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How To Perform a Clean Boot on Windows 11 (Complete Guide)

It appears that you’re facing some system errors including BSOD (Black Screen of Death, formerly called Blue Screen of Death until Windows 10) and software conflicts in Windows and want to troubleshoot the software compatibility issues.

The Clean boot is the process of starting the computer and booting Windows with the most basic and essential OS components including the services, programs, and drivers.

fix windows errors with clean boot
Windows Errors

Let’s break down what we’re going to cover in this guide:

The Clean Boot involves stopping the programs and their services in the background completely. It is mainly done for troubleshooting purposes when the user is facing usability issues commonly due to incompatible software installations.

We’ll be basically stopping all the background startup applications and services in Windows so your device starts with a minimum number of device drivers, third-party programs, and their respective services to troubleshoot advanced Windows errors and issues. Once we identify and fix the software compatibility issues, we’ll be re-enabling the previous settings.

Step 1: Search and open “System Configuration” from the Start menu or type “msconfig” (without quotation marks) in the Windows Run.

system information app icon in windows
System Configuration Icon

Step 2: Go to the “Services” tab from the top bar and uncheck the “Hide all Microsoft services” option.

Microsoft uses its own services such as Hyper V, Credentials, Network, etc, for performing core functions in Windows. In this step, we’re basically hiding the built-in Windows programs to avoid disabling them accidentally and causing system failure.

select the hide all microsoft services option in the services tab in system configuration
‘Hide all Microsoft Services’ option

Step 3: Now, you’ll be seeing the services from third-party applications only. Click the “Disable all” button to disable all the services by third-party programs in Windows and press the “Apply” button.

manually unselect the services to disable them or press the disable all services option
‘Disable all’ option

Step 4: Press the “Ctrl + Shift + Esc” key combination to open the task manager.

task manager icon in windows 11
Task Manager Icon

Step 5: Go to the “Startup” tab from the top bar and you’ll find the applications that run during the Windows Startup.

open the task manager and select the startup tab from the top bar
Enabled Startup Programs in Windows

Step 6: Single-click the enabled startup program and press the “disable” button.

single click the program in task manager and press the disable button
Disable Startup Apps

Step 7: Restart your device and the computer loads the operating system in a clean environment

restart device to make changes take effect in windows
Restart the Device

This method is pretty lengthy but it’ll ensure that no third-party application will be loaded during the next startup and the clean boot is being performed properly.

After performing a clean boot in Windows, we have to restore the previous Windows configuration and startup settings. To do so, follow the steps below:

Step 1: Search and open “System Configuration” from the Start menu or type “msconfig” (without quotation marks) in the Windows Run.

system information app icon in windows
System Configuration Icon

Step 2: In the “General” tab, choose the “Normal Startup” option to load all device drivers and services on the next boot onwards and press the apply button.

select the startup type to 'normal startup' under the general tab in the system configuration in windows
Normal Startup

Step 3: Restart your device to make changes take effect properly.

restart device to make changes take effect in windows
Restart the Device

Note: After restarting the device, check to see if the startup settings and Windows services are back to default. If this is the case, then congrats on a successful clean boot; if not, you’ll have to manually reset to the previous settings from the task manager and System configurations.

1. Reduce RAM Usage

Some unused programs keep running in the background and use their respective workers and services for their functioning, thus increasing the RAM usage. But, once we perform a clean boot and do not re-enable the disabled services, these services will be kept stopped, thus reducing the memory consumption.

2. Fix Software Conflicts

The software conflict is basically a scenario when two programs are unable to run at the same instance in Windows mainly due to code conflicts which generally occur when the programs clash for the same resources such as memory, and other external peripherals.

3. Increase Battery Usage

The unused services running in the background consume the device’s battery to perform their respective functions. Also, the battery usage varies by application; some apps require a lot of resources even while they are running in the background. A clean boot without re-enabling the unused programs at startup and background will save your device power usage without compromising performance.

4. Fix BSOD (Black Screen of Death)

The Black Screen of Death (formerly known as the Blue Screen of Death until Windows 10, BSOD) is the Windows Error mainly occurring due to software and hardware conflicts. If there would be a software conflict causing the BSOD, then there are high chances that it’ll be fixed after a clean boot.

5. Increase Device’s Performance

Since the programs are halted during the Windows startup and no application is running in the background after performing a clean boot, the RAM is available to be used for other necessary functions, thus it’ll increase the device’s performance.

Does a clean boot erase everything?

No, the clean boot doesn’t erase anything from the system and all your personal files, folders, apps, documents, etc will remain intact. The Clean Boot ensures that no external third-party application is loaded and conflicting during the system boot.

Is clean boot safe?

Yes, it is totally safe to perform a clean boot on your version of Windows. The clean boot usually doesn’t cause any problem if done correctly. All the programs will keep working properly. After performing the clean boot, you need to make sure that you reset the settings to the previous state.

What is the difference between the safe mode and clean boot?

It is recommended to perform a clean boot when you’re facing issues regarding the software compatibility and boot the device in safe mode when facing issues related to hardware.

Overall, we can consider that you can perform a clean boot by disabling Windows startup programs from the task manager and services from the System Configuration.

It’s crucial to note that the services you disable during the clean boot won’t work again until you manually enable them, so, it’s critical to evaluate and choose which services to re-activate. This means that if you wish to utilize applications that use deactivated services, you must first re-enable the services so you can use the program.

Further, configure the Windows Settings by referring to the related articles listed below.

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