You turn on your PC, you see a few snippets of text flash across your display, and then... nothing: no Windows logo, no annoying jingle, just a blank screen. Fortunately, Windows offers users a number of ways to help it return to a healthy state. So before resigning yourself to reinstalling Windows and all of your applications from scratch, try these tips.
In Windows XP and Vista, restart the OS in Safe Mode by pressing
If that tactic doesn't get Windows running, reopen the Advanced Options Menu and select Safe Mode. Choosing this option opens a bare-bones version of Windows that runs on a minimal number of drivers and services. If the system starts, you can conclude that one of the disabled drivers or services is causing the problem. With the help of Windows' System Configuration Utility, you may be able to isolate the culprit. Browse to Microsoft's Help and Support page, "How to troubleshoot by using the System Configuration utility in Windows XP" for more information on working with this tool.
If the Advanced Options Menu doesn't appear, boot your system from your Windows installation CD and perform a repair installation, which replaces Windows' system files while preserving your settings and installed programs. When you see the 'Welcome to Setup' screen, press
Vista provides one more option, in case these steps don't work. Select the Repair Your Computer option at the top of the Advanced Boot Options menu. This is roughly the equivalent of Windows XP's repair installation, discussed above. After you select this option, run Startup Repair from the System Recovery Options menu. If you don't see the Repair Your Computer option, access the System Recovery Options menu while booting from the Vista DVD. For more on Vista's advanced startup options, see the Windows Help and How-to page "Advanced startup options (including safe mode)"; and visit the Windows XP page, "How to fix a computer that won't start," to read about troubleshooting XP startup woes.
Refresh misbehaving Windows
Something has changed in your system. You don't know what happened exactly, but Windows or some application has gone haywire. Use Windows' System Restore utility to roll back your configuration files and Registry keys to an earlier time when your PC was working fine. Even if you never configured the System Restore utility yourself, Windows probably created some restore points for you automatically.
To check, click Start, All Programs, Accessories, System Tools, System Restore. (In Vista you can get to System Restore by alternative routes: Click the Start button, type system restore, and press
Recover your sanity
Take a 5-minute break and pretend that you're Spider-Man.