Safe mode is a mode within Windows used for troubleshooting problems. In Safe Mode, Windows operates with limited functionality—only basic files and drivers are loaded to start Windows. Once in Safe Mode, you can more easily remove viruses, remove stubborn files, replace or modify Windows files etc.
There are a number of Windows Guides that ask you to start the computer in safe mode:
- Remove Viruses And Malware in Safe Mode [How To]
- 5 Easy Ways to Uninstall Toolbars In Internet Explorer 8
- Perform a System Restore in Windows Vista and 7 [How To]
In this guide, we’ll show you a couple of ways to get into Safe Mode in Windows XP, Vista, 7, and Windows 8.
There are two easy ways to boot into safe mode. I recommend the first method if you want to boot into Safe Mode one time; I recommend the second method if you plan to boot into safe mode each time your computer starts or if you have trouble with the first method.
- Use the F8 Key when Windows boots to invoke Safe Mode
- Modify the BOOT.INI file to boot into safe mode every time
Use the F8 Key when Windows Boots to Invoke Safe Mode
The quickest way to boot into Safe Mode is to hold and press the F8 key as you restart your computer:
1. Remove flash drives and any optical discs from your PC
2. Restart your computer; once your computer is shut down (the power will go off and on for a brief moment), hold the F8 key down until you see the following menu*:
Modify the BOOT.INI File to Boot into Safe Mode every Time
- In all versions if Windows, press the Windows Key + R
- In the Run dialog box, type msconfig, and press Enter
- On the BOOT.INI tab (XP) or Boot tab (Vista, 7, 8) select /SAFEBOOT and MINIMAL
- Click OK
- Restart your computer to start Safe Mode
Vista/7/8 msconfig settings:
Next time you boot you will see something like this:
If you find you can’t access Safe Mode, please head over to Windows Forums where we can give you a hand.
Rich is the owner and creator of Windows Guides; he spends his time breaking things on his PC so he can write how-to guides to fix them.
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