Clean Booting Your PC: Identifying and Resolving Windows Errors

At times, Windows users encounter frustrating issues with their operating systems, ranging from stability problems to performance hiccups, and even critical errors leading to continuous restarts. These issues can be triggered by various factors, such as incorrectly installed or deleted programs, faulty drivers, misconfigurations, or even malware infections.

When faced with such problems, pinpointing the root cause can be a challenging and time-consuming task. However, Windows provides a special boot mode known as Clean Boot, designed specifically for diagnosing and resolving these issues effectively.

disagnosing pc

What is Windows Clean Boot Mode?

A Clean Boot, or clean start, of Windows is a unique configuration that allows you to initiate your PC with the bare minimum of essential services, processes, and drivers required for basic functionality. In essence, it disables all non-essential programs, drivers, and processes that do not have a Microsoft digital signature or are not part of the Windows kernel.

By starting your computer in Clean Boot Mode, you essentially enter a state similar to Safe Mode. However, Clean Boot Mode provides greater control over the elements you choose to load. This control allows you to manually activate processes and drivers, aiding you in identifying the culprit responsible for your PC’s malfunction.

How to Activate Clean Boot Mode

To initiate Clean Boot Mode, you must have administrator permissions. Once confirmed, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Windows search engine and execute the “msconfig” command.
  2. The System Configuration window will appear, offering control over various startup aspects.
  3. Navigate to the “General” tab, where you’ll find three startup options: Normal startup, Diagnostic startup, and Selective startup.
  4. Choose the “Selective startup” option to enable control over startup elements.

Once you’ve selected Selective startup, you can activate or deactivate the options that appear below it:

  • Load system services: This option allows you to enable or disable non-essential operating system services.
  • Load startup items: You can choose whether programs and processes should run during Windows startup or not.

To manually control services, navigate to the “Services” tab within the msconfig window. You can activate or deactivate different entries until you identify the problematic one. Make sure to check the “Hide all Microsoft services” box to focus on non-Microsoft services, and use the “Disable all” button to disable them. Don’t forget to click “Apply” and “OK” in the System Configuration window to save your changes.

For managing startup programs, access the Task Manager using the “Control + Shift + Escape” shortcut. In the “Startup Applications” tab, you can view all programs running at Windows startup. Enable or disable these programs as needed to troubleshoot your PC.

Once you’ve identified the problematic software, you can uninstall it to restore your computer’s normal operation.

To exit Clean Boot Mode and revert to the normal startup configuration, return to the System Configuration window, navigate to the “General” tab, and select the “Normal startup” option. After saving your changes, restart your computer to resume regular operation.

Clean Boot Mode is a valuable tool for diagnosing and resolving Windows issues, offering you the control and flexibility needed to identify and address problems that may disrupt your computer’s performance and stability.