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How to boot into Windows 8 Safe Mode

One of the most common first steps when it come to PC troubleshooting techniques is booting your PC into Safe Mode. Safe Mode allows you to boot your PC into a limited version of Windows. In Safe Mode only the absolute essential drivers and files are loaded. This is often useful to repair problems caused by malware infections, recent hardware changes, or faulty updates. Getting into Safe Mode is a simple process for older versions of Windows (you hit the F8 key repeatedly before the Windows logo appears when you boot your PC), however this process is slightly different in Windows 8 as the new OS has changed how recovery and boot options are selected.

Learn how to boot in Safe Mode in Windows 8.

Booting into Windows 8 Safe Mode from a reboot

Traditionally, Safe Mode was accessed by pressing F8 at startup. This would stop your PC from booting normally and give you your PC’s advanced boot options in which you would then simply choose to boot into Safe Mode.

Safe Mode Windows 7
“Safe Mode Options in Windows 7”

In Windows 8, it’s no longer quite this simple. Safe Mode still exists, but it has been placed a little deeper into the Advanced Startup Options menu. There are a few ways to access Safe Mode in Windows 8, however the following method is generally the easiest and most common.

To access Windows 8 Safe Mode from the Advanced Startup Options Menu:

  • Turn on your PC and hold the Shift key.

  • With Shift held, press F8 repeatedly until you are presented with the Recovery screen.

  • Windows 8 Recovery Screen
    “Windows 8 Recovery Screen”

  • On the Recovery screen, select See Advanced Repair Options.

  • On the next screen you will be presented with three options. Select Troubleshoot.

  • Windows 8 Trobleshoot Option
    “Windows 8 Trobleshoot Option to boot in Safe Mode”

  • On the next screen you will again be presented with three options. Select Advanced Options.

  • Windows 8 Advanced Options
    “Windows 8 Advanced Options to boot in Safe Mode”

  • On the Advanced Options screen you will see several different repair and boot options. Select Windows Startup Settings.

  • Windows 8 StartUp Options
    “Windows 8 StartUp Options to boot in Safe Mode”

  • On the Windows Startup Settings screen simply click the restart option at the bottom.

  • Windows 8 reboot in Safe Mode
    “Restart to Boot Windows 8 in Safe Mode”

  • Your PC will restart and bring you to the Advanced Boot Options Menu.

  • This menu may now look a little more familiar, as it’s similar to the previous Safe Mode options in older Operating Systems. You will see several options, including several Safe Mode options. Simply select the option labeled Safe Mode and your PC will then restart into safe mode.

Windows 8 Safe Mode Options
“Safe Mode Options in Windows 8”

Booting into Windows 8 Safe Mode (From Within Windows)

If you’re already booted into Windows, you can reboot into safe mode without having to go through the above steps. Remember though, this method will not work if you are having difficulty booting into Windows normally.

To access Windows 8 safe mode from within Windows:

  • Press the Windows Key and R to bring up the Run window.

  • Type in msconfig and hit enter.

  • This will bring up a System Configuration menu. Click the tab labeled Boot.

  • Windows 8 System Configuration
    “Booting into Safe Mode in Windows 8 using System Configuration Option”

  • On this tab, you will be presented with several boot options. Check the box labeled Safe boot and the button labeled Minimal.

  • Hit OK and then Restart on the next window.

  • Your PC will then restart and boot into Safe Mode.

  • Now that you have applied these settings, your PC will continue to boot in Safe Mode. To stop your PC booting in Safe Mode, simply follow the steps again, and uncheck Safe boot in the System Configuration menu.

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