Recovery tools

How to access Advanced startup options on Windows 10

Five ways to access the Advanced startup options to boot in Safe Mode, change UEFI settings, use System Restore or System Recovery image to get your PC working again.

Advanced startup options on Windows 10

On Windows 10, eventually, you’ll need to troubleshoot or configure certain system settings that you won’t be able to change when the operating system is running. In these scenarios, you can use the “Windows Start Settings,” or “Advanced startup” options to troubleshoot, diagnose, and fix virtually any problem with your PC.

Advanced startup offers a number of different ways in which you can troubleshoot and fix your device, and because problems can strike from many different directions, Windows 10 provides several ways to access these options.

In this guide, you’ll learn five ways to access the Advanced startup options, either when you’re still running the operating system, or when your computer isn’t starting to access the troubleshooting tools to fix any issue.

Access Advanced startup using Settings

To access the Advanced startup with Settings, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings on Windows 10.

  2. Click on Update & Security.

  3. Click on Recovery.

  4. Under the “Advanced startup” section, click the Restart button.

    Windows 10 Advanced Startup settings
    Windows 10 Advanced Startup settings
    Quick note: The Advanced startup option in the Settings app isn’t available through a Remote Desktop Connection.

Once you complete the steps, this action will log you out immediately of your current session to access the Advanced startup experience.

Access Advanced startup using Power menu

You can also use the power menu in the Start menu, Task Manager, and Lock screen to quickly access the Advanced startup environment.

Start menu

To use the power menu in the Start menu to access the advanced settings on Windows 10, use these steps:

  1. Open Start.

  2. Click the Power button.

  3. Press and hold the Shift key and click the Restart button.

    Start Power menu
    Start Power menu

After you complete the steps, the action will trigger Windows 10 to access the Advanced startup menu.

You can also use this method in the power menu available in the “Power User” menu (Windows key + X).

Task Manager

To use Task Manager to access the advanced startup menu, use these steps:

  1. Use the Ctrl + Alt + Delete keyboard shortcut to bring up the menu.

  2. Click the Power button in the bottom-right corner.

  3. Press and hold the Shift key and click Restart button.

    Ctrl+Alt+Del Power menu in Windows 10
    Ctrl+Alt+Del Power menu in Windows 10

Once you complete the steps, you’ll be logged out from your current session, and Windows 10 will open the Advanced startup options.

Lock screen

To access the Advanced startup settings from the Lock screen, use these steps:

  1. Open Lock screen.

  2. Access the Sign-in screen.

  3. Click the Power button in the bottom-right corner.

  4. Press and hold the Shift key and click the Restart button.

    Power options login screen
    Power options login screen

Access Advanced startup using Command Prompt

To access the troubleshooting and recovery options using Command Prompt, use these steps:

  1. Open Start.

  2. Search for Command Prompt, right-click the top result, select the Run as administrator option.

  3. Type the following command and press Enter:

    shutdown /r /o /f /t 00

    Command line to access Advanced startup
    Command line to access Advanced startup

After you complete the steps, Windows 10 will access the recovery environment.

Access Advanced startup using Windows 10 install media

If you can’t boot Windows 10, you can use a USB bootable media to access the Windows Startup Settings.

You’ll need to create a bootable installation media, and then use these steps:

  1. Start device with the USB bootable media.

  2. Click the Next button.

  3. Click the Repair your computer option in the bottom-left corner.

    Repair your computer option
    Repair your computer option

Once you complete the steps, the Windows Setup will open the Advanced startup environment.

Access Advanced startup using Automatic Repair

If Windows 10 doesn’t start on your device, and you don’t have the operating system installation files, then you can use the following steps:

  1. Press the power button.

  2. Immediately after the Power-On Self-Test (POST), and you see the blue Windows logo, press the power button again to shutdown.

  3. Repeat steps No. 1 and No. 2 twice, and in the third restart the operating system should enter into the Windows Recovery Environment (Windows RE), where a number of diagnostics will be performed to try fix any booting issues, but you will also get an option to access the Windows Startup Settings.

    Preparing automatic repair screen - Windows 10
    Preparing automatic repair screen – Windows 10
  4. Select your account, and enter the your password.

  5. Click the Continue button.

  6. Click the Advanced startup button to continue. 

    Advanced options automatic repair
    Advanced options automatic repair

After you complete the steps, Windows 10 will open the Advanced startup environment.

While on the first “Advanced startup” screen, click the Troubleshoot option. From the “Troubleshoot” page, you will be able to access the Reset this PC feature, which will help you reinstall Windows 10 without losing your files, settings, and apps, or you can also perform a clean install of the operating system.

Troubleshoot menu (Advanced Startup)
Troubleshoot menu (Advanced Startup)

In the Advanced options screen, you can access a number of troubleshooting options, such as “System Restore” to restore your PC to a previous good working condition. You can also access the “System Image Recovery” tool, which let you recover Windows 10, settings, and programs from a specific full system backup. And you can fix various common problems, like bootloader issues that stops the operating system from loading using “Startup Repair”.

Advanced options page
Advanced options page

In addition, you can also launch the “Command Prompt” to perform advanced troubleshooting. The “Startup Settings” option let you boot in Safe Mode to repair your device from bad drivers or problems with certain applications. Lastly, you will see an option to uninstall quality or feature updates when they’re causing problems, and depending on your device, you’ll see an option to access the UEFI firmware settings.

While the different methods to access the troubleshooting tools aim to fix Windows 10, you can also use the same instructions to troubleshoot and repair issues with Windows 8.1.

If you’re using BitLocker, you will need to turn the security feature off before you can access the Advanced startup options.

Update August 10, 2020: Originally published on January 2016, and it’s been revised to reflect the new changes.