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Clean boot

Clean boot definition

A clean boot is a troubleshooting technique used in computing to start a system with minimal drivers and startup programs. Because the operating system loads only bare essentials, this method helps identify if any drivers or third-party apps are causing issues.

A clean boot can identify a problem but is not a permanent solution. It can usually help if your system is facing stability issues, running slow, crashes, or experiencing errors on startup. Note that while they are used for similar purposes, clean boot is not the same as safe mode.

See also: safe mode, sandboxing

How does clean boot work

Whether you’re using Windows, macOS, or Linux, before clean boot, make sure to back up your system and data. Tweaking system settings can have unwanted consequences, so document the programs you disable and the changes you make so you can restore everything later.

To launch a clean boot, log into an account with administrative privileges, configure selective startup, and disable startup programs. Once in clean boot mode, test if the issue persists.

If you’re not experiencing problems you were in normal mode, start to gradually enable services and startup items one by one. Restart the computer every time you change something.