Having Windows get stuck on the Welcome screen and prevent you from using your computer is a very frustrating experience. This guide will walk you through some fixes to help get you back to your desktop when this happens.

A simple solution to try is unplugging all external devices from your computer:

Sometimes this issue can be caused by hardware issues, often USB devices.(These steps likely won’t apply if using a laptop.) To see if this is the case, do the following:

  1. Turn off your computer and unplug all devices and cables from it(other than the power and monitor cables).
  2. Turn your computer back on and plug the mouse and keyboard back in to log in.
  3. One by one plug every device and cable back in and see if any of them seem to be causing any issues, restarting and seeing if you can get past the Welcome screen.

Often these issues are temporary and you may be able to use Windows normally again after plugging everything back in. If not, the next fix is more likely to work.

Running Startup Repair can often solve this issue:

When you encounter an issue that prevents you from fully starting up Windows, Startup Repair can usually fix it. Startup Repair can be accessed either from Windows’ built in Recovery Environment, or from repair or installation media.

There are two methods for accessing the Recovery Environment:

The first is done from the power menu which can be accessed from the Welcome screen:

  1. Click on the power icon, then while holding Shift, click on Restart.
  2. Windows should enter the Advanced Recovery Options menu. From here choose the Troubleshoot option.
  3. Now click on Advanced options.
  4. Then click on Automatic/Startup Repair and Windows should restart.
  5. You should see a black screen with the Windows logo and Please Wait at the bottom. Wait for it to load.
  6. Startup Repair should give you accounts to choose from. Select yours to continue.
  7. On the next screen enter your password if necessary and then press Enter or click Continue.
  8. You should next encounter a black screen that says Diagnosing your PC followed by Attempting repairs. Wait for this to finish.
  9. Once done, it will likely restart automatically if successful. If not, a screen saying that “Startup Repair couldn’t repair your PC” will be displayed. Select Shut down if this happens.

The other method to get to the recovery environment:

  1. If on, shut down your computer, then turn it back on.
  2. When the Windows logo appears, hold down the power button until your computer shuts down, then power it on again. If you see something like “Preparing Automatic Repair” or “Please Wait“, let it start. If not, once again hold down the power button until your computer turns off then power it back on. Repeat a few times this until you see such a message.
    • If “Preparing Automatic Repair” appears, wait for it to finish. It should restart automatically if successful, or display a screen saying it was not successful if not. Select Shut down if Automatic Repair isn’t successful.
  3. If you end up on the Recovery screen, click on See advanced repair options.
  4. Now click on Troubleshoot.
  5. Then click on Advanced options.
  6. Now click on Automatic/Startup Repair.
  7. A black screen with the Windows logo and Please Wait at the bottom should come up. You likely also see Diagnosing your PC followed by Attempting repairs. Wait for it to finish.
  8. If successful your computer will likely restart automatically. If not, you’ll receive a screen telling you it was not successful. Select Shut down on this screen if it appears.

If neither of these methods brings up recovery options, you will need to use installation or recovery media:

Installation media is usually either a DVD or a USB drive that came with your computer or was purchased for installing Windows. There are also recovery disks and drives that can either come with your computer or be created in Windows 10. Using either of these can often work even if built in recovery did not. You can skip ahead to the section on using recovery or installation media if you already have one of them.

If you do not already have either of these, you can create a recovery drive on a working Windows 10 computer:

  1. Insert a blank USB drive(or one that you don’t need the data on) into a computer running on Windows 10.
  2. Open Windows search by clicking on it or with the Win + S shortcut and begin typing “recovery drive” and the option for it should come up. Click on it when it does.
  3. Click on it and click Yes to the User Account Control pop-up that should come up.
  4. On the Recovery Drive window is a checkbox saying “Back up system files to the recovery drive.” Leaving this checked will make it possible to reinstall Windows from the recovery drive, but it will take significantly longer to make and also requires a USB drive that can hold at least 16GB of data, according the prompt. Doing this is recommended, but optional.
  5. After deciding whether to leave the box checked or not, click Next. A loading bar with “Please wait” at the top will appear.
  6. When it is done you should see a list of all available removable drives. Select the one you want to make into the recovery drive. This will delete everything on the drive, so make sure you select the right one and backup any important data on it before proceeding. Click Next and a screen telling you basically the same thing will come up.
  7. Click on Create when ready.
  8. A window showing the progress of making the recovery drive will come up. Wait for it to finish.
  9. When it says the drive is ready, click on Finish.

Whether you have recovery or installation media, using them at the start is much the same:

  1. Insert the USB drive or disk into your computer and then restart your computer if it’s currently on.
  2. In many cases your computer will boot first from USB or DVD by default. If it doesn’t, you’ll need to enter the boot menu of your BIOS and select the drive/disk manually. This is usually done by pressing the F12 key while your computer is starting, but the key varies among brands. You can consult this list to see what key it should be for your computer.
  3. You should see a screen come up with a list of all bootable devices plugged in to your computer. This is the boot menu. Yours will likely not look exactly the same as the picture below, but it should be somewhat similar. In most cases you’ll use the up and down arrow keys to scroll through and select the right device. Once highlighted, press Enter.

Now depending on what you are using, follow one of the sets of steps below.

If using recovery media, follow these steps:

  1. A list of keyboard layout options will come up. You can use either the mouse or the arrow keys and Enter key to choose and select options. Even if not in the United States, selecting US should work fine if you have a QWERTY keyboard, which most users do. If not, choose what matches your layout, selecting See more keyboard layouts to scroll through the options if necessary.
  2. Select Troubleshoot on the Choose an option screen.
  3. You’ll end up on the Advanced options screen. Select Startup Repair.
  4. A black screen with Diagnosing your PC followed by Attempting repairs should appear. Wait for this to finish.
  5. If Startup Repair is able to detect and fix the problem your computer will likely restart. If not, it will say that it couldn’t repair your PC. Select Shut down in this case.

If using installation media, do this:

  1. Text saying to press any key to boot will likely appear. Quickly press any key on the keyboard to do so.
  2. A setup window will appear with language and related settings. You can change these as needed, but leaving them at default should work for most. Click Next when done.
  3. Ignore the “Install now” button in the middle and click on Repair your computer in the bottom left of the window.
  4. A screen asking you to choose an option will come up. Select Troubleshoot.
  5. Now choose Startup Repair.
  6. You’ll then be asked to choose a target operating system. Select Windows 10.
  7. A black screen with Diagnosing your PC followed by Attempting repairs should appear. Wait for this to finish.
  8. If it’s able to detect and fix the problem your computer will likely restart. If not, it will say that it couldn’t repair your PC. Select Shut down if this happens.

If none of the methods for using Startup Repair solve the issue,  running a series of system checks and fixes may work:

This can be done from Command Prompt from built in recovery, or either recovery or installation media.

So first get to the Advanced options screen:

And when you are in Advanced options:

  1. Once on the Advanced options screen, select Command Prompt.
  2. A Command Prompt window should now pop up. Type in the following commands one at a time and press Enter after each one:
    sfc /scannow
    chkdsk c: /f /r
    bootrec /fixmbr
    bootrec /fixboot
    bootrec /scanos
    bootrec /rebuildbcd
  3. Wait for each of these commands to finish. This may take quite some time. Once they have completed, exit Command Prompt.
  4. Now select Turn off your PC. After this you can turn on your computer again to see if you can get past the Welcome screen.

If you’re still unable to get past the Welcome screen, using System Restore may fix things:

This can also be done from the Advanced options screen reached through the previous methods:

  1. Select System Restore once at the Advanced options menu.
  2. Depending on what method is used, you may be asked to choose a target operating system or choose an account and enter your password. Do whichever of these is required.
  3. Once on the System Restore window, click Next.
  4. Now you can select a restore point. Usually the more recent the better. Click Next after choosing.
  5. A window confirming your chosen restore point will come up. Click Finish when ready.
  6. You will be asked if you’re sure you want to continue. Click Yes.
  7. A small window showing the progress will pop up. Wait for System Restore to finish.
  8. A window saying whether the restoration was successful or not will come up. Either way, click on Close. Your computer will now restart.

If the restoration worked, Windows should now start normally and allow you to access your desktop and all your files and programs again.

Hopefully this guide has helped get past being stuck on the Welcome screen. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them below.