How to Boot into Safe Mode in Windows 8

Are you have problems to get windows to boot into safe mode? Have you tried both F8 and Shift+F8 and they don’t work? That’s probably because of all the changes Microsoft has made to the boot procedure in Windows 8 and 8.1. Windows has become so fast that it literally cannot be interrupted by any of your keypresses. But don’t worry, I have 4 ways for you to boot into Safe Mode. They don’t involve any special hacks or manual configuration.

What is Safe Mode?

Safe Mode has been a component of the Windows operating system since the days of Windows 95. The basic idea is to allow the user (or technical support worker) access to the windows interface without loading any unnecessary drivers or software. The idea is that if device drivers or auto loading software (spyware, viruses) are causing problems with your Windows installation, the easiest way to fix things is to load a version of Windows that bypasses all but the most basic drivers and will not run any additional software. The safe mode provides you with a basic graphics driver (enough to display the user interface), access to your drives and windows configuration, and very little else. In Windows 8, the minimum screen resolution used by Safe Mode has risen from 800×600 pixels to 1024×768 pixels.

Use Shift + Restart

The easyest way is to get into safe mode from a running Windows 8 pc. To do this, just follow the following steps. The images are just for illustrating purpose and your settings or screen may look different.

  1. Press the Power button at the Windows login screen or in the Settings charm. Then, press and hold the SHIFT key on your keyboard and click Restart.
  2. Windows asks you to choose an option. Press Troubleshoot.
  3. In the Troubleshoot screen, press Advanced options.
  4. In the Advanced options screen, press Startup Settings.
  5. You are informed that you are about to restart in order to change several Windows options, including enabling Safe Mode. Press Restart.
  6. Your computer or device restarts again and displays nine startup settings, including Safe Mode, Safe Mode with Networking and Safe Mode with Command Prompt
  7. Press the F4 key on your keyboard, to enable Safe Mode, F5 to enable Safe Mode with Networking and F6 to enable Safe Mode with Command Prompt

Use the System Configuration Tool (msconfig.exe)

An other way to boot into the safe mode is by using the  the System Configuration tool, also known as msconfig.exe.

  1. Press the Windows + R key at the same time on the keyboard
  2. Type “msconfig” and hit enter
  3. Go to the Boot tab
  4. Check the box “Safe boot“.
  5. Now click or tap OK.
  6. You are informed that you need to restart your computer. Click Restart or Exit without restart depending on whether you want to restart now or later.
  7. At the next restart, Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 start in Safe Mode.

msconfig How to Boot into Safe Mode in Windows 8 safe mode

On older PC’s or laptops

To quote Steve Sinofsky:

“Windows 8 has a problem – it really can boot up too quickly. So quickly, in fact, that there is no longer time for anything to interrupt boot. When you turn on a Windows 8 PC, there’s no longer long enough to detect keystrokes like F2 or F8, much less time to read a message such as “Press F2 for Setup.” For the first time in decades, you will no longer be able to interrupt boot and tell your PC to do anything different than what it was already expecting to do.”

However, if your pc doesn’t include an SSD or if you are fast and lucky enough, you can always try to get into the safe mode by holding the Shift button and mashing the F8 key. This will sometimes get you intro the safe mode.

Boot from a System Recovery Memory Stick or CD

In Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 you can use the Recovery Media Creator to create a system recovery drive on a USB flash Drive or a CD. If you created this recovery device, you can use it to get into safe mode. Just start up using the USB or CD you created.

  1. Choose your keyboard layout
  2. Then, the Choose an option screen is shown.
  3. From here on, the steps are the same to those shown above (Shift+Restart)

 

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About The Author
Pepijn van Gastel
Pepijn has always been passionate about technology, but found his vocation in medicine. As of today he has focused it's experience on his new startup company PuurHost.nl and is therefore not an active participator of WindowsInstructed anymore.

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