My Computer Keeps Rebooting

Introduction

If your computer keeps restarting before you're able to work with it you could be experiencing a boot loop (constant restarting of your system), a blue screen, or system failure.

These issues are as frustrating as they are difficult to resolve. These issues don't let you access your system to troubleshoot and take care of them.

Windows 10 blue screen of death

This guide will help you determine the reason for your boot issue and resolve it.

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If your computer keeps restarting before you're able to work with it you could be experiencing a boot loop (constant restarting of your system), a blue screen, or system failure.

These issues are as frustrating as they are difficult to resolve. These issues don't let you access your system to troubleshoot and take care of them.

Windows 10 blue screen of death

This guide will help you determine the reason for your boot issue and resolve it.

Are you experiencing constant boot looping where your system is restarting rapidly in succession?

Can you get to the main screen of your computer known as your system's desktop?

Windows Windows 10 desktop
macOS  macOS desktop
  1. Click Start.
    Windows 10 Start icon
  2. Search for Control Panel.
    Control Panel being searched for
  3. Select Control Panel.
    Windows 10 Search results showing Control Panel
  4. Click System and Security.
    Windows 10 Control panel list
  5. Click System.
    Windows 10 control panel showing the System option
  6. On the left panel, click Advanced System Settings.
    Advanced System Settings
  7. Under Startup and Recovery, click Settings.
    Windows 10 start up and recovery settings
  8. Make sure there is no check mark beside Automatically Restart.
    Windows 10 start up and recovery

Before your restart or shut down your PC, make sure to save all necessary work to prevent data loss.

  1. Select the Start menu.
    Windows 10 Start button
  2. Select Power, then select Restart.
    Start menu with Power and Restart highlighted.
  3. Let your PC restart normally.

You may need to wait for symptoms to reappear if you're not experiencing them at the moment.

Go ahead and return to this guide when you're having issues with your system.

  1. From the Log In screen select the Power icon.
    Log In Screen Power icon
  2. Hold down the Shift key on your keyboard, and keep it held down.
    picture of a keyboard with shift highlighted
  3. With the Shift key still held down, click on Restart.
    Log In screen restart icon
  4. Release the shift key on your keyboard.
  5. Choose Troubleshoot.
    screenshot of boot options with troubleshoot highlighted
  6. Choose Advanced options.
    screenshot showing advanced options highlighted
  7. Choose Startup Settings.
    screenshot showing startup settings highlighted
  8. Choose Restart.
    screenshot showing restart highlighted
  9. After your computer reboots, on the startup settings menu, push the F5 key on your keyboard for Enable Safe Mode with Networking.
    picture of keyboard with F5 key highlighted
    screenshot showing choice 5 enable safe mode with networking highlighted

Safe mode is a special diagnostic mode for Windows, designed to startup with very few items, to make sure nothing else can interfere with the task you're trying to perform.

Windows may look different than you are used to, for example, the desktop background may be missing, the screen may look stretched or squished, and you should see the words Safe Mode in every corner. This is to let you know you are in safe mode.


Normal Mode Example Safe Mode Example
Screenshot of normal windows desktop screenshot of windows safe mode desktop
  1. Select the Start menu.
    Windows 10 Start button
  2. Select the Settings button.
    Windows setting button
  3. Select Update and Security.
    Windows Settings with Update and Security highlighted.
  4. Select Windows Update, then select View Update History.
    Windows Update settings with view update history highlighted
  5. Select Uninstall Updates.
    Windows 10 View installed updates with uninstall updates highlighted
  6. Click Installed On to sort the list by the latest update.
    Windows 10 installed updates list sorted by date
  7. Select the most recent Update and select Uninstall.
    Windows 10 uninstall an update
  1. In the search bar, type "Control Panel" and select it.
    Windows 10 Search with control panel selected
  2. Select Hardware and Sound.
    Control Panel with Hardware and Sound selected. Screenshot.
  3. Select Power Options.
    Power Options. Screenshot.
  4. Select Choose What the Power Buttons Do.
    Choose what the power buttons do.
  5. If prompted, click "Change settings that are currently unavailable", then under Shutdown settings, find Turn on fast startup (recommended). If this setting is turned off, select the check box. If it’s turned on, clear the check box.
    Power button properties with Turn on fast startup selected.

If you installed a piece of software recently you should remove it to see if it is causing your blue screen issue. The following steps show you how to easily remove an app.

  1. Click Start then Settings.
    Windows start menu with the start button and settings highlighted.
  2. Next, Select Apps.
    Windows Settings with Apps highlighted.
  3. Scroll down and locate the app you wish to remove, and click on Uninstall.
    Apps screen with the uninstall option for an app highlighted.
  4. Carefully read any prompts in case there are special instructions. Proceed until the application is removed.
  5. Some applications may require that you reboot.
Unplug unnecessary external hardware (printers, webcams, additional monitors, etc.).

Before your restart or shut down your PC, make sure to save all necessary work to prevent data loss.

  1. Select the Start menu.
    Windows 10 Start button
  2. Select Power, then select Restart.
    Start menu with Power and Restart highlighted.
  3. Let your PC restart normally.

Turning the system off while System Restore is running can cause corruption. If your device is battery-operated, connect it to a power outlet first. System Restore may take time and should not be interrupted.

Restoring your PC to an earlier point will remove updates and drivers installed after the restore point was made. It won't affect your personal files.

  1. If you can't get to the desktop and your PC has restarted several times, it will begin automatic repair.
  2. On the choose an option screen, select Troubleshoot.
    Windows 10 advanced boot options with Troubleshoot selected
  3. Select Advanced Options.
    Windows 10 troubleshoot options
  4. Select System Restore. This option reverts your PC to an earlier point, called a system restore point. Restore points are created when you install a new app, driver, update, or when you create a system restore point manually.
    Windows 10 advanced options showing system restore selected
  5. System Restore will open. Click Next.
    Windows 10 system restore
  6. Select a date before the issue started, you may see more than 1 restore point. Click Next afterwards.
    Windows 10 system restore
  7. Confirm your restore point by clicking Finish. Click Back if you wish to change the restore point.
    Windows 10 system restore
  8. The process will take some time to finish. The system will also reboot shortly.

We've determined that in order to fix your issue you will need to factory reset your system. Factory resetting may cause a loss in your stored data, as it returns your device to the state it was off the factory line.

Due to the problems you may need assistance in backing up this data. We recommend you take a moment to decide if you want to backup your data. If you cannot access your data for various reasons, you may need to take it to a provider or local store for assistance.

The next steps will walk you through factory resetting your system.

Resetting your Windows 10 system will return it back to its original state. It will delete any data or programs you have saved so make sure your backups are up to date.

  1. Click the Start button, then select Settings.
    Start menu with settings icon highlighted.
  2. Click Update & Security.
    Settings with update and security highlighted.
  3. Choose Recovery on the left.
    Update and security settings with recover highlighted.
  4. On the top right, click Get started under Reset this PC.
    Recovery settings with reset this PC highlighted.
  5. In the new window that opens, choose if you want to keep your files, or remove everything.
    Reset this PC options.
    • Keep my files should not delete any personal files you have stored on your computer, but will remove all applications you've installed, as well as all settings you've changed.
      • You will be given a short list of programs Windows can find that will be removed, reminding you that you'll need to re-install them after the reset if you want to use those programs. Click Next when you are ready to begin.
        Dialog showing apps to be removed with next button highlighted.
    • Remove everything will delete your personal files, applications you've installed, and all settings will be set to their default values.
      • You'll be presented with options to just remove files, or clean the drive.
        Drive cleaning options.
        • If you're keeping the computer and are not worried about someone attempting to retrieve data from the drive, select Just remove my files.
        • If you are selling or giving away the computer, choosing Remove files and clean the drive will make it much harder to retrieve anything. This process will take a very long time to complete.
  6. Once you make your choice, you will be given a final list of what will be done. Click Reset when you are ready.
    Details of what will be done during reset.

    There is no going back, and no chance to retrieve anything removed during the reset process. Please make absolutely sure your backups are up to date before pressing Reset.

  7. Once you click Reset, the process will start.
    Reset in progress.
  8. Your computer will reboot, and give you the progress of the reset at the bottom.
    Reset in progress during reboot.

Windows will guide you through setting it up with your username, password and other basic settings, just like when you first purchased your computer.

  1. From the Log In screen select the Power icon.
    Log In Screen Power icon
  2. Hold down the Shift key on your keyboard, and keep it held down.
    picture of a keyboard with shift highlighted
  3. With the Shift key still held down, click on Restart.
    Log In screen restart icon
  4. Release the shift key on your keyboard.
  5. Choose Troubleshoot.
    screenshot of boot options with troubleshoot highlighted
  6. Choose Advanced options.
    screenshot showing advanced options highlighted
  7. Choose Startup Settings.
    screenshot showing startup settings highlighted
  8. Choose Restart.
    screenshot showing restart highlighted
  9. After your computer reboots, on the startup settings menu, push the F5 key on your keyboard for Enable Safe Mode with Networking.
    picture of keyboard with F5 key highlighted
    screenshot showing choice 5 enable safe mode with networking highlighted

Safe mode is a special diagnostic mode for Windows, designed to startup with very few items, to make sure nothing else can interfere with the task you're trying to perform.

Windows may look different than you are used to, for example, the desktop background may be missing, the screen may look stretched or squished, and you should see the words Safe Mode in every corner. This is to let you know you are in safe mode.


Normal Mode Example Safe Mode Example
Screenshot of normal windows desktop screenshot of windows safe mode desktop
  1. Click Start.
    Windows 10 Start icon
  2. Search for Control Panel.
    Control Panel being searched for
  3. Select Control Panel.
    Windows 10 Search results showing Control Panel
  4. Click System and Security.
    Windows 10 Control panel list
  5. Click System.
    Windows 10 control panel showing the System option
  6. On the left panel, click Advanced System Settings.
    Advanced System Settings
  7. Under Startup and Recovery, click Settings.
    Windows 10 start up and recovery settings
  8. Make sure there is no check mark beside Automatically Restart.
    Windows 10 start up and recovery

You may need to wait for symptoms to reappear if you're not experiencing them at the moment.

Go ahead and return to this guide when you're having issues with your system.

Can you get to the main screen of your computer known as your system's desktop?

Windows Windows 10 desktop
macOS  macOS desktop
  1. Select the Start menu.
    Windows 10 Start button
  2. Select the Settings button.
    Windows setting button
  3. Select Update and Security.
    Windows Settings with Update and Security highlighted.
  4. Select Windows Update, then select View Update History.
    Windows Update settings with view update history highlighted
  5. Select Uninstall Updates.
    Windows 10 View installed updates with uninstall updates highlighted
  6. Click Installed On to sort the list by the latest update.
    Windows 10 installed updates list sorted by date
  7. Select the most recent Update and select Uninstall.
    Windows 10 uninstall an update
  1. In the search bar, type "Control Panel" and select it.
    Windows 10 Search with control panel selected
  2. Select Hardware and Sound.
    Control Panel with Hardware and Sound selected. Screenshot.
  3. Select Power Options.
    Power Options. Screenshot.
  4. Select Choose What the Power Buttons Do.
    Choose what the power buttons do.
  5. If prompted, click "Change settings that are currently unavailable", then under Shutdown settings, find Turn on fast startup (recommended). If this setting is turned off, select the check box. If it’s turned on, clear the check box.
    Power button properties with Turn on fast startup selected.

If you installed a piece of software recently you should remove it to see if it is causing your blue screen issue. The following steps show you how to easily remove an app.

  1. Click Start then Settings.
    Windows start menu with the start button and settings highlighted.
  2. Next, Select Apps.
    Windows Settings with Apps highlighted.
  3. Scroll down and locate the app you wish to remove, and click on Uninstall.
    Apps screen with the uninstall option for an app highlighted.
  4. Carefully read any prompts in case there are special instructions. Proceed until the application is removed.
  5. Some applications may require that you reboot.
Unplug unnecessary external hardware (printers, webcams, additional monitors, etc.).

Before your restart or shut down your PC, make sure to save all necessary work to prevent data loss.

  1. Select the Start menu.
    Windows 10 Start button
  2. Select Power, then select Restart.
    Start menu with Power and Restart highlighted.
  3. Let your PC restart normally.

Turning the system off while System Restore is running can cause corruption. If your device is battery-operated, connect it to a power outlet first. System Restore may take time and should not be interrupted.

Restoring your PC to an earlier point will remove updates and drivers installed after the restore point was made. It won't affect your personal files.

  1. If you can't get to the desktop and your PC has restarted several times, it will begin automatic repair.
  2. On the choose an option screen, select Troubleshoot.
    Windows 10 advanced boot options with Troubleshoot selected
  3. Select Advanced Options.
    Windows 10 troubleshoot options
  4. Select System Restore. This option reverts your PC to an earlier point, called a system restore point. Restore points are created when you install a new app, driver, update, or when you create a system restore point manually.
    Windows 10 advanced options showing system restore selected
  5. System Restore will open. Click Next.
    Windows 10 system restore
  6. Select a date before the issue started, you may see more than 1 restore point. Click Next afterwards.
    Windows 10 system restore
  7. Confirm your restore point by clicking Finish. Click Back if you wish to change the restore point.
    Windows 10 system restore
  8. The process will take some time to finish. The system will also reboot shortly.

We've determined that in order to fix your issue you will need to factory reset your system. Factory resetting may cause a loss in your stored data, as it returns your device to the state it was off the factory line.

Due to the problems you may need assistance in backing up this data. We recommend you take a moment to decide if you want to backup your data. If you cannot access your data for various reasons, you may need to take it to a provider or local store for assistance.

The next steps will walk you through factory resetting your system.

Resetting your Windows 10 system will return it back to its original state. It will delete any data or programs you have saved so make sure your backups are up to date.

  1. Click the Start button, then select Settings.
    Start menu with settings icon highlighted.
  2. Click Update & Security.
    Settings with update and security highlighted.
  3. Choose Recovery on the left.
    Update and security settings with recover highlighted.
  4. On the top right, click Get started under Reset this PC.
    Recovery settings with reset this PC highlighted.
  5. In the new window that opens, choose if you want to keep your files, or remove everything.
    Reset this PC options.
    • Keep my files should not delete any personal files you have stored on your computer, but will remove all applications you've installed, as well as all settings you've changed.
      • You will be given a short list of programs Windows can find that will be removed, reminding you that you'll need to re-install them after the reset if you want to use those programs. Click Next when you are ready to begin.
        Dialog showing apps to be removed with next button highlighted.
    • Remove everything will delete your personal files, applications you've installed, and all settings will be set to their default values.
      • You'll be presented with options to just remove files, or clean the drive.
        Drive cleaning options.
        • If you're keeping the computer and are not worried about someone attempting to retrieve data from the drive, select Just remove my files.
        • If you are selling or giving away the computer, choosing Remove files and clean the drive will make it much harder to retrieve anything. This process will take a very long time to complete.
  6. Once you make your choice, you will be given a final list of what will be done. Click Reset when you are ready.
    Details of what will be done during reset.

    There is no going back, and no chance to retrieve anything removed during the reset process. Please make absolutely sure your backups are up to date before pressing Reset.

  7. Once you click Reset, the process will start.
    Reset in progress.
  8. Your computer will reboot, and give you the progress of the reset at the bottom.
    Reset in progress during reboot.

Windows will guide you through setting it up with your username, password and other basic settings, just like when you first purchased your computer.

  1. From the Log In screen select the Power icon.
    Log In Screen Power icon
  2. Hold down the Shift key on your keyboard, and keep it held down.
    picture of a keyboard with shift highlighted
  3. With the Shift key still held down, click on Restart.
    Log In screen restart icon
  4. Release the shift key on your keyboard.
  5. Choose Troubleshoot.
    screenshot of boot options with troubleshoot highlighted
  6. Choose Advanced options.
    screenshot showing advanced options highlighted
  7. Choose Startup Settings.
    screenshot showing startup settings highlighted
  8. Choose Restart.
    screenshot showing restart highlighted
  9. After your computer reboots, on the startup settings menu, push the F5 key on your keyboard for Enable Safe Mode with Networking.
    picture of keyboard with F5 key highlighted
    screenshot showing choice 5 enable safe mode with networking highlighted

Safe mode is a special diagnostic mode for Windows, designed to startup with very few items, to make sure nothing else can interfere with the task you're trying to perform.

Windows may look different than you are used to, for example, the desktop background may be missing, the screen may look stretched or squished, and you should see the words Safe Mode in every corner. This is to let you know you are in safe mode.


Normal Mode Example Safe Mode Example
Screenshot of normal windows desktop screenshot of windows safe mode desktop
macOS kernel panic
If you've ever experienced a black and grey kernel panic screen, it can be very abrupt and frustrating. When one application has a problem, you may simply see a spinning wheel cursor, but when multiple programs fail - or the operating system fails itself - you may experience a kernel panic. These steps will help you try to overcome an unexpected kernel panic error.

This works nearly the same on any modern Mac, with the difference being whether the Mac has a physical power button on the back of the machine or if it is a MacBook, where the power button is a part of or slightly above the keyboard.

  1. Hold down the Power button on the Mac until it shuts down completely, this may take 5-10 seconds or so.
    iMac rear-facing power button.
  2. Wait a few seconds then press the Power button again to boot the Mac.
    MacBook power button on the keyboard.
  1. Select the Apple menu, then App Store.
    macOS Mojave Apple Menu with App Store highlighted.
  2. You will now see the app store pull up. Select Updates.
    macOS 10.14 Mojave or LaterApp Store side bar with Updates highlighted.
    macOS 10.13 High Sierra or EarlierApp store menu bar with Updates highlighted.
Any version of macOS 10.7 (Lion) or older can check for available updates through the Apple Menu and Software Updates.
  1. Select the Apple Menu and then System Preferences.
    macOS Mojave Apple Menu with System Preferences highlighted.
  2. Select Users & Groups.
    macOS Users and Groups Preferences
  3. Select Login Items at the top, then your Username on the left. Finally, select the lock in the bottom-left corner to unlock these settings.
    Users and Groups Preferences with Login Items, User, and Lock highlighted.
  4. Enter your macOS password, and select Unlock.
    System Preferences unlock prompt with password and Unlock button highlighted.
  5. Look through the list on the right. If you see an item you don't recognize, or an item you don't use frequently, highlight it by clicking its name, then click the Remove (–) button below to remove it.
    Users and Groups Login Items with an item and minus button highlighted.
  1. From the menu bar across the top of the screen, select the Apple menu, then Restart...
    macOS Mojave Apple Menu with Restart highlighted.
  1. In the menu bar, choose Apple menu > Restart.
    Apple menu with Restart selected. Screenshot.
  2. As your Mac restarts, hold down the Command and R keys.
    Mac keyboard with Command and R keys highlighted.
  3. Let go of the Command + R keys once the macOS Utilities window appears.
    macOS Utilities. Screenshot.

We've determined that in order to fix your issue you will need to factory reset your system. Factory resetting may cause a loss in your stored data, as it returns your device to the state it was off the factory line.

Due to the problems you may need assistance in backing up this data. We recommend you take a moment to decide if you want to backup your data. If you cannot access your data for various reasons, you may need to take it to a provider or local store for assistance.

The next steps will walk you through factory resetting your system.

Reinstalling macOS will remove all customization, files, and programs on your computer. Make sure you have a recent backup before proceeding.
  1. Select Apple Menu > Restart.
    macOS Mojave Apple Menu with Restart highlighted.
  2. Immediately after your Mac restarts (some Mac computers play a startup sound), press and hold the command ⌘ and R keys until the Apple logo appears, then release the keys.
    Mac keyboard with command and R keys highlighted
  3. Highlight Reinstall macOS, then select Continue.
    macOS Utilities with Reinstall macOS and Continue button highlighted
  4. macOS setup will begin. Select Continue.
    macOS Install with Continue highlighted.
  5. Select Agree to accept the Terms of Service.
    macOS Terms of service with Agree highlighted.
  6. Select Agree to confirm you agree with Terms of Service.
    Terms of Service dialog with Agree highlighted.
  7. Choose a Drive to install macOS on and select Install.
    macOS install drive selection with drive and Install highlighted.
  8. Install will now start and this will take some time. The computer will reboot during this process.
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