For Troubleshooting problems, Windows Safe mode is quite essential. Although, most of the problems can easily be solved in normal mode, but still there are some sticky ones that won’t go away that easily.
In safe mode, minimum programs and drivers are started, which makes it easier to access your system without any bad programs getting in your way (in most cases). Note that we have a different tutorial for booting Windows 10 in Safe Mode.
To boot Windows Safe mode, the process is quite simple. You can access safe mode by two methods. If you have access to normal Windows, then you can access safe mode from inside by configuring settings or you can start safe mode when the computer starts by pressing F8 key when it starts. If your computer doesn’t shut down properly, then you will also be provided an option to start in safe mode, however, doing this on purpose is not recommended.
The Below mentioned methods work on Windows XP, Windows 7 and Windows 8.
Method #1: Start Windows Safe Mode When Windows Boot
You can easily access Windows safe mode when the PC starts. All you have to do is rapidly press F8 key (generally, it is present at the top row of the keyboard) when the PC starts booting.
Note: Before trying this, make sure all Removable disks are removed, such as, CDs, Floppy disks, and USB drives. This will make sure none of these attempt to boot the PC.
If your PC is turned off, then press the power button to turn it on and if it is on already, then restart it. As soon as the PC starts booting, press F8 rapidly until you see the screen where “Safe Mode” option is provided. If you see the Windows Splash screen instead, then you didn’t do it right and restart the PC again to try again.
Note: Pressing F8 “Rapidly” is not compulsory, you can also press it just once and the Safe Mode screen should arrive (if you press at the right time). However, pressing more than once doesn’t hurt also, and it provides more accuracy and surety that you will reach the “Safe Mode” screen. Furthermore, it might not work sometimes on Windows 8 PCs, as they are generally quite fast and boot too fast to receive the command.
Once you will reach the “Safe Mode” screen, you will see three different options for Safe Mode, which are “Safe Mode”, “Safe Mode with Networking” and “Safe Mode with Command Prompt”.
This is the normal safe mode that will boot your Windows with minimum required drivers. It should be your first option if you would like to troubleshoot any issue.
Safe Mode with Networking
This mode comes with all the settings of the standard Safe mode, however, this will also allow you to connect to the internet. If you want to troubleshoot something more advanced and require internet access, then this mode should be your choice.
Safe Mode with Command Prompt
This is also same as standard Safe mode, but open Command Prompt when you boot. If you would like to use the Command Prompt to solve any issue, then you should go for this.
Navigate with Up and Down arrow keys to change between modes and hit enter on the required mode to start it. All the required files will start loading and you will be able to see them as well.
Once you have solved the issue or would like to access normal Windows again, just restart and don’t press F8 this time and you should access normal Windows.
Here is a video as well, showing how to boot in safe mode:
Methods #2: Start Windows Safe mode From Inside
If you have access to your normal Windows then you can start your Windows in safe mode from inside the settings.
Press Windows+R and “Run” window will open (you can also access “Run” from the Start menu). There Type “msconfig” and click on “OK”.
“System Configuration” window will open, in there, click on “Boot” tab. For Windows XP, you need to click on “BOOT.INI”
Under “Boot” tab, you will see the option of “Safe Boot”, check the checkbox next to it. Under “Safe Boot” option you have the options to select what kind of Safe mode you want, just like in the above mentioned process. Select the required option and click on “OK”.
Now, whenever you will restart, your Windows will start in Safe Mode of your selection.
However, this option is permanent and will always start the Windows in Safe Mode. If you would like to start the Windows in normal mode, then you will have to go through the same process mentioned above and uncheck “Safe Boot”. “System Configuration” opens in the Safe mode as well, so going through the above mentioned process should not be a problem.
If you have any questions or would like to add more information, let us know in the comments below.