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How to Fix a Windows 10 Restart Loop

If you’re trying to use your Windows computer and find that it’s stuck in an infinite reboot loop, it can be frustrating to deal with especially if you don’t know the cause.

The Windows 10 restart loop happens when there’s a failure to boot up the operating system correctly.

Previous Windows versions would need a full reinstall to resolve the restart loop. However, with Windows 10, you can quickly troubleshoot and fix an endless reboot loop plus any other problems you may be experiencing.

This guide looks at the causes of the Windows 10 restart loop and how you can fix it.

What Causes a Windows 10 Restart Loop?

There are several reasons why your computer is stuck in a restart loop, which is characterized by failure of Windows to load up correctly once you power on your PC.

Instead of booting normally, the PC will fail to reach the logon screen before it resets to the boot screen and tries to load Windows. From here on, the operating system is caught in an endless loop of booting and crashing, rendering your PC impossible to use.

Some of the causes of the Windows 10 restart loop include:

  • New Windows driver or recent driver update
  • A Windows Update
  • Problems with the Windows system registry
  • New software installation

How to Fix Windows 10 Stuck in Restart Loop

1. Unplug Peripherals and Hard Reset Your PC

A piece of hardware that’s connected to your computer such as your printer , digital camera or video recorder , USB storage device or media card reader may interfere with the normal Windows booting process.

Unplugging all such peripherals from your PC and performing a hard reset may help resolve the infinite reboot loop. You can leave only your keyboard, mouse and monitor and then unplug your PC from the power outlet. 

If your computer comes with a removable battery, remove it and then hold the power button down for about 15 seconds until it goes off. Put the battery back in, plug the wall power back into your PC and try to restart it.

2. Bypass the Restart Screen

If Windows 10 is still stuck in a restart loop after unplugging peripherals and performing a hard reset , you can try to bypass the restart screen using the Function (FN) key.

Hold the FN key down as you power on your PC, and while still holding the key, tap the Windows key to bypass the restart. If this works, you should see the login screen and you can continue using your PC normally.

3. Use Windows 10 Automatic Repair

Automatic Repair is a recovery feature in Windows 10 that kicks in when the operating system is unable to boot or startup and tries to diagnose and fix the problem. The feature scans system files , configuration and registry settings among other things and then tries to fix the issues that prevent your PC from working normally.

Automatic Repair usually sets in without you prompting it, but typically, it happens after several restarts. If you find Windows 10 stuck in restart loops and within 15 minutes you don’t see the Automatic Repair option, it’s probably not going to happen.

Note: You won’t lose any data if you perform an Automatic Repair.

You can also perform an Automatic Repair with your Windows 10 installation USB or disc.

  1. To get started, wait for the PC to start and display the manufacturer logo, and then check the boot menu option (F12). If you don’t see it, refer to your device user manual.
  2. Next, reboot your PC and when you see the manufacturer’s logo, press the Boot menu option severally to enter the boot menu. Select CD/DVD ROM or USB.
  1. Once your PC starts up using the System Repair disc or Windows DVD, you’ll see a black screen with a message saying “Press any key to boot from CD or DVD”.
  1. Press any key and then select the keyboard type and correct time.
  2. Next, select Repair your computer at the bottom left side of your screen.
  1. Select Troubleshooting > Advanced Option.
  1. Finally select Startup Repair.

If using the Automatic Repair feature doesn’t help fix the Windows 10 restart loop or startup files, try using Safe Mode.

Using Safe Mode to Fix Windows 10 Stuck in Restart Loop

In Safe Mode, you can access Windows 10 and uninstall the Windows Update , drivers or software that may be causing the Windows 10 restart loop issue. Once in Safe Mode, you can perform a System Restore and then reinstall Windows 10 if all else fails and you don’t mind losing any data.

If your computer has multiple Windows versions, wait for the operating system selection screen and then choose Change defaults or choose other options instead of selecting Windows 10.

The next step will be to access Safe Mode, which will depend on how the boot loop is presenting and whether it’s triggered when specific hardware is connected or when you launch a specific app.

How to Manually Boot into Safe Mode

Before the restart, you can reboot in Safe Mode using three different options:

  • Hold down the Shift key and then select Start > Restart to boot into the Advanced startup options. This is probably the fastest option to access Safe Mode.
  • Press Win+I to open Settings and then select Update & Security > Recovery > Advanced Startup > Restart now.
  • Alternatively, open Command Prompt (Run as administrator) and then enter shutdown /r /o to restart in the Advanced Boot options.

How to Access Safe Mode Using Installation Media

You can also use installation media to access Safe Mode if you have a recovery partition on your PC’s hard drive. If not, you can download the Windows 10 installation media on a different computer and save it in a USB or DVD.

Once you have the installation media, insert it into your PC and follow the steps in Automatic Repair to fix the restart loop problem.

Alternatively, tap Del or F1 when the system boots to access the UEFI/BIOS and then find Boot Manager. Select the recovery partition as the primary device and reboot your PC.

How to Fix Windows 10 Restart Loop Caused by Windows Update in Safe Mode

If your PC is in Safe Mode, you can prevent further restart loops by uninstalling Windows Updates or drivers in the Command Prompt.

  1. To resolve a reboot loop caused by a Windows Update, open Command Prompt (admin) and enter this command: net stop wuauserv.
  1. Follow the command with net stop bits
  2. Once you get a response, browse C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution, erase all the directory contents and restart Windows 10. It should boot normally going forward.

When Restart Loop Is Caused by Safe Mode App Installations

If you had just installed an app before the Windows restart loop issue began, you can uninstall the software while in Safe Mode and Windows will start normally again.

To do this, right-click the application in the Start menu and select Uninstall.

When Restart Loop Is Caused by Hardware Drivers in Safe Mode

Hardware drivers may also cause the Windows restart loop especially if they’re outdated.

  1. To resolve this while in Safe Mode, right-click Start > Device Manager and look for the suspect device.
  1. Right-click the device, select Properties.
  1. Next, select Drivers and then select Roll Back Driver.
  1. If this fails, right-click the device, select Disable Device. Select Uninstall Driver and then reboot your PC.

How Resetting Windows 10 Helps

If you can’t access Safe Mode or the rest of the fixes aren’t working, try a reset to get your PC back to factory settings.

A Windows 10 reset reinstalls system files without damaging your data. If the restart fails after the third attempt, Windows 10 will boot automatically into the WinRE (Windows Recovery Environment).  

From here, you can follow the steps in our guide on how to reset Windows 10 . If you’re not the administrator of the PC you’re using, turn to our guide on how to reset Windows 10 without an admin password .

Get Your PC Running Normally Again

We hope you were able to fix the Windows reboot loop using any of the solutions listed here and your PC is running normally again. If so, check out our how to set up an automatic backup system for Windows guide and free system cloning apps you can use to backup your entire Windows system in case the restart loop occurs again.

You can also automatically backup important Windows folders with OneDrive and keep your information safely copied into the cloud.

How to Fix Windows 10 File Explorer Not Responding

File Explorer is the default file management tool on Windows devices. Like every other system processes on Windows, File Explorer also has its occasional moments of failure. If you find Windows Explorer not responding during usage, there are a few things you can try.

We’ve written a comprehensive guide covering tips to follow when Windows Explorer keeps crashing . In this article, we’ll rump through nine fixes to try when you launch the File Explorer and it keeps loading or fails to open files and folders.

1. Modify Your PC’s Display Layout

This is a rather bizarre but effective solution to Windows Explorer not responding. Apparently, using an unrecommended screen layout and resolution could cause the File Explorer to malfunction.

Check your PC’s display settings and make sure you’re using the recommended scale/layout. Go to Settings > System > Display and ensure the size of text, apps, and other items is set to 100% or whatever option Windows recommends.

If your PC’s display scaling is already set to 100%, try changing it to 125% and back to 100% again.

2. Kill and Restart the File Explorer

If Windows Explorer is still not responding after changing your PC’s resolution, terminate the Windows Explorer process and start it again. There are several ways to restart Windows Explorer:

Using Task Manager

Launch the Windows Task Manager (press Ctrl + Shift + Esc), right-click on Windows Explorer in the Apps section, and click End Task to terminate File Explorer.

Restart the Windows Explorer by clicking the folder icon in the taskbar. Alternatively, use the Task Manager: click on File on the menu bar and select Run new task.

Type explorer.exe in the dialog box and click OK.

That will start Windows Explorer immediately. Now proceed to check if you can access your files and folders in File Explorer without any lag.

Using Command Prompt

You can also use the Command Prompt utility to terminate and reinitiate the Windows Explorer. Right-click on the Windows icon and select Command Prompt (Admin) from the Quick Access menu. Input taskkill /f /im explorer.exe in the console and press Enter.

Your PC’s taskbar and desktop icons will disappear when you terminate the Windows Explorer. That’s normal and only temporary. To restart the File Explorer, input start explorer.exe in the Command Prompt window and press Enter to proceed.

Restart File Explorer Using A BAT File

BAT files let you easily automate tasks and actions. If File Explorer fails to respond quite often and restarting the process usually resolves the problem, you should create a BAT file dedicated to restarting the File Explorer at the click of a button.

  1. Right-click on an empty space on the desktop. Click New and then select Text Document.
  1. Name the document Restart Explorer and press Enter.
  1. Double-click on the newly-created file to open with Notepad.
  2. Paste the command below in the document:

taskkill /f /IM explorer.exe
start explorer.exe

  1. Click on File in the menu bar and select Save As.
  1. In the FIle name dialog box, rename the file Restart Explorer.bat and make sure the Save as type option is set to All Files.
  1. Click Save to proceed.

To use the newly created BAT file to restart the Windows Explorer, return to the Desktop, right-click on the file, and select Run as administrator.

Windows will run the command in the BAT file through Command Prompt and restart the Windows Explorer.

3. Check for Corrupt System Files

When some system files get damaged, missing, or corrupt, some core Windows functionalities (like the File Explorer) may begin to malfunction. Thankfully, this is easy to fix. The System File Checker will scan your PC for corrupt or missing system files and fix or replace them accordingly.

Follow the steps below to run the System File Checker on your Windows 10 computer.

1. Right-click on the Start menu icon and select Command Prompt (Admin).

2. Type or paste the command below in the Command Prompt console and press Enter.

sfc /scannow

If the Windows File Explorer is still not responding when Command Prompt is done executing the command, restart your computer and try again.

4. Clear File Explorer History

The Windows File Explorer keeps a log of all previous actions and activities—recently accessed files and folders, searches, address bar entries, etc. The Windows File Explorer may respond slowly or crash when the utility’s history accumulates to a certain point. Try clearing the File Explorer history and check if that fixes the problem.

1. Type file explorer options in the Windows search bar and click File Explorer Options in the results.

2. In the General tab, click the Clear button to the right of the option that reads Clear File Explorer History. You’ll find that in the Privacy section.

3. Click Apply and then OK to save the changes.

File Explorer should now be stable and functional when you relaunch it. Otherwise, proceed to the next solution.

5. Update Your PC’s Video Driver

According to Microsoft Support , the Windows Explorer could stop working if your PC’s video driver is corrupt or outdated. If you still can’t navigate your files and folders because the Windows File Explorer is not responding, try downloading and installing the latest video driver update for your PC. Connect your computer to the internet and follow the steps below.

Right-click the Start or Windows icon and select Device Manager.

Expand the Display adapters category, right-click on your PC’s video/graphic adapter, and select Update driver.

Choose Search automatically for updated driver software.

That will prompt Windows to search the internet and your computer for the latest video driver for your PC.

6. Update Your PC’s Operating System

File Explorer may crash and fail to respond if your Windows 10 version is out-of-date. Download and install any available updates and check if that resolves the issue.

Windows updates often ship with security patches, driver updates, bug fixes, and solutions to other functional issues affecting Windows applications and processes. If the Device Manager doesn’t find an update for the video driver, consider updating your PC’s operating system.

Go to Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update and click on the Check for updates.

7. Scan Your PC for Viruses and Malware

If you have an antivirus or antimalware software installed on your PC, run a thorough scan for hidden viruses and malware. Refer to this guide to learn how to completely remove stubborn malware from your PC using trusted software like Malwarebytes.

You can also use Windows built-in antivirus tool, Windows Defender, to nuke malware and viruses .

8. Check for Memory Problems

Several applications may malfunction on your PC if there’s a problem with the Random Access Memory. Run the Windows Memory Diagnostics tool to check your computer for memory problems . Make sure you save your work and close any open applications before you proceed.

1. Type memory in the Windows search bar and select Windows Memory Diagnostic in the result.

2. The two will present you with two options. Select the option that reads “Restart now and check for problems (recommended).”

The Windows Memory Diagnostics will scan your PC and fix any memory-related issues that it finds.

9. Perform a System Restore

Did the File Explorer start after installing an app, a driver, software update, or after changing certain system configurations? Try rolling your PC back to a previous configuration (or restore point).

Note that reverting to a previous restore point will change some system settings. Recently-installed programs and drivers will also be deleted from your PC. Follow the steps below to roll back to a restore point.

1. Type control panel in the Windows search bar and click Control Panel on the results.

2. Click on Recovery.

3. Select Open System Restore.

4. In the System Restore window, click Next to proceed.

5. The latest/newest system restore point will appear on the list. Select it and click Next to proceed.

Check the ‘Show more restore points’ option to reveal other (older) restore points.

6. Click Finish to commence the system restoration.

If you don’t find a restore point, that’s probably because the System Restore feature isn’t active on your computer. Learn how to enable or disable System Restore on Windows devices.

Get the File Explorer Working Again

We’re pretty confident that at least one of the troubleshooting methods listed above should resolve issues with Windows Explorer not responding. If the problem persists, restarting your PC in Safe Mode or performing a clean boot should help.