Web Analytics

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:

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.

  1. Use the F8 Key when Windows boots to invoke Safe Mode
  2. 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*:

3. Unless you need networking or a command prompt, Safe Mode is the option you should select (Enter key)
*If you have more than one operating system (like many Windows Guides readers do) on your PC, you’ll first need to select your operating system and then press F8.

Modify the BOOT.INI File to Boot into Safe Mode every Time

Note: Reader Paul L point out you should only use msconfig if you’re sure your computer will boot into safe mode (if you have a virus, this may be the case); if you are not sure whether your computer will boot, don’t do this.
Your second option is to modify BOOT.INI with msconfig:
  1. In all versions if Windows, press the Windows Key + R
  2. In the Run dialog box, type msconfig, and press Enter
  3. On the BOOT.INI tab (XP) or Boot tab (Vista, 7, 8) select /SAFEBOOT and MINIMAL
  4. Click OK
  5. Restart your computer to start Safe Mode
Note: You will need to go back to msconfig once you’re ready to boot back into a full version of Windows again
XP msconfig settings:

Vista/7/8 msconfig settings:

Next time you boot you will see something like this:

Windows XP Safe Mode Remove Viruses And Malware in Safe Mode [How To]

If you find you can’t access Safe Mode, please head over to Windows Forums where we can give you a hand.

About Rich

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.

Free PC tips by email

Search Windows Guides


One thought on “Start Windows in Safe Mode [How To] [Quick Tip]”

  1. Uvais says:

    Good tip Rich

Comments are closed.

Computer tips in your inbox
Sign up for the Windows Guides newsletter to get PC tips and access to free Windows books (More details)

Subscribe now
Popular Guides

See which sites have been visited on your PC (even if private browsing mode is used)

Create a Windows 7 System Repair Disc

Best Free Anti-malware

Hibernate vs. Sleep vs. Shut-Down

i3, i5, and i7; Dual, Quad, Hexa Core Processors. How to they Differ?

Intel's Ivy Bridge Processor: new Features

Windows Guides on Facebook