Everything was fine until it wasn’t – maybe your computer suddenly started getting blue screens of death (BSOD), Windows is unstable or won’t boot properly, or Windows crashed. inexplicably bogged down. The advanced boot menu may contain the tools you need to fix your Windows 11 PC. Here’s what you need to know.
Access the advanced boot options menu
The first thing you need to do is boot into the Advanced Boot Options menu. There are a handful of ways to do this. If your Windows 11 installation is severely damaged and you are unable to start Windows, you will be automatically redirected there.
Troubleshoot Windows 11 with Advanced Boot Options
Reset your PC
If your Windows installation has been severely corrupted by malware, an update gone horribly wrong, or someone is a little overzealous in removing stuff, or just inexplicably bogged down, resetting your PC may be the right decision.
RELATED: How “Reset this PC” feature works in Windows 11
Warning: Using “Reset your PC” might result in complete loss of all your files. If you can access Windows or plug the hard drive into another computer, you should back up everything important before you reset your PC.
If you are going to use Reset your PC, try the “Keep my files” option first. You can always go back and erase everything completely if you need to, but it’s much harder to go the other way.
Advanced options menu
The Advanced Options menu has many options, and they are all there to troubleshoot or repair your PC. Here is what they are:
- Startup Repair: Startup Repair will attempt to automatically fix any issues that are preventing Windows 11 from starting properly.
- Startup parameters: Startup settings allow you to change basic Windows options before it actually starts. You can do things like enable safe mode, enable debug mode, enable boot logging, etc.
- Command prompt: The Command Prompt allows you to manually run commands that might be helpful in diagnosing or repairing your Windows installation.
- Uninstall updates: Uninstalling updates undoes the last installed Windows update. It is useful when an update goes wrong and causes system instability.
- System Restauration: System Restore uses a restore point to revert Windows to the point where the recovery point was created. However, not all of your programs will be restored.
- System image recovery: System Image Recovery uses an image of your operating system drive to restore everything to your computer. System images are usually extremely large, so build them sparingly.
How to choose an option
With so many options, how do you know which is best for your problem? Unfortunately, it’s not possible to cover every scenario without writing a modestly sized novel, but here’s a general overview of the steps to follow.
Use Automated Startup Repair
If your PC 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 improved over time and chances are it will fix the problem. It is also the simplest solution available.
Use the uninstall updates option
Windows updates can sometimes break your operating system, which is especially likely if there was a power outage in the middle of the installation. The Uninstall Updates option is easy to use and won’t take very long, so it’s worth a try. However, if you haven’t updated Windows recently, this probably won’t solve your problem.
Use a restore point or system image
However, safe mode is not guaranteed to fix anything. If Windows won’t even start in Safe Mode, you have a bigger problem. Try using System Restore or a System Image Recovery if you have a restore point or system image handy. Remember that using a system image will completely undo everything included in the image, including all of your files and folders.
Use safe mode without networking
If the startup repair utility is not working, the next thing you should try is changing your startup settings. Go to startup settings and then enable safe mode. Stick to safe mode without networking if you don’t know what’s causing the problem.
RELATED: How to Use Safe Mode to Fix Your Windows PC (And When You Should)
Safe mode disables all unnecessary startup apps and services. If starting Windows with Safe Mode enabled allows you to enter Windows, that’s good news, it means your operating system is probably in good shape. The problem is probably a bad driver or another autostart application. If you have a restore point or system image that was created before you started having problems, use that. That will probably fix things.
To note: Using a system image will restore everything, not just drivers and the Windows operating system. All your files will also be restored.
If using a restore point doesn’t solve things, or if you don’t have one, the solution is still simple but much longer. You should reinstall all your essential drivers and disable all non-essential applications and services that normally start with Windows. Try reinstalling your drivers before disabling any of the startup applications; the drivers are more likely to be the problem, and there’s no point in wasting time disabling apps that aren’t the problem.
To note: You will either need to enable Safe Mode with Networking or transfer the drivers from another computer to a USB drive.
If the drivers aren’t the problem, you should disable all startup apps and re-enable them a few at a time until you find the culprit.
Use command prompt
The Command Prompt available in the Advanced Options menu can do almost anything that a regular Command Prompt can do. The first command you should try is SFC, the System File Checker. It may take a while to run, so be patient and don’t restart your PC if it seems to hang. The DISM command can also help, but you won’t be able to use it with the
/Online dispute. If you try, you will get 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 will need to configure it to use an offline image. It’s not exactly straightforward, so you’d probably be better off trying the next option.
Use Reset this PC
The final option is to exit the Advanced Options menu and use the “Reset this PC” option available on the Troubleshoot page.
RELATED: How “Reset this PC” feature works in Windows 11
Resetting your PC will fix almost any problem you are having. Be sure to select “Keep my files” and “Upload to the cloud” when browsing through the options available to Reset this PC. If Resetting this PC doesn’t fix the problem, you can try a full reinstall of Windows, but chances are that won’t work. If you’ve exhausted the options available in Advanced Startup Options and reinstalled Windows using Reset this PC, chances are your problem is due to a hardware failure.
RELATED: How to Identify the Failing Hardware Component in Your Computer