How To Start Windows 10 In Safe Mode On Startup

Written by Adam in How To

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Sometimes when your computer goes caput, you know you have no choice but to go into Safe mode.

That much is clear.

Because, simply restarting your computer and booting into Safe mode alone, where Windows loads just the bare essentials, is sometimes enough to fix some pesky glitches.

The worst part?

In Windows 10, the usual [F8] key doesn't work.  By that, I mean pressing [F8] or [SHIFT]+ [F8] keys on your keyword while booting.

The reason why these keys no longer work is because Microsoft have disabled them to speed up boot times.

The good news is that Windows 10 does still have a Safe Mode, it's just that there are different methods to get to it.

In this post, I'll show you a few methods that you can use to start Windows 10 in Safe Mode.

1.  System Configuration Tool Method

This is one of the easiest methods to start Windows 10 in Safe Mode.  You basically use the System Configuration tool, otherwise known as msconfig.exe.

There are two ways to launch System Configuration in Windows 10.  The first is to use the Run window.  Simply press Windows + R on the keyboard at the same time, then type msconfig into the box that pops up and then press Enter or OK.

Run msconfig

The other, slightly easier way is to use the search function provided by Cortana.  Simply enter the words "system configuration" and click System Configuration Tool Desktop App.

System Configuration Cortana

Now once this dialog appears, select the Boot tab along the top and make sure the Safe boot checkbox is ticked.

Windows 10 System Configuration

Next, hit Enter or click OK.

Another dialog will popup prompting you to restart to apply your changes.  You can either postpone by clicking "Exit without restart" or you restart immediately which will boot Windows 10 into Safe Mode on Startup.

System Configuration Apply Changes

2.  Shift + Restart Method

Another easy way of booting into Safe mode in Windows 10 is to use the shift button and restart. 

To use this method, click on the start menu and press the Power button. 

Now, hold the shift key down and at the same time tap Restart

Now, your computer will restart, but before it boots into Windows, it will ask you to choose an option. Click on the Troubleshoot button as in the image below. 

Windows 10 Safe Mode Troubleshoot

This will take you to another screen. Click on Advanced options. 

Windows 10 Safte Mode Advanced Options

On the advanced options screen, hit Startup Settings. 

Windows 10 Safe Mode Startup Settings

On the next screen, you'll be notified that rebooting will enable you to change advanced boot options. Hit restart. 

Windows 10 Safe Mode Startup Settings

After rebooting, you'll get some startup settings to choose from. The one we want is to Enable Safe Mode, so go ahead and hit [F4]. 

Windows 10 Safe Mode Startup Settings

3.  Recovery Drive Method

In Windows 10 it is possible to create a USB recovery drive using the Recovery Drive app.  Once you have created a recovery drive it is possible to boot your computer from it and boot into Safe Mode.

In order to create a recovery drive simply go to the start menu and use Cortana to search for "Create a recovery drive" like in the image below.

Windows 10 Safe Mode Create Recovery Drive

Click on the search result that comes up and you should see something like the following.

Windows 10 Safe Mode Create Recovery Drive

Once you have followed the steps to create your recovery drive, you can use it to boot your computer.  Please note that you may have to change the boot device in your computer's BIOS to a USB drive to be able to do this.

When your computer begins to boot from the USB, you will be asked to choose your keyboard layout.  Go ahead and choose one and then on the next screen, click Troubleshoot.

The next steps after you have clicked "Troubleshoot" are exactly as I outlined in method 2 (from Advanced options onwards).

4.  Good ol' [F8] Legacy Method

Alright, so at the beginning of this post I said that this option had been removed in Windows 10, which is true.  However, there is a sneaky way to get it back.  Let me explain.

Right click on the start menu and select Command Prompt (Admin).  If you are asked at this point if you want to allow the app to make changes to your computer, hit Yes.

Windows 10 Safe Mode Command Prompt Admijn

In the command prompt window enter the following and hit [Return] or [Enter].

bcdedit /set {default} bootmenupolicy legacy

OK now you should be able to enter into Safe Mode by pressing [F8] when Windows is restarting, like in previous versions of Windows.

Windows 10 Safe Mode Command Prompt Admin F8

Hope this has been useful guys, if safe mode has helped you solve your Windows issues, please let me know in the comments!

Cheers!