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How to use Safe-Mode in Windows XP/Vista?

January 19th, 2011 1 comment

Windows’ Safe Mode is a special Windows mode, where you can perform diagnostics to check what is wrong with the computer, when Windows won’t boot normally. Safe mode loads only the minimal drivers and files needed to start Windows.

To start Windows in safe mode, you press the F8 function key just before you see the "Starting Windows XP" screen. This would be hard for new users, so it’s better to just keep pressing the F8 key once the BIOS screen display goes away.


When you press F8, you see the following Windows boot menu, as shown in the image below. Select one of the three safe modes and press the Enter key to boot Windows with the selected safe mode.

After pressing the Enter key, you’ll see something like the following screen where the drivers are loaded.

After a little time, Windows asks you the Administrator or administrator equivalent user’s password. Type in the password and press the Enter key to log on.

After logging on, you’ll see the safe mode warning message. If you want to start the safe mode, click on YES, or just press the Enter key. If you want to run System Recovery, click NO.

Once you’re in Safe Mode, you can scan your computer for viruses, defragment your hard drive, uninstall recently installed software programs or use System Restore to revert your computer to a more stable environment. Some software programs won’t run while you’re in Safe Mode, so it should only be used to diagnose and repair issues with your operating system. For more information about System Restore, view this post.

Once you’re finished with your troubleshooting and repairs, just restart Windows as you normally would. Your system will boot normally and you can use your programs.