Boot Windows in Safe Mode (2020 Instructions)

Written by Emma Davis

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The mission of Windows Safe Mode: definition and examples of its application

Windows Safe Mode is classified as a diagnostic Windows mode that loads the operating system just with the most vital services, features and set of crucial drivers. It’s worth mentioning that loading the PC in this mode is a crucial milestone before you start fixing security-related problems, getting rid of malware, resolving errors, and other issues.

“Trying a “reset” to see if that’ll fix it. Since I can boot into safe mode and everything seems fine, it would seem to be a problem in Windows itself.”, — writes Twitter user @textlesscosmos.

Loading Windows in Safe Mode starts the particular Windows version with a restricted range of utilities, cornerstone drivers and services. In times when the error does not occur in the secure mode, it definitely means that the trouble is not caused by default Windows programs, devices, or features. Grounded on this peculiarity, booting in this mode is obviously helpful when fixing common bugs, for instance, the ‘ Your PC ran into a problem and needs to restart’ issue or ‘Video_Scheduler_Internal_Error’ trouble.

Initially, the most widely used remedy to load the Windows device in this mode was applying the F8 key repeatedly during system load, but that is not the right case today. For this reason, it is of crucial importance to find out the best solutions to start Windows in Safe Mode on Windows-powered PCs irrespective of the manufacturer.

The mode is available to use in several options, and each one is used to resolve various troubles, each set forth below.

  • Safe Mode. Loads the PC with core drivers and main services.
  • Safe Mode with Networking. Starts the device with core drivers and main services and supplements the ones crucial for Internet connection to properly work. It is very beneficial when you believe you’ll need a troubleshooter or Internet access to download important data or specifically required updates.
  • Safe Mode with Command Prompt. This solution is obviously very helpful in times when the taskbar, Desktop or Start menu refuse to load at all.

There are a lot of remedies to load Windows in the above-said mode. Nevertheless, settings for different versions of the Windows operating system may vary insignificantly. For this reason, we suggest implementing the techniques elaborated solely for your Microsoft Windows version (7/Vista/XP, Windows 8 & 8.1, Windows 10).

Steps to Load Windows in Safe Mode

Step 1. Apply F8 key in Windows XP/Vista/7

In times when you use one of these previous versions of Windows, surely your method implies the application of the familiar yet old F8 key.

  1. Hit the power button to switch on your device. Then you need to keep hitting the F8 key within the 1-second intervals. In other words, continue pressing the key repeatedly. Take time until your system shows the hardware data and initiates a memory test. Afterwards, you will notice the Advanced Boot Options menu on your screen.
  2. The next step for you is to apply the arrow keys on your keyboard for the appropriate navigation. Make the option to load Windows in Safe Mode (commonly, with Networking or with Command prompt). Press Enter for verification of your choice.
  3. Take time until your computer loads. Fulfill your assignments in the above-said Windows mode. The next step is to go back to the regular mode, implementing steps 1-3 but instead choosing to Start Windows Normally in this instance. Press Enter for confirmation of your choice.
Important observation. You may also apply  Shift+F8 keys simultaneously. Keep pressing them both down at the same time as set forth above.

Step 2. Refer to the assistance of System Configuration panel in Windows 7/8/10

This step is grounded on the System Configuration panel, and it boots into your chosen mode until you make your choice not to. It functions for Windows 7, 8 & 10. This is also the easiest remedy to load Windows 10 into Safe Mode.

  1. To load the System Configuration panel, press Windows key + R. Once you are in the Run prompt, type msconfig, hit Enter then.
  2. Proceed to the Boot tab and research the Boot options. Choose the  Safe boot and then choose the solution you want.
    1. Minimal one simply loads into Safe mode;
    2. Alternate shell loads into the mode with Command Prompt;
    3. Active Directory repair loads into a mode that helps to fix the Active Directory server;
    4. Network loads into the mode with Networking.
  3. Upon selecting the mode, choose Apply and OK.
  4. You will be instructed to load the PC. Select Restart to verify your choice. The computer now loads into the mode you selected. If you would like to exit the safe mode and refer back to the common one, repeat the steps 1-4, but be sure you deactivate the Safe Mode option in System Configuration > Boot tab. Safe Mode System Configuration

Step 3. Access the troubleshooting utilities

In times when you are looking for a remedy to load to Safe Mode in Windows 10 and 8, then you must definitely consider the stepes reviewed below. Initially, choose an approach to proceed to the troubleshooting utilities – depending on whether you can boot the operating system or not. The guide provided below reviews both situations.

Step 3.1. Referring to the troubleshooting utilities

Restart Windows

When your device boots normally, attempt starting it in Safe Mode (Windows 8 or 10) without hitting the F8 key.

  1. All you are required to do is to switch your device on and hit Restart while you hold the Shift key. You may locate the Restart button in the login screen or the Windows menu (as displayed below).
  2. Another remedy to get to the safe mode is by means of the Windows Settings. Hit Windows + I key altogether; this shows the Settings window. At this point, locate an option titled Update and Security, and select it. Next, proceed to the Recovery tab. You will encounter the Advanced Startup panel, choose Restart Now below it.

Nevertheless, in case your computer does not boot properly at all, you need to refer to one of the following remedies.

When you are having trouble starting the operating system, attempt loading from a USB recovery drive. You can create one using extra PC. You might also refer to the approach with an F8 key, but it does not work well in all the situations – whether it works well or not may vary considering your PC manufacturer. Whatever solution you select to get to the recovery mode, it will help you start Windows in Safe Mode.

Step 3.2. Application of the troubleshooting options

The steps explained above will give you access to a specific menu where you can make your choices from the available troubleshooting tools. In this section, select Troubleshoot, followed by Advanced options. Next, select Startup Settings (or Windows Startup Settings). The next step is to choose the Restart button. The next step is to choose one from F1-F9 buttons, considering what you have in mind to do (for instance, F4, F5 or F6).

Application of the troubleshooting options

Do not get confused if after restart your computer displays a black screen with similar options – use the arrow keys to choose the relevant version of Safe Mode, and just press Enter to continue.

Step 4. Force use of the Automatic Repair mode in Windows 10

Breaking the regular Windows boot three consecutive times immediately shows the Automatic Repair mode. You may then choose this mode to load Windows 10 in Safe Mode while booting. To start the Automatic Repair mode, you have to interrupt the regular Windows 10 startup three times one after another. Then refer to the below-given instructions with caution.

  1. To terminate the booting process, use the Power or Reset buttons. When you choose the Power button, you need to keep it pressed for at least 4 seconds to switch the PC off in a forceful manner. Next, turn on the device, force shut down again. You need to power on – force shutdown (terminate the startup) three consecutive times.
  2. You will notice that Windows tries to get to the Automatic repair mode when it displays “Preparing Automatic Repair” on the desktop.
  3. You may be instructed to choose the user account. Choose the one with admin’s privileges, and indicate the password to use it.
  4. Take time until Windows boots. When asked whether you would like to restart or enter Advanced options, choose the second option.
  5. Implement the instructions rendered in Step 3.2.

Automatic Repair mode in Windows

Read also: System Restore for Windows 10. How to create System Restore Point?

When you are using Windows 10 and you are having trouble with the blank device’s screen, we suggest checking the tutorials and guidelines provided in official Microsoft.

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About the author

Emma Davis

I'm writer and content manager (a short time ago completed a bachelor degree in Marketing from the Gustavus Adolphus College). For now, I have a deep drive to study cyber security.

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