How to start Windows 10 in Safe Mode

To those who didn’t know that this feature existed, the Safe mode is a type of booting up your Windows 10 computer with a minimal amount yet fundamental features that are essential for the functioning of the Operating System. The original OS does not boot up when you start Windows 10 in safe mode. 

What is the Safe Mode in Windows?

The Safe Mode is the most basic way of using the OS on your PC. When you start your PC in safe mode, only a handful of the essential features and device drivers are employed by the Operating System. The screen resolution is reduced.

This feature is used to locate the problems that arise in your computer and filter out the drivers or features that cause the problems. For instance, if the issues you face do not come up when you boot up your PC in safe mode, those problems are not caused by the basic features or drivers, network drivers.

This article gives you troubleshooting options on your PC. These are one of the few things you need to know about your PC.

Why would you need the safe mode in Windows?  

Your PC can run into trouble at any point in time. The safe mode feature lets the Windows users locate the source of the problem and, therefore, helps fix the technical error. If you suspect your PC to have malware infestations, you can always try to boot your system up in safe mode. This can also be used to load the OS faster if you use the safe mode. 

When do you need the Safe mode in Windows? 

There are a few circumstances when you might need to start your Operating System in safe mode. 

  1. You can try booting in Safe mode when your system keeps crashing. 
  2. Boot up in safe mode if you suspect that there is a virus in your computer. 
  3. If the PC has some sort of trouble, you can launch the Safe mode to find the source of the problem.

Starting Windows 10 in safe mode: a how-to with different options

1. “Shift + Restart” on the Windows 10 Sign In screen

When you boot up your computer in Windows 10, you will see the sign on the screen. If you enter the login pin or password, the system boots up in normal mode. But this is what you will have to do to boot it up in safe mode. 

  1. Press and hold the Shift key on your keyboard. 
  2. While holding it, click on the Power button on the bottom right part of the screen and select Restart.   
  3. The Operating System reboots, and a menu with a blue background appears. From this, choose Troubleshoot.
  4. Open the Advanced Options
  5. Click on Startup Settings. You might not be able to see this option. If that’s the case, select it from the ‘See more recovery options’ set of choices. 
  6. Windows 10 would warn you of the changes that will happen to your computer if you restarted it. Click on Restart.

Troubleshoot > Advanced Options > Startup Settings > Restart

  1. Choose the type of Safe mode you want to boot up. There are three kinds of Safe Mode booting up, namely –
  1. Normal Safe Mode –  tap the number 4 button or the F4 button on the keyboard.
  2. Safe Mode with Networking – press the 5 key or F5 key.
  3. Safe Mode with Command Prompt – press the 6 or F6 key.

 If you wish to make changes to your PC, do it through the administrator account. 

2. Interrupt the normal boot process of Windows 10 three times in a row

If the Windows 10 OS doesn’t boot up properly thrice, it launches the Automatic Repair mode the next time it starts. This option can help you start Safe Mode. To launch the Automatic Repair, the booting process has to be disturbed three times consecutively. Here’s how you can interrupt your boot up. 

  • Hit the power or restart button while the PC starts.
  • Hold the power button for 4 seconds or more to stop the boot if you use a laptop. 

Once this process is interrupted thrice, you will see the OS loading the Automatic Repair. This is what the user has to do next. 

  1. The user is required to select an account through which they have to make changes. The account needs to have administrator permissions. 
  2. Once you choose an account, the OS runs a diagnosis of the PC and the hard drive. Wait for this to end. This may take a while.
  3. In the blue Automatic Repair window, select Advanced options.
  4. Go to Troubleshoot > Advanced Options > Startup Settings > Restart
  5. Select the type of Safe Mode through which you want the computer to start. 

3. Use a Windows 10 installation drive and the Command Prompt

You can use this method if you have the Windows 10 OS source on a disk or a USB drive. The users can use this disk or USB drive to launch Safe Mode. Follow these steps to launch safe mode with an installation drive. 

  1. Create an OS installation drive and boot your PC. 
  2. Wait for the installation window to appear, and in it, select the language and layout of your choice. Click on Next.
  3. In the next window, you will notice Repair your computer. Click on it. 
  4. Select Troubleshoot, and then, the Advanced option screen appears. From this, select Command Prompt
  5. The command prompt function opens. You have to type in bcedit /set {default} safeboot minimal. Hit the enter button. Once the operation is complete, you can close the command prompt window.
command prompt
  1. Select Continue on the blue menu. 

Once you are done, the PC restarts in Safe Mode. If you wish to boot your PC again, normally, open Command Prompt, type in bcedit /deletevalue {default} safeboot.

safe mode

4. Booting from a Windows 10 flash USB recovery drive

If your Windows 10 PC isn’t functioning properly, you can make a USB recovery drive on another system that runs on Windows 10. 

  1. Create a USB recovery drive, use this to start your PC, and load it. 
  2. Select the keyboard layout. 
  3. In the following ‘Choose an option’ screen, select troubleshoot.
  4. Go to Advanced options > Startup Settings > Restart and select the type of Safe mode you want to boot up. 

5. System Configuration tool (msconfig.exe)

The System Configuration tool is one of the easiest ways to boot up safe mode. It is better known by its executable format name, msconfig.exe. This is how you can enable safe mode through the System Configuration tool on windows. 

  1. In the search bar on the bottom, enter System Configuration. You’ll see the application and run it as the administrator.
System Configuration
  1. In the System Configuration window, click on the Boot Tab.
Boot Tab
  1. Under the Boot options category, check the Safe boot checkbox and click Ok.
Safe boot
  1. You are, then, required to restart your PC. You can restart now or later. Once the restart is complete, the computer will start Windows 10 in Safe Mode. 

6. Shift + Restart on the Windows 10 Start Menu

There is another way to launch Safe mode if you are logged in to your Windows 10 computer. It is very simple. One has to-

  1. Press and hold the Shift key on their keyboard. 
  2. Open the Start menu by clicking on the Start Button
  3. Windows 10 restarts, and the blue Choose an option menu appears. 
  4. Select Startup Settings in Advanced options and then Restart Windows 10. The OS will then boot into Safe Mode. 

7. The Settings App – Recovery options

On a Windows 10 PC, you can use the Settings app to boot into safe mode. This is how to start the Safe Mode in Windows 10. 

  1. Open the Windows 10 settings on your PC. You can open it through the Start menu or use the shortcut keys (Windows key + I).
Windows 10 Settings
  1. Open the Update & Security menu.
Update & Security
  1. In the list of options on the left, select Recovery.
  1. From this section, select Restart Now.
Restart Now
  1. Once the restart is complete, you will see the Choose an Option screen.
  2. Select a way for the computer to boot Windows up in the Safe mode. 

8. F8 or Shift + F8 

You can launch your OS into recovery mode by pressing Shift + F8, right before Windows 10 starts up. This is the same for Windows 8. But if you use Windows 7, you can press just the F8 key. This opens the recovery mode, through which you can start the Safe Mode. This might sound very easy, but this might not work all the time. These steps will not work if your PC has a UEFI BIOS and a Solid State Drive (SSD). These steps will work just fine if you have a classic BIOS and no SSD. 

Which method should you prefer for booting Windows 10 into Safe Mode?

There is no specific method better than the other methods; you can use many ways to help Windows 10 boot into Safe Mode on your computer. Windows 10 is an excellent OS, but it may be slightly different to get into Safe Mode in Windows 10 than in the previous Operating Systems. Some ways that work in Windows 10 may or may not work in Windows 8 or Windows 7. Of the number of methods, you might find one or more ways valuable and convenient to use. 

1. Starting Windows 10 in Safe Mode from Settings

This method of putting your Windows 10 in the safe mode is through your Windows settings on your Windows 10 PC. This is how you start Safe Mode in Windows 10. 

  1. Open the Windows settings on your computer. You can either open it by clicking on the Cog icon in the start menu, or you can use the keyboard shortcut (Windows + I) to open the Windows 10 settings.
  2. From all the options, select the  Update & Security option. The Update & Recovery window opens. On the left, you will see a list of menus. 
  3. From this list, you should choose the Recovery submenu. In this submenu, you can reset your computer, downgrade your OS to the previous version of Windows 10, and also do an advanced restart for your computer OS. Under the Advanced Startup section, select Restart Now
  4. The Windows Recovery Environment opens. Follow these steps to start safe mode, 

Troubleshoot menu > Advanced Options > Startup settings option > Restart button.

  1. Once you are done following these steps, you can choose what kind of Safe Mode you want your Windows 10 to start up – Safe Mode, Safe Mode with Networking, or Safe Mode with Command Prompt.  

2. Start Windows 10 in Safe Mode through MSConfig

msconfig.exe is the System Configuration tool for Windows computers. You can also start the Windows 10 Safe Mode with this tool. This is how you do it. 

  1. Launch the Run software (Windows key + R).
  2. Type msconfig in the open and tap the enter key.
  1. The System Configuration window appears.
System Configuration window

Select the Boot tab in it. 

  1. In the section called Boot Options, check the Safe Boot option. Under the Safe Boot checkbox, there are a few sub-checkboxes, namely Minimal, Alternate Shell, Active Directory repair, and Network. 
  2. Click Apply and then, Ok, to save the changes. 

Note: Here, 

  1. Minimal refers to Safe Mode
  2. Alternate Shell means the Safe Mode with Command Prompt
  3. The Network stands for the Safe Mode with Networking. 
  4.  The Active Directory repair repairs the Active Directory servers.

3. Start Windows 10 in Safe Mode from Start Menu

To start the Windows 10 Safe Mode with the Start menu in Windows computers is very easy. Here’s how you do it. 

  1. Hit the Shift key on your keyboard and hold it.
shift key
  1. Do not take your finger off the key and bring up the Start menu, by tapping with the cursor on the Start button.  
  2. From the Start menu, Restart your PC. You are not to remove your finger, even as you click on the Restart button. 
  3. The system restarts and the Choose an option menu appears. 
  4. From there, you have to go to Troubleshoot and open Advanced Options, in which you have to select Startup settings and then Restart the PC.
  5. You will then have to select what kind of Safe Mode in Windows 10, you would like to boot into. 

4. Start Windows 10 in Safe Mode from Login Screen

You can also launch the Windows 10 Safe Mode from your Sign-in/Login screen. This method is almost the same as the previous procedure. 

  1. In the sign-in screen, tap and hold the Shift key. 
  2. Click on the Power off symbolimg 617dc74b3ac94 and choose Restart
  3. The computer restarts and then the Windows RE screen comes up. 
  4. Navigate in the following manner: Troubleshoot > Advanced option > Startup Settings > Restart. 
  5. Once the restart is finished, you’ll see some Windows Advanced Startup options on your screen. Choose any one of them with the number keys. 

5. Start Windows 10 in Safe Mode from a Black/Blank Screen

If your Windows 10 PC has crashed and just has a black screen, it means that your PC has run into a problem. You can launch your Safe Mode by turning off the power button and back on.

Turn it off again while the drivers and hard drive boot. The Automatic Repair window will appear after three repetitions. Windows should be started in Safe Mode with Networking.

6. Booting in Safe Mode through F8 Key

You can use the F8 key in Windows 7 to enter Advanced Options before the system boots up the OS. This feature does not work for Windows 10, by default. This could be a problem if you have an SSD. You can make this work on your Windows 10 PC with a little tinkering with the Boot Configuration Data on your system. 

  1. Open the Command Prompt tool as the admin (Ctrl + Shift + Enter). 
  2. Type in the following: bcedit /set {default} bootmenupolicy legacy and tap Enter.
bootmenupolicy legacy
  1. Restart your computer and during the boot-up process, tap the F8 button.
F8 button
  1. This takes you to the Advanced Boot Options screen. From here you can choose, what kind of Safe Mode you want to boot Windows in. 

If you want to remove this feature, open the Administrator Command Prompt and type the following: bcedit /set {default} bootmenupolicy standard.

bootmenupolicy standard.

Getting out of Safe Mode in Windows 10

Once your system is launched in safe mode, you can easily program it to boot up in the normal mode. This can be done with the System Configuration Tool. 

  1. Open the System Configuration tool via the Run tool. 
  2. In the Boot tab, under the Boot options section, uncheck the Safe Boot checkbox.
  3. Click Ok and restart the computer. Once this is done, all your computer and network drivers will function, normally. 

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