If you boot your Windows 10 PC to find that you only see spinning dots and not log on screen there are four solutions I have successfully used.  Some people say that Windows won’t boot, but that it not correct in this case.  It is simply not presenting the login screen.

A – SIMPLE SOLUTION:

On many PC’s I have seen this and the answer is to press CNTL ALT DEL and then press CNTL ALT DEL again after (say) 1 minute of looking at the spinning dots.

NOTE:

The remaining solutions require a Windows 10 DVD (any version).  Microsoft gives these disks away.  You pay for the license not the DVD.  If you don’t have a Windows 10 DVD:

  1. you can usually get a copy from your local mom & pop computer store (if there are any left in your city) if you offer them $10 to copy one for you.

  2. you can try to crash your PC during boot and get it to automatically perform a repair (see this video)

  3. use another computer with a DVD burner on it and download a free demo of Windows 10 directly from Microsoft

 

B – STARTUP REPAIR:

  1. Insert a Windows 10 DVD
  2. Boot off of that DVD (see our list of boot key’s if you don’t know how to boot onto your DVD)windows-10-boot-options-troubleshoot
  3. RARE: if you are prompted with a “IT LOOKS LIKE YOU WERE PERFORMING AN UPGRADE… PRESS YES TO REBOOT AND CONTINUE THAT UPGRADE OR NO TO PREFORM A CLEAN INSTALL” click NO and don’t worry, it will not automatically wipe your PC
  4. Accept the defaults for language and keyboard and click NEXT
  5. Click the small REPAIR YOUR COMPUTER blue link at the bottom left
  6. Select TROUBLESHOOT > ADVANCED  SETTINGS > STARTUP REPAIR >
  7. Select WINDOWS 10

The machine will then reboot and attempt to repair your startup

C – BOOT INTO SAFE MODE:

  1. Insert a Windows 10 DVD
  2. Boot off of that DVD (see our list of boot key’s if you don’t know how to boot onto your DVD)windows-10-startup-menu-f8-safe-mode
  3. RARE: if you are prompted with a “IT LOOKS LIKE YOU WERE PERFORMING AN UPGRADE… PRESS YES TO REBOOT AND CONTINUE THAT UPGRADE OR NO TO PREFORM A CLEAN INSTALL” click NO and don’t worry, it will not automatically wipe your PC
  4. Accept the defaults for language and keyboard and click NEXT
  5. Click the small REPAIR YOUR COMPUTER blue link at the bottom left
  6. Select TROUBLESHOOT > ADVANCED  SETTINGS > STARTUP SETTINGS
  7. You will then see a list of special boot options, select SAFE MODE

If you can get the machine to boot cleaning in safe mode, reboot and see if it will boot up in regular mode.  If this not work you can try the same process but after step 7 click F10 for even more boot options and select LAST KNOWN GOOD CONFIGURATION.

D – UNINSTALL CURRENT WINDOWS 10 BUILD:

  1. Insert a Windows 10 DVD
  2. Boot off of that DVD (see our list of boot key’s if you don’t know how to boot onto your DVD)
  3. RARE: if you are prompted with a “IT LOOKS LIKE YOU WERE PERFORMING AN UPGRADE… PRESS YES TO REBOOT AND CONTINUE THAT UPGRADE OR NO TO PREFORM A CLEAN INSTALL” click NO and don’t worry, it will not automatically wipe your PC
  4. Accept the defaults for language and keyboard and click NEXT
  5. Click the small REPAIR YOUR COMPUTER blue link at the bottom left
  6. Select TROUBLESHOOT > ADVANCED  SETTINGS > GO BACK TO THE PREVIOUS BUILD

The machine will then reboot and try to roll you back to the previous version of Windows 10.  You can then use Windows update to re-upgrade your PC for free to the latest build of Windows 10.

If you want to know the build of Windows 10 you have:

  1. Click START and type CMD then press the ENTER key on your keyboard
  2. Type VER and press the ENTER key on your keyboard

If you see a build with a lesser number than 10.0.10586 you really need to upgrade.  This 586 number will be old by the summer of 2016.


7 Comments

Avatar

Winner · November 12, 2017 at 8:57 pm

Simply press ctrl+alt+delete.
You login screen will appear immediately.

I hope this helps

Avatar

Dina · February 12, 2017 at 2:15 pm

Can’t get any of these to work. In C, Starup Settings isn’t even an option for me. All others bring up a message saying “this option is not supported on the operating system you’ve selected”.

    Ian Matthews

    Ian Matthews · February 15, 2017 at 5:03 pm

    This sounds like you are booting from a different operating system than the one that is installed on your PC. For example, if you boot from a Windows 7 DVD on a machine with Windows 10 on the drive, this would be the type of error I would expect

Avatar

Linda · November 14, 2016 at 7:05 am

Thank you. Solution 1 worked!

Avatar

Thomas · November 4, 2016 at 4:45 am

What’s this “CNTL”-key you’re speaking of?

    Ian Matthews

    Ian Matthews · November 5, 2016 at 11:21 am

    Hi Thomas. CNTL = CONTROL = CTL on the bottom left of your keyboard.

Avatar

Rob · October 25, 2016 at 8:58 am

Simple solution #2
Restart and press F12 to get the Boot Device Menu
Select POST behavior
Select Fast Boot and set to [OFF] status
Save and exit

With Fast Boot off, additional steps are
taken to resolve compatibility issues.

After rebooting a couple of times with
Fast Boot [OFF] you can repeat the steps
to turn Fast Boot back [ON].

Questions or Comments?