Computer Does Not Boot to Microsoft Windows 7

Summary: Computer will not boot to Windows 7? Learn how to identify symptoms of power, post, video and boot related problems on your Dell PC. Find common troubleshooting guides to help recoverSee more

Article Content


Symptoms

Table of Contents:

  1. Verify the Computer Finishes Initial Power-Up (POST)
  2. Unplug All External Devices
  3. Check for Specific Error Messages
  4. Reset the BIOS to Default Values
  5. Boot to the HDD using the one-time boot menu
  6. Run a Computer Diagnostic
  7. Boot the Computer into Safe Mode
  8. Boot to the last known good configuration
  9. Check for Recent Changes
  10. Use Startup Repair to Restore Critical Windows Files
  11. Use System Restore to Revert to a Previous State
  12. Use Clean-Boot Troubleshooting to Isolate the Software Issue
  13. Virus and Malware Troubleshooting
  14. Restore the Operating System to Factory Settings

This article provides information about "Computer Does Not Boot to Microsoft Windows 7"


This article is for Microsoft Windows 7.
Click below to change the operating system.


Back to Top

Video (YouTube): How to Fix a Computer that Will not Boot Up (Official Dell Tech Support)


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

 

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

Click here if your computer does not complete POST.

Click here if your hard drive is not recognized.


Back to Top

2. 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
  • Docking station

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

Once this is completed, unplug the computer from the wall, remove the laptop battery (if applicable) and hold the power button down for approximately 15 seconds. Then plug wall power back into the computer and attempt to restart.


Back to Top

3. Check for Specific Error Messages

 

Dell has information about some specific error messages at startup. Refer to the following links for more information:
 

If the error message is not listed above, try searching for additional solutions on the Web.
Click your preferred search engine below, then describe your problem in the search box provided.

Search Dell   Search Microsoft   Search Google   Search Bing


Back to Top

4. 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 that is 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.
 
SLN128763_en_US__1icon 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 that are 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 about BIOS update or downgrade procedure.
 
SLN128763_en_US__1icon 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.

Back to Top

5. Boot to the Hard Drive Using the One-Time Boot Menu

Restart the computer, and at the Dell logo screen tap the <F12> key multiple times to invoke the One-Time Boot Menu. Select the Boot from Hard Drive option and press Enter.


6. Run a Computer Diagnostic 

To run PSA Diagnostics, turn on the computer and tap the F12 key several times at the Dell logo screen. This starts the One-Time Boot Menu. Select Diagnostics to start the diagnostic assessment of the computer hardware.

This test takes approximately 5 minutes.

If you receive an error from the PSA diagnostics, refer to the Dell Hardware Diagnostics page for further assistance:

Click Here to Troubleshoot Diagnostic Errors

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

SLN128763_en_US__1icon 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.

Back to Top

7. Boot the Computer into Safe Mode

 
  1. Start the computer.
  2. Tap F8 on the keyboard immediately after the Dell logo screen disappears until you see the Windows Advanced Options Menu on the screen. (If the Windows Advanced Options Menu does not appear, restart the system and try again.)
  3. Select Safe mode and press Enter.
  4. Log in as the administrator or as a user with administrative access.

Back to Top

8. Attempt to Boot to the Last Known-Good Configuration

The Last Known-Good Configuration can help you reestablish the settings that your computer used the last time that you successfully booted to Windows. To invoke the Last Known-Good Configuration, perform the following steps.

  1. Power on the system.
  2. Press < F8 > when the message For troubleshooting and advanced startup options for Windows, press F8 appears.
  3. Choose Last Known-Good Configuration

 

9. Check for Recent Changes

 If you can successfully boot to Safe Mode, check your computer to see if any new software or hardware was recently installed. If so, try uninstalling those programs or hardware from your computer.

Back to Top

10. Use Startup Repair to Restore Critical Windows Files

 

Startup Repair is a Windows 7 recovery tool that can fix certain problems, such as missing or damaged system files, that might prevent Windows from starting correctly. When you run Startup Repair, it scans your computer for the problem and then tries to fix it so your computer can start correctly.

To learn more about using Startup Repair to restore critical Windows files, refer to Dell Knowledge Base article, "Run Startup Repair on a Dell PC with a Windows Operating System"


Back to Top

11. Use System Restore to Revert to a Previous State

 

Click here to watch a video on how to use System Restore in the Windows Recovery Environment (WinRE). (Note: English Only)

SLN128763_en_US__1icon Note: If the Windows Advanced Options menu does not appear, restart the computer and try again.
 
SLN128763_en_US__1icon Note: Attempt to restore from the most recent restore point. If this fails to correct the problem, try the next most recent restore point until you find a restore point that resolves the issue. You must reinstall any software that is installed after the selected restore point.
  1. Restart the computer.
  2. Tap <F8> during startup until the Windows Advanced Options menu appears.
  3. Press <Down Arrow> until Repair Your Computer is highlighted, and then press <Enter>.
  4. In the System Recovery Options window, click to select your language, and then click Next.
  5. Log in as a user with administrative rights, and click OK.
  6. From the Choose a recovery tool menu, click System Restore.
  7. In the System Restore window, click Next.
  8. Click the Show restore points older than 5 days checkbox for a complete listing of restore points.
  9. Click to select a restore point.
  10. Click Next and then click Finish.
  11. Click Yes in the confirmation window.
  12. Click Restart after system restore successfully completes.
  13. If you encounter any error messages during the restore process, follow the on-screen instructions to correct the error.

Back to Top

12. Use Clean-Boot Troubleshooting to Isolate the Software Issue

Video (English Only): Perform a Clean Boot to detect Software Problems

A program or application may be interfering with the normal boot process of Windows. Microsoft has created a detailed process for isolating a startup program that is causing Windows to not boot correctly. Click the link below to being the troubleshooting process:

How to Troubleshoot a Problem by Performing a Clean Boot in Windows Vista or in Windows 7


Back to Top

13. 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 anti-virus software up to date.

View our Virus and Spyware Removal Guide


Back to Top

14. Restore the Operating System to Factory Settings

 

If clean boot troubleshooting cannot identify the 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, launch the link below:

Restore, Factory Reset or Reinstall Windows 7 on your Dell Computer


Back to Top
 

 

Cause

 

Resolution

 

Article Properties


Affected Product

Fixed Workstations, Inspiron 13 N3010, Inspiron 13 1370, Inspiron 13z N301z, Inspiron 13z 5323, Inspiron 3421, Inspiron 14 M4040, Inspiron 14 N4020, Inspiron 14 N4050, Inspiron 14 N4030, Inspiron 14R N4010, Inspiron 14R 5420, Inspiron 14R 5421Fixed Workstations, Inspiron 13 N3010, Inspiron 13 1370, Inspiron 13z N301z, Inspiron 13z 5323, Inspiron 3421, Inspiron 14 M4040, Inspiron 14 N4020, Inspiron 14 N4050, Inspiron 14 N4030, Inspiron 14R N4010, Inspiron 14R 5420, Inspiron 14R 5421, Inspiron 14R SE 7420, Inspiron 3521, Inspiron M5040, Inspiron 15 N5040, Inspiron 15 N5050, Inspiron 15 N5030, Inspiron 15R 5520, Inspiron 15R 5521, Inspiron 15R N5110, Inspiron 15R SE 7520, Inspiron 15z 1570, Inspiron 15z 5523, Inspiron 17 N7010, Inspiron 17R 5720, Inspiron 17R 5721, Inspiron 17R N7110, Inspiron 17R SE 7720, Inspiron 5425, Inspiron 1122 M102z, Inspiron M421R, Inspiron M521R, Inspiron 13z N311z, Inspiron 14z N411z, XPS 15 L501X, XPS 15 L521X, XPS 15 L502XSee more

Last Published Date

21 Feb 2021

Version

5

Article Type

Solution

Rate This Article


Accurate
Useful
Easy to Understand
Was this article helpful?

0/3000 characters