There are times when you’ll need to troubleshoot your PC. Whether it’s a stability issue with the OS or a problem with a driver, a good place to start is by booting into Safe Mode. In previous versions of Windows you could just restart your computer while pressing the F8 key repeatedly.
While that worked in the XP days, the OS has evolved and Safe Mode is buried a bit deeper, and there is a couple of ways to do it.
Safe Mode via Advanced Boot Options
If you’re having problems booting into Windows 10 or it keeps crashing on you, the easy way to get into Safe Mode is to use Advanced Boot Options. And this is where your Windows 10 USB Recovery Drive comes in handy. You have created one right?
Or, you can hold down the Shift Key and at the same time click Restart.
Either way, when your PC comes back you’ll see the Advanced Options menu. Go to Troubleshoot > Advanced Options and select Startup Settings.
On the next screen select the Restart button.
When it comes back you will see the familiar Advanced Boot Options screen and can choose the version of Safe Mode you want, i.e. with networking or not.
Boot into Safe Mode While Inside Windows 10
If the problem you’re having still allows you to get into the OS, hit the Windows Key+R to open the Run box or in the Search field type: msconfig and hit Enter.
Next in the System Configuration window select the Boot tab.
Then under Boot Options check the Safe Boot box and one of four options which are explained below:
- Minimal: Safe Mode without a network connection (typically best for home users)
- Alternate Shell: Safe Mode with the Command Prompt (advanced power user option)
- Active Directory Repair: This is for restoring a server Domain Controller (home users don’t need to worry about this one)
- Network: Safe Mode with a network connection (allows you to reach the internet and other devices on your network)
Restart your computer and it goes into Safe Mode automatically – no need to press any keys.
Then while in Safe Mode you can use the administrative utilities from the hidden Quick Access menu for troubleshooting.
Make sure that once you’re done with Safe Mode, go back into System Configuration and uncheck Safe Boot. Otherwise you’ll be booting into Safe Mode every time you restart.
Note that you can use these options to boot Windows 8.1 into Safe Mode, too.