How do I get to the CMD when Windows 10 doesn’t start?

Windows 10 includes many troubleshooting tools to help fix corrupted files, disk errors, and network problems. Many of these tools work from the command line.

For some, this can be a nuisance because not everyone is happy with this tool, but it is available outside of Windows 10, meaning that even if you can’t launch the desktop, you can still use the command line, which can be useful when you can’t access GUI tools from the desktop.


Open a command prompt when Windows 10 does not start

There are two ways to run a command prompt when Windows 10 does not start. You can access it from the Troubleshooting menu or from the recovery environment installation disc. The recovery environment method should be used if you do not see the Windows 10 startup process on the screen at all.

Windows 10 troubleshooting menu

This method assumes that you see the Windows 10 logo and download the animation after you press the power button on your computer. You are basically stuck in a boot loop where the system continues to reboot.

  • Press the power button in Windows 10 to turn it on.
  • Wait for the Windows 10 logo to appear.
  • Press and hold the power button to force the system to shut down.
  • Restart the computer.
  • Repeat steps 1 to 4 until you see the menu Repair. It usually takes 3 forced stops to get there automatically.
  • When you see the menu Repair, mene Advanced> Command Prompt.
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Windows 10 installation media / recovery environment

You must have the installation media for Windows 10. It doesn’t matter which version of Windows 10 the media installs, as long as you have it.

  • Shut down the Windows 10 computer.
  • Turn on the computer and start the BIOS.
  • Set the first boot device to be the same as the device on which the installation media is located, such as USB.
  • Shut down the computer.
  • Connect the installation media (usually a USB stick) to the computer.
  • Turn the computer on.
  • Allow the Windows 10 initial setup screen to load.
  • Click an option Repair your computer.
  • Mene System Restore Options> Command Prompt.


When you have a command prompt, you can use almost any supported utility. This includes disk scanning, system file scanning, and more.

If things go wrong and you need to do a clean installation, you can use a command prompt to copy / move important files from your desktop to another location or drive. It takes some time to get guidelines because everything is done using commands, but you mainly use these commands to switch between folders and copy / paste files.

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