How to Start Windows 10/11 in Safe Mode

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Starting Windows 10 or 11 in Safe Mode can be crucial for troubleshooting issues. Here’s a guide with updated information and instructions, divided into several sections for ease of understanding.

1. Starting from Settings

Accessing Safe Mode through Windows Settings is an effective method, particularly when the operating system is functioning normally but troubleshooting is necessary.

  1. Access Settings:Press the Windows logo key + I to open Settings directly. Alternatively, click on the Start button and then select Settings.
  2. Navigate to Recovery Options:Inside Settings, navigate to the ‘Update & Security’ section, and then click on the ‘Recovery’ tab on the left sidebar.
  3. Initiate Advanced Startup:Under the Advanced startup section, find and click on the ‘Restart now’ button. This action will reboot your PC into an advanced startup mode.
  4. Advanced Options:After your PC restarts, a screen will appear with several options. Here, select ‘Troubleshoot’, then ‘Advanced options’, followed by ‘Startup Settings’, and finally click ‘Restart’.
  5. Enter Safe Mode:Once your PC restarts again, it will display a list of options. Press 4 or F4 to start your PC in Safe Mode. If you need internet access, select 5 or F5 to start in Safe Mode with Networking.

2. Using the Sign-in Screen

Starting Safe Mode from the Windows sign-in screen is useful if you cannot access the desktop or Settings app.

  1. Shift + Restart Combination:At the Windows sign-in screen, hold the Shift key down. While holding it, select the Power button on the bottom right of the screen and then click on ‘Restart’.
  2. Troubleshoot and Advanced Options:Once your PC restarts, on the ‘Choose an option’ screen, select ‘Troubleshoot’, then ‘Advanced options’, followed by ‘Startup Settings’, and finally click ‘Restart’.
  3. Select Safe Mode:After the restart, a list of options will be displayed. Press 4 or F4 to start in Safe Mode. For network access, press 5 or F5 for Safe Mode with Networking.

3. From a Black or Blank Screen

If your PC is unresponsive and presents a black or blank screen, you can still access Safe Mode through a series of hardware resets.

  1. Force Restart into WinRE:Press and hold the power button for 10 seconds to turn off your device. Then turn it on again. When you see the first sign that Windows is starting (like the manufacturer’s logo), hold the power button for 10 seconds to turn off your device again. Repeat this process until the Windows Recovery Environment (winRE) starts.
  2. Navigate through Options:In winRE, select ‘Troubleshoot’, then ‘Advanced options’, followed by ‘Startup Settings’, and finally click ‘Restart’.
  3. Choose Safe Mode:After your device restarts, you will see a list of options. Choose option 5 or press F5 for Safe Mode with Networking.

4. Using a USB/DVD and Command Prompt (For Windows 11)

For more technical users, starting Safe Mode using a Windows 11 installation media and Command Prompt provides a deeper level of control.

  1. Boot from USB/DVD:Insert your Windows 11 installation USB or DVD, and boot your computer from it. You might need to change the boot order in your BIOS settings.
  2. Access Windows Setup:In the Windows Setup screen, click ‘Next’, and then select ‘Repair your computer’ located at the bottom-left corner of the screen.
  3. Open Command Prompt:From the ‘Choose an option’ screen, navigate to Troubleshoot > Advanced options > Command Prompt.
  4. Enter Command for Safe Mode:In the Command Prompt, type bcdedit /set {default} safeboot minimal and press Enter. This will set your computer to boot in Safe Mode on the next restart.
  5. Restart in Safe Mode:Close the Command Prompt and click ‘Continue’ to restart your PC. It will now boot into Safe Mode.
  6. Exiting this Safe Mode:To return to normal boot, open Command Prompt again and run bcdedit /deletevalue {default} safeboot.

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5. System Configuration Tool (msconfig.exe)

The System Configuration tool, also known as msconfig.exe, provides a straightforward way to boot into Safe Mode.

  1. Open System Configuration:Search for ‘System Configuration’ or run msconfig.exe from the Run dialog (Windows key + R).
  2. Configure Boot Options:Go to the Boot tab in the System Configuration window. Check the ‘Safe boot’ option under Boot options. Click OK to apply the changes.
  3. Restart to Safe Mode:After applying changes, you will be prompted to restart your computer. Select Restart to boot into Safe Mode immediately.
  4. Return to Normal Boot:To exit Safe Mode, uncheck the ‘Safe boot’ option in System Configuration and restart your computer.

6. Using “Shift + Restart” on the Start Menu

This method is a quick way to access Safe Mode using keyboard shortcuts and the Windows Start Menu.

  1. Shift + Restart:Hold down the Shift key and navigate to the Start menu. Select the Power icon, then click on ‘Restart’ while still holding the Shift key.
  2. Access Advanced Options:Upon restarting, select ‘Troubleshoot’ from the ‘Choose an option’ screen, then ‘Advanced options’, followed by ‘Startup Settings’, and finally ‘Restart’.
  3. Choose Your Safe Mode Option:After the PC restarts, a list of options will appear. Select 4 or F4 for standard Safe Mode, 5 or F5 for Safe Mode with Networking, or 6 or F6 for Safe Mode with Command Prompt.

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