How to troubleshoot a problem by performing a clean boot

I’m consistently getting errors when I start my computer.  I was told to perform a “clean boot” to troubleshoot the problem.  What is that, and how will it help me solve the problem?
 

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Last updated September 27, 2019 Views 3,416 Applies to:
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A “clean boot” is similar to Safe Mode, in that you boot your computer with a minimal number of startup programs and services running.  For example, if you do not get any errors when you boot your computer in Safe Mode, then it likely that a startup program or service is causing the problem.   In “clean boot” troubleshooting, you try booting your computer with all of your startup programs and services turned off, and then systematically turn startup items on or off until you are able to isolate exactly which startup item is causing the error. 

 

Step 1: Perform a clean boot

Note: If the computer is connected to a network, network policy settings may prevent you from following these steps. We strongly recommend that you do not use the System Configuration utility to modify the advanced boot options on the computer unless a Microsoft support engineer directs you to do this. Doing this might make the computer unusable.

a.          Log on to the computer by using an account that has administrator rights.

b.         Click the Start button, type msconfig.exe in the Start Search box, and then press ENTER to start the System Configuration Utility.

c.          On the General tab, click Selective Startup, and then click to clear the Load startup items check box. (The Use Original Boot.ini check box is unavailable.)

d.         On the Services tab, click to select the Hide all Microsoft services check box, and then click Disable all.
Note: Following this step lets Microsoft services continue to run. These services include Networking, Plug and Play, Event Logging, Error Reporting, and other services. If you disable these services, you may permanently delete all restore points. Do not do this if you want to use the System Restore utility together with existing restore points.

e.         Click OK, and then click Restart.

 

Step 2: Enable half of the services

a.          Follow steps 1a and 1b to start the System Configuration utility.

b.         Click the Services tab, and then click to select the Hide all Microsoft services check box.

c.          Click to select half of the check boxes in the Service list.

d.         Click OK, and then click Restart.

 

Step 3: Determine whether the problem returns

If the problem still occurs, repeat step 1 and step 2. In step 2, click to clear half of the check boxes that you originally selected in the Service list.

If the problem does not occur, repeat step 1 and step 2. In step 2, select only half of the remaining check boxes that are cleared in the Service list. Repeat these steps until you have selected all the check boxes.

If only one service is selected in the Service list, and you still experience the problem, the selected service causes the problem. Go to step 6. If no service causes this problem, go to step 4.

 

Step 4: Enable half of the Startup items

a.          Perform a clean boot by repeating step 1.

b.         Click the Startup tab, and then click to select half of the check boxes in the Startup Item list.

c.          Click OK, and then click Restart.

 

Step 5: Determine whether the problem returns

If the problem still occurs, repeat step 1 and step 4. In step 4, click to clear half of the check boxes that you originally selected in the Startup Item list.

If the problem does not occur, repeat step 1 and step 4. In step 4, select only half of the remaining check boxes that are cleared in the Startup Item list. Repeat these steps until you have selected all the check boxes.

If only one startup item is selected in the Startup Item list, and you still experience the problem, the startup item that is selected in the list is the service that is causing the problem. Go to step 6.

If no startup item causes this problem, a Microsoft service most likely causes the problem. To determine which Microsoft service may be causing the problem, repeat step 1 and step 2 without selecting the Hide all Microsoft services check box in either step.

 

Step 6: Resolve the problem

After you determine the startup item or the service that causes the problem, contact the program manufacturer to determine whether the problem can be resolved. Or, run the System Configuration Utility, and then click to clear the check box for the problem item.

 

Step 7: Reset the computer to start as usual

After you have finished troubleshooting, follow these steps to reset the computer to start as usual:

a.          Click the Start button, type msconfig.exe in the Start Search box, and then press ENTER.

b.         On the General tab, click the Normal Startup option, and then click OK.

c.          When you are prompted to restart the computer, click Restart.

 

How to start the Windows Installer service when system services are not loaded

If you run a Setup program without starting the Windows Installer service, you may receive the following error message:

The Windows Installer service could not be accessed. Contact your support personnel to verify that the windows Installer service is properly registered.

The Windows Installer service does not start if you clear the Load system services check box. To use the Windows Installer service when system services are not loaded, you must start the service manually. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Click the Start button, right-click Computer, and then click Manage.
  2. In the console tree, click Services and Applications, and then click Services.
  3. In the details pane, right-click Windows Installer, and then click Start.

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