Windows Failed To Start Error

| November 10, 2010

Are you getting this Windows failed to start error: Windows failed to start. A recent hardware or software change might be the cause. That’s not what you want to see when you boot up your computer in the morning. You might have received this error after a recent upgrade, or for no apparent reason at all. The fix for this Windows error can be easy or entail a long troubleshooting process to find and repair the problem.

Fix Windows Failed To Start Error

The following is a list of options you can try to recover from the error Windows failed to start error. We’ve listed the options from easiest to most time consuming or complicated. Try each of these solutions until you find one that works for you:

  • Remove any external devices and try booting. This includes printers, camera, scanners, etc. Sometimes bad drivers can cause this problem as Windows begins to load. If Windows boots, try and determine which device caused the problem and look for updated drivers.
  • Turn off the computer. Unplug it and hold in the power button for twenty seconds. Plug it back in and try booting again.
  • Remove any new components if you know this is what actually caused the problem. Check the manufacturer’s website for hints on how to resolve this error, as it might be common with the device. Otherwise, look for new drivers, as the drivers on the disk might be quite old.
  • If you have an actual Windows Vista or Windows 7 disk (depending which is installed), try booting to the disk. You will see an option to perform a startup repair. Run that and see if Windows finds a problem. If it does, allow it to fix the problem, then reboot the machine. If you get a boot options screen following the reboot, choose “Start Windows Normally.”
  • Try a System Restore. When booting, select Safe Mode Command Prompt. Select the Administrator account and type in the password (if there is one). At the prompt, type cd windowssystem32restore and hit enter. This takes you to the system restore directory. Next, type rstrui and hit enter again. When the system restore screen appears, follow the instructions and go back a few days prior to the problem.
  • In a last resort before reinstalling Windows, go into the case and remove whatever hardware you can. You can unplug extra hard drives and optical drives. Pull out any network cards, sound cards or modems you might have installed. The purpose is to try and find which device is causing the problem. If Windows boots, you’ll need to determine which is the faulty device and get rid of it.
  • Reinstall Windows. If all else fails, try formatting and reinstalling of Windows. You will lose all data and programs previously installed, so make sure you have backups before proceeding.

Windows failed to start error

Solving Windows Failed To Start Error

Solving the Windows failed to start error can be frustrating. If you’re prepared to do a little detective work, you can definitely fix this problem yourself without having to take it to the repair shop.

If any of the suggestions above worked for you, be sure and let us know. Otherwise, be sure to join our free computer repair forums. Our forums is the place to ask specific questions regarding your computing issues, including boot problems.

To join, simply register and ask a question. Please be as specific as you can about your computer and any errors you are getting in addition to this problem or if you continue to have the Windows failed to start error you can read our other Windows tutorials.

Category: Windows

Dave

About the Author ()

Dave has been providing free computer repair and tech support advice online since 2002. Join us on our forums and be sure to subscribe to our newsletter for weekly tips and other helpful computer articles. Connect with me on: Google+

Comments (16)

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  1. Linda Byers says:

    All of the info looks familiar and have tried them all. Sometimes the computer allowed me to restart “normally” but other times the keyboard will not work to make a selection – that’s where I am now.

    This has been going on for weeks and once I was advised (on screen) to remove apps -which an update was likely the cause of all of my problems – but I can’t get to that option again. How can I get the keyboard to allow me to make a selection and also get to the apps to start deleting them????

    Thank you!

  2. Jeff Niccum says:

    my computer is a p6210f it crashed how do I go and recover it .I have tried everything I can think of it will not Boot up . the only thing it will do is let me go to the Bios window it will show a Bio HD error code . one time it showed me a file or boot device was corrupted, and it will not let me even reinstall window’s 7 back on it this is again a p6219f HP desk top pc quad core

    • Dave Dave says:

      Sounds like the hard drive might have failed. Since this is an HP, I would contact them about a replacement. Otherwise, you can install a new drive, but you would have to buy a copy of Windows to put on that machine.

  3. Andrea Fiscus says:

    Thank you! I had inadvertently left a memory stick plugged in when I rebooted after installing updates. I unplugged it and viola! Startup successful.

  4. Rathod says:

    I have Dell laptop.

    problem is when i start LP.

    display this message : -> windows failed to start. a recent hardware or software chnage might be a cause.

    after this message LP shutdown within 10 Second….

    Please Help Me….

    Thanks in Advance….

  5. Tina says:

    my computer is displaying the message above. Windows is unable to start. A recent hardware or software change might be the reason. It gives 2 options: Launch Start-up Repair or Start Windows normally. No matter which option I try the screen blinks and then comes back to the same screen. I have even tried to run in safe mode and everything else that shows up and every option takes me back to the same black and white screen about windows being unable to start. Please help! I also tried to download the restore disk and play it in the computer but it doesn’t seem like the computer is even recognizing the disc. Very frustrated. Please help.

  6. trizha says:

    Same problem as Tina are there any solutions?? HELP!

  7. ANichols says:

    Same problem as Tina and trizha. Solution?

  8. Judy Greem says:

    I am having the same problem also. What is going on!?

  9. Justme says:

    Add me to the list of people getting the same message. Sounds like a common problem with Windows 7!

  10. djclark215 says:

    Same issue here… Dell Laptop, Windows 7. Only I can’t even get to safe mode screen. F8 doesn’t work.. .and F2 or F12 take me to another screen listing a bunch of options but nothing makes sense (& I’ve clicked on each of them, including diagnostics)… and it always reverts back to the Windows Failed to Start error.

  11. Vicki T says:

    Same problem as Tina and the rest. Gateway laptop. When able to pull up the option of “Safe Mode” I get to the same black blank screen. So there’s obviously something more to this.

  12. Chris says:

    Same problem as tina and the rest..

    • Dave Dave says:

      Hi Chris. I recommend posting in our forums. There are a lot of techs in there that volunteer their time to help troubleshoot. My first guess would be the hard drive is bad–especially if the startup repair option doesn’t help. Depending on your model, it might have built in tools to check the drive. otherwise, we recommend running the Ultimate Boot CD (UBCD). It has a lot of various hard drive diagnostic tools.

      • JEB says:

        Can get online? I am having error when trying to boot from the disk……

        • Dave Dave says:

          Jeb, need a lot more info than that. Please post questions in our forums so others can answer. Be as detailed as possible.