Clean boot is to start a computer with as minimum items as possible as possible. Typically when we start a computer, it loads many files and programs to customize your environment. Clean boot eliminates these optional features and loads only those files and programs that are absolutely required by the operating system. Clean boot is one of the troubleshooting techniques which allows you to get the computer to a state where you can perform diagnostic tests to narrow down to the elements of the normal boot process which are causing problems.
1. How to perform a clean boot?
Please note if the computer is connected to a network the network policy settings may prevent you performing these steps.
- Log on to the computer by using an account that has administrator privileges.
- Go to Start and just type msconfig.exe in the Start Search box and then hit ENTER for starting the System Configuration Utility.
- If prompted for an administrator password or for confirmation, type your password, or click Continue.
- On the General tab click Selective Startup, and then click to uncheck the Load startup items check box.On the Services tab, click to check the Hide all Microsoft services check box, and then click Disable all. Please note that this step lets Microsoft services continue to run. These services are Networking, Event Logging, Plug and Play, Error Reporting, and other services. If you disable these services, you may permanently delete all restore points. Do not do this if you want to use the System Restore utility together with existing restore points.
- Click OK, and then click Restart the computer.
2. Check half of the services.
- Go to Start -> Type regedit to start the System Configuration utility.
- Click the Services tab, and then click to select the Hide all Microsoft services check box.
- Put a check mark in front of half of the check boxes in the Service list.
- Click on OK and then click Restart.
3. Determine if the problem reoccurs.
If the problem reoccurs, repeat step 1, and step 2. In step 2, uncheck half of the check boxes that you originally selected in the Service list. If the problem gets fixed repeat the step 1, and step 2. In step 2 select only half of the remaining services check boxes which are unchecked. Repeat these steps until you have checked all the check boxes. If there is only 1 service checked in the Service list and you still experience the problem, then this service is causing the problem. Go to step number 6. If no service is causing this problem, then go to step 4.
4. Enable half of the Startup items.
- Perform a clean boot by repeating step number 1.
- Click on the Startup tab, and then check half of the check boxes in the Startup Items list.
- Click on OK, and then click on Restart.
5. Determine whether the problem returns
If the problem re-occurs then repeat step number 1 and step number 4. In step number 4 uncheck half of the check boxes which you originally selected in the Startup Items list. If the problem does not occur then repeat step number 1 and step number 4. In step number 4, check only half of the remaining check boxes which are cleared in the Startup Item list. Iterate these steps until you have selected all the check boxes. If only 1 startup item is checked in the Startup Item list, and you still are experiencing the problem then the startup item that is selected in the list is causing the problem. Go to step number 6. If no startup item is causing this problem then a Microsoft service most likely can cause the problem. To find out which Microsoft service may be causing the problem you need to repeat step number 1 and step number 2 without selecting the “Hide all Microsoft services” check box in either step.
6. Resolve the problem
After you have found out the startup item, or the service that is causing the problem contact the program manufacturer to determine whether the problem can be resolved or not. Or if you wish you may run the System Configuration Utility and then uncheck the check box for the problem item.
7. Reset the computer to start as normal.
After you have finished troubleshooting, follow these steps to reset the computer to start as usual:
- Click Start and type msconfig.exe in the Start Search box. Once listed, press ENTER.
- If you are prompted for administrator password or for confirmation please type your password or click Continue for elevation.
- On the General tab clicks on the “Normal Startup” option, and then click on OK.
- When you are asked to restart the computer, click on Restart.