Clean Boot Windows-Troubleshoot Software Conflicts

A clean boot state forces Windows operating system to start by using a minimal set of drivers and startup programs.

 

This will help you troubleshoot software conflicts that appear after you install a program, an update, or open a program in Windows.

 

An unstable Windows operating system should be diagnosed by performing a clean boot.

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By using Clean Boot, you can determine if the OS is damaged by a third party app or a bad driver.

 

The Clean Boot State feature can be performed in all versions of Windows. It’s an excellent way to detect software conflicts in the operating system.

 

During default startup operations, several Windows applications, services, and third party programs start automatically and run in the background.

 

These include basic system processes, system utility applications, antivirus software and other third party apps.

 

Malware that hijacks your desktop can be prevented from running in the background by using a Clean Boot State.

 

This will allow you to start the cleaning process without any interference.

 

If malware prevents you from using desktop, you need to start in Safe Mode. Then restart in a Clean Boot environment.

 

STEPS TO PERFORM A CLEAN BOOT STATE

 

These steps apply to Windows 10, Windows 8.1, and Windows 8.

Windows 7 users can go here.

 

Please note that:

Users must be signed in as an administrator to be able to perform a clean boot.

 

Third party applications will temporarily lose functionality when you perform a clean boot. When you start the computer normally, the functionality returns.

 

—Network policy settings may not allow you to carry out these steps if your computer is connected to a network.

 

If this is the case, do not use System Configuration Utility to change the advanced boot options on the computer unless a certified technician directs you to do this. Doing so may make the computer unusable.

 

1. On your keyboard press the Windows + R key. (This is a two step process.)

 

2. Type msconfig in the run window, then click OK.

clean boot-run-box

3. This will bring up the System Configuration Utility. Click the button for Selective Startup.

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4. Uncheck Load Startup Items.

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5. Click on the Services Tab.

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6. Click the box next to Hide All Microsoft Services. This will display all non-Microsoft services. Click Disable All to prevent them from starting up at next boot. Only Microsoft services will be running at start up.

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7. Click Apply.

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8. All third party Services will be disabled at next startup.

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9. Click the Startup tab. Next click Open Task Manager.

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10. Select each startup entry and click Disable. Close the Task Manager.

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11. Click Ok to close System Configuration Utility.

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12. Click restart to start the computer in a clean boot state.

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TROUBLESHOOTING WINDOWS IN A CLEAN BOOT ENVIRONMENT

 

Once the computer has restarted, determine if the problem exists. If there are no problems then you can assume that it was a third party service. In order to narrow down the service responsible, follow these steps:

 

  • Open up the System Configuration Utility. (Repeat steps 1-3 from above)
  • Click the Services Tab.
  • Checkmark by clicking Hide all Microsoft services.

clean boot-services-disabled

  • Click to select the upper half of the check boxes in the Service list. Click Ok.

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  • Restart.

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No errors. Repeat again.

  • Click to select the lower half of the check boxes in the Service list.
  • Click Ok and Restart.

 

Break the services into small groups. Perhaps 5-10 services per group.

 

Follow this process until you can reproduce the error. If the problem shows up, narrow it down by unchecking one service at a time in that group.

 

Click Ok and restart again. Do this until you can find the service at fault.

 

If after turning on all the third party services do not reproduce the problem, check your startup programs.

 

Open up Task Manager by pressing Ctrl+Shift+Esc. Click the Startup tab.

clean boot-task-manager-startupEnable one startup program at a time and restart. Repeat this process until you can reproduce the error.

clean boot-task-manager-enableOnce you have determined which service or startup item is at fault, you can uninstall the program associated with it. Find out if there is an updated version of the app that will work with your system.

 

RESET COMPUTER TO NORMAL STARTUP AFTER CLEAN BOOT TROUBLESHOOTING.

 

After completing this diagnostic process, you can open up the System Configuration Utility and enable all third party services. Here are the steps:

 

1. On your keyboard press the Windows + R key.

2. Type msconfig in the run window, then click OK.

3. On the General tab, click the Normal Startup option.

4. Click the Services tab, click the box beside Hide all Microsoft services and then click Enable all.

5. Click the Startup tab, and then click Open Task Manager.

6. In task manager, enable all of your startup programs. Close the Task Manager.

7. Click Ok to exit out of the System Configuration Utility.

8. Restart your computer when prompted.

 

Leaving startup programs disabled will give you a speed boost. If you like, leave them disabled. Always leave your anti-virus program enabled.

 

 

 

Fix Windows 7 Using Last Known Good Configuration

Last Known Good Configuration is a Windows startup option that will load the most recent system settings that worked correctly.

 

Each time you turn your computer off and Windows successfully shuts down, important system settings are saved in the registry.

 

After each successful boot, the previous Last Known Good Configuration record is replaced with the new one from the most recent successful boot.

use-last-known-good-configuration-to-fix-windows-7

 

If you encounter a problem with Windows boot process, you can restart your computer using those system settings by selecting Last Known Good Configuration from the Advanced Boot Options.

 

The advantage of using Last Known Good Configuration is that it helps to fix instability or boot process failures.

 

This is done by reversing the most recent system, driver, and registry changes within a hardware profile.

 

To fix Windows 7, Last Known Good Configuration should be the first option when troubleshooting Windows startup problems.

 

Keep in mind that using this startup boot option is only helpful if Windows 7 system was working correctly and the last shutdown was completed successfully.

 

LIKELY SCENARIOS OF WHEN TO USE LAST KNOWN GOOD CONFIGURATION TO FIX WINDOWS 7

  • You start up your computer, it gets to the Windows splash screen and then it restarts over again.
  • You install a driver which requires a reboot and Windows will not load or causes a Blue Screen of Death.
  • You install a new driver or a device and Windows become unresponsive.
  • A software installation freezes  or locks up Windows.
  • A software update causes instability.

 

There are times when Windows will crash, restart and all you see is a black screen with options.

 

Select Last Known Good Configuration if it is listed. If not then do this instead.

 

Press Ctrl+Alt+Del. This will restart Windows again. Now follow the steps below.

 

STEPS TO USE LAST KNOWN GOOD CONFIGURATION TO FIX WINDOWS 7

 

1. Restart the computer and as soon as the manufacturer’s logo screen goes away, begin pressing the F8 key repeatedly.

 

(You will only have a few seconds to act. If you see the Windows splash screen start to load, then you missed it. Retry again.)

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2. The Advanced Boot Options menu screen will open.

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3. Use the arrow keys to highlight Last Known Good Configuration (advanced) and press Enter.

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4. Windows will load the last configuration settings that worked.

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If you are experiencing Windows 7 startup problems, give PCMechanic Computer Repair in Davenport, FL a call.

 

Click the Service Request button below to contact me.

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Data Backup The Easy Way in Windows 7

Data backup is one of the most neglected tasks for personal computer users. I always ask the customer, before beginning any work, if they have backed up their personal data. The answer most of the time is “No.”

 

Can you afford to lose documents, family pictures, videos of family trips, and your favorite music? Oh, and don’t forget your email accounts if you are using Outlook or Windows Live Mail. If it is important to you, then you need to do a data backup.

 

By definition, a backup is the process of copying personal data files, such as documents, music, pictures, and videos, and storing that data outside of your computer for safekeeping.

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If you experience operating system corruption, data loss, or hard drive failure, then you will be in a good place to recover your precious data.

 

A good rule to follow is that any valuable personal data should reside in two or more locations at any given time.

 

It is also advisable to consider having a data backup stored off-site. Programs like Dropbox and OneDrive fit this category.

 

Hard drive failure is a major contributor to data loss. We have to be realistic, hard drives do not last forever. With this in mind you can put together a backup and recovery plan that will work for you.

 

The best place to save your data is on an external storage drive. A one Terabyte external drive is adequate. Depending on the amount of data that needs to be backed up, a USB flash drive will also work.

 

I would opt for the external hard drive because it gives you the flexibility of storing a system image which can take a lot of storage.

 

So what I am proposing is to back up your personal data and create a system image of your drive.

 

This is not complicated to do and you can have peace of mind knowing that if anything goes wrong, you will have access to your data.

 

Data Backup the Easy Way

Let’s begin. Attach your external hard drive or USB at this time.

 

A quick and easy way to back up your personal data in Windows 7 is to back up your user account folder. This folder is located in your C:\Users directory.

 

To start off we need to bring up two Windows Explorer windows.

 

Press the Windows key + E key twice.

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Two Windows Explorer windows will now open up in maximized view. One will be hidden behind the other.

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Right click on your taskbar and click on “Show windows side by side.”

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The two Windows Explorer windows will show up side by side.

data backup davenport florida

 

 

 

 

 

Double click on the C: drive on the left Window to open it. Double click on your backup drive on the right window to open it as well.

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Locate your user account. Left click the folder, drag it over to your backup drive and release the left click.

(Alternatively you can right click on your user account and click Copy. Right click on your backup drive and click Paste.)

data backup davenport florida

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Your user account will now be copied over to your backup drive.

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During the backup process you might see a file in use warning pop up. Put a check mark on the box “Do this for all current items” and click the Skip button.

data backup davenport florida

 

 

 

 

 

Your user account has been backed up.

data backup davenport florida

 

 

 

 

 

All the files from your user account have been successfully copied over. Don’t forget to also back up your email account if you are using Outlook or Windows Live Mail.

data backup davenport florida

 

 

 

 

 

Earlier I mentioned about creating a system image as part of your data recovery plan. What I like about creating a system image is that it can restore the contents of your drive.

 

If Windows no longer functions or you experience a hard drive crash, then you can use a system image to bring back not only your data but also all your programs and settings.

 

I would rather restore a system image than have to reinstall Windows. The long process of updating and installing all the programs can take a bit of time.

 

I put together a tutorial on How to Create a System Image Backup in Windows 7 that you can follow along to create your own system image.

 

Now you must decide how often to manually back up your personal data. Whether it is daily or weekly, it’s a decision best left to you. I would at the very least create a system image weekly.

 

If you would like to automate this process, then consider using Windows Backup and Restore program.

 

If you found this tutorial helpful, please share it or hit Like so others can benefit from it.

 

 

Click the Service Request button below to contact me.

 

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Flashing Screen After Windows 10 Upgrade Fix

If you find yourself with a flashing screen after Windows 10 upgrade, there is a solution that might just work for you. I am putting this tutorial together because I had a customer who experienced the flashing screen after Windows 10 upgrade.  After I logged in to desktop I was presented with a flashing screen. The system was basically paralyzed.

 

The only way to troubleshoot the flashing screen after Windows 10 upgrade is to get into Safe Mode. The biggest issue for end users is how to get into Safe Mode when the computer is not responding.

fix flashing screen after windows 10 update

 

I am going to describe step by step on how to get into Safe Mode. I will describe the steps I took to fix the flashing screen after Windows 10 upgrade.

 

While in Windows press Ctrl+Alt+Del; fix flashing screen after Windows 10 upgrade

Press and hold down the Shift key.Shift Key; flashing screen after Windows 10 upgrade

 

Click on the Power Icon Button on the bottom right of your screen.

Ctrl+Alt+Del Screen; fix flashing screen after Windows 10 upgrade

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click on Restart and continue to hold down the Shift key until the Choose an Option screen shows up.

Restart; fix flashing screen after Windows 10 upgrade

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click on Troubleshoot.

Troubleshoot Option; fix flashing screen after Windows 10 upgrade

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click on Advanced Options.

Advanced Options; fix flashing screen after Windows 10 upgrade

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click on Startup Settings.

Start Up Settings; fix flashing screen after Windows 10 upgrade

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click on Restart and your computer will reboot.

Startup Settings Options; fix flashing screen after Windows 10 upgrade

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After reboot, the Startup Settings screen will appear.

Press 4 on your keyboard to Enable Safe Mode.

Safe Mode Option; fix flashing screen after Windows 10 upgrade

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Login to your account.

Login Screen; fix flashing screen after Windows 10 upgrade

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You are now in Safe Mode.

Safe Mode Screen; fix flashing screen after Windows 10 upgrade

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The good news is that if the problem doesn’t occur in Safe Mode then we can assume that it is a driver issue or a program running at startup that is causing the flashing screen.

In Safe Mode you will be able to uninstall the offending program or uninstall the faulty driver. There have been various reasons given about why the flashing screen after Windows 10 upgrade occurs. Scouring the Internet the same ones kept popping up as probable causes. Here is a list of possible programs that may be causing the flashing screen.

 

  1. Norton Anti-Virus: Uninstalling Norton worked for me. You need to use the Norton Removal Tool. If this fixes the flashing screen after Windows 10 upgrade then you can reinstall it again with a newer version. If you transferred Norton over from your previous Windows OS to Windows 10, I would start here first.

It is probably a good idea to uninstall your current Anti-Virus software and reinstall it after the Windows 10 upgrade.

  1. Apple ICloud: Disabling the service from startup or uninstalling it has worked.
  2. Fingerprint Scanner or Biometric Devices: Disabling the service from startup or uninstalling it has worked.

You can disable Apple ICloud and Fingerprint Scanner from the Services Console. Follow the instructions below to disable services in Safe Mode.

  1. Graphics Drivers: Graphic drivers that worked in earlier OS might not play nice with Windows 10. Updating the graphic drivers has worked. You can uninstall graphic drivers from Programs and Features in Control Panel. This will force Windows to install generic drivers upon restart. If this fixes the flashing screen then you can run Windows Update to install new drivers.

Other option is to go to your computer manufacturer’s website or graphics card vendor to find your driver.

Additional Steps to Fix Flashing Screen After Windows 10 Upgrade

 

If none of the above solutions worked for you then try this as a last resort. A temporary workaround that I used in the beginning was to disable two services; Problems Report and Solution Control Panel Support and Windows Error Report Service.

This solution is a temporary workaround which will allow you to get into desktop. The reason I say temporary is because these two services are needed by Windows. I don’t believe these two services are the real problem to flashing screen after Windows 10 upgrade. But it will allow you to investigate further and track down the real problem.

Disabling these two services allowed me to get into desktop. Later on, after I uninstalled Norton Anti-Virus, I turned these two services back on and I didn’t have the flashing screen. This led me to the conclusion that it was Norton. I reinstalled Norton and everything was working normal.

 

Steps to Disable Services in Safe Mode

 

Press the Windows Button + the r key to bring up the Run Command box.

 

Type services.msc and press Enter.

Services Console; fix flashing screen after Windows 10 upgrade

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scroll down to Problems Report and Solution Control Panel Support service.

Service Selection; fix flashing screen after Windows 10 upgrade

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Right click on Problems Report and Solution Control Panel Support service.

Click Properties.

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Click the box, next to Startup Type, to show the drop down menu and select Disabled.

Service Property Selection; fix flashing screen after Windows 10 upgrade

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click Ok.

Do the same for Windows Error Report Service. You can also disable Apple  ICloud Service and Fingerprint Scanner Service from here. When you’re done, restart your computer.


Service Disabled; fix flashing screen after Windows 10 upgrade

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Credit for this solution goes to NualaMa at http://www.pcadvisor.co.uk)

 

I hope this article has been helpful. If it has, please like or share it so others can benefit from it.

 

PCMechanic Computer Repair in Davenport, FL. is here to help you with flashing screen after Windows 10 upgrade or any other computer repair problems.

 

Click the Service Request button below to get in touch with me.

 

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How to Reset Forgotten Windows Login Password

By Jose Ortiz

Resetting forgotten Windows login password is necessary when you are unable to login to your user account. There are many reasons why people forget or don’t know the Windows login password. Here are just a few.

 

1. If you haven’t used your computer for a long time and can’t remember the Windows login password.
2. You purchased the computer at a pawn shop, auction or at a garage sale.
3. Someone hacked your computer and changed your Windows login password. I had a customer who experienced this problem. She used a very weak Windows login password.

 

reset forgotten windows login password

This tutorial will show you how to reset forgotten Windows login password by using Lazesoft Recover My Password Home Edition (Free). This program will work with Windows XP through Windows 8.1.

 

Browsing through the Internet you will find that there are many ways to reset forgotten Windows login password but may be too complicated for people. I believe that this method is by far the easiest to use.

 

You only need a USB flash drive, or CD/DVD disc, and another computer to download the free software. That’s it.

 

Prep Bootable Media to Reset Forgotten Windows Login Password

 

1. Start by downloading and installing Lazesoft Recover My Password Home Edition (Free) to another computer.

(Scroll to the bottom of the page, click download and save it to desktop.)

reset forgotten windows login password

 

2. Insert you CD/DVD disc or empty USB flash drive. Next, double click on the icon to launch the program.

reset forgotten windows password

 

3. Click “Burn Bootable CD/USB Disk Now.”

reset forgotten windows login password

 

4. Click to open menu options.

reset forgotten windows login password

 

 

For this step you will need to know if your operating system is 32 bit or 64 bit. If you are not sure whether you have 32 or 64 bit Windows Operating System, then you will have to research your computer model’s specifications.

 

For this tutorial I am going to reset forgotten Windows login password for Windows 7 64 bit.

 

5. Select the Windows Operating System you want to reset Windows login password.

reset forgotten windows login password

 

6. Now that the Windows version has been selected, click Next.

reset forgotten windows login password

 

Here you will have the choice of using a CD/DVD disc or USB flash drive as your bootable media. You can also create an ISO image which can be burned to disc.

 

7. Select CD/DVD, USB or ISO. Click Start. I have selected the USB Flash to reset forgotten Windows login password.

reset forgotten windows login password

 

8. Click Yes to format your disk.

reset forgotten windows login password

 

9. Wait for Lazesoft Media Builder to format and create your bootable disc.

reset forgotten windows login password

 

10. Your bootable drive is now ready for use. Click Finish to close this window. X out to close the program.

Safely remove the USB and insert the USB drive into the target computer.

reset forgotten windows login password

 

 

Note to Windows 8 and 8.1 users. Microsoft account users can go to Microsoft Account Recovery page to reset forgotten Windows login password.

If you are using a Local Account to login to Windows 8 or 8.1, you will need to get access to the BIOS settings and disable Secure Boot and enable Legacy Support.

Here is a support page for HP users, as an example, that outlines the steps necessary to disable Secure Boot and enable Legacy Support in the BIOS.

Scroll down to the bottom of the page where it says “I cannot boot from a CD or DVD (such as an HP Recovery disc) when Secure Boot is enabled” and follow the instructions. This has to be done first before proceeding to the next step.

 

Reset Forgotten Windows Login Password Using Created Bootable Media

 

Now that we have created a bootable media, we are ready to reset forgotten Windows login password.

1. Press the power button to start your computer. (For this example I am going to use a Lenovo laptop.)

2. As soon as you see the splash screen press F12 to enter the Boot Menu options. The F12 and ESC keys are two of the most often used keys to enter the Boot Menu options.

reset forgotten windows login password

 

3. Select the USB drive from the Boot Menu options and press Enter.reset forgotten windows login password

 

4. Press Enter to boot from Lazesoft Live CD [EMS Enabled]

reset forgotten windows login password

 

5. Wait for files to load.

reset forgotten windows login password

 

6. Click Next to start the Reset Password Wizard.

reset forgotten windows login password

 

 

7. Click Yes to the non-commercial use prompt.

reset forgotten windows login password

 

 

8. By default your Windows installation will be the only one available. Click Next.

(Note: If you have more than one operating system on the drive, dual-booting for example, select your Windows installation from the drop down menu.)

reset forgotten windows login password

 

 

9. Select which account you want to reset forgotten Windows login password.

I have chosen the Administrator account for this example. In your situation you would choose your user name from the user list of accounts.
Click Next.

reset forgotten windows login password

 

10. Click RESET/UNLOCK button to reset forgotten Windows login password with a blank password. Click Finish.

reset forgotten windows login password

 

 

11. You have successfully reset Windows login password with a blank password. Click Ok and Click Finish to exit the program. Your computer will automatically reboot.

reset forgotten windows login password

Note: For those who have decided to use the CD/DVD method, and have CD/DVD set as your first bootable device in BIOS, you will need to eject your disc at this time.

 

That is all there is to reset forgotten Windows login password. It is very important to create a strong password for your user account.

 

I have already seen firsthand how a hacker can change weak passwords. Need help creating a strong password?

 

Microsoft has tips for creating a strong password which will help you get started. In my view, the longer the password the better it is.

 

If you found this tutorial helpful, please hit Like or share it so others can benefit from it.

 

PCMechanic Computer Repair in Davenport, FL can help you reset forgotten Windows login password.

 

Click the Service Request button below to contact me.

 

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