Modern computers are just as vulnerable to problems as they were few decades back. Hardware might have evolved, but with the never-ending advancement of software, is almost certain that we experience new issues along the way. It is a continuous process. There will never be a single stable update that is free from any annoyances, could be minor or major issues.
Thankfully, software developers has since figured this out, and bundled our computers with diagnostic tools to help us determine what causes the problem, DIY-style.
In this article, we will be discussing what Safe Mode is, and how to boot to Safe Mode in Windows 10.
What is Safe Mode, and What I can do with it?
Safe Mode is a simple troubleshooting function for all computers to help diagnose system-critical problems that interferes with the normal Windows operation. Basically, Safe Mode limits our computer to basic functions, with only core drivers and network services available for use.
If you happen to experience some problems after installing something on your computer, Safe Mode can help you figure it out.
- You can also uninstall previous programs that has potentially caused the problem on your computer.
- It is possible to remove malware in Safe Mode using an antivirus program (Windows Defender).
- If you don’t have an antivirus installed on your computer you should be able to download one using Safe Mode with Networking.
- If there’s some stability issue, you can also Run System Restore in Safe Mode.
If your computer keeps on crashing in normal mode, you should be able to run System Restore under Safe Mode without any issue.
If the system instability is caused by your hardware drivers, you can always download and update these drivers from your manufacturer’s website, directly on Safe Mode. Safe Mode doesn’t use your hardware drivers, so it is not really affected of the instability issue.
How to boot to Safe Mode in Windows 10?
There are two main ways to boot in Safe Mode in Windows 10. You can do this directly upon sign-in screen, or boot directly into it if you are encountering “White screen of Death.”
However, we will also add instructions on how to restart Windows 10 on Safe Mode, as well as booting on Safe Mode with networking. This will allow us to further troubleshoot our computers with networking support, aside from just the core drivers.
How to start Safe Mode from Sign-in screen?
- First thing’s first. Restart your computer.
- After starting up, you will see a sign-in screen. On the bottom right of the display, you will see a “Power” button. On the options, click on “Restart” while holding down the “Shift key.” This will restart your computer again.
- After the restart process, you see an option screen. On that, select “Troubleshoot”, then “Advanced options,” “Start-up settings,” then for the third time, click “Restart.”
- After the third boot-up process, you will see another set of options. This time, it includes an option for Safe Mode. You can hold down F4, or 4 to open Safe Mode.
How to start Safe Mode from blank screen?
If you are having problems booting to sign-in screen, this this process might work for you.
- On a Windows 10 computer, hold the Windows key, while also pressing Ctrl + Shift + B. (On a Windows 10 tablet, it is far more complicated. You will need to press both the increase and decrease volume button three times, at the same time, within 2 seconds)
- During this period, you may seem your computer or tablet screen dim, or flutter, with a beep sound. This is an indication that your Windows 10 device is refreshing.
- You should now see the same options on the screen. Just follow the same instructions from above to get to the Safe Mode.
If you have tried booting up to Safe Mode from a blank screen, but nothing happened, you might need to first further troubleshoot computer. It is possible that there is connection problem with your PC or display.
1. Desktop PC
- Check if your display is plugged properly, or if it is turned on.
- If your monitor is turned on, make sure that it is set to correct input.
- Note that a change in driver can cause the video to be sent to a different output on your PC. Try switching cables between your computer and monitor to the one that uses a different output type. If the computer and monitor is connected via VGA cable, try using HDMI or DisplayPort cable.
- A problem with your video card driver can also cause your system to use the integrated graphics on your processor by default. Try switching your monitor’s cable between the motherboard’s video output, and the back of the video card.
2. Windows 10 laptop or tablet using external monitor
- If your tablet is on a docking station, try removing it temporarily.
- Check if your external monitor is plugged properly, or if it is turned on.
- Check for damaged cables such as DVI, VGA, HDMI, Thunderbolt, and DisplayPort. Also, if you are using adapters like DVI-to-VGA, check for any problems.
- If everything works properly, but you are still having problems booting up to Safe Mode, check for loose cable connections. Make sure everything is intact.
- If you are on multiple display setup, try projecting the video to a different monitor. Press Windows key + P, select the display, then hit “Enter.”
How to start Windows 10 in Safe Mode with Networking?
If you want to troubleshoot your computer using Safe Mode function, but still wanted to have internet connection, then this will work for you.
- On your computer screen, press the Windows key, click the “Power” icon, and “Shift” key on your keyboard, the “Restart.” This process will bring you directly to the option screen.
- When you are already on the option screen, choose “Troubleshoot” to access “Advanced options.”
- Under the “Advanced options”, go ahead and click “Startup Settings.” Hit “Restart.”
- After restarting your computer, you will be greeted by “Startup Settings,” to enable “Safe Mode with Networking,” press 5.
- Your computer may ask you for username and password, once verified, you can now access “Safe Mode with Networking.”
- To go back to your normal Windows configuration, just click “Start” (or Windows key), “Power,” then “ Restart.”
There is two ways to access the Settings menu. The first one is to click the “Start” button in the bottom left of the screen. You could also access it by pressing the Windows key on your keyboard, and “I” at the same time.
- In the Settings menu, look for “Update and Security.”
- From the left navigation, select “Recovery.” (Open Recovery Settings)
- Under “Advanced startup,” click “Restart now.”
- After a successful restart, your computer now shows an option screen. Just choose “Troubleshoot,” “Advanced options,” “Startup settings,” and then “Restart.”
- After the restart, you will see more options. If you want to enter Safe Mode without networking, hold down F4 or 4. If you want to boot to Safe Mode with networking, just press F5 or 5. You can now start troubleshooting your computer.
If you want to leave Safe Mode, and go back to normal operation, just restart your computer.
Safe Mode on older Windows PC
Safe Mode has been around since 1995, so almost any available versions of Windows has its own Safe Mode function. Now that we tackle how to boot to Safe Mode on Windows 10 computers, let me show you how to do it with any other Windows versions.
Safe Mode on Windows 7/Vista/XP
- If your computer is powered on, just press Restart. If not, just go ahead and power it on. After you hear a beep, tap the F8 key within 1 second.
- Set back, and relax as your computer displays hardware information, and runs memory test. After that, the “Advanced Boot Options” menu will appear.
- Use the arrow key to scroll down to with “Safe Mode” or “Safe Mode with networking.” It all depends on your choice.
- After using the “Safe Mode” option, just restart your computer. After you hear a beep, press the F8 key within 1 second.
- After your computer displays hardware information, and runs memory test, you will see “Advanced Boot Options” again.
- Using an arrow key, scroll down to “Start Windows Normally.”
Safe Mode on Windows 8
- While on a homescreen, click Windows key + C on your keyboard. Look for “Settings.”
- Click “Power,” while also holding down the “Shift” key, then click “Restart.”
- Now that your computer restarted, you will now see an option screen. Go ahead click “Troubleshoot.”
- Under the “Troubleshoot,” look for “Advanced options” then look for “Startup Settings.” Restart your computer.
- After restarting, press 4 on your keyboard to select “Safe Mode”, or 5 to select “Safe Mode with Networking.”
If you want to leave Safe Mode, just press Start (Windows key), Power, and then Restart. You should now be able to boot up to your normal Windows configuration.