What to do When Windows 10 Won't boot/start/turn on?

By Katrina | Updated to Home > Data Recovery Tips on November 30th, 2020 |

Summary: Windows stuck on a black screen with a spinning circle or a cursor? Windows 10 PC or laptop won't boot after a reset or update? Get a blue screen or Windows 10 stop code? Check this page to get some detailed troubleshooting tips to get your PC running again.

There are few things more frustrating than a PC or laptop won't boot. Imagine that when you push the power button of your Dell, HP, Acer or Lenovo computer just like you do every day, but your Windows computer doesn't boot up as usual…Maybe the Windows 10 computer shows no sign of power at all, it might be booting up but shuts down immediately, it probably boots to an unresponsive black/blue screen, or perhaps it gets stuck on a login screen or the logo of the PC.

However, many users probably don't know the reasons why their Windows 10 won't start (internal hard disk like SSD is not detected is a common reason) and how to fix it. The following is a real example that Windows 10 won't boot after update:

Windows 10 not booting and showing a black screen, help!

Recently my laptop went through a Windows update, but my computer immediately became very slow after this (programs not responding and generally unable to use my laptop for anything). I shut it down and it was still the same. The next morning, my laptop would not even boot and just showed a black screen for 8 mins until a message which reads reboot and select proper boot device or insert boot media in selected boot device and press a key' appears. I've tried everything the internet has to offer like force shut down to get my computer to perform an automatic repair which failed. I'm getting desperate as I do not have a reboot device anywhere and there are some important data on my computer. Please help!!

--from answers.microsoft.com

If you have encountered a similar issue that Windows computer won't boot or booting into a black screen, there is no need to despair as Windows offers several advanced boot options and built-in repair tools. Even if things look bleak for your PC, you can try a few easy techniques to fix the Windows 10 boot failure.

But first, let's check out what might be the troublemaker.

Windows won't boot

Why my Windows 10 won't boot/turn on/restart?

There are many reasons why your PC refuses to start up and often few clues what the problem might be. Here are some possible reasons:

  1. Windows appears as "not booting" for display or power problems.
  2. The hardware driver is buggy or the new hardware is incompatible with the newest Windows update.
  3. The internal hard disk is corrupted or crashed.
  4. You accidentally unplugged something while it working inside your computer and so on.

Many factors could result in the Windows not booting issue. But no matter what makes your PC or laptop unbootable, you should try to get your files back from this computer in case you do damage to these files during repair your computer.

Don't worry! You can recover lost data from the unbootable Windows computer

Most people get into a panic when faced with a Windows 10 computer that cannot boot, worried that all their precious data is gone forever. However, the fact is that all the data stored on the computer still stays on the device as long as it isn't overwritten. The good news is that you can safely get lost data back with a professional data recovery tool. You can perform file recovery by yourself, which potentially saves a lot of money.

Note: In order to get the best data recovery result, you should stop using the computer when it cannot turn on. Because if you continue to repair or fix the unbootable Windows computer before files are retrieved, it will cause further data damage. Even a normal startup or shutdown may write new data on the computer, which will overwrite the original data and make data recovery impossible.

Best free data recovery software

To recover lost data when a Windows computer won't boot, you can try some Windows data recovery software like iBoysoft Data Recovery. iBoysoft Data Recovery is one of the best data recovery software for Windows 10/Vista/XP and Windows Server 2019/2016/2012/2008/2003. It is designed to recover lost data from crashed/dead hard drive with the support of different file types, such as photos, music files, videos, documents, emails, etc. Moreover, iBoysoft Data Recovery is risk-free due to its read-only features, which would raise the level of data protection on your computer.

Aside from recovering data from unbootable PC, iBoysoft Data Recovery can also recover deleted files/photos, recover lost data from formatted inaccessible drives, recover lost data from corrupted drives, perform RAW file system data recovery, etc. It can recover deleted/lost files on any type of external media, including external hard drives, USB flash drives, SD cards, memory cards, CF cards and more.

Tutorial to recover lost data from unbootable PC

Step 1: Remove the internal hard drive.

Take the internal hard drive out of the unbootable computer and connect the drive externally through a USB port. For this part, you'd better ask an experienced friend for help.

Step 2: Download and install iBoysoft Data Recovery on the working computer.

Since the problematic PC is not booting up at present, you need to prepare another working computer for data recovery. You can borrow one from your friends if necessary.

Step 3: Recover lost data from the hard drive you pull out.

Connect this hard drive to the working computer as an external hard drive. And then you can launch iBoysoft Data Recovery and select the hard drive that you want to recover lost data from in the interface of this software. Then click Next to start scanning for data on this drive.

Recover lost data from hard drive with iBoysoft Data Recovery

Step 4: When the lost files are found, you can double-click it and preview the scanning results to check if the files are recoverable. After making sure the files are not corrupt, you can select these files you need and click Recover to get them back.

Recover lost data from hard drive with iBoysoft Data Recovery

What to do when Windows 10 won't boot?

After recovering files successfully, you can move forward to fix and repair this unbootable computer with ease. However, when people say "Windows won't boot", many different symptoms could be indicated since there are so many different reasons.

Thus, the solutions to fix this issue are divided from case to case in the following part. Choose the best solutions according to how your computer looks like.

Computer shows no sign of power at all

Usually, after you press the power button to start the machine, the fans will run, the light on the keyboard and the display will be on, and the internal disk will start spinning. However, if your computer doesn't show any of the signs above and appears to be a dead computer, you need to check if it is receiving power or not.

How to fix:

1. Check the power supply

Believe it or not, the number one reason why a Windows 10 computer won't turn on is there is no power supply. To troubleshoot the power supply issue, unplug your computer and plug it directly into a working wall outlet, instead of a power strip or battery backup. Ensure the power cord is connected properly.

If you are using a laptop: The first thing to do is to make sure the charger is plugged in properly and the correct port. Then leave it to charge for a few hours. If it still won't power on at all, it's possible that the charger is faulty. So, if possible, you can try a different charger.

If you are using a desktop computer: Make sure the power switch on the back of its case is set to the On position. If that doesn't work, it could be the power supply inside has failed. In this case, you have to replace your power supply or send it to repair services.

2. Check your monitor or display

If your computer powers on as the fans start or the power lights blinks, but the screen stays black. It's likely the computer may actually be booting but the monitor or display is at fault.

To fix this issue, you should try to plug your monitor/display in a wall outlet rather than a power strip. Furthermore, make sure the cable connecting the display to your computer's case is plugged in properly at both ends. If that doesn't work, try connecting a different monitor.

Check your monitor or display

Computer turns on but off in a flash

Sometimes, the Windows computer could not boot up normally but you could see a flash of turning on. If it is surely not caused by power problem, the Windows 10 computer won't boot probably because of a conflict within the UBS devices.

How to fix:

1. Check if the power is outraged

Sometimes, your PC or laptop is powering on but suddenly off in a flash. In this condition, you'd better have a check if the power is outraged or if the battery of your laptop is running out of electricity.

2. Unplug all your USB devices

Sometimes your Windows 10 computer won't boot due to a conflict with a UBS device. You can unplug all USB devices, reconnect the essential keyboard and mouse to your computer, and then restart the computer.

Unplug all your USB devices

Computer powers on but frozen/crashed during boot

It is possible that your computer turns on but is frozen or stuck during booting up. The Windows could be stuck on a black/grey screen or some error messages. Sometimes, it can't startup but stuck on a spinning circle or a blinking cursor, or your computer can't boot past the Windows logo screen. In these cases, you may be facing either a software or hardware problem.

How to fix:

1. Try to boot the Windows in Safe Mode

If you're facing with the black screen of death at startup, it may result from buggy applications, outdated hardware drivers or other hardware problems. In this situation, you have to boot into Safe Mode to diagnose and repair these problems. Here is how to boot your PC in Safe Mode. Before doing the following operations, please ensure your PC is off.

Boot into Safe Mode from Windows recovery:

For Windows 7 and earlier: Press the power button to turn on your PC. Then hold the F8 key as your Windows starts. In some older operating system, you need to tap the F8 key rapidly instead of holding it down. This action will bring up the Windows Advanced Options Menu, in which you have to select Safe Mode and press Enter.

For Windows 8/8.1/10: Press the power button. While holding the Shift key, click Restart. At the Choose an option screen, select Troubleshoot , click on Advanced options , and then choose Startup Settings, and finally you can click on Restart. Your computer may restart and open the Startup Settings screen automatically. Press the F4 key to boot into Safe Mode.

Start Windows in Safe Mode with a Windows recovery drive:

If you cannot get into Safe Mode, you also need to create a Windows USB recovery drive that contains the Windows recovery environment. Then insert the recovery USB drive into your unbootable PC and turn the computer back on. Press F11 when your computer starts up. Select the language and you will see the "Advanced Option" menu, then run the steps mentioned above.

When booting into Safe Mode, you can now try to uninstall recently added hardware drivers or software applications.

2. Perform a Startup Repair

The next fix is to use the Windows built-in "Startup Repair" tool in the Windows boot menu. This tool will scan and repair problems like missing or damaged system files at startup.

For Windows 8 or 10: You'll often see the Automatic Repair window when a computer fails to boot. Click Advanced options, choose Troubleshoot, and then go to Advanced options, and finally choose Startup Repair on this menu.

Perform Startup Repair

For Windows 7: You'll often see the Windows Error Recovery window after your PC indicates that "Windows failed to start", you could select Launch Startup Repair (Recommended) option to perform a Startup Recovery.

However, if Windows 10 won't boot at all, you should first create a Windows recovery drive and then proceed with "Startup Repair" instead.

3. Try System Restore

If "Startup Repair" couldn't repair your PC, you can select "System Restore" to return to a recent restore point when your computer worked normally. Simply go back to the Advanced options menu, select System Restore and follow the wizard to restore the system.

Try System Restore

4. Fix the MBR (Master Boot Record) with the bootrec command prompt

You can also use the command prompt to fix Windows 10 boot failure. You need to create a recovery drive and get into the boot menu.

  • 1. Click Troubleshoot, and then choose Advanced Options, and then select the Command Prompt option.
  • Choose Command Prompt
  • 2. After opening the command window, type bootrec /fixmbr and hit Enter. If all goes well, you will see "The operation completed successfully".
  • 3. Type bootrec /fixboot and then hit Enter.
  • Fix the MBR with the bootrec command prompt
  • 4. If you see some errors such as "Boot Manager is missing", then you need to type bootrec /rebuildbcd. Try this command line again if failed.

5. Run chkdsk to Check your hard drive for corruption

If you have tried running the bootrec command prompt for several times but still can't resolve Windows not turning on issue, you can next try running chkdsk. As a Windows built-in utility, chkdsk not only repairs disk errors but also improves your system's performance. You can run it with a Windows recovery drive:

  • 1. Insert the Windows recovery drive in the unbootable computer and restart it.
  • 2. Click Troubleshoot, and then choose Advanced Options, and then select the Command Prompt option.
  • 3. In the command window, type chkdsk /x /f /r and hit Enter.
  • Run chkdsk

It's possible that chkdsk fails and you may get the error message like: "The type of file system is NTFS. Cannot lock the current drive. Windows cannot run chkdsk on this volume because it is write protected". It is caused when your volume/drive is damaged or attributed to read-only. Then you may need to check and repair disk corruption, or you can move on to the other solutions.

Computer boots into a blue screen or stuck on stop code

A blue screen error (also called a stop error) can occur if a problem causes your device to shut down or restart unexpectedly. You might see a blue screen with a message that your device ran into a problem and needs to restart. It happens either after a Windows update was installed or when you are booting up your PC.

How to fix:

1. Restart your Windows in Safe mode

In Safe mode, Windows won't load unnecessary hardware drivers or any other software at startup. If your computer boots up and is stable in Safe mode, you should try uninstalling any recently installed drivers and programs, performing a System Restore in Safe mode, and scanning for malware. If you're lucky, one of these steps may fix your software problem and your Windows computer would boot normally.

2. Reinstall/reset Windows

The much faster fix to resolve the unbootable issue is to reinstall Windows and start over with a fresh system. But this operation will remove all your personal files, apps and setting. Please make sure you have backed up important files or have got them back with iBoysoft Data Recovery.

  • 1. Insert the Windows recovery drive in the unbootable computer and restart it.
  • 2. Click Troubleshoot and then choose Reset this PC.

Reset Windows


That's a look at fixing the issue that Windows 10 won't boot. As you can see, there are lots of reasons to cause this issue, including the most common one-your internal hard disk, which usually shows as the boot volume is unmountable. But none of them means your PC is broken or you will lose all stored data for good. Chances are that you can get all lost data back with free data recovery software like iBoysoft Data Recovery. And sometimes the fix is very simple. So give the tricks a try and see if they can work for you.

If you have any other question about data recovery or have other solutions to this problem, please let us know. Thank you so much!