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Understanding Windows Boot Options

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While troubleshooting various issues within the HP forums you may be asked to put your computer into a boot option that you are not familiar with and do not quite understand.

 

This guide is going to go over the main different boot options that are used for troubleshooting.

 

Understand that any time the word Normal boot is used this is your general setup while going into Windows and is not one of the boot options dictated below. 

 

To quickly jump to one of the sections use the Table of Contents

 

I. Safe Mode

II. Clean Boot

III. Last Known Good Configuration

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Safe Mode

 

windows-safe-mode.png

Safe mode starts windows with a minimal set of drivers and services. Only basic functionality drivers are loaded and started. While in safe mode it will display the words safe mode in the corners of the display to remind you that you are using safe mode.

 

When isolating a potential Windows issue it’s important to boot into safe mode to see if the problem persists.

You are limited to what you can do in safe mode and depending on what kind of safe mode you boot into you may be limited even more.

To get into safe mode as soon as your HP computer boots up begin by tapping the F8 key repeatedly until the screen appears.

 

Safe mode comes with three options

Safe mode

Safe mode with networking

Safe mode with command prompt

 

You already understand what safe mode is so now I’ll explain the other two options.

 

Safe mode with networking

 

Safe mode with network allows your computer to boot into its safe mode as before, but also installs network drivers and services to access the internet or other computers on the network.

 

Safe mode with command prompt

 

Safe mode with command prompt will start windows with a command prompt window instead of the Windows interface. This option is intended for IT professionals and has very little use for home users.

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Clean Boot

 

A clean boot will start Windows in a normal environment with as little stuff as possible during startup. You can run a clean boot to attempt to rule out a potential program or service that is starting when Windows start that is causing a potential error or problem.

 

To perform a clean boot follow the below steps

1. Click the start orb to launch the start menu
2. In the Start Search box type MSCONFIG and press enter
3. Navigate to the services tab

Services tab.png
4. Check the box next to Hide all Microsoft Services

Note: It’s important that we do not disable Microsoft Services as it may adversely affect the functionality of the computer

5. Take a glance at what is left. If everything is already checked then you can uncheck everything and proceed to the next step. If some things are unchecked while others are checked you may wish to notate exactly what you currently have checked so after troubleshooting you can return your computer to its original state.

6. Navigate to the startup tab

Startup tab.png
7. This is your list of programs that launch as soon as Windows launches. Generally if there is a problem with Windows at startup the problem exists somewhere within this list. If everything is checked uncheck everything and continue to the next step. If some are unchecked while others are checked you may wish to notate exactly what you currently have checked so after troubleshooting you can return your computer to its original state.
8. Click apply settings and / or OK
9. Reboot your computer

 

Upon reboot your computer may boot faster than before and any program that is supposed to startup when Windows starts up will not be running. Continue with diagnosing your issue as normal.

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Last Known Good Configuration

 

last-known-good-configuration.gif

 

Every time Windows shuts down successfully, important system settings and are saved in the registry. Windows then uses this shut down to be known as the “last known good configuration.” Next time your computer shuts down successfully the previous timestamp was changed and the new shut down becomes the last known good configuration.

 

You should use this if something has recently changed that is preventing Windows from properly shutting down or starting up. This could be a new driver installed or an incorrect registry setting.

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This guide is for informational purposes only. Hopefully you find the instructions clear and easy to understand. Any feedback is welcome. If you are having a technical issue please use the create a new thread button and create a thread in regards to your issue.

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