Get the fix for whenever Windows is stuck at the Windows is loading files screen. This fix applies to the following Windows versions: Vista and 7.

Screenshot of Windows is loading files

Screenshot of Windows is loading files

Fix Stuck at Windows is loading files with EasyRE

Easy Recovery Essentials can fix many errors such as this automatically using its built-in Automated Repair option. EasyRE is currently available for Windows XP, Vista, 7 and 8 and can be downloaded and created on any PC.

  1. Download Easy Recovery Essentials. Make sure to note your Windows version (XP, Vista, 7 or 8) before you download EasyRE. This guide can help you identify what version of Windows you have installed.
  2. Burn the image. Follow these instructions on how to burn the bootable ISO image very carefully, as making a bootable CD can be tricky! Alternatively, these instructions explain how to create a bootable EasyRE recovery USB stick/drive.
  3. Boot up your PC from the Easy Recovery Essentials CD or USB you created.
  4. Once EasyRE is running, choose the “Automated Repair” option and click Continue.
    EasyRE Home

    Choose “Automated Repair” in Easy Recovery Essentials

  5. After EasyRE scans your computer’s drives, identify and select the drive letter for your Windows installation from the list, and then click on the Automated Repair button to begin.
    EasyRE displays a list of found Windows operating systems

    Choose the drive associated with the Windows installation you’re trying to repair.

  6. Easy Recovery Essentials will start analyzing the selected drive for problems. EasyRE will test for and attempt to automatically correct errors with the disk, partition, bootsector, filesystem, bootloader, and registry. No intervention is required, as EasyRE’s repair is fully automated:
    EasyRE: Automated Repair

    Easy Recovery Essentials searches for errors and makes corrections to the selected Windows installation.

  7. Once the process is complete, EasyRE will report its findings. Click on the Restart button to reboot your PC and test the changes.
  8. The “Stuck at Windows is loading files” error should now be fixed as your PC begins to load:
    EasyRE: Automated Repair

    Windows, booting up successfully.

You can download Easy Recovery Essentials from here.

Other fixes for Stuck at Windows is loading files

Windows Setup CD/DVD Required!
Some of the solutions below require the use of the Microsoft Windows setup CD or DVD. If your PC did not come with a Windows installation disc or if you no longer have your Windows setup media, you can use Easy Recovery Essentials for Windows instead. EasyRE will automatically find and fix many problems, and can also be used to solve this problem with the directions below.

These fixes can be applied for both Windows Vista and Windows 7.

Fix #1: Check your HDD and RAM

This error – having Windows stuck at the “Windows is loading files” screen – can be caused by either a corrupt or failed hard disk or bad RAM memory sticks.

If you have multiple HDDs and RAM memory sticks, follow these tips:

  • Remove the additional hard disks from your PC and only leave the main HDD. Restart your computer to see if the “Windows is loading files” screen loads correctly.
  • Remove additional RAM memory sticks and leave only 1 memory stick. Restart your computer and check if the error appears again.

To test if your hard disk or RAM memory is healthy and not corrupted or failed, run Automated Repair from Easy Recovery Essentials (our recovery and repair disc). The Automated Repair process will report any issues found with your HDD or RAM.

  1. Download Easy Recovery Essentials
  2. Burn the ISO Image. Follow our instructions on how to burn a bootable ISO image. If you’d like to have a recovery USB instead, follow our instructions on how to make a recovery USB.
  3. Boot into Easy Recovery Essentials
  4. Select Automated Repair
  5. Click Continue and wait for the Automated Repair process to finish. Automated Repair process will report any issues found with your hard disk or RAM memory:

    EasyRE: HDD is failing

To download Easy Recovery Essentials, click here.

Fix #2: Reset BIOS

If Fix #1 above doesn’t fix the getting stuck at the “Windows is loading files” screen error, you can try to reset your computer’s BIOS settings.

You can either reset your BIOS settings or upgrade your BIOS version to the latest available.

To reset your computer’s BIOS settings to the default settings, follow these steps:

  1. Restart the computer
  2. Press the necessary key to boot into the BIOS menu. This key is usually any of the following, depending on the computer manufacturer: Esc, Del, F2, F8, F12.The key you need to press is usually displayed on the first screen as your computer boots, just before the Windows logo appears.Here’s the F12 key necessary to open BIOS menu displayed on a Dell computer:
    Dell BIOS screen showing special key options

    Notice the key guide in the top-right corner.

  3. Find the option to reset your BIOS or load its default options. This is usually called any of the following:
    • Load Default
    • Load Fail-Safe Defaults
    • Load BIOS Defaults
    • Load Default Settings
    • Load Setup Default
    • Get Default Values
  4. Save these changes and exit the BIOS menu

If reseting your BIOS to its default settings doesn’t fix the error, try updating BIOS to its latest version available.

Fix #3: Boot into Safe Mode

Fix #3 and Fix #4 are easy fixes that you can try to attempt at fixing the “Windows is loading files” error.

Booting into Safe Mode and trying to uninstall recently installed software applications or drivers could fix this issues.

To boot into Safe Mode, follow these steps:

  1. Restart your computer
  2. Press the F8 key as soon as your computer starts. You need to press the key before the Windows Vista or Windows 7 logo appears.
  3. At the Advanced Boot Options menu, select Safe Mode
    The Advanced Boot Options screen in Windows Vista

    The Advanced Boot Options screen in Windows Vista

  4. Press Enter

Fix #4: Boot into Last Known Good Configuration

If Fix #3 doesn’t solve the error, try the Last Known Good Configuration mode.

To boot into this mode on your Windows Vista or Windows 7, follow these steps:

  1. Restart your computer
  2. Press the F8 key to open the Advanced Boot Options menu
    The advanced boot options startup menu.

    The advanced boot options startup menu.

  3. Select the Last Known Good Configuration option
  4. Press Enter

Fix #5: Disable automatic restart on system failure

If the “Windows is loading files” error is caused by a STOP error, you can try to disable the automatic restart on system failure option in order to determine which STOP error is causing this error.

To identify the STOP error and troubleshoot it, follow these steps to disable this option on your Windows Vista or Windows 7:

  1. Restart your computer
  2. Press the F8 key before the Windows Vista or Windows 7 logo appears
  3. At the Advanced Boot Options menu, select the Disable automatic restart on system failure option
  4. Press Enter
  5. Your computer should now reboot
  6. If a blue screen appears next, after the restart, note the STOP error and troubleshoot it. If Windows still doesn’t continue after the “Windows is loading files” screen, continue with Fix #6 below or go to Fix Stuck at Windows is loading files with EasyRE.

Fix #6: Run Startup Repair

To run the Startup Repair utility on your Windows Vista or Windows 7, follow these steps:

  1. Insert the original Windows Vista/7 installation disc (the install DVD)
  2. Press any key to boot from the DVD
  3. At the Welcome screen, click Repair your computer
    Windows Vista Repair Your Computer Menu

    Windows Vista Repair Your Computer Menu

  4. Choose your operating system
  5. At the System Recovery Options screen, select Startup Repair
    Windows 7 System Recovery Options Screen

    Windows 7 System Recovery Options Screen

  6. Wait for the Startup Repair utility to finish
  7. Restart your computer

Fix #7: Run bootrec

Using the bootrec.exe utility, provided on your Windows Vista or Windows 7 installation DVD, you can fix the MBR of your computer and attempt to fix the “Windows is loading files” error.

Follow these steps to open and run the bootrec utility:

  1. Insert the Windows Vista/7 DVD and boot from it (press any key at the Press any key screen to boot from the media)
  2. Select a language, keyboard method
  3. Click Next
  4. Click Repair your computer at the Welcome screen
  5. Choose your operating system from the list
  6. Click Next
  7. Click Command Prompt from the System Recovery Options menu
    Windows 7 System Recovery Options Screen

    Windows 7 System Recovery Options Screen

  8. Type these commands and press the Enter key after each:
    bootrec /fixboot
    bootrec /scanos
    bootrec /fixmbr
    bootrec /rebuildbcd
  9. Type:
    exit
  10. Press Enter
  11. Restart your computer
bootrec utility results screen

bootrec utility results screen

Fix #8: Run chkdsk

If Fix #7 doesn’t work, you can also try to run the chkdsk utility and check the integrity of your computer’s HDD:

  1. Follow the steps from Fix #7 until you reach Command Prompt
  2. When Command Prompt is open, type this command:
    chkdsk C: /f

    Where C: is the letter of the drive where your Windows Vista or Windows 7 is installed.

  3. Press Enter
  4. Type:
    exit
  5. Press Enter
  6. Restart your computer
Chkdsk utility results screen

Chkdsk utility results screen

Fix #9: Reinstall Windows

If none of the fixes explained above works to fix the “Windows is loading files” error, you can to reinstall your Windows Vista or Windows 7.

Reinstalling Windows Vista/7 means you will loose all data if you don’t backup your personal files. You can use the Browse/Backup Files feature from Easy Recovery Essentials to access your computer and backup your personal files on a USB drive.

To reinstall Windows Vista or Windows 7, follow these steps:

  1. Insert the installation DVD and boot from it
  2. Select a keyboard method and language and click Next
  3. Click Install Now at the Welcome screen
  4. Follow the wizard to complete the installation process
Windows 7 Install Now screen

Windows 7 Install Now screen

More Information

Linked Entries

Support Links

Applicable Systems

This Windows-related knowledgebase article applies to the following operating systems:

  • Windows Vista (all editions)
  • Windows 7 (all editions)

Propose an edit