What You Need to Know About Windows 10 Safe Mode

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You might have heard of the term “Safe Mode” while troubleshooting a Windows problem. Most operating systems come with Safe Mode which allows the user to boot into a protected environment free from third-party software interference. Windows also comes with a Safe Mode that you can use to safely troubleshoot problems. In this article we will tell you everything you need to know to access and use Safe Mode in Windows 10.

Windows 10 Safe Mode

In short, Safe Mode is used for identifying and solving software and driver-related problems. In Safe Mode Windows boots with the least required hardware drivers and software. Only the basic system files that are necessary for booting Windows are loaded in Safe Mode, and the PC will start with VGA graphics. In most cases this will prevent problematic software or hardware drivers from loading, thus making it easier to find the problem and fix it. Usually you will want to access Safe Mode when your PC is inoperable and you don’t know the problem or can’t solve it in the normal mode.

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There are different types of Safe Mode, each offering varying levels of functionality that are used in different situations. Below is an explanation of all the modes:

Minimal: This is the most restricted Safe Mode with no extra software or driver running. In most cases this mode is used for troubleshooting problems.

Alternate Shell: This Safe Mode allows the use of the command prompt to execute different commands. If you need to use the command prompt to solve your problem, then use this mode.

Active Directory Repair: In this mode Windows disables Active Directory while booting in Safe Mode. (It’s enabled in other Safe Modes.) Active directory authenticates your passwords, usernames, applications, updating system and other things that are required to be authenticated by the system before using. If you believe there is a problem with the Active Directory itself, then you should use this mode.

Network: this loads required network drivers to let you establish an Internet connection. Use it when you need an active Internet connection to solve the problem.

If your Windows is not loading at all or crashes multiple times, Windows will automatically give you the option to boot in Safe Mode. However, there are also many other ways to manually boot Windows 10 in Safe Mode. The most common one is to press the F8 key repeatedly while Windows is booting. Unfortunately, this may not always work in Windows 10, as the boot time is too quick to read the key strokes.

Another way to access Safe Mode is to press and hold the “Shift” key, and then click on the “Restart” button in the power menu to restart the PC. This will restart the PC and show you the boot options. You can then go to “Troubleshoot -> Advanced options -> Startup Settings -> Restart” to restart Windows 10 and access Safe Modeoptions. Once in Safe Mode, you can restart the PC again to enter the normal mode.

If your problem is solved after entering Safe Mode – like a crashing PC stops crashing – then this means it is a software or driver problem (that can be easily fixed in most cases). If the problem still persists in Safe Mode, then the problem is probably with the hardware of the PC, and you will have to take it to a computer repair shop.

There are multiple things you can do to solve your problem while in Safe Mode, and we will try to list the most common solutions:

  • You can run a virus scan in Safe Mode to delete a malware that is too stubborn to be deleted in normal mode. Most malware won’t work in Safe Mode as third-party software is not running, so it is easy to delete them. If you believe your PC has a virus that your antivirus program cannot delete, then try scanning in Safe Mode. Additionally, your antivirus program may not work in Safe Mode. In that case create an Avast Rescue Disk and use it to scan the PC.
  • If you think a recently added software caused the issue, then you can go into Safe Mode and safely uninstall it from the Control Panel.
  • If any recent change in the Settings or with any software could be the issue, then Safe Mode also gives you the power to restore your PC to a previous date or reset it completely.
  • Hardware drivers can also be a problem. Press “Window + R” and type devmgmt.msc in the “Run” dialog. This will open Device Manager with all your devices and their drivers listed. If there is an issue with a driver, it will have a yellow triangle icon next to it. Right-click on it and choose “Update software” to update it. If that doesn’t fix the problem, you may have to uninstall and reinstall the driver by downloading the driver from the manufacturer’s website (instructions listed there).
  • Windows registry works fine in Safe Mode. If you have instructions to solve your problem using the registry, then feel free to use it in Safe Mode.

When your system becomes unstable and inoperable, Safe Mode is your best bet. Simply boot into Safe Mode and follow the solutions we have provided above to solve the problem. If these solutions don’t work, search for the answer to your problem online and follow the instructions in Safe Mode. If nothing helps, we are always here to help. Just share your problem in the comments section below, and we will try our best to solve it.


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