Windows Does Not Start at All

I am a big Microsoft Windows fan but when windows does not start at all this can be a nightmare for any computer user, experienced or not. Now days we are all lacking in patience and want things to just work, but unfortunately these problems just happen when you least expect it. Also please note that not all problems are caused by Windows itself as other programs or files on your computer can still cause Windows to not start at all.

When Windows does not start at all for me, the first thing I do is stop and think. I never rush into anything as this may cause more problems. I try to remember what I did last on the computer. Did I install a program or download updates?

Options to try when Windows does not start at all

When people say their computer is not starting, there are so many variables it is simply crazy. You might have a black screen on your computer screen, you might have a black screen with a blinking cursor, your computer might be continually restarting. The list can go on therefore I have some general options to try when Windows does not start at all.


The first action I take is to always restart my computer to make sure that Windows is really not working because sometimes a new start is all you need to get your computer back up and running.

Restart in Safe Mode

If a simple restart does not work I like to start my computer in safe mode.
Free PC Performance Scan

To access safe mode:

When starting your computer press the F8 key on the keyboard and in the Advanced boot options menu choose safe mode. Safe mode with networking will allow you to connect to the internet and safemode with a command prompt will allow you to type in dos commands.

In safe made you can:

Use System Restore to restore your system to an earlier point before the error occurred. This is a good option to try when you just installed a software update or done something yourself to cause the problem. Open System Restore by clicking the Start button , clicking on All Programs, choosing Accessories, then System Tools, and then clicking System Restore.‌

Update Drivers by accessing device manager.

  1. Simply go to the start menu and choose control panel.
  2. Then click on system.
  3. In Windows Vista and Seven you will see the screen shown below.
  4. Click on the Device manager link in the left column.
When you are in device manger you can click on a particular computer device and update their drivers.

Check Event Viewer in Windows. This will show detailed entries about system and program events on your computer. It can be helpful when trying to figure out what is wrong with your computer.

  1. To open the Event Viewer go to the Start menu and choose Control Panel
  2. Then click Administrative Tools and then double click Event Viewer.

Startup Repair

This is a Windows recovery tool that will help you fix startup problems. It will repair certain things like damaged system files, which are one of the most common causes of startup errors. This option is available for Windows vista and Windows Seven but you will need your operating disc to access this tool. If your computer has preinstalled recovery options, it might also be stored on your computer’s hard disk.

Disable Automatic Restart on Errors

If your Windows does not start at all and seems to be in a loop of restating you can disable automatic restart on errors by accessing the advanced boot options menu. As shown above you can get to this menu by pressing F8 when starting your computer. Then you will see an option to disable automatic restart on system failure. Another solution for a computer continually restarting is to check your computer memory. It is not always easy to determine if your problem is caused by software or hardware but a few tests will show you the way.

Reinstall Windows

This is your last resort and hopefully you have a recent backup of all your important files to backup. This is because formatting a hard drive will erase all your saved files on your computer.

If not you can try to recover your files from your hard drive first, before formatting your hard drive. I usually put my hard drive into an external hard drive case and recover the files that way.

More info from Microsoft

Windows Does Not Start at All – How To Avoid This Problem

Of course I would say that regular computer maintenance will be your best defense against any problems occurring. This alone will keep your computer running junk free and smoothly.You can get a free scan for your computer to see if you have any junk files that need cleaning.

Another tip is to watch what you download and install on your computer. Ask yourself a simple question, “Do you really need the program you are about to install?” Most of the time software is installed on computers and never used anyway. Let’s face it, the less you have on your computer, the less problems you are likely to have.


  1. kIRK says


  2. John says

    I have come into a problem as such but even though I Safe Mode , I cannot click anything with the mouse I have due to a downloaded file of my brothers which does allow me to do anything. One of the two programs is OptimizeMyPC don’t know what it is and the other used to be on my desktop but not anymore but the picture is a girl with a headset like something from a tech support place but I do not know the name of such program.

  3. Jess says

    Hi, I’m running Windows 7 on my laptop…. I’ve been having problems with what I’m assuming is a rather nasty virus. It’s deleted my NETAPI32.dll file, and since then I’ve gotten notifications about the missing file and windows progressively stopped working, or was slow to load. It wouldn’t let me update my virus protection programs, and I wasn’t sure how else to handle it. I have yet to be able to back up my hard drive, and the computer blue screened this morning. After doing a system repair it started up, blue screened and took me back to system repair. I let it repair multiple times. I was not able to choose to boot in safe mode or not but I did a system restore and now whenever I restart my computer it boots the first screen with the esc and f10 options (I tried f8 and it did not work….) and then takes me directly back to system repair. I let it repair once more and then it restarted and did it again.
    Is there even a way to fix this…?

  4. Shoaib Shaikh says

    Hey hii!!! I’m trapped in a really wierd problem…..i use a windows 8 laptop…a few days ago it showed a problem with windows startup……and even after 3 days….my lapptop doesn’t start up…..whenever i switch it on it shows a black Screen and a cursor and nothing can be done…please help me out! Pleaes! Asap! Please :)

  5. rohan says

    i am using windows 7. i shut down my lappi couple of days ago.
    when i started it it is not starting up
    when windows logo appear nothing and after few minutes it goes to hibernate mode
    and i tried to reinstall the windows from cd but it is also not installing
    after taking option it shows “windows is set up” and nothing happens

    plz help me

  6. Arunainathan says

    I have pc with windows 7 .Recently bought and just 30 minutes used and did shut down the system.Next time when start the PC message was windows does not start.

    How to solve the problem ?

  7. Dustin says

    Hello all. I am having a similar issue. My computer was operating fine until the other day. Now it will not start windows (XP). Windows will not even start from the installation disk so i cannot get to the repair option. When bootin regularly, it will go through the normal process but when it starts loading windows it just shuts off. I finally got a clue out of the computer when it told me the ohci1394.sys file is corrupted. I cannot get to a point to fix this though. Windows will not load normally or from the disk. Could anyone offer some advice?

    • says

      Hi dustin
      in the old days, in this situation where I got the clue… I would rip the hard drive out and replace that file manually. Sometimes they were not easy to find on the installation disc so I would get the file from another computer with the same operating system. :)

  8. lionel says

    I get to screen that gives options to start in ‘safe mode’ etc but even after choosing safe mode the pc hangs with a blank screen and a movable mouse pointer.
    So going back to the topic of what to do if your pc does not start at all – what do you do? Saying use safe mode is a cop out.

  9. Shakshi says

    im currently using Windows Vista. I am also facing the same problem. But i am not having Recovery Disc.. My laptop itself contains a backup drive.. After start button is on, its not at all repsonding to any key, even if the option for system recovery is choosen, nothing happens except a blue screen appears with a curser even waiting for more than 1 hour.. what can be the options to get it repaired.

  10. says

    I haven’t encountered this ever since I used Windows 7. Before with windows XP I do reinstall Windows at least 1 a month or every 2 months. It’s a good thing microsoft has improved their OS. I just don;t know with Windows 8 if its better than 7.

  11. says

    Hi Mitz
    That is some great tips do deal with Windows start-up issues. I could just add Startup up in “Last known good configuration” from the same menu as Safe mode is selected. That option has saved me a couple of times.
    The option that has saved me the most times is for sure System restore that lets us restore Windows to an earlier state where everything was running fine.

  12. Pia says

    I’ve had this problem before and I had run to an expert for help. The charge was quite costly. I didn’t know it was this easy! Should’ve known. :(

  13. blackflash says

    You could also use a live Linux disk such as Ubuntu or Mint to recover your data.
    Simply set your first boot device to your CD drive, put in the Linux disc and follow the on screen instructions . It loads into your RAM not onto your HD so none of your data is over written , then copy the data to an external HD or flash drive

  14. says

    Cool list of solutions for users stuck with the black screen problem Mitz.I’ve had the problem a few times myself, especially with my older PC running Windows XP. These fixes are a mighty big help.

  15. says

    One thing you forget to explain, that is Registry errors. This could also cause your windows to not start and make you panic. So, at first you should fix your registry otherwise your system would become inaccessible.

  16. Thasariya says

    I have also faced one strange problem. When I was trying to format my computer, It got hangs. Don’t know how to fix it. So, I have given it to the computer repairer. He fixed my problem at all. Next time, I will try these tips given by you.

  17. says

    My laptop is kinda slow these days. Recently my Windows failed to start on quite a number of occasions. Restart in safe mode and use system restore seems to be helping. But I’m still tempted to format my HDD and reinstall Windows.

  18. says

    Hi, thanks for sharing these tips. I do have the same problem sometimes and mostly I just restart my computer. Most of the time it works but if it doesn’t, I don’t mess around with it and just let my husband fix it. Now, I think I can do a bit more thanks to your article LOL