How to enter Safe Mode in Windows

When working with the Windows operating system, a lot of errors can occur due to the volume of executed procedures, loading a large number of programs, bad drivers, and other factors. The Safe Mode is used for manual correction in Windows.

It allows debugging and error correction in the operating system using several tools by excluding and loading a limited number of services. Everything unnecessary that can interfere with debugging is cut off. Let's take a closer look at this topic for different versions of Windows.


Windows 10/11

In modern versions of Microsoft's operating systems, there are several ways to start Safe Mode: through special boot mode, through a configuration file, through the boot menu, and from a bootable media.

Method #1

One of the easiest ways. It is performed directly through Windows settings. It is recommended to use it first.

For this, you will need to:

  1. Click on "Start" and go to "Settings" through the corresponding button in the menu.
  2. Click on "Update & Security". In version 11, click on "System" on the left.
  3. Next, click on "Recovery", then "Advanced Startup" and finally on "Restart now".
  4. After the OS restarts, the "Choose an action" screen will appear. Click on "Troubleshoot", then "Advanced options".
  5. In the options, click on "Startup Settings" and restart the computer through the corresponding button on the right.

As a result, a functional window with options for booting will appear. Press "F4", "F5", or "F6" to choose, wait for Windows to boot in Safe Mode.

Method #2

Msconfig is a program or interface to launch and add utilities to Windows during its startup. It first appeared in Windows 98 and works in all subsequent versions. It allows you to start Safe Mode.

Follow these steps:

  1. Enter "Run" in the OS search (the "Magnifying Glass" icon) on the toolbar or access the function through the "Win + R" combination.
  2. In the "Open" field, enter "msconfig" without quotes. Confirm with the "OK" button.
  3. In the "System Configuration" window, go to "Boot". Make sure your OS version is selected. In the "Boot Options" section, check the "Safe Mode" option.
  4. If you need to boot into Safe Mode through the command prompt interpreter, select "Alternate shell" at the bottom. Confirm the settings with the "OK" button.

Once the PC has restarted, it will boot in Safe Mode. To return to the normal boot option, follow the same steps but uncheck the "Safe Mode" option.

Method #3

You can boot into Safe Mode in Windows 10/11 from a bootable disk or USB drive. You can mount them on another PC or laptop.

Insert the bootable media into a USB or DVD drive and do the following:

  1. Invoke the command prompt through the key combination "Shift + 10". Alternatively, click on "System Restore", go to "Diagnostics ", and click on "Command Prompt".
  2. Enter the command in the command prompt without quotes: "bcdedit /set {default} safeboot minimal".
  3. The command to start Safe Mode with Command Prompt is: "bcdedit /set {default} safebootalternateshell yes".

To disable forced Safe Mode startup, repeat the above method but enter the command "bcdedit /deletevalue {default} safeboot" in the command prompt. Alternatively, you can do this through Safe Mode and restart the PC.

Windows 8/8.1

Follow these steps:

  1. If the Windows 8/8.1 interface is set by default, move the cursor all the way to the right to bring up the menu, then go to "Settings".
  2. Click on "Change PC settings" -> "Update and recovery". The third option is "Recovery", click on the corresponding button to restart the PC.
  3. Wait for the menu with actions to load and click on "Diagnostics", then "System Options", and "Boot Options".
  4. Restart the computer in the lower right corner of the window.

After the restart, wait for the "Boot Options" window to appear and press "F4", "F5", or "F6" depending on the Safe Mode requirements.

USB Flash Drive Boot

The second way to start Safe Mode in Windows 8/8.1. You need to prepare a bootable media in advance by burning the system distribution image onto it using the OS's own tools or third-party software.

Follow the instructions:

  1. After connecting the media to USB, restart the PC/laptop.
  2. In the settings window, click "Next", go to the "System Recovery" section, and look for "Diagnostics".
  3. A new window will open, click on "Advanced options" and select "Command Prompt".
  4. In the command prompt window, enter the command without quotes: "bcdedit / set globalsettings".
  5. Wait for the verification to complete and enter the command without quotes: "bcdedit /deletevalue {globalsettings} advancedoptions".

After completing the steps, click "Continue", restart the PC, and choose the option to start in Safe Mode by pressing "F4", "F5", or "F6".

Windows 7/Vista

There are two simple ways to start Safe Mode in Windows 7/Vista. The first is through the command prompt. The second is during PC boot.

Click on the "Start" button, type "msconfig" without quotes in the search field, and press enter. The "System Configuration" window will open, go to the second tab "Boot", check "Safe Mode" with a checkbox. Then click "Apply" -> "OK" and restart the PC. If you no longer need Safe Mode, repeat the steps and uncheck "Safe Mode".

The second way is to press "F8" several times during the post-code screen during boot until the "Advanced Boot Options" menu appears, then select "Safe Mode".

Windows XP

In Window XP, the process of starting Safe Mode is similar to the described methods but has its own peculiarities. Go to the "Start" menu and click on "Run". In the "Open" field, enter "msconfig" without quotes to open the System Configuration.

Go to the fourth tab "BOOT.INI", check the "Safe Mode" option in the "Boot Options" section. Confirm by clicking "OK" and restart the PC. Disable Safe Mode by unchecking the same option.

If nothing worked

In rare cases, an error can occur during Safe Mode startup due to a corrupted code in the registry that handles this section of the OS. To restore the section, download the Safeboot archive with REG files. It can be found on specialized portals or on the official website of Kaspersky antivirus.

After downloading, unzip the files. Run the file corresponding to your OS version. The filename includes XP, Vista, Win7. SafeBootWin8 is suitable for Windows 10 and 11 as well. Run the file and edit the registry. Check if the issue is resolved. If not, the only remaining option is to reinstall the OS.

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