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Tutorials | How to boot into Safe Mode

Publish date: 17:54 Thursday, 28th July 2005
Written by: MishY
Audience intended for: Windows XP Users, Windows ME Users, Windows 98 Users, Windows 95 Users, Windows 2000 Users
Category: Computer Basics

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Booting into Safe ModeHow to boot into Safe Mode

In Safe Mode, Windows only uses basic files and drivers (mouse, monitor, keyboard, mass storage, base video, default system services, and no network connections). This provides an often invaluable way to diagnose problems such as software installation problems, driver issues, spyware & virus removal issues.

Detailed below are the methods you can use to boot into safe mode using Windows 95, 98 & ME, 2000, and XP.

Windows 95How to boot into Safe Mode

  1. Restart the computer.
  2. As your computer restarts but before Windows launches, press F8.
  3. On the Startup Menu, choose Safe Mode (Option 3)

Windows 98 & MeHow to boot into Safe Mode

  1. Restart the computer.
  2. As your computer restarts but before Windows launches, press F8.
  3. On the Startup Menu, choose Safe Mode (Option 3)

Alternatively, you may use the System Configuration Utility Method.

  1. While in Normal mode, Close all programs.
  2. Click Start then Run and type MSCONFIG in the box. Then click OK
  3. In the System Configuration Utility on the General Tab, click the Advanced Button
  4. In the Advanced Troubleshooting Settings dialog box, check Enable Startup Menu. Click OK. Click OK again to return to your Windows desktop.
  5. You will then be prompted to restart the computer. Click Yes. The computer will restart in Safe mode.
  6. When you are finished with troubleshooting in Safe mode, open MSCONFIG again and uncheck "Enable Start-up Menu." under the Advanced Menu, then click OK to restart your computer

Windows 2000How to boot into Safe Mode

  1. Restart the computer.
  2. When you see the black & white "Starting Windows" bar at the bottom of the screen press the F8 key. The Windows 2000 Advanced Options Menu should then appear.
  3. Ensure that the Safe mode option is selected. If it isn't selected use the arrow keys to choose Safe Mode. Then press Enter to start booting into Safe Mode.
  4. When you are finished with all your troubleshooting steps, close all open programs and restart the computer as you normally would.

Windows XPHow to boot into Safe Mode

If Windows XP is the only operating system installed on your computer, booting into Safe Mode with these instructions.

  1. Restart the computer.
  2. As soon as the BIOS loads, begin tapping the F8 key on your keyboard. Do so until the Windows Advanced Options menu appears. If you begin tapping the F8 key too soon, some computers display a "keyboard error" message. If this happens, restart the computer and try again.
  3. Ensure that the Safe mode option is selected. If it isn't selected use the arrow keys to choose Safe Mode. Then press Enter to start booting into Safe Mode.
  4. The computer then begins to start in Safe mode.
  5. When you are finished with all troubleshooting, close all programs and restart the computer as you normally would.

To use the System Configuration Utility method

  1. Close all open programs.
  2. Click Start, Run and type MSCONFIG in the box and click OK.

    Start - Run - MSCONFIG

  3. The System Configuration Utility appears, On the BOOT.INI tab, Check the "/SAFEBOOT" option, and then click OK

    MSCONFIG Boot.ini tab

  4. Restart your computer when prompted.

    MSCONFIG Restart Window

  5. The computer restarts in Safe mode.
  6. Perform the troubleshooting steps for which you are using Safe Mode.
  7. When you are finished with troubleshooting in Safe mode, open MSCONFIG again, on the BOOT.INI tab, uncheck "/SAFEBOOT" and click OK to restart your computer

Additional NotesHow to boot into Safe Mode

  • Booting into Safe Mode does take longer than booting into normal Windows mode. This is normal for Safe Mode.
  • When in Safe Mode it is very likely that you will not be able to connect to the internet. This is normal for Safe Mode.
  • You may find that the familiar Windows interface you are used to will look different. This is normal for Safe Mode.
  • You may find that many programs you normally use in Windows will not work in Safe Mode. This is normal for Safe Mode.
  • If you get a "Keyboard Error" when pressing F8 at system startup reboot your computer and try again. Getting the timing right can be a bit difficult at first.

 

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