You may see the login screen, but after entering your password, nothing happens. On the other hand, maybe you can log in, but then Windows freezes, and you have to reboot manually. Then again, maybe Windows seems to start, but your desktop never appears, and all you can do is move your mouse around a blank screen.
Regardless of the specifics, here is a troubleshooting guide to use if Windows starts the most way, but you can’t sign in, or your desktop never loads fully.
Important: If you don’t get to the Windows logon screen, or you see any error messages, see How to troubleshoot the computer won’t Turn on for some better troubleshooting steps for the problem.
Required time: Anywhere from a few minutes up to an hour depends on why Windows is pausing.
Applies to: Any version of Windows, including Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP.
How To Fix Freeze Errors, And Restart Issues In Windows Logging
- Start Windows in Safe Mode. If Windows boots completely in Safe Mode, restart the computer from there as you normally would and see if Windows started properly. A failed start-up or a one-time initialization could cause a stop, freeze, or restart issue during login. Usually, all Windows needs are a clean boot into Safe Mode and then a reboot to resolve the issue.
- Starts Windows with Known Good Configuration. Booting Windows with Last Known Good Configuration will return the driver settings and registry settings for the state they did the last time Windows started and shut down properly, possibly back to your computer to work. Of course, this will only work if the cause of your Windows login problem is a registry or driver issue problem. Note: It is safe to use a pre-known Safe Mode because valuable information is stored in the registry to make Good Configuration done well is not written until Windows starts. Success in Normal Mode.
- Repair your Windows installation. A common reason Windows fails between the login screen and successfully loads the desktop is due to one or more critical Windows files being damaged or missing. Repair Windows will replace these important files without deleting or changing anything on your computer. Note: In Windows 10, 8, 7, and Vista, this is called Boot Recovery. In Windows XP, it is called a repair install.NOTE: Windows XP Repair installation is more complicated and has disadvantages than the Startup Repair available in later Windows operating systems. If you are using Windows XP, you can wait until you have tried Steps 4, 5, and 6 before trying.
- Start Windows in Safe Mode and then use System Restore to undo recent changes. Windows may freeze, stop, or restart during login because of damage to drivers, critical files, or a part of the registry. A System Restore will return all of that to a time when your computer is working, which can solve your problem completely.
Note: If you are unable to enter Safe Mode for some reason, you can also perform a System Restore from Startup Settings (available for Windows 10 & 8 via Advanced Boot Options). Windows 7 and Vista users can access Safe Mode in the System Recovery Options, available from the Advanced Boot Options menu, as well as from your Windows 7 or Windows Vista Setup DVD.
Necessary: You will not be able to undo System Restore if done from Safe Mode, Boot Settings, or System Recovery Options. You might not care because you can’t get Windows usually anyway, but it’s something I want you to be aware of.
- Scan your computer for viruses, again from Safe Mode. If you get problems even getting up to date, take a look at the list of Free Bootable Tools for some virus scanning programs even without Windows access. A virus or other type of malware may have caused a specific problem enough with one part of Windows to cause it to fail during the login process.
- Clear CMOS. Clearing the BIOS memory on your motherboard will return the BIOS settings to the factory defaults. A BIOS misconfiguration could be the reason Windows cannot get to the desktop. Necessary: If clearing CMOS will fix your Windows login problem, make sure that any changes you make in BIOS are done simultaneously so if the pain comes back, you will know the difference. Which one caused the problem.
- Replace the CMOS battery if your computer is over three years old or if it has been turned off for an extended time. CMOS batteries are very inexpensive and no longer charged, can cause strange behavior at any point during the startup of the computer until the Windows desktop loads.
- Reseat everything on your computer that you can. Reseating will re-establish various connections inside your computer and resolve the problem preventing Windows from starting altogether. Try reseating the following hardware and then see if Windows will ultimately begin to.
- Note: unplug and reattach the keyboard, mouse, and other external devices as well.
- Check out the cause of the electricity inside your computer. A short power is sometimes causing Windows logon problems, especially the reboot loops and hard freezes.
- Check RAM. If one of your computer’s RAM modules fails, your computer won’t even turn on. Most of the time, however, only a portion of your computer’s memory will fail. If your system memory is not working, your computer may freeze, stop or restart at any point, including during or after the Windows logon process. Replace the memory in your computer if the memory test shows any problem.Necessary: Make sure you did your best to complete the troubleshooting steps up to this one. Grades 11 and 12 both involve more difficult and destructive solutions for Windows that don’t start fully. One of the solutions below may be needed to fix your problem, but if you have.
- Test the hard drive. A physical problem with your hard drive is a reason why Windows might not start fully. A hard drive that cannot read and write information correctly cannot load Windows’s files to start. Replace your hard drive if your tests show a problem. After replacing the hard drive, you will need to perform a fresh install of Windows.
- If no hard drive problem is found, then the hard drive is physically fine, which means the cause of your situation must be with Windows, in which case the next step will solve the problem.
- Perform a clean install of Windows. This installation type will completely erase the Windows drive installed and then reinstall the operating system from scratch. Important: In Step 3, I recommend that you try to resolve this issue by repairing Windows. Since fixing important Windows files is non-destructive, make sure you try it out before the ultimately destructive, final clean install in this step.