How to access the boot menu in Windows 11

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The advanced options menu, sometimes called the boot menu, contains tools and settings that you can use to troubleshoot or repair your PC. Here’s how to use it on Windows 11.

What does the advanced options menu do?

The advanced boot options menu offers you a handful of utilities. Some of them are as simple as left-clicking on the option and you’re done, while others require extensive user interaction. Here is a brief summary of what the utilities are and what they do.

  • Initial repair: Startup Repair will automatically try to fix issues that are preventing Windows 11 from starting properly.
  • Start Configuration: Startup settings allow you to change how Windows 11 boots. You can do things like enable safe mode, debug, or log in, to name a few.
  • Symbol of the system: The Command Prompt option opens a Command Prompt window that can be used to run diagnostic or repair commands.
  • Uninstall updates: The Uninstall Updates option will roll back the latest installed updates, including major Windows versions or updates.
  • UEFI Firmware Settings: This option restarts your computer and opens the BIOS/UEFI.
  • System Restore: System Restore lets you use a previously created restore point to revert Windows to a point where it was working fine.
  • System image recovery: System Image Recovery is similar to System Restore, but uses a full system image instead of a restore point. System images are much larger and more complete than restore points and include all of your files, programs, and settings.

How to access the advanced options menu

Windows 11, unlike Windows 10, does not support systems running a BIOS; they must use UEFI. The UEFI requirement means that the advanced boot menu is always accessible from within Windows.

Inside the settings app

Open the Start menu, type “Settings” in the search bar, and then click “Open” or press Enter.

Make sure you are in the System window. If it isn’t, click “System” in the upper left corner of the Settings window. Then scroll down and click “Recovery”.

There will be a section titled “Recovery Options.” Look for a section titled “Advanced Startup”, make sure to save anything you’re working on, and then click “Restart Now”. You may get a notice warning you about unsaved work; If you’ve already saved everything, don’t worry.

Your computer will reboot after a few seconds.

Clicking on Restart

If you don’t want to go into the Settings app and navigate through some submenus, there is a more efficient way: press Shift and click the Restart option. Click the Start button or press the Windows key, click the power icon, then hold down the Shift key and click “Restart”.

The most obvious place to use this trick is with the Restart option in the Start menu, but it’s not the only place. Almost anywhere you see a “Restart” button it will work, including the lock or login screen.

After restarting your computer

Your computer will show a blue screen with some options after you click “Restart Now” in the recovery menu, or press Shift and click “Restart”. Choose “Troubleshoot” from the options listed.

Note: There may be more options available to you than are shown here. For example, the “Choose an option” screen may also include the “Use a device” option.

Click “Advanced Options” on the next screen and you will be taken to the Advanced Options menu.

That’s it, you are in the Advanced Options window.

Windows 11 advanced options screen.

The Advanced Options menu has several different utilities available. Some of them are completely automated, like Startup Repair, while others require extensive user interaction, like Command Prompt. Which one you use depends a lot on what’s wrong with your PC.