Restarting a computer in Safe Mode

Answer ID 22929   |    Published 15/10/2008 11:11 AM   |    Updated 30/04/2015 11:54 AM
How do I restart my computer in Safe Mode?

From time to time when installing our software it becomes necessary to access Windows Safe Mode.

We would recommend Safe Mode if there was a conflict with other software or even hardware during the installation of our software.

Safe Mode is defined as the following:

"Safe Mode is a way for the Windows operating system to run with the minimum system files necessary.  It uses a generic VGA display driver instead of the vendor-specific driver, which means you will likely be working with only 16 colors in a resolution of 640x480.  Safe Mode also turns off all third-party drivers for other peripherals such as your mouse, keyboards, printers, and scanners.  In basic Safe Mode, networking files and settings are not loaded, meaning you won't be able to connect to the Internet or other computers on a network."

Starting in Safe Mode (not applicable for Windows 8)

Note: These instructions are applicable for Windows 7, Vista and XP. For Windows 8, click here.

  1. As your computer is booting press and hold your F8 key on your keyboard (before the Windows logo appears). This should bring up the Windows Advanced Options Menu as show below. Some computers use a different key for accessing Safe Mode, so if you find F8 is not working for you then please consult your computer manufacturer.

    Note: On some computers pressing and holding the F8 key will result in a stuck key error. If this occurs, tap the F8 key continuously until the Windows Advanced Options Menu is displayed.


  2. Use your arrow keys as pictured below to navigate though this window and choose the highlighted option above; Safe Mode.


  3. Once selected, press the ENTER key to continue starting Windows in the Safe Mode environment. An example of this is pictured below so you can confirm that you have been successful.



For more help with starting your computer in Safe Mode, see the following Microsoft articles:

Start your computer in safe mode - Windows 7

Start your computer in safe mode - Windows Vista

Start your computer in safe mode - Windows XP

Starting Windows 8 in Safe Mode

Starting a Windows 8 computer in Safe Mode involves changing the startup settings on your computer. To return your computer to a normal startup, you will need to repeat these instructions to turn off the Safe Mode startup option.

Note: For more information on Windows 8 startup settings, see the following Microsoft article.

  1. With Windows 8 started, simultaneously press the Windows Image and R keys on your keyboard (the Windows Image key is between the Ctrl and Alt keys). The Run window appears.

  2. In the Open field, type msconfig then press Enter (or click OK). The System Configuration window appears.

  3. Click the Boot tab.

  4. Under Boot options, select Safe boot. You can also select the type of Safe Mode that you want to achieve. In our example we have chosen Minimal.


  5. Click Apply.

  6. Restart your computer and it will restart in Safe Mode.


Note: After completing the above steps your computer will continue to start in Safe Mode until you turn off the Safe boot option as described below.


To return your Windows 8 computer to a normal startup

  1. Repeat steps 1 - 3 above to display the Boot tab of the System Configuration window.

  2. Under Boot options, deselect Safe boot.

  3. Click Apply.

  4. Restart your computer and it will restart normally.

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