Computer Support Blog

Booting the system with the last known good configuration

Repairing damaged Windows is best started with the simplest and less time-consuming tasks. These include running with the last known working configuration. It will certainly not help if an important system file has disappeared from the disk or you have installed an incompatible driver causing the system to malfunction. The last known configuration will start the computer using the automatically created part of the registry (it contains, among others, service settings).

The Last Known Good Configuration

The last known good configuration is the Windows function that allows you to restore some system registry settings. It can help you solve problems with booting a failed system. For example, if after the driver installation Windows does not start, you can use this option.

Problems Can Be Fixed by Last Known Good Configuration

By using the Startup option Last Known Good Configuration, you can troubleshoot problems caused by, for example, adding a driver that may not match the installed hardware. It does not solve problems due to damage or lack of drivers or files.

  • The blue screen of death at startup caused by the driver update.
  • The unsuccessful boot caused by the newly applied Windows update or automatic updates.
  • The PC’s abnormal startup sequence caused by viruses, trojans, and rootkits.
  • The conflicts between newly installed hardware and other devices.
  • The conflicts between newly-installed software and other programs.

Not all of the Windows issues can be resolved by booting Windows into the last known good configuration. In particular, it will not help if you encounter these issues below:

  • Programs crashing at random.
  • Computer running slow or other bad performance. Maybe you are interested in this post -10 Reasons for PC Runs Slow with Windows 10/8/7.
  • Driver-related issues that you’ve been experiencing for several days.

How to Boot into the Windows 7 Last Known Good Configuration

If you want to use the Windows 7 last known good configuration option, follow the steps below. On the other hand, if you wonder how to use last known good configuration Windows 10, you can jump to the next section.

  1. Fully power your computer off. Make sure that your PC is entirely turned off and not running anymore.
  2. Restart your computer and then wait for the screen with the logo of the manufacturer to pass.
  3. Repeatedly press F8 (or another key/key combination) as soon as the logo disappears.
  4. If you see the Windows loading screen, go back to the first step and repeat until you enter the Advanced Boot Options window.
  5. Use the arrow keys on your keyboard to select Last Known Good Configuration (advanced) from the list of available options.
  6. Press Enter and wait for the process to complete. You should be able to boot into the system now.

How to Boot into the Last Known Good Configuration Windows 10

The last known good configuration option is not provided in Windows 8 and Windows 10. Instead, there are other options like refresh, reset (reinstall), restore, etc. You can simply boot your PC to enter Safe Mode. It’s an alternative to the last known good configuration.

Safe Mode is a built-in diagnostic mode of Windows 10 (7, 8, etc.) computer operating system. If you start Windows 10 PC to Safe Mode, it will only allow starting up basic system programs and services in the booting process. Here is information on how to boot Windows 10 in Safe Mode.

Back up the System to Safeguard Your Computer


After you fix your computer’s error, I have a suggestion for you. In case of something wrong with your system, it is recommended to back up your system in advance. Now, I will introduce a piece of free backup software for you - MiniTool ShadowMaker.

MiniTool ShadowMaker provides a one-click system backup solution. It supports backing up your system drive completely, including system partition, system reserved partition and EFI system partition. And you can image all of your data including computer settings, applications, drivers, system files and boot files.

The system backup is bootable. When the system crashes, you can restore your computer to a normal state. This post - How to Restore Computer to Earlier Date in Windows 10/8/7 (2 Ways) may be the one you need.

MiniTool ShadowMaker provides Trial Edition that gives you a 30-day free trial for all backup features. You can purchase its Pro Edition to use it permanently.

Using a Windows XP Computer?

To use the last known good configuration:

  • After turning on the computer, hold the [F8] button.
  • If you have installed more than one operating system, select the one with the problem.
  • In the list of available startup options, select Last Known Good Configuration.

Final Words

To sum up, this post has introduced what the last known good configuration is and shown the methods to enter Windows XP/7/10 into it. If your computer encounters some issues, you can try the last known good configuration to fix them.

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