How to get into Windows safe mode

Safe mode is the stripped-down Windows environment with minimal drivers. For years, pressing F8 was a quick way to get into safe mode. But that trick doesn't work on all PCs running Windows 8.


Safe mode provides a visually unappealing Windows environment with limited functionality and a low resolution, which is useful for diagnostic and repair purposes. You won't want to create a PowerPoint presentation in safe mode, but if something goes wrong, it can be a handy mode to use. For example, if you still can't uninstall a program, it may work in safe mode. Also read: 19 tips for Windows 8.1.

One of the things standard safe mode can't do is networking. But because some diagnostic tasks require networking and Internet access - such as scanning for malware and updating drivers - Windows also offers an alternative safe mode environment with Networking.


The conventional way to enter safe mode still works in Windows 7 and Vista, and on some Windows 8 PCs. Start up the computer and press quite a few times F8. Once the Advanced Boot Options menu appears, you can Safe Mode or Safe Mode with Networking Selecting.

In the menu you can choose between different versions of safe mode.

If that doesn't work, here's something specific to Windows 8:

1. Hold shift pressed while holding the Restartoption from the Shutdown menu. This works with the Settings charm and - in Windows 8.1 - by right-clicking the Startbutton.

If you hold down Shift, you can start Windows in safe mode.

2. In the Choose an option screen that appears, select Troubleshoot > Advanced options > Startup Settings > Restart.

3. When the Startup Settings menu appears, type 4 for Safe Mode or 5 for Safe Mode with Networking.

There is another way to safe mode, and it works in Windows 7, 8, and Vista:

1. In the Search field of the Start menu or in the Search charm in Windows 8, type msconfig and open the program that pops up.

2. Click on the tab Boat.

3. Tick the safe boatoption.

The second way allows you to get into safe mode via Safe boot.

4. Select an option below that. safe boat will take you to standard safe mode. With networking does exactly what you expect.

5. Click OK and then click Restart.

However, there is a problem with this last method. When you're done and Windows restarts, you'll be taken back to safe mode. So - while you are still in safe mode - you need to open msconfig and uncheck the Safe boot option.

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