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How to Perform a Clean Boot in Windows

Mariya Beckham ~ Published: March 11th, 2016 ~ Tech Query ~ 4 Minutes Reading


How to Perform a Clean Boot in Windows

Windows system may behave abnormally if any of the hardware or software components in the PC is not working correctly. In order to detect which component of the system is causing the problem, one possible way for diagnosing the PC is to restart or boot the Windows system. We can either perform clean boot or boot the system in safe mode. In the blog, we will be discussing about the steps involved to perform a clean boot in Windows system.


Clean Boot vs. Safe Mode

The most common way to troubleshoot and diagnose a PC is to boot the system in safe mode. This mode can be entered when we restart the system and press F8 key on keyboard. It will load the Windows system with a minimal set of drivers such as system loads only a standard VGA video driver. That’s the reason why system is set to a low resolution mode when we boot the system in safe mode.
A clean boot is used for diagnosing and troubleshooting advanced Windows problems, which is slightly different from Safe mode. In clean boot, Windows system will start in normal mode but without any non-Microsoft background applications and services. These applications and services that run in background may be the reason to make Windows behave the way it does. To check if any background application is interfering the normal working of system, we use clean boot.


Things to keep in mind before Clean boot

  • The system may lose some functionality for some time while performing clean boot. It will be restored once the system is started in normal mode again. If problem cannot be resolved, original error message will be displayed even after restarting the system in normal mode.
  • In order to start the system in clean boot, we need to log on to the system as an administrator.
  • If computer is connected to network, network policy settings may prevent us from starting the system in clean boot. It is advisable that we do not use system configuration utility to change the boot settings unless technical support team directs us to do the same.


Steps to Perform Clean Boot

  • Windows 8.1 and 8

Here are the steps to perform clean boot in Windows 8.1/8:

  1. Click on Windows button and type msconfig in the search box
  2. After selecting msconfig, system configuration window will be opened.
  3. Go to Services Tab of the system configuration dialog box, select Hide all Microsoft services check box and click Disable all
  4. Go to Startup Tab of the System Configuration dialog box, Click on Open Task Manager
  5. In Startup Tab in Task Manager, select each item individually and disable.
  6. Close Task Manager
  7. Click OK and restart the system and it will start in clean boot.


  • Windows 7 and Vista
  1. Go to Start Menu and type msconfig.exe in the search box.
  2. Enter to start the system configuration utility
  3. Go to General tab and click the Selective Startup option. Uncheck the option of Load startup items.
  4. Now go to Services Tab, click on Hide all Microsoft services check box and click Disable all
  5. Click OK and Restart to system


After performing the clean boot of the Windows system, we will check if the issues that were earlier present in the system has been resolved or not after the reboot. E.g. any installation or uninstallation issues related to an application and unable to run a program. In many cases, the issues are resolved by the clean boot of system. However if the problem cannot be rectified after reboot, we must contact Microsoft support team for further help.

We can reset the Windows system to start it in normal mode after clean boot troubleshooting by changing the settings in msconfig again. Go to General Tab or Normal Startup option, clear the Hide all Microsoft services check box in Services Tab and click Enable all. After enabling all the startup programs, click OK to restart the computer in normal mode.


The clean boot or restart the system in Safe mode is usually done when there is some problem in the system related to an application behaving abnormally. In order to troubleshoot or diagnose the PC, we will restart the Windows System in Safe mode and see if it solves the issue. However, we need to perform clean boot to troubleshoot advanced issues. The blog explains the procedural steps to perform clean boot in Windows System and how can we restart the system in normal mode after the clean boot.