How to Use Advanced Startup Options to Fix Your Windows 11 PC

Everything was going well until this happened – maybe your computer suddenly started getting blue screens of death (BSOD), Windows is unstable or won’t load properly, or Windows has frozen inexplicably. The Advanced Startup menu might have the tools you need to fix your Windows 11 PC. Here’s what you need to know.

Accessing the advanced launch options menu

The first thing you need to do is boot into the Advanced Startup Options menu. There are several ways to do this. If your Windows 11 installation is badly damaged and you cannot boot into Windows, you will be taken there automatically.

Troubleshoot Windows 11 with advanced startup options

Restart your computer

If your Windows installation has been badly corrupted by malware, an update went horribly wrong, or someone is overzealous deleting something, or just freezes inexplicably, restarting your PC might be the right move to make.

Warning. Using the “Restart Computer” feature may result in the complete loss of all your files. If you can log into Windows or connect your hard drive to another computer, you should back up everything important before restarting your computer.

If you’re going to use Reset Your PC, try the “Keep my files” option first. You can always go back and completely overwrite everything if you need to, but going in the other direction is much more difficult.

Advanced options menu

There are a lot of options in the Advanced Options menu and all of them are for troubleshooting or repairing your PC. Here’s what they are:

  • Startup Repair: Startup Repair will attempt to automatically fix any problems that prevent Windows 11 from booting properly.
  • Launch parameters. Startup options allow you to change the basic settings of Windows before it actually starts up. You can do things like enable safe mode, activate debug mode, enable boot logging, and more.
  • Command Prompt: The Command Prompt allows you to manually execute commands that can be useful in diagnosing or repairing a Windows installation.
  • Removing updates. Uninstalling updates rolls back the most recently installed Windows update. This is useful when an update goes wrong and causes system instability.
  • System Restore: System Restore uses a restore point to return Windows to the point at which the restore point was created. However, it will not rollback all your programs.
  • System Image Restore: System Image Restore uses a disk image of your operating system to roll back everything on your computer. System images are usually very large, so create them sparingly.

How to choose an option

With so many options, how do you know which one is best for your problem? Unfortunately, it’s impossible to cover every scenario without writing a little novel, but here’s a general outline of the steps you should take.

Use Automatic Startup Repair

If your computer won’t boot into Windows, all options are on the table. The first thing you should try is Startup Repair. The automated Startup Repair tool has gotten better over time, and there’s a good chance it will fix the problem. It’s also the simplest solution available.

Use the option to uninstall updates

Windows updates can sometimes break your operating system, this is especially likely if there was a power outage during installation. The Uninstall Updates option is easy to use and won’t take long, so it’s worth a try. However, if you haven’t updated Windows in a while, this is unlikely to solve your problem.

Use a restore point or system image

However, safe mode won’t fix anything. If Windows won’t even start in Safe Mode, you have a bigger problem. Try using System Restore or System Image Restore if you have a restore point or system image. Keep in mind that using a system image will completely revert everything included in the image, including all your files and folders.

Use safe mode without network connection

If the Startup Repair utility doesn’t work, you should try changing your startup options. Go to Startup Options and turn on Safe Mode. Stick to safe mode with no network connection unless you know what is causing the problem.

Safe mode disables all extraneous startup applications and services. If starting Windows with Safe Mode enabled allows you to log into Windows, that’s good news – it means your operating system is probably fine. The problem is most likely a bad driver or other autorun application. If you have a restore point or system image that was created before you had problems, use it. This will probably fix things.

Note. Using a system image will roll back everything, not just drivers and the Windows operating system. All your files will also be rolled back.

If using a restore point doesn’t help or you don’t have one, the solution is still simple, but takes much more time. You need to reinstall any required drivers and disable any non-essential applications and services that normally start with Windows. Try reinstalling your drivers before disabling any of the startup applications; drivers are more likely to be the problem, and there’s no point in wasting time disabling apps that aren’t the problem.

Note. You will need to either enable Safe Mode with Networking or move the drivers from another computer to a USB drive.

If the driver isn’t the problem, you’ll need to disable all startup applications and re-enable them a few at a time until you find the culprit.

Use command line

The Command Prompt, available from the Advanced Options menu, can do pretty much everything that a normal Command Prompt can. The first command you should try is SFC, the system file checker. This may take some time, so be patient and don’t restart your computer if it freezes. The DISM command can also help, but you won’t be able to use it with a regular /Onlineargument. If you try, you will receive the following error message:

DISM does not support servicing Windows PE with the /Online option.

If you want to try the DISM command in this scenario, you’ll need to configure it to use an offline . It’s not exactly easy, so you’re probably better off just trying the next option.

Use Reset This PC

The last option is to exit the advanced options menu and use the Reset this PC option available on the troubleshooting page.

Resetting your PC will solve almost any problem you have. Be sure to select Keep My Files and Cloud Upload when viewing the options available to reset this PC. If resetting this PC doesn’t solve the problem, you can try a full reinstall of Windows, but there’s a good chance that won’t work.

If you have exhausted the options available in Advanced Startup Options and reinstalled Windows using Reset this PC, it is likely that the problem is due to a hardware failure.

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