10 Ways to Fix Windows 10 Stuck on Restarting

Quick Fix

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Windows 10 users may experience a common issue where the system continually loops on the restart screen, especially after system updates. This predicament can seriously impede productivity, but this guide provides a range of solutions to restore your computer’s functionality swiftly.

Preliminary Steps 

The ‘Restarting’ loop could result from various issues like incompatible updates, devices, or programs. Before attempting the primary fixes, follow these steps:

  • If your PC displays the ‘Restarting’ screen, forcibly turn it off by pressing the power button for 5 to 10 seconds. Otherwise, opt for a standard shutdown.
  • External devices connected to your computer can occasionally interfere with the boot-up process, leading to the restart issue. Disconnecting all external devices and attempting a restart can test for this problem. Disconnect any unnecessary peripherals such as USB disks.
  • Switch on your PC and boot into Windows. If a newly installed program seems to cause the issue, uninstall it.
  • Restart your PC. If the system restarts without issues, this intervention was successful. If not, perform a virus and malware scan before progressing to the following primary methods.

Primary Fixes 

There are several strategies you can utilize to resolve a stubborn restart loop. These include:

Disable Fast Startup Feature

Fast Startup is a Windows feature that accelerates your system’s boot time. However, this feature can sometimes interfere with the restart process, leading to a hang-up on the restart screen. One approach to solving this issue is disabling the Fast Startup feature, a process we will discuss in a forthcoming piece.
To disable the Fast Startup feature on Windows 10, follow these steps:

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  1. Press the Windows key + X on your keyboard or right-click the Start button on the taskbar, then select “Power Options” from the menu that appears.
  2. In the Power & sleep settings window, click on “Additional power settings” on the right side.
  3. In the Power Options window that opens, click on “Choose what the power buttons do” on the left side.
  4. On the next screen, click on “Change settings that are currently unavailable.” You may need to provide administrator permissions to proceed.
  5. Scroll down to the “Shutdown settings” section. You’ll find the “Turn on fast startup (recommended)” option. Uncheck this box to disable Fast Startup.
  6. Click on “Save changes” to apply your new settings.

After performing these steps, Fast Startup will be disabled, and it should no longer interfere with the restart process. Remember, this means your computer might take a little longer to start up from a complete shutdown, but it won’t affect restart times.

Refreshing SoftwareDistribution Folder

Windows downloads updates in the SoftwareDistribution folder. Sometimes, these files can become corrupt or incomplete, which can lead to issues when trying to install updates. When you stop the Windows Update service and rename or delete the SoftwareDistribution folder, you are essentially clearing the cache of these files. The next time Windows Update runs, it will recreate the folder and re-download any necessary update files.

Before proceeding with these instructions, make sure of the following:

You have administrator privileges: You need to be logged in as an administrator or have administrative privileges to perform these actions.

No updates are currently being installed: Make sure no updates are currently being installed. Deleting the SoftwareDistribution folder while updates are being installed could cause problems.

Back up your data: While this procedure is safe and should not cause loss of data, it is always a good practice to back up important data before making changes to system files or settings, just in case something unexpected happens.

  1. Stop the Windows Update Service
    • Press Win + R to open the Run dialog box.
    • Type services.msc and press Enter.
    • In the Services window, scroll down to Windows Update.
    • Right-click on Windows Update and choose Stop.
  2. Delete or Rename the SoftwareDistribution Folder
    • Open File Explorer by pressing Win + E.
    • Navigate to the Windows directory (usually C:\Windows\).
    • Scroll down to the SoftwareDistribution folder.
    • Right-click on the SoftwareDistribution folder and click Delete. If you prefer to rename it (which can serve as a form of backup), you can right-click the folder, click Rename, and then give it a different name (e.g., SoftwareDistribution.old).
  3. Restart the Windows Update Service
    • Go back to the Services window or repeat the steps to open it as described above.
    • Scroll down to Windows Update.
    • Right-click on Windows Update and choose Start.

After completing these steps, Windows will create a new SoftwareDistribution folder. The next time the Windows Update service is run, any updates that are required will be re-downloaded and re-installed. This can help resolve issues caused by corruption or problems with the files previously stored in that folder.

Managing Startup Applications

Unchecked startup applications might cause Windows 10 to hang on restart. To manage these applications, follow the provided steps and disable those not needed at startup. If the issue is resolved, re-enable the disabled startup programs one by one to identify the problematic application.

Task Manager Problems

An unresponsive or malfunctioning program within the Task Manager can prevent Windows from restarting correctly, causing the system to freeze on the restart screen. Identifying and stopping such a program within the Task Manager can rectify this issue.

Modifying System Services

Some services on your system could disrupt normal operations. To troubleshoot this, launch the Run dialogue box and follow the instructions provided to disable the services. If the problem resolves, gradually re-enable the services to identify the problematic one.

Updating Drivers

Incorrect or outdated device drivers can also cause the system to hang on the restart screen. Keeping your device drivers updated can prevent this issue. If Windows doesn’t find a newer driver, automated tools like Outbyte Driver Updater can help with this process.

Running Performance Troubleshooter 

The Performance Troubleshooter can rectify various Windows 10 issues. Follow the provided instructions to run the System Maintenance troubleshooter.

  1. Press the Windows key + X to open the Power User menu. This can also be done by right-clicking on the Start button.
  2. In the menu that appears, click on “Search.”
  3. In the search box, type “Control Panel” and click on the Control Panel app that appears in the search results.
  4. In the Control Panel, make sure your view is set to “Category.” You can change this from the drop-down menu in the top-right corner.
  5. Click on “System and Security.”
  6. Under the “Security and Maintenance” section, click on “Troubleshoot common computer problems.”
  7. In the window that opens, click on “Run maintenance tasks” under “System and Security.”
  8. A new window will open for the Performance Troubleshooter. Click on “Advanced.”
  9. Check the “Apply repairs automatically” option, then click “Next.”
  10. The troubleshooter will now scan your system for potential issues. If any are found, it will attempt to automatically fix them.
  11. Once the process is complete, the troubleshooter will provide a report of what was checked and any changes it made.
  12. Click “Close” to exit the troubleshooter.

This method can help solve various issues in Windows 10, especially those related to performance and system maintenance. If the problem persists, try some of the other troubleshooting steps provided in the article.

Changing Power Settings

Incorrect power settings could cause the restart loop. To alter these settings, follow the provided instructions.

  1. Press the Windows key + I to open the “Settings” application or click on the Start button and select “Settings.”
  2. In the “Settings” window, click on “System.”
  3. On the left-hand menu, select “Power & sleep.”
  4. To adjust when your screen turns off or when your PC goes to sleep, use the drop-down menus under “Screen” and “Sleep.”
  5. If you need more advanced power settings, click on “Additional power settings” under the “Related settings” section. This will open the Power Options window.
  6. In the Power Options window, you’ll see several power plans. These are sets of predefined settings that manage how your computer uses power. Choose the one that best fits your needs. If you’re having issues with your system, the “Balanced” plan is a good starting point.
  7. For even more advanced settings, click on “Change plan settings” next to your selected plan. In the new window, click on “Change advanced power settings.”
  8. In the Power Options Advanced settings window, you can adjust many aspects of your system’s power usage. Be cautious when adjusting these settings, as they can significantly impact system performance. If you’re not sure about any setting, it’s best to leave it at its default value.

Remember to click “Apply” and then “OK” to save any changes you make. Changing your power settings can help solve many issues, including a restart loop. If this doesn’t solve the problem, try the other steps provided in the article.

Using Command Prompt

You can resolve potential corruption in the system files using the Command Prompt. Follow the provided instructions and try to update your system again.

  1. Open the Command Prompt: To open the Command Prompt, type “cmd” into the search bar on your taskbar, and then select “Run as administrator.” You could also press the Windows key + X shortcut, and then select “Command Prompt (Admin).”
  2. Use the System File Checker: The System File Checker (SFC) is a utility in Windows that allows users to scan for corruptions in Windows system files and restore them.
  3. Type sfc /scannow and press Enter. This command will scan all protected system files and replace corrupted files with a cached copy that is located in a compressed folder at %WinDir%\System32\dllcache.

This process might take some time, so please be patient.

Run DISM if Necessary

If the System File Checker isn’t able to fix the problems, you can also use Deployment Imaging and Servicing Management (DISM). DISM is a tool that can fix component store corruption that prevents the System File Checker (SFC) from working. You can use the command “DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth” (no quotes) in the Command Prompt and hit Enter. Just like SFC, this process can take a while.

Safe Mode 

If the issue persists, consider troubleshooting in Safe Mode. Some options include resetting Windows Update, disabling Fast Startup, rolling back drivers, running an offline virus scan, or performing a clean boot.


If all else fails, your PC’s BIOS/UEFI might need an update. Updating the BIOS/UEFI is a process that should be undertaken with extreme caution because any error can potentially result in the computer not being able to boot up. Before proceeding, ensure you have a backup of any important data. 

Clean Windows 10 Installation

If none of the above solutions work, you may need to back up your files and reset your PC or perform a clean Windows 10 installation. 

Potential Hardware Issues

In some instances, the problem might be more severe, requiring a thorough examination of your device’s key components like the RAM and CPU. It could also be necessary to run Windows Recovery Environment (WinRE), which includes running Startup Repair, using System File Checker and Check Disk Utility, uninstalling updates, or System Restore.


Although tackling Windows 10 restart issues can seem daunting, the above methods offer a clear pathway to diagnose and resolve the problem. Always back up your data before making substantial changes to your system, and seek professional assistance if needed.

Please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below. Your feedback about your experience with these solutions would be invaluable.

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