When we cannot troubleshoot Windows problems in a normal state, booting into Safe Mode is the alternative solution. Safe Mode has been around almost as long as Windows itself. In Safe Mode, Windows uses only a limited set of programs and drivers at startup, so you can identify whether it’s a normal setting or a driver that is causing problems.
Booting into Safe Mode in Windows 10 is very easy and you don’t even need to use a command prompt. In this guide, we will show you all the methods we’ve used — but we recommend to use the first two as they are the most straightforward.
Difficulty level: Easy
Method 1: Boot Windows 10 in Safe mode from Start menu (using Shift + Restart combination)
- Click the Start button, click on the Power button.
- Hold down Shift key and click on the Restart button.
- Select Troubleshoot when the computer boots up.
- Next, select Advanced options and then Startup Settings in the next window.
- Hit Restart.
- You will see an options screen labeled Startup Settings. Select the F-key to select your mode. Usually F4 for Safe Mode, F5 for Safe Mode with Networking or F6 for Safe Mode with Command Prompt.
Related Article: How to create a restore point in Windows 10
Method 2: Boot Windows 10 in Safe mode using advanced startup
- Click the Start button, then Settings.
- Settings panel appears, Click Update & security then click Recovery.
- Under Advanced startup section, click Restart now button to restart your PC.
(Note: Save and close any opened documents or projects.)
- In the Choose an option screen, click the Troubleshoot tile.
- Next, at the Troubleshoot screen, click Advanced options tile.
- When you see the Advanced options screen, click the Startup settings tile.
- Lastly, on the Startup Settings screen, click the Restart button to restart computer. Upon restarting your computer, you will see the following Safe mode options. Press 4 or F4 key to boot Windows 10 in Safe mode.
Related Article: How to refresh Windows 10
Method 3: Boot Windows 10 in Safe mode using system configuration utility (msconfig)
- Click Start button, type ‘msconfig’ into the Search Windows box and hit Enter (alternate: Press Ctrl+R, type in ‘msconfig’ in Run window box and hit Enter)
- After System Configuration window appears. Click the Boot tab and enable ‘Safe boot’ from Boot options.You can choose from additional options (optional). Here’s what they do:
- Minimal: Starts Safe Mode with the absolute minimal amount of drivers and services, but with the standard Windows GUI (Graphical User Interface).
- Alternate Shell: Starts Safe Mode with a Command Prompt, without the Windows GUI. Requires knowledge of advanced text commands, as well as navigating the operating system without a mouse.
- Active Directory Repair: Starts Safe Mode with access to machine-specific information, such as hardware models. If we unsuccessfully install new hardware, corrupting the Active Directory, Safe Mode can be used to restore system stability by repairing corrupted data, or adding new data to the directory.
- Network: Starts Safe Mode with the necessary services and drivers for networking, with the standard Windows GUI.Select Minimal, followed by Apply, and OK. System Configuration will now ask if you want to restart your system. Selecting Restart will immediately initiate the restart process, so be sure to save any active documents or projects.
- Click Apply and Windows will tell you it needs to reboot for the settings to take effect then hit Restart when ready.
- Select Troubleshoot when your computer boots up.
- Next, select Advanced options and then Startup Settings in the next window and hit Restart. (Note: Save and close any opened documents or projects.)
- Finally, you will see an options screen labeled Startup Settings. Select the F-key to select your mode. Usually F4 for Safe Mode, F5 for Safe Mode with Networking or F6 for Safe Mode with Command Prompt.
Method 4: Boot Windows 10 in Safe mode using bootable Windows 10 disc/USB drive
Even if none of the above method works, you could use a bootable Windows 10 disc/USB drive to boot Windows 10 in Safe Mode. Even a Windows 10 Recovery disc/USB can also be used. Be sure to remove other media before doing this method to avoid interrupting our procedures.
- Insert the bootable Windows 10 disc/USB drive and shutdown your computer.
- Switch on your computer and boot into the said bootable disc/USB.
- Choose your keyboard layout, followed by Repair Your Computer, in the bottom-left of the screen.
Then follow the steps 4 to 8 introduced in Method 2.