Before you proceed, we need you to understand that clean boot might fail to resolve some or all of your issues. This is because you might not follow all the steps here correctly or some problems are caused by other factors with solutions not suited to the use of clean boot. This is why we first recommend installing and running BoostSpeed to automatically diagnose and solve your problems.

Auslogics BoostSpeed is no ordinary program. It is an awesome piece of software designed to perform almost every excellent fix or tweak known to man on your system in order to speed up your PC. It also prevents problems or errors that slow down your PC from occurring in the first place.

Regardless, if you strongly believe that clean boot alone would be sufficient to fix your PC issues, please keep on reading and follow this guide very carefully. It contains several instructions, so you must be ready to spend considerable time on the processes described.

How to perform clean boot?

For users running Windows 10:

First, ensure you are logged into your system as a system administrator. Now do the following:

  • Click on the start button or press the Windows key on your keyboard
  • Type msconfig in the available box to search for the program
  • Press the Enter button your keyboard to launch the required program
  • Under the General tab, click on Selective startup
  • Untick the Load startup items check box
  • Click on OK and close the program

If you are extremely sure of which apps or services are integral and safe to run on your PC, then you should disable the unrequired apps or services individually by using Task Manager.

  • Navigate to the Services tab of the System Configurations program
  • Click on the Hide all Microsoft services checkbox, then click on Disable all
  • Now navigate to the Startup tab and click on Open Task Manager
  • Under the Startup tab in Task Manager, select each item and click on Disable
  • Exit Task Manager
  • Return to the Startup tab of the program System Configuration and click on OK.

Finally, restart your PC.

For users running Windows 8.1 or 8:

The steps involved here are quite similar to the ones for Windows 10:

  • Click on the start button or press the Windows key on your keyboard
  • Type msconfig to in the available box to search for the program
  • Press the Enter button on your keyboard to launch the program
  • Navigate to the Services tab of the System Configurations program
  • Click on the Hide all Microsoft services checkbox, then click on Disable all
  • Now navigate to the Startup tab and click on Open Task Manager
  • Under the Startup tab in Task Manager, select each item and click on Disable
  • Exit Task Manager
  • Return to the Startup tab of the program System Configuration and click on OK.

For users running Windows 7 or Vista:

As usual, ensure you are logged into the system with an account that possesses administrator rights first. Then do this:

  • Click on Start or the Windows icon
  • Type msconfig.exe into the available search box and press enter to launch the System Configuration program

At this stage, you might be required to enter an administrator password or provide confirmation. Do what is required and or otherwise continue with the steps below.

  • Under the General tab, click on Selective startup
  • Untick the Load startup items check box
  • Now navigate to the Services tab and tick the Hide all Microsoft services check box
  • Click on Disable all
  • Click on OK and restart your PC.

Solving problems using clean boot:

A restart makes your system state suitable for identifying issues and resolving them.

Nevertheless, first verify if the problems are gone.

  1. If there were programs or updates you were unable to install or uninstall before using clean boot, try installing or uninstalling these updates or programs now. If you received the error message “The Windows Installer service could not be accessed” while attempting to install or uninstall some software, follow these steps to start the Windows Installer Service manually.

For users running Windows 10, 8.1, or 8:

  • Click on the start button or press the Windows key on your keyboard
  • Type computer in the available search box
  • Right-click on the presented result, then click on Manage
  • Double-click on Services and Applications and then double-click on services.
  • Locate Windows Installer, right-click on it and select Start

For users running Windows 7 or Vista:

  • Click on Start, then right-click on Computer
  • Now click on Manage

Here you might be asked to enter an administrator password or to provide confirmation. Type in the required password or give the needed confirmation and or otherwise continue following these steps:

  • Click on Services and Application, then click on Services
  • Locate Windows Installer, right-click on it and select Start

After successfully starting Windows Installer, now attempt the installation or uninstallation of those programs or updates. If your attempt is successful this time, then you have solved your problem. Now you are required to revert your system’s startup from this clean boot state back to its normal state. You can find instructions on doing this towards the end of this article.

If you still could not perform the installation or uninstallation of those applications or updates, then it is obvious that your problems were not a result of the actions of other programs or services.

  1. If you had issues running a program correctly before using clean boot, now attempt running that program again and observe the result. If your attempt is successful this time, then we can infer that your issues were caused by the interference of other applications or services. Follow the instructions below to learn how to see which application(s) or service(s) get implicated as the cause of your problems.

If your attempt to run the program fails again as previous times, then we can rule out the effects of other applications or software as the cause of your problems. You will need to explore stronger methods of troubleshooting your problem.

Identifying other problems using clean boot

This process involves the isolation of applications and services to determine which exact ones are the cause of your problems. You would perform this action by doing this:

  1. Dividing the application or services into groups
  2. Enabling the program or services in a group
  3. Rebooting your system
  4. Identifying a particular group as the source of the problem
  5. Creating subgroups from this group
  6. Performing steps 2 to 3 again and so on until we finally verify each app or service individually and identify the source of the problem

For users running Windows 10, 8.1, 8:

Ensure you are logged into your system with an account that possesses administrative rights. Then do the following:

  1. Click on the start button or press the Windows key on your keyboard
  2. Type msconfig to in the available box to search for the program
  3. Click on msconfig or the System configuration app to open the required program
  4. Navigate to the Services tab and then tick the Hide all Microsoft services check box
  5. Select a group of services here ( Enable the upper-half of the checkboxes)
  6. Click on OK and then reboot your system.
  • After your system restarts, verify if the problems got resolved. If your problems persist, then it means the problematic service belongs to that group you selected earlier. Perform steps 1 to 6 again but this time on just that half of the checkboxes you selected earlier and repeat until you find the exact service at fault
  • If your problems were resolved after reboot, then it means the problematic service is present in the other half you left unticked (lower half). Perform steps 1-6 again but this time selecting that lower half, and then restart your system. After your system restarts, verify if the problems got resolved. If your problems persist, then it means the problematic service belongs to this group. Perform steps 1 to 6 again but this time on just half of the checkboxes you selected earlier and repeat until you find the exact service at fault.

If you were unable to narrow the problem down to a single service, then you should attempt narrowing it down to a startup app.

  1. Click on the start button or press the Windows key on your keyboard
  2. Type msconfig to in the available box to search for the program
  3. Click on msconfig or the System configuration app to open them
  4. Navigate to the Startup tab and perform steps 4-6 but this time for startup programs.

For users running Windows 7 or Vista:

Ensure you are logged into your system with an account that possesses administrative rights. Then do the following:

  1. Click on the Start icon
  2. Type msconfig.exe in the available search box and then press the Enter button on your keyboard to launch the System Configuration program

Here you might be asked to enter an administrator password or to provide confirmation. Type in the required password or give the needed confirmation and or otherwise continue following these steps:

  1. Perform the actions described above for users running Windows 10 in steps 4-6

If you were unable to narrow the problem down to a single service, then you should attempt narrowing it down to a startup app.

  1. Launch the System Configuration program by following steps 1 and 2 above
  2. Navigate to the Startup tab and perform steps 4-6 (described for users running Windows 10) but this time for startup programs.

After identifying a service or startup program as the cause of your problems, you can disable it in some cases so that your issues remain resolved. Otherwise, you are required to search for solutions or contact the manufacturer of the program.

Restoring your system to its normal state

For users running Windows 10, 8.1, 8:

  • Click on the start button or press the Windows key on your keyboard
  • Type msconfig to in the available box to search for the program
  • Click on msconfig or the System configuration app to open the app
  • Navigate to the General tab and click on Normal Startup option
  • Navigate to the Services tab, clear the boxes for Hide all Microsoft services
  • Now click on Enable all
  • Navigate to the startup tab and click on Open Task Manager
  • In the Task Manager app, click on every app and select Enable
  • Click on OK and restart your system

For users running Windows 7 or Vista:

Ensure you are logged into your system with an account that possesses administrative rights. Then do the following:

  1. Click on the Start icon
  2. Type msconfig.exe in the available search box
  3. Press the Enter button on your keyboard to launch the System Configuration program

Here you might be asked to enter an administrator password or to provide confirmation. Type in the required password or give the needed confirmation and or otherwise continue following these steps:

  1. Navigate to the General tab and click on Normal Startup
  2. Click on OK and restart your system.

If your problems persist even after you have correctly performed these tedious steps, please refer to my post on using BoostSpeed in the beginning of this article

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