In this article, we discuss the Safe Mode from various aspects: what is a Safe Mode, what does it do, the options of Safe Mode types, how to boot into Safe Mode in Windows 10/8, how to exit Safe Mode and more. Read this article to learn these information.

Safe Mode is a special diagnostic mode in the Windows operating system. The Safe Mode is useful for troubleshooting computer problems, including software and hardware issues. You might be familiar with it if you use computers frequently.

safe mode

Safe Mode is designed to help you fix most, if not all, of the problems within an operating system. In Windows, Safe Mode only allows basic system programs and services to be started at startup so that you can easily detect and repair computer system errors such as operating system not found.

Safe Mode Options

Actually, when you set the computer to boot into Safe Mode, there are three different Safe Mode options available. You can decide which Safe Mode option to use according to your own case. Here are descriptions of these three options.

Safe Mode

Safe Mode starts Windows with the most basic components of the system, the extra programs or drivers will not start. Relatively speaking, this is the best environment for anti-virus, because viruses usually use drivers to disguise themselves.

Tip: if you need a way to recover antivirus deleted files, see Quickly Recover Antivirus Deleted Files with Best File Recovery Software.

Safe Mode with Networking

Safe Mode with Networking starts Windows with the same set of drivers and services as Safe Mode but also includes other components that are required for network services to run. (The other two Safe Modes are not connected to the network)

This option implements basic network connectivity to meet network connectivity needs. The reason for choosing Safe Mode with Networking is the same as the reason for choosing Safe Mode, but when you do need to access the network or the Internet.

Safe Mode with Command Prompt

The Safe Mode with Command Prompt is the same as the Safe Mode except that the Command Prompt (CMD) is the default user interface. This option can be very helpful for computer experts or maintenance personnel, because some problems are easily solved in CMD.

How to Boot in Safe Mode Windows 10/8.1/8

To enter Windows 10 Safe Mode, there are some methods. You can see the tutorial here.

Way 1: Use F8 or Shift + F8 (this way does not work when using UEFI BIOS and SSD drives)

In Windows 7, you can press F8 before Windows loads to open the Advanced Boot Options window, where you can choose to boot Windows 7 into Safe Mode. Now Windows 10/8 also supports Shift + F8 and F8 commands. But in Windows 10, using these commands is not as good as using them in Windows 7.

press Shift + F8 keys

The problem is that, in most cases, Shift + F8 and F8 don’t work, even if they are the correct commands supported by Windows 10/8. The reason why these keys no longer work in Windows 10/8 is that Windows 10 and Windows 8 start up too fast, so you barely have time to hit these keys on the keyboard during the boot process.

So, if your modern PC is with a UEFI BIOS and a fast SSD drive, you cannot use these keys to boot into Safe Mode. But don’t worry, there are still other ways to enter the Safe Mode.

Way 2: From Start menu

  • You need to click the Start icon, and then select Settings. After that, you will see a window in which you need to choose Update & security. Then, click Recovery and select Restart Now.
  • After restarting the computer, you will enter Windows RE (recovery environment). Please select the options as following: Troubleshoot > Advanced options > Startup Settings > Restart.
  • Now you are entering the Start Settings interface where has a list of 9 options. The 4,5,6 options are three Safe Mode types – 4) Enable Safe Mode, 5) Enable Safe Mode with Networking, and 6) Enable Safe Mode with Command Prompt. Choose one according to your need. Then you will be in the Safe Mode.

press keys to enable safe mode

Tip: You can also enter the Windows RE interface by Shift + Restart. Hold down the Shift key on your keyboard and click Restart simultaneously from the Start menu (after clicking Power icon).

Way 3: Use the System Configuration Tool (msconfig)

  • Hold down Windows key on your keyboard and hit R key to call out the Run box. Type msconfig on the box and click OK.
  • Select Boot tap in the System Configuration window. Then choose Safe boot from Boot options. In the Boot options, you need to choose one from the Safe Mode types that we have mentioned in the first part: 1. Minimal refers to Safe Mode; 2. Alternate shell equals to Safe Mode with Command Prompt; 3. Active Directory repair equals to Used only for repairing an Active Directory server; 4. Network refers to Safe Mode with networking. After that, click Apply, and then OK.
  • Click Restart from the pop-out window. After rebooting successfully, you are in the Safe Mode.

choose safe boot

This method actually forces Windows to boot into Safe Mode each time you restart your PC. For those who need multiple times to start and enter the Safe Mode, this method is much convenience.

How to exit Safe Mode when no longer need to enter it? In fact, this is very simple. To start Windows normally again, you just need to go back into the System Configuration tool and disable the option.

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