This post will show you how to perform a clean boot in Windows 11. It is great for troubleshooting when you have no idea what actually causes issues. When doing a clean boot, you can clearly see if a problem you are troubleshooting is related to a third-party software, or it is causes by some built-in service, driver or app.
A clean boot is a special configuration that starts the OS with a minimal set of drivers and startup app. As mentioned above, it allows you to find whether a software running in the background is affecting with your game or some app.
It reminds of the Safe Mode, but Windows loads all the core subsystems, and retains users' control of services and apps starting automatically. So, use a clean boot to isolate the problem and find its cause.
Now let's take a look at how to perform a clean boot to start Windows 11 with only the required set of drivers and startup applications for troubleshooting purposes.
Clean Boot in Windows 11
- Open the Task Manager using the Ctrl + Shift + Esc hotkey.
- If you don't see tabs in Task Manager, click on Show more details link.
- Go to the Startup tab, and disable all startup entries.
- Now, press Win + R and type
msconfigin the Run dialog; then press Enter.
- Switch to the Services tab and check the Hide all Microsoft services option.
- Click the Disable all button.
- Finally, click the OK button to apply the change.
- When prompted, click on the Restart button to reboot Windows 11.
You are done. Windows 11 will perform a clean boot.
Now, you can start troubleshooting issues after signing to your user account. Here are some ideas you may find useful.
Troubleshooting app issues in a clean boot
Depending on what was your issue, try to simply repeat the steps you wasn't able to finish after the regular startup.
For instance, if you wasn't able to install or uninstall some app, do it now. Or, if some app was refusing to start, try to run it. If your issue is resolved, this means that a third-party app or service causes the issue.
You can find what exactly app or service is causing the issue as follows.
Find a cause of the issue
- Press Win + R and type
msconfiginto the Run box.
- On the Services tab, turn on the Hide all Microsoft services checkbox.
- Now, check a few third-party services, say 3 or 5. This will re-enable them.
- Restart Windows 11.
- See if you can reproduce the issue.
- Continue to enable third-party services until you enable all of them or you find the one that causes the issue.
If you have enabled all the disabled services, but your device is working perfectly fine, the issue must be causes by a third-party app that starts automatically with Windows 11. Similarly, enable startup apps one-by-one to find the interfering one.
Troubleshoot startup apps
- Open the Task Manager (Ctrl + Shift + Esc).
- On the Startup tab, select one of the disabled startup apps, and select Enable.
- Restart Windows 11 and see if you can reproduce the issue.
- Repeat the above steps for all the startup apps you have disabled.
This way, you will find the interfering apps and services.
After finding them, you can try to update the malfunctioning software to a newer version, or contact its developer for reporting the bug. Or you can simply leave it disabled on the Startup tab in Task Manager if it is not a critical task for your device and your work.
Finally, if you done troubleshooting, you need to restore the normal boot. In short, all you need to do is to re-enable the disabled services and startup apps.
Restore normal startup after a clean boot
- Launch the Task Manager and select all disabled entries on the Startup tab.
- Click on the Enable button.
- Now, run
msconfigand open its Services tab.
- Place a checkmark next to the Hide all Microsoft services option.
- Click the Enable all button.
- Restart Windows 11.
You are done! This will return Windows 11 back to regular startup mode.
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