How To Start Windows 7 Using Last Known Good Configuration

1
Press the F8 Key at the Windows 7 Splash Screen

A screenshot of Windows 7 starting up
Windows 7 Starting Up.

Last Known Good Configuration, or LKGC for short, is a way in which you can start Windows 7 if you're having trouble starting it normally. Last Known Good Configuration loads the drivers and registry data that worked the last time you successfully started and then shut down Windows 7.

To start Windows 7 using Last Known Good Configuration, press the F8 key just as, or just before, the Windows 7 splash screen starts to load. This will load the Advanced Boot Options menu.

Tip: It's really easy to miss the small window of opportunity to press F8. If you see the Windows 7 animation begin, it's too late. If you don't press F8 in time, wait until the Windows 7 login screen appears and restart the computer from there. Do not login. If you do, and then shut down Windows 7, you'll lose any benefit of using LKGC.

Important: The biggest caveat with Last Known Good Configuration is that it's only valuable if Windows 7 was working as you'd expect the last time you properly shut it down. So if you've started Windows 7, tried to troubleshoot a problem, and then shut it down again with the problem uncorrected, Last Known Good Configuration won't help. So the most important advice I can give is to use LKGC as one of the very first troubleshooting steps for driver problems and issues like Blue Screens of Death.

Not a Windows 7 User?

See How Do I Start Windows Using Last Known Good Configuration? for a walkthrough specific to your version of Windows.

2
Choose Last Known Good Configuration

A screenshot of the Advanced Boot Options Menu in Windows 7
Advanced Boot Options Menu.

On the Advanced Boot Options menu for Windows 7, use your arrow keys on your keyboard to highlight Last Known Good Configuration (advanced).

Press Enter.

Tip: As I mentioned in the last step, it's incredibly easy to miss the opportunity to enter the Advanced Boot Options menu. If Windows 7 starts normally, or doesn't start at all, depending on the issue you're troubleshooting, then just reboot the computer without logging in to Windows 7 and then give the F8 key a shot again.

3
Wait for Windows 7 to Start

A screenshot of the Windows 7 splash screen
Windows 7 Splash Screen.

Wait while Windows 7 starts, hopefully normally. It shouldn't take much longer than you're used to.

Unlike starting Windows 7 in Safe Mode, there are no scary looking lists of system files running down the screen as Windows starts with Last Known Good Configuration. Remember, all you're doing is rewinding driver and registry settings to those that worked the last time Windows 7 was shut down properly.

4
Login to Your Account

A screenshot of the Windows 7 logon screen
Windows 7 Logon Screen.

Log in to the same Windows 7 account that you usually use.

If Windows 7 wasn't starting at all, and you've reached this point, it's a good sign that Last Known Good Configuration is going to solve, or at least get you closer to solving, the problem you were having.

If your problem didn't start until later on, you'll have to wait until the next step to see if LKGC did you any good.

5
Check to See if the Problem is Solved

A screenshot of the Windows 7 desktop
Windows 7 Desktop.

At this point, Windows 7 has loaded "known good" driver and registry configuration data so you'll now need to test to see if the problem went away.

If Windows 7 wasn't booting whatsoever, congratulations, it looks like Last Known Good Configuration worked like a charm.

Otherwise, you'll need to test to see if the problem you were having reoccurs. For example, if you experienced a BSOD when you entered Control Panel, give it a try. If you tried updating a Windows 7 driver and your sound quit working, try it out now.

Still Having the Same Problem?

If Last Known Good Configuration didn't fix the problem, trying it again won't be of much use. Last Known Good Configuration is only good once since, unfortunately, Windows 7 doesn't store multiple configurations into the past.

In most cases, your next option is to use System Restore. See How To Use System Restore to Undo System Changes in Windows 7 if you need help. However, if you were following a troubleshooting guide specific to the problem you're having, your best option is to go back to that troubleshooting and continue as directed.

Another idea, especially if you're out of other options, is to check out my Get More Help page for information about contacting me on social networks or via email, posting on tech support forums, and more.