You’ve Asked I Answer: How to start Windows in Safe Mode

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Windows 95
  3. Windows 98/ME
  4. Windows 2000
  5. Windows XP
  6. Windows Vista
  7. Windows 7
  8. Windows 8
  9. Problems that can occur by forcing Safe Mode using the System Configuration Utility
  10. Conclusion


Windows Safe Mode is a way of booting up your Windows operating system in order to run administrative and diagnostic tasks on your installation. When you boot into Safe Mode the operating system only loads the bare minimum of software that is required for the operating system to work. This mode of operating is designed to let you troubleshoot and run diagnostics on your computer. Windows Safe Mode loads a basic video drivers so your programs may look different than normal.

For Win98/ME, XP, Vista and Windows 7 there are two methods of booting into Safe Mode, while 95 and 2000 only have one. We will describe these methods below:

F8 – By pressing the F8 key right when Windows starts, usually right after you hear your computer beep when you reboot it, you will be brought to a menu where you can choose to boot into safe mode. If it does not work on the first try, reboot and try again as you have to be quick when you press it. I have found that during boot up right after the computer shows you all the equipment , memory, etc installed on your computer, if you start lightly tapping the F8 key you will usually be able to get to the desired menu.

System Configuration Utility – You can use the System Configuration Utility, or MSCONFIG, found in Windows 98, ME, XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7 to make Windows boot into Safe Mode on the next reboot. We will go into specific details in the sections below. Please note, that you should not force your computer to boot into Safe Mode using the System Configuration Utility if you suspect you are infected with malware as the malware may corrupt keys required to boot into Safe Mode. You can read more about this here.

Author: Murphy

Share This Post On
%d bloggers like this: