Booting into Safe Mode in Windows 10

How to use Safe Mode, and why you may need it...

Windows 10 Safe Mode

When it comes to troubleshooting, it’s important to learn how to use Windows 10 Safe Mode. This special boot option strips away all the excess and gives you an extremely basic version of Windows 10. As you might have noticed, the option isn’t obvious and it takes a few extra steps to boot into Safe Mode.

Using Windows 10 Safe Mode

Safe Mode isn’t something you’ll use often unless you’re trying to troubleshoot problems with your computer. A few common reasons to boot into Safe Mode include:

Since Safe Mode boots your system into a basic state, many of the problems you might face when booting normally are gone. If you boot into this mode and don’t experience any issues, you know there is a problem with a driver, new program, or virus.

This mode exists on Windows 95 through Windows 10 as a troubleshooting tool. For instance, a bad driver could be preventing you from booting normally. In Safe Mode, the driver never tries to load and you’re able to reach the desktop. From there, you’re able to uninstall the driver and then boot normally again.

You should be aware that Safe Mode comes in three varieties. The first is the most basic and doesn’t include any Internet access options. This one is ideal if you’re trying to manually remove a virus and want to prevent the virus from connecting to the Internet to re-infect your machine.

Safe Mode with Networking has one noticeable difference – network options, such as connecting to Wi-Fi networks. The final option is Safe Mode with Command Prompt. This is a more advanced option and allows you to use the command prompt to make changes to your computer.

Booting into Safe Mode

As with most things in Windows 10, getting to Safe Mode isn’t the same process as it used to be. With Windows 7 and earlier, you could press F8 during the boot process to access advanced booting options. With the introduction of Windows 8, this all changed.

If you’re able to boot normally, go to Start > Settings > Update & security > Recovery. Press Restart Now under Advanced Startup. Your computer will restart, so make sure you’ve saved any open files before doing this step.

After the restart, go to Troubleshoot > Advanced options > Startup Settings > Restart. Once the options screen appears, select either 4, 5, or 6 to boot into the correct Safe Mode for your needs.

If you can’t boot normally, don’t worry. You may still be able to access Windows 10 Safe Mode. After two consecutive failed starts, Windows 10 should show you the Windows Recovery Environment screen. Select Troubleshoot > Advanced options > Startup Settings > Restart. When your boot options appear, choose the Safe Mode option you want to use.

Holding the power button to force a restart will also take you to the Windows Recovery Environment. If neither of these options takes you to this screen, the system may be corrupted.

Related Read: How to Boot Your Android Device in Safe Mode

Contribution by Crystal Crowder

About the Author

Crystal lives and breathes tech. She’s spent over a decade writing tutorials, reviews, and more on tech, business, and lifestyle sites. Her idea of fun is settling down with the latest tech and gadget news.

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