Knowledge Base

Computer Will Not Boot to Microsoft Windows 8 or Windows 8.1


Table of Contents:

  1. Operating System
  2. Specific Windows 8 No Boot Issues
  3. Verify the Computer Finishes Initial Power-Up (POST)
  4. Unplug All External Devices
  5. Check for Specific Error Messages
  6. Reset the BIOS to Default Values
  7. Run a Computer Diagnostic
  8. Boot Computer to Safe Mode
  9. Repair your Windows 8 Operating System
  10. Virus and Malware Troubleshooting
  11. Restore the Operating System to Factory Settings

This article provides information on "Computer Will Not Boot to Microsoft Windows 8 or Windows 8.1"


1. Operating System

This article is for Microsoft Windows 8 or 8.1.
Click below to change the operating system.


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2. Specific Windows 8 No Boot Issues


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3. Verify the Computer Finishes Initial Power-Up (POST)

In many cases a computer will not attempt to hand off control to the operating system. If you power the computer on and you see a Dell logo screen with a bar at the bottom, and that bar fills up completely and disappears, then your computer has successfully completed POST.

Click Here if Your Computer Does Not Complete POST

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4. Unplug All External Devices

A piece of hardware may be interfering with the normal boot process of Windows. Try unplugging all devices from your computer, including:

  • Printers.
  • Scanners.
  • Media Card Readers.
  • Small Media cradles (iPod, PDA, MP3 player, etc.).
  • Digital Cameras and Video Recorders.
  • USB storage devices.
  • CDs or DVDs from all optical drives.

The only devices you should leave attached to your computer are your monitor, mouse and keyboard, if the computer is a desktop.

If an external device is preventing the system from booting, then boot to the system BIOS (F2 at boot for Dell systems) then edit to boot sequence to ensure that the device in question is listed after the system boot drive in the boot sequence. Save the changes in the BIOS then test to see if the device still prevents the system from booting.

If the device still prevents a boot, then leave the device disconnected during the boot process and reconnect once the system is in Windows.

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5. Check for Specific Error Messages

Try searching for additional solutions on the Web.
Click on your preferred search engine below, then describe your problem, including any specific error messages.

Search Dell Search Microsoft Search Google Search Bing

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6. Reset the BIOS to Default Values

If your computer is set to first attempt to boot to another device, this may cause issues with successfully booting to Windows. To reset your computer's BIOS to factory defaults, perform the following steps:

  1. Restart the computer.
  2. At the Dell logo during restart, tap the <F2> key repeatedly until you see Entering Setup in the top right corner of the screen.
  3. Depending on the BIOS, you may need to press a key listed at the bottom of the screen to load default settings. For example, <F9> on the Inspiron N5110.
  4. Press ESC to exit the BIOS, and be sure to select Save and Exit to save your changes.
Note: If resetting the BIOS to factory defaults does not resolve the issue, you may also try to update the BIOS to the latest version to resolve issues related to the BIOS of your PC or tablet. Refer to the Dell knowledge-base article What is BIOS and How to Download and Install the latest BIOS? for more information on BIOS update or downgrade procedure.
Note: System BIOS may get corrupted if the BIOS upgrade or downgrade procedure is not completed successfully or interrupted.
A corrupt BIOS is one of the possible causes of your PC unable to complete POST or some times even boot into the operating system.
If your Dell PC or tablet supports BIOS recovery, you can recover the corrupt BIOS by using the BIOS recovery method applicable for your Dell PC or tablet. Refer to the Dell knowledge-base article BIOS Recovery options on a Dell PC or Tablet for more information.

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7. Run a Computer Diagnostic

To determine if your computer is experiencing a hardware problem, run the Dell Online Diagnostics.

If you are unable to boot the system to access the Dell Online Diagnostics, use the Dell Pre-boot System Diagnostics.

Note: For Dell Latitude laptop PCs, you may try to recover the PC using the forced ePSA method. For more information, refer to the Dell knowledge-base article How to Use Forced ePSA to Recover from POST or Boot Failure.

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8. Boot Computer to Safe Mode

To complete this action please see our Knowledge Base article for instructions.

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9. Repair your Windows 8 Operating System

Microsoft has developed comprehensive repair and recovery troubleshooting in the event that your computer cannot start Windows correctly, but does start the Windows boot process. If your computer restarts to a Recovery page with a blue screen, this troubleshooting content may be right for you.

Tools used in this troubleshooting include System Restore, Automatic Repair (formerly Startup Repair) and System Refresh.

To learn more about Microsoft repair and recovery processes, click the link below:

Windows 8 Repair and Recovery Troubleshooting

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10. Virus and Malware Troubleshooting

Your computer may be affected by a virus or other malicious software. Dell recommends strengthening your PC against malicious attacks by keeping your antivirus software up-to-date.

View our Virus and Spyware Removal Guide

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11. Restore the Operating System to Factory Settings

If the previous troubleshooting could not resolve your issue, it may be necessary to restore your computer to factory settings. To restore your computer's operating system and software to the original factory settings, refer to the options below to restore or reinstall your operating system:

If these steps do not correct the problem, please contact Dell Technical Support.

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Article ID: SLN115652

Last Date Modified: 11/09/2016 08:56 AM


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