Starting Windows 10 in Safe Mode

Have you ever tried to troubleshoot your own computer? Then you came across  Safe Mode  . Safe Mode is an inbuilt troubleshooting feature that disables unnecessary drivers and programs during the startup process. It allows us to isolate any settings or system errors and fix them at root without interfering with unnecessary applications.

Starting Windows 10 in Safe Mode

For example, you can use Safe Mode to run System Restore while troubleshooting your computer, or to delete a file used by another program. Here we will take a quick look at what to do if you can’t boot into Safe Mode with Windows 10 and boot into Safe Mode.

Method 1: System Configuration

To open the System Configuration screen, type msconfig in the Start Menu search bar  and select Best Match. Open the Boot  tab and note  Boot Options . Select Safe Boot will force your system to boot for Safe Mode on the next reboot option below.

Starting Windows 10 in Safe Mode

To start in safe mode:

  1. Remove all floppy disks, CDs and DVDs from your computer and restart your computer. Click the Start button,   the arrow next to the Shut Down button (or   the arrow next to the Lock button), and then   click Restart .
  2. Do one of the following:
      • If your computer has only one operating system, press and hold the F8 key while your computer restarts. You must press the F8 key before the Windows logo appears. If the Windows logo appears, you must wait until the Windows login prompt appears, and then try to shut down and restart 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 the F8 key.
  3. On the Advanced Boot Options  screen, use the arrow keys to highlight the safe mode option you want to use and press Enter.
  4. Log into your computer with a user account that has administrator rights.
  • Safe Mode with Networking.  It starts Windows in safe mode and has the network drivers and services needed to access the Internet and other computers on your network.
  • Safe Mode with Command Prompt.  Starts Windows in safe mode with a command prompt window instead of the normal Windows interface. This option is designed for IT professionals and administrators.
  • Enable Boot Logging.  Creates an ntbtlog.txt file that lists all drivers loaded during startup and can be useful for advanced troubleshooting.
  • Enable low resolution video (640 × 480).  It starts Windows using your current video driver and low resolution and refreshes the rate settings. You can use this mode to reset your display settings. For more information see. Change your screen resolution.
  • Last Known Good Configuration (advanced).  Starts Windows with the last registry and driver configuration that worked successfully.
  • Directory Services Restore Mode.  The directory service can be restored by starting the Windows domain controller running Active Directory. This option is designed for IT professionals and administrators.
  • Debug Mode.  Starts Windows in an advanced troubleshooting mode designed for IT professionals and system administrators.
  • Disable automatic reboot after system failure.  It prevents Windows from automatically restarting if Windows does not run due to an error. Select this option only if Windows is stuck in a loop where it constantly fails, tries to restart, and fails again.
  • Disable Driver Signature Enforcement.  Allows installing drivers with improper signatures.
  • Start Windows Normally.  Starts Windows in its normal mode.

Method 2: Advanced Startup

Your next option is Windows 10 Advanced Startup. It’s  not that  advanced, but it’s really useful to know.

Type an  advanced start up the  Start Menu search bar and select Best Match. Now   select Restart Now  under  Advanced startup .

Clicking Restart Now restarts your system in recovery mode, where you will encounter three options: Continue, Troubleshoot, or Shut Down Your Computer.


 Choose Troubleshoot> Advanced Options . You now have a new range of options to choose from.

 Select Startup Settings> Restart . Your system will be rebooted. After restarting, the Startup Settings screen will load. Select the required option for Safe Mode from here.

Starting Windows 10 in Safe Mode


Method 3: tapping

Until the introduction of Windows 8, the most common method to enter Safe Mode was by tapping the F8 on your keyboard during startup. Tapping F8 brings up the Safe Mode options screen, listing the options found under Method 1 (above) and a few alternatives.

Windows 10 (and Windows 8 / 8.1) has disabled F8 Safe Mode by default. However, you can sacrifice a few seconds on startup by activating the F8 menu using Command Prompt.

Start by opening an elevated Command Prompt. Right-click on the Start menu and choose  Command Prompt (Admin)  .  Select Yes in the User Account Control dialog box if it appears  . Command Prompt should now be open.

Enter (or copy / paste) the following command:

bcdedit /set {default} bootmenupolicy legacy

Job done!


To undo this old command whenever you want, reopen the elevated Command Prompt according to the instructions above and type:

bcdedit /set {default} bootmenupolicy standard

This will return the startup process to its original state, so you need to use one of the alternative options in this article to access Safe Mode.

What if nothing works?

Even if none of the above work, you have two aces in your hand.

If you installed Windows 10 via a disc or USB flash drive, you can boot directly into recovery mode by inserting the installation media in question before turning on your system.

 Select your keyboard layout at the bottom left of the screen, then  Repair Your Computer . From here you  can navigate to Troubleshoot> Advanced Options where you can find System Restore, System Image Recovery, Startup Repair, Command Prompt and Go Back to Previous Build  .

Starting Windows 10 in Safe Mode

In order for System Image Recovery to work, you must have made a backup image before the system failure.  You can create a System Image by typing recovery in the Start Menu search bar  and selecting Best Match. Advanced Recovery Tools will open. Select Create Recovery Drive and follow the steps.

System Repair Disc

Another helpful tool at your service is the System Repair Disc. Unlike System Image, these are not machine specific so if they’re all completely pear shaped you can get one with a friend.

Start Control Panel> System and Security> Rollback and restore (Windows 7).

Don’t let the Windows 7 label put you off: you’re in the right place.  Select  Create System Repair Disc  from the left column  and follow the instructions.

How Do I Get Out of Safe Mode?

After Windows 10 resolves your problem, you can exit Safe Mode. But how can you exit Safe Mode once you get there?

There are two options depending on how you boot into Safe Mode.

 If you entered Safe Mode  using Method 1 (via System Configuration), you must turn off the Safe Mode option in the configuration window. Otherwise, Windows 10 will boot into Safe Mode after every reboot.

 If you entered Safe Mode using Method 2  (with Advanced Startup) or  Method 3 (By Tapping Your Keyboard), shut down or restart your system to exit Safe Mode.

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