After installing new hardware, drivers, software updates, or Windows upgrades, you might encounter the following error when attempting to boot your computer:
"Windows failed to start. A recent hardware or software change might be the cause."
This is a common startup error that typically occurs on Windows 11/10 and Windows Server computers. When this error appears, your computer will be unable to boot, leaving you stuck with this message. It’s worth noting that this issue can affect laptops from various brands, such as Dell, HP, Lenovo, Asus, and Acer.
If you find yourself facing this error, there’s no need to panic. It is fixable, and you can resolve it by following some troubleshooting steps.
Understanding Windows failed to start. A recent hardware or software change might be the cause.
The above error message usually appears on a blue or black screen before the system startup. Additionally, it may display an 8-digit hexadecimal error code such as 0x000000. This particular error is commonly referred to as the “blue screen of death” or “black screen of death,” and resolving it requires some basic troubleshooting skills.
Here is a list of common reasons that can trigger the error mentioned above. Understanding these potential causes will help you identify what might be wrong with your computer:
- Recent Hardware or Software Change: This is one of the most common reasons for encountering the above error. Have you recently installed or made changes to your computer’s hardware, such as RAM, HDD/SSD, Processor, or Motherboard? If yes, the appropriate driver might not have been loaded correctly, leading to the error message.
- Corrupted Master Boot Record: The Master Boot Record (MBR) is a critical file for the Windows operating system. It instructs your computer to verify hardware, software, and drivers before launching the OS. If this file becomes corrupted, Windows may fail to start, triggering the “Windows failed to start” error.
- Corrupted or Missing System Files: Incompatible drivers, software installations, or virus/malware attacks can cause some system files to go missing or become corrupted, preventing your computer from booting up properly.
- Incomplete Installation of Windows Updates/Upgrades: Improperly shutting down your computer during an update installation or Windows upgrade can also lead to the above error.
- Faulty cable connection: If the cable connection between hard drive and motherboard is faulty, you may receive the above error.
These are some of the common causes that can prevent Windows 11/10 from loading correctly, resulting in startup issues. To resolve the “Windows failed to start” error, you can apply the troubleshooting methods mentioned below.
How to Fix “Windows failed to start. A recent hardware or software change might be the cause.”
Prior to resolving any critical error that involves the risk of data loss, it is crucial to follow a safety measure and back up your valuable data, including pictures, videos, files, documents, and emails to a secure location. In the event of a system crash, you can rely on the
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Solution 1: Repair corrupted MBR or BCD
Repairing the Master Boot Record (MBR) or Boot Configuration Data (BCD) should be your primary approach when addressing Windows startup issues. The MBR or BCD is a vital file, and its corruption is often the root cause of startup problems. To fix this issue, you will require a Windows installation drive or disk.
For a convenient solution, we recommend using EaseUS Partition Master, which is an excellent tool for repairing a corrupted MBR file. This user-friendly tool conducts comprehensive scans and applies necessary fixes to troubleshoot your Windows startup problems effectively.
Repair MBR/BCD using EaseUS Partition Master
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Repair MBR using EaseUS
Repair MBR/BCD Manually
Manually Repair MBR file - Step by Step
Solution 2: Run SFC, CHKDSK, and DISM command
These three sets of commands encompass the entire process of repairing your computer.
- First, the SFC (System File Checker) command repairs any corrupted system files.
- Next, the CHKDSK (Check Disk) command identifies and resolves issues with bad sectors and errors on your hard drives.
- Lastly, the DISM (Deployment Image Service and Management Tool) command handles the repair of Windows images.
To tackle a Windows startup issue, you’ll need to run these commands within the Advanced Recovery Environment, ensuring a comprehensive approach to troubleshooting and resolving the problem.
Run SFC, CHKDSK, DISM command
Dism /Online /Cleanup-Image /CheckHealth
Dism /Online /Cleanup-Image /ScanHealth
Dism /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth
chkdsk C: / f / x / r
Solution 3: Revers the Installation of Recent Drivers/Software
If you identify that this error has started to occur after installing a driver or softwares, you need to uninstall the recently installed drivers and softwares. You can do it as follows:
Use Safe Mode
To determine if the issue is caused by third-party software or drivers, try booting your computer in Safe Mode. Safe Mode loads a minimal set of drivers and services, allowing you to isolate the problem.
Open PC in Safe Boot Mode
Fix using EaseUS Partition Master tool
If your computer fails to open in Safe Mode, consider using a reliable professional tool like EaseUS Partition Master. This versatile tool enables you to create a WinPE bootable USB drive, which can be utilized to repair Windows.
The WinPE bootable device functions as a lightweight Windows installation tool, enabling you to launch the operating system from the USB drive and perform essential troubleshooting steps to resolve the issue. This approach provides a convenient and effective solution for tackling challenging startup problems.
Create WinPE Bootable Drive using EaseUS Partition Master
Solution 4: Uninstall Recent/Incomplete Windows updates
Let me clarify that an incomplete installation of Windows updates can also lead to the “Windows failed to start” error. To resolve this issue, you must remove the recent Windows updates that may be causing the problem.
Uninstall Updates - Step by Step
Solution 5: System Restore
Another effective approach to fix the “Windows failed to start” error is by performing a System Restore. When you initiate a System Restore, Windows reverts to a previous known good configuration state, undoing recent changes made to your computer. This method serves as an excellent way to reverse any alterations that might have triggered the startup issue, providing a reliable solution to get your system back on track.
System Restore - Steps by Steps
Encountering the “Windows failed to start. A recent hardware or software change might be the cause” error is a daunting situation for any Windows user. Resolving this issue may demand step-by-step troubleshooting, and it requires patience. While some fortunate users might fix the error with a single solution, others may need to try multiple approaches to find the right fix. In either case, staying persistent and following a systematic troubleshooting process will eventually lead to resolving the problem and getting your system back up and running smoothly.