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How to perform a clean boot of Windows 10 to diagnose issues

If you suddenly got some unexpected behavior on your Windows 10 PC, then the first thing you should do is take a diagnostic approach by way of elimination. There are plenty of factors which can be the cause of issues like slowdowns, BSODs, freezes and even sudden reboots. The best way to detect what exactly is the cause of the trouble is to perform a clean boot. Using a clean boot, you can find if the OS is damaged by some third party app or a bad driver. By preventing them from loading, you can exclude the influence of these two factors.

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To perform a clean boot, you need to perform two steps.

First, we will check if any third party application is causing the issue. If you disable all third party apps from startup, it will help to eliminate software conflicts.

Press the Win + R shortcut on the keyboard. Type msconfig in the Run dialog and click "OK". The System Configuration utility will appear on the screen. Windows 10 run msconfig

Go to the Services tab and tick the Hide all Microsoft services checkbox. This will show only third-party services. Click Disable all to disable them.Windows 10 msconfig hide microsoft services

On the 'General' tab, click to select the option Selective startup, and then uncheck the Load startup items check box.

Windows 10 msconfig load startup itemsNow you can close msconfig.

Tip: If you are pretty sure about some app which runs on startup that's safe to run or is essential for your PC, then instead of using Selective startup, you can disable or enable apps individually via the Task Manager in Windows 10. See how to add or remove startup apps in Windows 10.

Open the Task Manager. In the Task Manager window under the Startup tab, right click on each startup item which is enabled and select Disable.

Windows 10 task manager disable startup itemsRestart your PC and see if the problem is gone. You can turn on each app one by one and services individually afterwards to find exactly which app is the cause of your issue.

Such diagnostics can be definitely helpful in finding issues related to third-party apps.

The second step is a Safe boot.

You might need to enter Safe Mode for several purposes, i.e. to troubleshoot some issue with drivers. If you system runs perfectly in Safe Mode, then it's a good idea to review your drivers and check for updated versions on Windows Update or from the hardware manufacturer's website.

advanced boot options of Windows 8

Please refer to the following tutorial: How to start Windows 10 in Safe mode.

This should help you to detect what causes issues with the operating system. That's it.

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Author: Sergey Tkachenko

Sergey Tkachenko is a software developer who started Winaero back in 2011. On this blog, Sergey is writing about everything connected to Microsoft, Windows and popular software. Follow him on Telegram, Twitter, and YouTube.

One thought on “How to perform a clean boot of Windows 10 to diagnose issues”

  1. Great article and very instructional. In my business, I use this diagnostic approach as well. It is quick and very reliable to ferret out which third party service is at fault. One suggestion, you have to click Apply for the settings to take place in the System Configuration Utility.
    Thank you for your post.

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