What to do when Windows 10/8/7 won't boot/start/turn on?

By Katrina | Posted to Data Recovery on May 15th, 2019 |

Summary: Windows stuck on a black screen with a spinning circle? Windows 10/8/7 PC or laptop won't boot after a reset or update? Get a blue screen error or Windows 10 stop code? Check this page to get some detailed troubleshooting tips to get your PC running again.

Table of contents
1. Problem - Windows 10 not booting and showing a black screen
2. How to recover data from an unbootable computer?
3. What to do when Windows won't boot?
4. Verdict

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 nothing happens…Maybe the Windows 10 computer fails to start at all, it might power up but shuts down immediately, it probably boots to an unresponsive black/blue screen, or perhaps it gets stuck on a login/loading screen. What do you do in these situations? Actually, the Windows boot problem is a common symptom with a variety of causes. 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 an Windows update and it immediately became very slow (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 is 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 10/8/7 boot failure.

Windows won't boot

Don't worry! Your files are still fine

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, in fact, 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 issue, it will cause further data damage. Even 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

Here recommend you the best free data recovery software - iBoysoft Data Recovery. It designed to recover data from crashed/dead hard drive in Windows 10/8/7/Vista/XP and Windows Server 2016/2012/2008/2003. The software can recognize more than 300 different file types, such as photos, music files, videos, documents, emails, etc. Moreover, iBoysoft Data Recovery also offers read-only features and comprehensive data recovery to 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 data from formatted inaccessible drives, recover 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 data from unbootable PC

Step 1: Remove the internal hard drive and attach it to a working computer.

First of all, you need to prepare a working computer for data recovery. Then take the internal hard drive out of the unbootable computer and connect the drive externally through a USB port.

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

Step 3: Select the hard drive that you want to recover data from and click "Next" to scan for data on this drive.

Recover data from hard drive with iBoysoft Data Recovery

Step 4: Double-click to preview the scanning results, choose files you need to recover and click "Recover" to get them back.

Recover data from hard drive with iBoysoft Data Recovery

What to do when Windows 10/8/7 won't boot?

There are many reasons why your PC refuses to start up and often few clues what the problem might be. It's possible that the hardware driver is buggy, the new hardware is incompatible, the internal hard disk is corrupted, you accidentally unplugged something while it working inside your computer and so on. However, no matter what the reason is, you have a lot of ways to fix it.

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. The obvious signs that you probably have a power supply issue are when you start your computer, no fans are running and no lights are blinking.

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 charge is faulty. So, if possible, you can try a different charge.

If it's 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 get a new computer.

Fix 2: Check your monitor or display

If your computer powers on as the fans start up 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

Fix 3: 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 to get rid of this problem and then restart the computer.

Unplug all your USB devices

Fix 4: Perform a Startup Repair

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

Method 1: Launch Startup Repair from the Windows boot menu

If Windows isn't booting properly, it will allow you to use the Startup Repair option/menu at boot. On Windows 8 or 10, you'll often see the "Automatic Repair"window. Click Advanced options > Troubleshoot > Advanced options > Startup Repair on this menu. On Windows 7, you'll often see the Windows Error Recovery window, select "Launch Startup Repair (Recommended)" option.

Perform Startup Repair

Method 2: Launch Startup Repair from a Windows recovery drive

If Windows 10 won't boot at all, you should first create a Windows recovery drive (You can also and then launch "Startup Repair". You need to find a healthy PC and a USB drive with at least 512MB of storage to create it. Once you have created a Windows recovery drive, you need to insert it into the unbootable PC and boot the computer from the USB drive. Choose the language and you will see the same boot menu. Follow the steps of method 1.

Fix 5: 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. Go back to the "Advanced Option" menu, select "System Restore" and follow the wizard to restore the system.

Try System Restore

Fix 6: Fix the MBR (Master Boot Record) with the bootrec command prompt

The next fix is to use the command prompt to fix Windows 10 boot failuer. You need to create a recovery drive and get into the boot menu.

Step 1: Click Troubleshoot > Advanced Options > Command Prompt.

Choose Command Prompt

Step 2: After opening the command window, type bootrec /fixmbr and hit Enter. If all goes well, you will see "The operation completed successfully".

Step 3: Type bootrec /fixboot and then hit Enter.

Fix the MBR with the bootrec command prompt

Step 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.

Fix 7: Run chkdsk

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 on reboot:

Step 1: Insert the Windows recovery drive in the unbootable computer and restart it.

Step 2: Click Troubleshoot > Advanced Options > Command Prompt.

Step 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". If so, try the following fixes.

Fix 8: Try Windows Safe Mode

If you're facing with the blue 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.

Method 1: Boot into Safe Mode from Windows recovery

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.

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

Method 2: 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 of method 1.

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

Fix 9: Reinstall 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.

Step 1: Insert the Windows recovery drive in the unbootable computer and restart it.

Step 2: Click Troubleshoot > Reset this PC.

Reset Windows


That's a look at fix the issue that Windows 10/8/7 won't boot. As you can see, there are lots of reasons to cause this issue. 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 question about data recovery or have other solutions to this problem, please let us know. Thank you so much!


Katrina is a data recovery expert @iBoysoft who loves to help readers solve various data recovery problems.

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