Clean boot is a type of boot in which all non-essential services and programs are turned off. This allows you to determine whether any of the disabled programs are causing any system error.
While the procedure is simple, you must first do some preliminary work before performing a Hardware Clean Boot. A Hardware Boot is a special type of clean boot that takes into account device errors.
Unlike the software clean boot, you need to disable inessential drivers. In this way, neither the driver software nor the corresponding device can affect your system. So, enabling the driver one at a time and checking your system helps narrow down which driver is causing the problem.
How to Perform Hardware Clean Boot?
Using Device Manager
The easiest way to perform a hardware clean boot is through the device manager. It is the built-in Windows program that helps you control all the devices on your PC.
Follow the steps below to carry out a hardware clean boot using this utility:
- Press Win + R to open Run.
devmgmt.mscand press Enter to open the Device Manager.
- Expand the following categories:
- Audio inputs and outputs
- Display Adapters
- DVD/CD-ROM drives
- Network Adapters
- Portable Devices
- Sound, video and game controllers
- Right-click on all the devices within these categories and click Disable.
- If you are not using any USB devices, such as keyboard or mouse expand Universal Serial Bus controllers and disable its contents as well.
Now, restart your PC. After the reboot, individually enable each disabled device, restart your system and check if your issue reoccurs. This way to can figure out all the devices or drivers causing issues on your system.
- Then, after you have narrowed down the cause, you can try updating or reinstalling the drivers in case its software is causing some problems.
- You should also check for compatibility issues on the official website. If it’s not compatible, try updating your BIOS and OS. Otherwise, you need to install another device on your system.
- If the driver is not responsible or the device is compatible with your system, it has likely gone bad. You need to replace it with a new one in such scenario.
If you are stuck in a startup loop and can’t log in to your account, you can boot in safe mode to disable the drivers. Then, follow the remaining instructions as usual in normal mode. You also need to boot in safe mode to update or reinstall the drivers. To perform a safe boot:
- Force shutdown your PC three times in a row and power it up again after each shut down.
- After the third reboot, click on Advanced Options to boot in Windows Recovery Environment or Advanced Startup.
- Here, go to Troubleshoot > Advanced options > Startup Settings > Restart.
- After this restart, click on F5 or 5 to boot in safe mode.
Using Windows PowerShell
You can also use the Command line interfaces (CLI) to perform this process of enabling and disabling your devices. We recommend using Windows PowerShell as it provides more functionality than older CLIs like Command Prompt.
Here’s how you can use this utility to perform a hardware clean boot:
- Open Run.
powershelland press Ctrl + Shift + Enter to open the Elevated Windows PowerShell.
- Enter the following command to list out all your active devices:
Get-PnpDevice -PresentOnly | Sort-Object -Property “Class” | Format-Table -AutoSize
- Look for the device classes we mentioned in the first method and copy or note down their InstanceId.
- Then, use the command below for each of these devices while replacing the Instance Id to disable them:
Disable-PnpDevice -InstanceId "Instance Id"
- Now enter
Restart-Computerto restart your PC.
- After restarting, open PowerShell and enter the command below for one of the devices you disabled:
Enable-PnpDevice -InstanceId "Instance Id"
- You can also list out your devices and check which ones are Off. The devices that are disabled or have some errors show Error on the Status column.
- After that, restart your PC and check if the issue you are encountering reoccurs.
- Perform steps 7-9 for all the disabled devices to narrow down all the problematic devices.
Then, you can apply the troubleshooting steps we have mentioned in the first method.