There comes a point in every Windows user’s life when you need to troubleshoot your computer. One of the key steps in troubleshooting stability issues is to boot your computer in safe mode. This starts Windows in a simple state, loading a limited set of drivers and background processes.
If the problem does not occur in Safe Mode, it is assumed that something other than the default settings and underlying drivers is causing the problem. Knowing this allows you to narrow down the sources of the problem.
Safe Mode comes in two flavors: Safe Mode and Safe Mode with Networking. The latter simply adds the network drivers and services needed to access the Internet and other computers on your network.
We’ll walk you through three different ways to start your PC in Windows 10 Safe Mode below. We’ve tested and taken screenshots using Windows 10 version 1809 build 17763.437. If you have a newer version of the operating system, things may look a little different.
Boot to safe mode from Windows
1. Go to Settings. You can get there by clicking the Start button, then selecting Settings, or by using the keyboard shortcut, Windows logo key + I.
2. Click Update & Security from the setting screen.
3. Click Recovery. Then click the Restart now button under Advanced startup.
After the PC restarts, it will allow you to change Windows startup settings including the Troubleshoot function.
4. Select Troubleshoot, then Advanced options then Startup Settings. Finally, click Restart.
5.Select 4 or F4 from the menu to start your computer in safe mode. If you need network capabilities, select 5 or F5.
The computer will restart and should be in safe mode. You can tell this by the low screen resolution and black background, as well as the words “Safe Mode” displayed in the four corners of the screen.
Enter safe mode mode from the login screen
If you can’t open Settings and enter Safe Mode this way, another option is to use the Microsoft login screen.
1. Hold down the shift key and select the power button in the lower right corner of the login screen. Your computer should then restart and appear on the Select Option screen.
After the PC restarts to the winRE environment and Choose an option screen,
2. Select Troubleshoot, then Advanced options, Startup Settings, and finally, click Restart.
3. Select 4 or F4 to start the computer in safe mode. If you need networking capabilities, select 5 or F5.
The computer will restart and should now be in safe mode. You can see this by the low resolution desktop and black background, as well as the “Safe Mode” label in the four corners of the screen.
Enter Safe Mode if you can’t boot Windows
If at this point you’re looking at a black screen and you can’t access Safe Mode from Windows, you can still do it by entering the Windows Recovery Environment as we did above, by turning the computer off and then on repeatedly.
1. Hold down the power button for 10 secondsto turn the computer off.
2. Press the power button to turn on the computer.
3.At the first hint that Windows is starting up (for example, when you reboot, you may see the manufacturer’s logo) hold down the power button for 10 seconds to turn off the computer.
4. Press the power button to turn on the computer again.
5. When Windows restarts, hold down the power button for 10 seconds to turn off the computer.
6. Press the power button a third time to turn on the computer.
7. Allow the computer to fully reboot this time and you should be in WinRE at the Select Option screen. Select Troubleshoot.
8. Select Advanced Options, Launch Options, and finally click the Restart button.
After starting the PC, you should see a list of options.
9. Select 4 or F4 to start the computer in safe mode. If you need networking, select 5 or F5.