Windows 10 Won’t Boot? Try This!
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Few computer issues are quite as frustrating as a PC that refuses to boot up How to Solve Most Windows Boot Problems How to Solve Most Windows Boot Problems Is your Windows computer not booting up? It could be because of a hardware, software, or firmware error. Here's how to diagnose and fix these problems. Read More . When your system can’t even initialize, it’s difficult to make any headway in locating the source of the problem.

Of course, there’s no reason to despair. Even if things look bleak for your PC, you can try plenty of fixes before it’s truly beyond repair. Windows 10 offers several methods of sorting out the boot process, and there are a few easy techniques you can carry out for yourself.

With any luck, this guide should help find the culprit behind your computer’s unwillingness to boot.

1. Check Your Battery

If you’re using a laptop, battery issues could well be the source of your system’s inability to boot properly. It’s worth testing an alternate charger cable to see whether that’s causing the problem. Confirm that the cable is working by trying it out on another laptop. Next, remove your system’s battery and plug the device into a power source.

Removing the battery will help you discover which component is faulty, if a hardware problem is to blame. The key here is to ensure that you’re only testing one element at any given time. If power issues are preventing your computer from booting up, it’s crucial that you know whether the battery, the charging cable, or another component needs to be replaced.

2. Boot to the Command Prompt Interface

When your computer can’t boot properly, it really can’t do much at all. However, it might still be possible to boot directly to the command prompt to expand its range of abilities. Using this interface, you can perform more troubleshooting procedures, and perhaps even fix your problem outright. You’ll need to have Windows 10 on a bootable disk or USB drive How to Create Windows 10 Installation Media How to Create Windows 10 Installation Media Regardless of how you arrived at Windows 10, there's a way to create your own installation media. Sooner or later you might need it. Let us show you how to be prepared. Read More to carry out the procedure, so use another computer to set that up before you get started.

To boot to the command prompt, start up your system. While it’s initializing, watch out for details of a combination of keys that will allow you to enter the BIOS How to Enter the BIOS on Your Computer How to Enter the BIOS on Your Computer Inside the BIOS you can change basic computer settings, like the boot order. The exact key you need to strike depends on your hardware. We have compiled a list of strategies & keys to enter... Read More . This information is typically delivered alongside the vendor logo.

Navigate to the Boot tab and make either the USB or DVD drive the first bootable device. Your choice here will depend on where your copy of Windows 10 is located. Again, the specifics of this process may vary from one system to another, so consult the on-screen instructions. Next, insert the disk or drive bearing Windows 10 into your system, save your configuration, and restart your PC.

windows 10 mac installer bios boot

When prompted, use your keyboard to specify that you want to boot using the disk or drive. Enter the requested language, currency, and input preferences, then select Repair your computer on the next screen. Next, select Troubleshoot > Advanced Options > Command Prompt, you should then see a window to enter commands.

3. Use System Restore or Startup Repair

If you’re already booting Windows 10 from a disk or drive, it’s well worth utilizing a couple of utilities that are available as part of the process. Once you’ve booted from the drive as detailed above, you’ll get access to options that can get your PC back on track. Look out for links to System Restore and Startup Repair on the Advanced Options screen.

System Restore is a utility that allows you to return to a previous restore point when your computer was working normally. It can remedy boot problems that were caused by a change you made, rather than a hardware failure.

system restore

Startup Repair is a general-purpose troubleshooter for issues that prevent Windows from starting up. If you’re struggling to find the source of your boot issues, it’s a good idea to run the utility in case it can find a solution.

4. Reassign Your Drive Letter

A system with more than one drive installed can cause boot issues for Windows 10 users if their operating system (OS) volume has its drive letter unintentionally unassigned. However, you can fix this problem with a minimum of fuss by booting to the command prompt interface.

Boot to a command prompt window as explained above, then enter the following to run the disk partition utility:


Once this is done, input list volume to print details of all the volumes currently hooked up to your system.

volume list

From here, you can use the select and assign letter commands to reassign the correct letter to an unassigned volume. For instance, if I wanted to assign the letter E to the Audio CD volume in the above image, I would first input “select volume 0” and then input “assign letter=E” to complete the process.

assign letter e

As ever, be very careful when making changes in the command prompt. Making mistakes here can quickly cause further problems from your PC.

5. Dodge the Windows 10 Bootloader

If you run into problems while trying to make a fresh installation of Windows 10, you may encounter the new version of the bootloader utility. This can sometimes interfere with attempts to reach an existing OS installation that’s present on another drive.

Fortunately, there’s a relatively straightforward way to remedy this situation. Boot to the command prompt interface and enter the following:

bcdedit /set {default} bootmenupolicy legacy

Restart your computer, and you should find that the legacy bootloader interface has replaced the Windows 10 iteration. You should have no further problems entering Windows 10 Safe Mode How to Boot Into Windows 10 Safe Mode How to Boot Into Windows 10 Safe Mode Safe Mode is an inbuilt troubleshooting feature that allows you to fix issues at the root, without non-essential applications interfering. You can access Safe Mode in various ways, even if Windows 10 no longer boots. Read More  or accessing your existing OS installation.

6. Try a Third-Party Utility

Figuring out what exactly is the cause of the problem is the most challenging part of remedying boot issues. When your system can’t even boot, it’s difficult to diagnose the problem. However, a third-party utility called Boot Repair Disk might have more success.

Boot Repair Disk is an open source rescue disk 5 Best Rescue Disks For A Windows System Restore 5 Best Rescue Disks For A Windows System Restore Every Windows user should be aware of at least one bacon-saving, data-recovering system restore disk. It can help you access your computer to make repairs and backups, even when it won't boot. Read More that you can use to automatically find and fix issues preventing your PC from booting up. It’s very easy to use — you only have to select whether you’re using a 32-bit or 64-bit version What Is the Difference Between 32-bit & 64-bit Windows? What Is the Difference Between 32-bit & 64-bit Windows? Do you know whether your computer is 32-bit or 64-bit and does it even matter? Yes it does! Let's take a look at where these terms come from and what they mean for you. Read More of Windows. The following testing procedure and any required fixes are carried out automatically, although there are options that allow for more close control.

When you’re at your wit’s end with boot issues, and you’re not sure what to try next, Boot Repair Disk is a useful option. It’s not guaranteed to fix your PC, but it may well be able to pinpoint a problem that was previously hidden away.

Do you have tips for users unable to boot Windows 10? Contribute a solution, ask for help, or simply join the conversation in the comments section below!

Image Credits: paolo airenti/Shutterstock

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  1. Tony
    January 27, 2018 at 11:49 am

    I tried to recover system from hard disk but power fails. Now it won't boot Tues on and off and when I tried to boot from startup it fail saying that my hard disk downer have the required files.

  2. Stefan
    September 12, 2017 at 6:47 pm

    Thanks for the info.
    I suddenly was left with an unbootable W10 after a blue screen.
    The drive letter tip actually got me back in!
    I wast sure which of the 8 partitions was my original C drive so I took a more mechanical approach and unplugged all harddisks besides the one I knew to have the bootable partition on it, and bingo, it recognize the original C again!
    After that successful first boot, I shut it down again and reattached the other drives: all back to normal, thanks again

  3. bob marley
    January 6, 2017 at 4:15 pm

    You know very well that all this is not of help... not even a microsoft man in black can get into their black box once it crashed... only CIA and NSA if they are looking for terrorist but not for customers... who cares for few thousands screwed man... the stock didn't even count them that small are we... DO NOT UPGRADE TO WINDOWDS 10 it will crash 100%... talk to IT savvy friends and listen to them... MICROSOFT warned too late that their update is dangerous... now people are seating on their laptops out of guarantee and have to pay for Microsoft experiment out of their pockets. Where is the lawmaker in this case?

  4. Michael Caetano
    December 25, 2016 at 10:54 pm

    Look I don't have any thing to hide, I did this already something went wrong and I did it again still nothing. They said they had a file on me, which I knew already because I been to prison 23 years ago