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How to use advanced startup options to fix your Windows 8 or 10 PC

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The advanced startup tools in Windows 8 and 10 work differently than the tools in previous versions of Windows. If your Windows 8 or 10 system can’t start properly, the tools will automatically appear for you to fix the problem.

We’ve covered several ways to access advanced startup options if your PC is working properly, including through the PC Settings app. You can also create a recovery drive to ensure that you will always be able to access these options.

Choose an option

Once you’ve accessed the advanced startup options, you’ll need to click (or tap) the Troubleshoot option to access troubleshooting and repair options. The Continue and Shut down your PC options will either continue to boot into Windows (assuming there is no problem) or shut down your computer.


Fix problems in Windows 8 and 8.1

The Troubleshoot screen provides easy access to Refresh and Reset your PC options. This is particularly useful if you want to refresh or reset your PC, but can’t access Windows.

  • Upgrade your PC: Refreshing your PC restores the system software to its factory state without removing your files or installed modern applications. However, all installed desktop applications will be removed.
  • Reset your PC: Resetting your PC (not to be confused with rebooting your PC) resets it to its factory state. All personal files and settings on your computer will be deleted.

If you just want to fix your computer and you’re not sure which option to choose, try Refreshing your PC so you don’t lose all your files.

For more advanced troubleshooting and repair tools, click (or tap) “Advanced Options”.

Troubleshoot Windows 10

The troubleshooting screen is a bit different in Windows 10. The “Refresh your PC” feature has been consolidated into the “Reset your PC” feature.

The Reset this PC screen has two options:

  • Keep my records: Keep my files is equivalent to Update my PC in Windows 8 and 8.1. Everything related to Windows is completely reinstalled, all installed programs are removed, but the files located in your user folder are saved.
  • Remove All:Delete All does exactly that: deletes everything. Windows is completely reinstalled, all programs are removed, and all files are removed. Fulfills the same “Reset this PC” function in Windows 8 and 8.1

If you’re not sure which one to use, click “Save my files” first. Windows will reinstall itself, but most of your files will be saved. You can always come back later and click “Remove All” if you want.

Note: Files located in AppData or outside of your user folder will not be saved. Make sure to back up these files manually.

Click “Advanced Options” to access more advanced repair tools. They’ll be useful if you’re having problems but don’t want to reinstall Windows.

Advanced Options

The Advanced Options screen contains advanced troubleshooting and repair options.

The advanced options available in Windows 10.

  • system restore: Restore your computer to a previous restore point. This is the same as using System Restore within Windows. However, if Windows 8 fails to start, it can start successfully after restoring your PC to a working state.
  • System image recovery: Restore your computer using a system image file. The system image overwrites your computer’s state and files. You will need to use the Windows 7 backup tools in Windows 8 to create a system image.
  • auto repair– Attempt to automatically repair problems that might prevent Windows from starting properly. If your computer can’t start Windows, this option is worth a try.
  • Symbol of the system: Open a recovery environment command prompt. This will allow you to run a variety of commands to troubleshoot and repair your computer. This option should only be used by advanced users who know what they are doing.
  • Start Settings: The Startup Settings option allows you to modify a number of startup options. For example, you can enable safe mode from here. You can also disable automatic restart after failure – this option will allow you to see the error message if your PC shows a blue screen and constantly restarts.
  • Uninstall updates: Remove the most recently installed updates. If your computer started malfunctioning immediately after an update, this is the first thing to try.

The startup configuration options available in Windows 10.

The advanced options here may allow you to fix the problem: the Automatic Repair option is particularly useful, and the System Restore or Safe Mode options may help you start your computer. If none of these options work, you’ll need to perform an update (or hard reset).

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