Disable third-party applications with a clean boot in Windows
Last updated on: 2021-04-26
Authored by: Pablo Moreno
This article describes how to perform a clean boot in Windows® to troubleshoot issues within the booting process.
Sometimes, installing an application or service might inadvertently create conflicts and interfere with other applications. This could lead to system crashes, error messages at startup, or poor CPU performance.
Using safe mode to restart can help. However, you can’t control which drivers and services safe mode starts, so it might not be useful for testing system behavior.
Instead, use a clean boot, which disables the programs and services that run when the computer starts. That way, you can see if there is something wrong with Windows or if those programs or services are causing the problems.
Note: Before starting, you should create a restore point in Windows or create a backup. Then, you can return to the previous configuration if something fails.
Perform a clean boot
To perform a clean boot, you must sign in to the computer as an administrator. Note the server might temporarily lose some functionality during this process, but it recovers when you boot it in standard mode.
Click Win+R to open the Run window, type
msconfigin the box, and click Enter.
On the Services tab in System Configuration, select Hide all Microsoft services and then select Disable all.
Note: Document the services currently configured to run at startup so you can enable them again after troubleshooting.
Click OK. When prompted to restart the computer, click Exit Without Restart on the pop-up warning window.
Click Ctrl+Shift+Esc to open the Task Manager and then select the Startup tab.
You have to disable startup applications individually because you can’t disable them simultaneously. Select each enabled app on the tab and click Disable.
Note: Keep track of the startup applications you disable so you can enable them after troubleshooting.
When you have disabled the applications, restart your computer. It should boot without any of those services or startup programs running.
Determine the cause of the problem after the clean boot
Is the problem still happening after the clean boot? If the problem has disappeared, then one of the deactivated applications or services is the culprit. Although the process is simple, it might take longer to identify which application or service is causing the problem.
To do this, perform the following steps:
Go to the Services tab of the System Configuration window.
Activate and deactivate services and applications until you detect the problem. You can start by activating or deactivating half of the list of services and gradually eliminating the elements until you identify the cause of the problem.
Keep activating or deactivating services until you find the issue.
After you find which startup item or service caused the problem, you need to check for an update that might fix the problem or contact the program manufacturer to determine whether the problem has a resolution.
In the meantime, uninstall the program or run Windows with the problem item disabled. To do this, run the System Configuration utility and enable the other services and startup services and applications. Be sure to clear the check box for the problem item.
Reset the computer to start normally after clean boot troubleshooting
After you finish troubleshooting, follow these steps to reset the computer to start normally.
- Click Win+R to open the Run window. Type
msconfigin the box and click Enter.
- On the General tab, select Normal Startup.
- Click Services, clear the check box beside Hide all Microsoft services, and then click Enable all.
- Click Startup and Open Task Manager.
- In the Task Manager, enable all of your startup programs and click OK.
- When prompted to restart the computer, click Restart.
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