Safe mode starts Windows with a limited set of files and drivers. Startup programs do not run in safe mode, and only the basic drivers needed to start Windows are installed.
Safe mode is useful for troubleshooting problems with programs and drivers that might not start correctly, or that might prevent Windows from starting correctly. If a problem does not reappear when you start in safe mode, you can eliminate the default settings and basic device drivers as possible causes. If a recently installed program, device, or driver prevents Windows from running correctly, you can start your computer in safe mode and then remove the program that is causing the problem.
How to Enter Safe Mode in Windows XP, Vista and 7
Remove all floppy disks, CDs, and DVDs from your computer, and then restart your computer.
Do one of the following:
If your computer has a single operating system installed, press and hold the F8 key as your computer restarts. You need to press F8 before the Windows logo appears. If the Windows logo appears, you will need to try again by waiting until the Windows logon prompt appears, and then shutting down and restarting your computer.
If your computer has more than one operating system, use the arrow keys to highlight the operating system you want to start in safe mode, and then press F8.
On the Advanced Boot Options screen, use the arrow keys to highlight the safe mode option you want, and then press ENTER. For more information about options, see various boot options below
Log on to your computer with a user account that has administrator rights.
When your computer is in safe mode, you’ll see the words Safe Mode in the corners of the display. To exit safe mode, restart your computer and let Windows start normally.
With the Windows Startup Settings screen (formerly advanced boot options) you can start Windows in different advanced troubleshooting modes so you can find and fix problems on your PC. In previous versions of Windows, you could get to this screen by pressing F8 before Windows started up. Windows 8 PCs start up quickly so there’s not enough time to press F8.
There are two ways to get to the Windows Startup Settings screen in Windows 8 :
Or, if you’re already signed in:
Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, tap Settings, and then tap Change PC settings.
(If you’re using a mouse, point to the upper-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer down, click Settings, and then click Change PC settings.)
Under PC settings, tap or click General.
Under Advanced startup, tap or click Restart now.
On the Choose an option screen, tap or click Troubleshoot.
Tap or click Startup Settings.
Tap or click Restart.
On the Startup Settings screen, choose the startup setting you want.
Sign in to your PC with a user account that has administrator rights.
Some options, such as safe mode, start Windows in a limited state where only essential programs are started. Other options start Windows with advanced features (typically used by system admins and IT professionals). For more info, go to the Microsoft website for IT professionals.
Various Boot Options for Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8 and 8.1:
Starts Windows in an advanced troubleshooting mode intended for IT professionals and system administrators.
Enable Boot Logging
Creates a file, ntbtlog.txt, that lists all the drivers that are installed during startup and that might be useful for advanced troubleshooting.
Enable low-resolution video (640×480)
Starts Windows using your current video driver and using low resolution and refresh rate settings. You can use this mode to reset your display settings.
Starts Windows with a minimal set of drivers and services. If a problem doesn’t reappear when you start in safe mode, you can eliminate the default settings and basic device drivers and services as possible causes.
Safe Mode with Networking
Starts Windows in safe mode and includes the network drivers and services needed to access the Internet or other computers on your network.
Safe Mode with Command Prompt
Starts Windows in safe mode with a Command Prompt window instead of the usual Windows interface. This option is intended for IT professionals and administrators.
Disable driver signature enforcement
Allows drivers containing improper signatures to be installed.
Disable early launch antimalware protection
Prevents the early launch antimalware driver from starting, allowing drivers that might contain malware to be installed.
Disable automatic restart after failure
Prevents Windows from automatically restarting if an error causes Windows to fail. Choose this option only if Windows is stuck in a loop where Windows fails, tries to restart, and fails again repeatedly.
Directory Services Restore Mode
Starts Windows domain controller running Active Directory so that the directory service can be restored. This option is intended for IT professionals and administrators.
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