Troubleshoot

How to do a clean boot on Windows 10 to fix software conflicts

You can use a clean boot to troubleshoot and determine software conflicts on Windows 10, and here's how to do it.

System Configuration (msconfig) configuring clean boot on Windows 10

Clean boot on Windows 10, similar to previous versions, is a way to start the operating system using a minimal set of drivers and startup apps. When you need to troubleshoot and determine an issue on your PC, a clean boot will help you to eliminate software conflicts that can appear during updates or software installation, or when you’re running an app in Windows 10.

Programs like an antivirus, system utility, and other software installed on your PC may contain processes that can cause conflicts, such as sudden freezes, blue screen of death (BSOD), performance issues, and other problems. A clean boot — by process of elimination — can help you figure out if Windows 10 is having drivers or apps problems.

In this guide, you’ll learn the steps to do a clean boot on Windows 10 to help you troubleshoot and determine which software is causing conflicts on your machine.

How to perform a clean boot on Windows 10

To perform a clean boot on Windows 10, use the following steps:

  1. Use the Windows key + R keyboard shortcut to open the Run command.

  2. Type msconfig, and click OK to open System Configuration.

  3. Click the Services tab.

  4. Check the Hide all Microsoft services option.

  5. Click the Disable all button.

    msconfig disable services to do a clean boot

  6. Click the Startup tab.

  7. Click the Open Task Manager link.

  8. On the Startup tab, select each item and click the Disable button.

    Task Manager disable Startup programs to do a clean boot

  9. Close Task Manager.

  10. On System Configuration (msconfig), click OK.

  11. Restart your computer to complete the task.

Once you restart your computer, if the problem disappears, then you’ll have an idea of what’s causing the problem, and you can address it accordingly.

If you couldn’t update the operating system, or install or uninstall a software, you can try now again. In this environment, you can also try to start a program that wasn’t working before.

How to revert to a normal boot on Windows 10

Once you’re ready to return to a normal boot, remember to undo the changes, and on General tab for System Configuration, make sure to select the Normal startup option.

  1. Use the Windows key + R keyboard shortcut to open the Run command.

  2. Type msconfig, and click OK.

  3. On the General tab, select the Normal startup option.

    msconfig Normal startup on Windows 10

  4. Click the Services tab.

  5. Check the Hide all Microsoft services option.

  6. Click the Enable all button.

  7. Click the Startup tab.

  8. Click the Open Task Manager link.

  9. On the Startup tab, select each item and click the Enable button.

  10. Close Task Manager.

  11. Restart your computer.

Keep in mind that “Windows Clean boot” is not the same as “Safe Mode”. On Safe Mode, Windows starts with a minimal set of drivers and services, and it’ll continue to start third-party drivers and programs during boot.

A clean boot is meant to troubleshoot software conflicts by disabling certain third-party software, services, and drivers during startup.

It’s also worth pointing out that you can also use these instructions to troubleshoot software conflicts on Windows 8.1 and Windows 7.

If the problem continues, then you can also start Windows in Safe Mode to further troubleshoot and determine what’s causing the issue. Usually, Safe Mode can help you to diagnose booting problems, and issues on a wired or wireless network adapter. And it’s also a recommended environment to do a virus scan.