Computer Won't Start after Windows Update | 5 Quick Fixes

Here are 5 quick fixes to computer won't star after Windows update, you can try one or more of them. More importantly, please protect your computer continuously with free backup software.


by Ivy Updated on December 14, 2023

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Windows Update and Arising Issues

Windows Update is a free Microsoft service, that is used to provide updates like service packs and patches for the Windows operating system and other Microsoft software, such as November 2022 Patch Tuesday, which reportedly fixes 69 Windows vulnerabilities.

Also, it can be used to update drivers for popular hardware devices. These Updates often contain feature enhancements and security updates. The aim is to protect your computer from malware or other problems.

Microsoft also rolled out a major update called 'Sun Valley 2', or version 22H2. There are no significant differences between Windows 10 21H2 and Windows 10 22H2. For Windows 11, this update aims to restore support for drag-and-drop, improve Start menu customization, and more. 

Windows 10 22H2 Update

But sometimes you may encounter computer won't start after Windows update problem. For example, the major October 2020 update brought a slew of issues, like the dreaded Blue Screen of Death (BSoD) error message, and some driver compatibility problems. To protect your system and data, it is highly recommended that you back up your computer before updating. The following is a typical user case from the forum. 

“Hi, Since I updated Windows 10 a few days ago my computer won't boot. It displays the Lenovo logo screen, but doesn't go any further. It doesn't load any Windows screen for me to attempt recovery environment. I don't know how to recover it. Can you help? Thanks”

Well then, you may wonder how to fix Windows 10 cannot boot after update? Please keep reading below to learn more and fix it. There are 5 useful methods in total. Before that, you choose to fix it with a simple power off and power on, which always works for computer failure.

👉 Method 1: Perform System Restore in Safe Mode
👉 Method 2: Run System File Checker Command Line
👉 Method 3: Delete cleanup.xml and pending.xml
👉 Method 4: Use System Image to Fix Computer won't Boot after Windows Update
👉 Method 5: Clean Install Windows on Different Computer

Method 1: Perform System Restore in Safe Mode

Step 1. Start your computer, and press F8 repeatedly before the Windows logo occurs. Then, it will lead you to the Advanced Boot Options with several available options. You can select Safe Mode.

Safe Mode

Step 2. Search System Restore in the search box and select it from the list.

Step 3. Select one of the available restore points and restore your computer.

Note: By default, System Restore will tick the recommended restore option. If the restore point is not working properly at that moment, you can tick Choose a different restore points.

Step 4. Confirm all your settings and click Finish the run the pending operation.

Step 5. Restart your computer and check if this problem is solved.

Method 2: Run System File Checker Command Line

Step 1. Access the Advanced Boot Options and opt Repair your computer, then select Command Prompt at the System Recovery Options. Also, you can go to the command prompt via installation media.

Step 2. Type the following command in the command prompt and press Enter.



Note: c:\ refers to the system drive of your computer.

Step 3. The command prompt will scan the integrity of all the protected system files and replace it. Then, you can restart your computer and check if the issue is fixed.

Method 3: Delete cleanup.xml and pending.xml

Step 1. Go to the command prompt via System Recovery Options.

Step 2. Delete the cleanup.xml folder in the command prompt. You can type the following commands and press Enter.

del c: \windows\winsxs\cleanup.xml

Delete Cleanup.xml

Step 3. Delete the pending.xml folder in the command prompt with following command.

del c: \windows\winsxs\pending.xml

Step 4. Type exit to quit this window.

Step 5. Restart your computer and check if your computer can start normally.

Method 4: Use System Image to Fix Computer won't Boot after Windows Update

If your problem still cannot be fixed, you can choose to perform offline System Restore under Windows PE bootable environment. It can bring your computer back to the working state (including system files, installed programs, etc.) via system image backup you made in advance, especially when your computer is unbootable.

To complete the entire process, you need free backup and restore software like AOMEI Backupper Standard. Then, please create a system image backup and repair boot USB with it. Once something unexpected happens, you can restore system image to get your computer back in a very short time. Below are the steps:

AOMEI Backupper

Best free Windows backup software for personal use.

Step 1. Set your bootable media (eg: CD, DVD, USB drive) as the first boot device, then save the changes and exit this window. After that, AOMEI Backupper will start automatically.

Step 2. Click Restore and click Select Task. If your backup is on the external hard drive, you can click Select Image File and restore system image from external hard drive.

Select Task

Step 3. Select the system backup image and then click Next.

Select Backup Image

Step 4. Select Restore this system backup and click Next. Select a backup point if you created differential backup and incremental backup before.

Select Restore Location

Note: If you want to restore to a different location, you can tick Restore system to other location and select a partition.

Step 5. Review the operating summary and confirm the restore location. Click Start Restore to start the operation.

Start Restore

❤ Please boot computer from the restored disk and check if it's bootable.
❤ If the system image is created on a different computer, you still can do dissimilar hardware restore with the advanced feature "Univesal Restore". It's available on AOMEI Backupper Professional at least.
❤ This software is also applied to laptop won’t boot after Windows 10/8/7 update.

Method 5: Clean Install Windows on Different Computer

If your computer does not have access to the recovery environment, you can try to reinstall Windows on a different computer. Please install the same version as your current operating system, otherwise there may be reactivation issues.

Step 1. Take out your hard drive and install it on a different computer. Then, download the media creation tool and create an installation disc first.

Step 2. Restart that computer three times in a row, then you will enter the recovery environment. Select language and other preferences and click Next.

Step 3. Click Install now and Next.

Step 4. Click I don't have a product key and Next. It will activate itself when you boot the troublesome computer from the fresh Windows.

Step 5. Select the operating system and click Next.

Step 6. Accept the license terms and click Next.

Step 7. Select Windows 10 installation type: Custom.


Step 8. Click Drive Options, you can delete system partition and other operating system-related partitions, and then select the unallocated space to install Windows.

Step 9. Wait until the process is complete, then set up your preference by on-screen instructions.

Step 10. Put the hard drive back to the computer having problem and check if it's bootable.


Whatever problem your computer encounter, there will be dozens of ways you can use. So do computer won't start after Windows Update, such as a blue screen after installing KB5021233.

But you will spend a lot of time finding solutions. It's time-consuming. And no one can promise that there is a way that works for every user. What's more, you will be a risk of losing data owing to errors in operation.

The prevention measure is too important to take chances. You are supposed to create a system backup or disk backup when your computer is in a good state, then you can recover your computer at any time.

If you don't have one, please download AOMEI Backupper to protect your computer right now!

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Ivy · Editor
Ivy is an editor of AOMEI Technology, she covers backup & restore,hard disk & partitions management and cloud files transfer and so on for AOMEI. She is an outgoing girl and enjoys helping people find solutions to their problems. She loves traveling, eating, reading and so on. She usually hangs out with friends at her leisure time.