This is what to do when your computer freezes during Windows startup

An especially frustrating way for your computer to not start is when you run into a problem during the Windows startup process, but have nothing to do: no blue screen of death or other error message.

Maybe Windows 7 hangs during startup, forcing you to watch “Start Windows” for an hour. You are forced to manually restart, only to see it freeze in the same place again. Or maybe your Windows 10 computer automatically restarts at some point after it starts to load, causing what’s called a “reboot loop.”

Sometimes the computer may even stop at a point where you can move the mouse, but nothing happens. Windows may seem like it’s still trying to start, but eventually you have to manually restart your computer, only to see the same behavior again!

If you see a blue screen full of information flashing on the screen before your computer restarts, it is a Blue Screen of Death and your computer is set to restart after one.

If your PC is, in fact, booting to the Windows login screen, you’re seeing any kind of error message, or if it’s not even getting through POST, see How to Fix a PC That Won’t Turn On for a better understanding. troubleshooting guide for your specific problem.

Applies to : Any version of Windows, including Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP.

How to fix stopping, freezing, and restarting issues during Windows startup

  1. Turn off your computer and turn it on again. Unfortunately, you can’t restart Windows properly because it’s not fully loaded, so you’ll have to do it manually.

    Many things happen in the background when Windows starts. Sometimes things don’t work exactly as they should, especially after Windows has installed updates or there were other major changes to the operating system the last time it was running. A reboot might be all that Windows needs to get back on track.

  2. Start Windows in Safe Mode, if you can, and then restart your computer properly.

    That’s right – don’t do anything in Safe Mode, just go in and reboot. As you read in the first idea above, sometimes updates or other things get stuck. If a hard and hard reboot doesn’t work, try it from Safe Mode. This works more often than you think.

  3. Repair Windows installation. A common reason for Windows to automatically freeze or restart during the Windows startup process is because one or more important Windows files are damaged or missing. Windows Repair replaces these important files without removing or changing anything else on your computer.

    In Windows 10, this is called Reset this PC . Windows 8 calls it Reset your PC or Refresh your PC . In Windows 7 and Vista, this is called Startup Repair. Windows XP refers to it as a Repair Install .

    The Windows XP repair installation is more complicated and has more drawbacks than the repair options available in other operating systems. So, if you’re an XP user, you may want to wait until you’ve tried steps 4 through 6 before giving it a try.

  4. Start Windows using Last Known Good Configuration. If you’ve just made a change to your computer that you suspect may have caused Windows to stop starting properly, it might help to start with the last known good configuration.

    Last Known Good Configuration will return many important settings to the states they were in the last time Windows started successfully, in hopes of resolving this issue and getting you back to Windows.

  5. Start Windows in Safe Mode, and then use System Restore to undo recent changes. Windows could freeze, stop, or restart during the startup process due to a damaged driver, important file, or part of the registry. A System Restore will return all of those things to their last working state, which might solve your problem entirely.

    Depending on the reason why Windows is not starting, you may not even be able to enter Safe Mode. Fortunately, you can also perform a system restore from Advanced Startup Options in Windows 10 or Windows 8, or System Recovery Options in Windows 7 or Windows Vista, as well as from the Windows Setup DVD.

    Note that you will not be able to undo a system restore if it is done from Safe Mode or System Recovery Options. You may not care, since you can’t start Windows normally anyway, but it’s something to keep in mind.

  6. Scan your computer for viruses, again, from Safe Mode.

    A virus or other type of malware may have caused a problem with a part of Windows that was bad enough to stop it from starting properly.

    If you are unable to access Safe Mode, you can continue to scan for viruses using a startup malware scanner. Check out our list of free startup antivirus tools to see a number of different programs that can do just that.


  7. Clear the CMOS. If the motherboard BIOS memory is cleared, the BIOS settings will return to their factory default levels. A BIOS setup error could be the reason why Windows is freezing during startup.

    If clearing the CMOS fixes the Windows startup problem, make sure that future BIOS changes are completed one at a time so that if the problem recurs, you know which change caused the problem.

  8. Replace the CMOS battery if your computer is more than three years old or has been turned off for a long time.

    CMOS batteries are very cheap, and one that no longer holds a charge can be the cause of Windows freezing, stopping, or restarting during boot.

  9. Put everything you can get back in its place. The reset will reset the various connections within your computer and is very often a “magic bullet” fix for startup issues like this, especially reboot loops and crashes.

    Try resetting the following hardware and see if Windows boots properly:

    Replace all internal data and power cables

  10. Replace the memory modules
  11. Replace expansion cards

    Disconnect and reconnect your keyboard, mouse, and other external devices.

  12. Check the causes of electrical shorts inside your computer. An electrical short is often the cause of reboot loops and freezes while Windows is starting up.
  13. Try the RAM. If one of the computer’s RAM modules fails completely, the computer won’t even turn on. However, most of the time, the memory fails slowly and will work to some extent.

    If your system memory fails, your computer might turn on, but then freeze, stop, or restart continuously at some point during Windows startup.

    Replace your computer’s memory if the memory test shows any type of problem.

  14. Try the power supply. Just because the computer initially turns on does not mean that the power supply is working. While it may not be common for your computer to make it to the end of the Windows startup process with a bad power supply, it does happen and is worth a look.

    Replace your power supply if your tests show a problem with it.

  15. Replace the hard drive data cable. If the cable that connects the hard drive to the motherboard is damaged or not working, you can see all sorts of problems while Windows is loading, including freezing, stopping, and reboot loops.

    Don’t have a spare hard drive data cable? You can buy one at any electronics store or you can borrow the one that another drive is using, such as your optical drive, assuming of course it’s the same type of cable. Newer drives use SATA cables and older drives use PATA cables.

    A loose hard drive data cable can cause the same problems as a damaged one, but hopefully you checked for connection issues with the cable in step 9.

    Make sure you have done your best to complete the troubleshooting steps up to this one. Steps 14 and 15 involve more difficult and destructive solutions to the problems of freezing, stopping and restarting during Windows startup. It may be that one of the following solutions is necessary to fix your problem, but if you haven’t been diligent in troubleshooting up to this point, you can’t be sure that one of the easier solutions isn’t the right one.

  16. Try the hard drive. A physical problem with your hard drive is certainly one reason why Windows may continually reboot, completely freeze, or stop in its tracks. A hard drive that cannot read and write information correctly certainly cannot load an operating system correctly.

    Replace your hard drive if your tests show a problem. After replacing the hard drive, you will need to perform a fresh installation of Windows.

    If your hard drive passes the test, the hard drive is physically fine, so the cause of the problem must be with Windows, in which case the following step will resolve the problem.

  17. Take a Clea Inspection