If you’ve been using Windows for a while, chances are you’ve had to boot into Safe Mode at one time or another. If not, chances are you’ve seen the option to boot into Safe mode after your computer recovered from the Blue Screen of Death (BSOD).

Booting into Windows Safe Mode often requires holding down or repeatedly pressing the F8 key during the POST, the process your computer goes through before it boots into Windows. Sometimes, however, pressing the F8 key in any way or at any time just won’t work.

Luckily, Windows 7/10 offers you the opportunity to enter Safe Mode the next time you restart your computer. In addition, there are various options available using this method that are not available using the F8 method. Read on to learn how to force Windows 7 into Safe Mode the next time your computer restarts.

Start Windows 7/10 Safe Mode without F8

To restart your computer into Safe Mode, begin by clicking on Start and then Run. If your Windows Start menu doesn’t have the Run option showing, hold down the Windows key on your keyboard and press the R key. Whichever method you use, you should now be looking at the Run dialog box. Type msconfig into the run box and click OK.

Type msconfig into the Run Box

You should now be looking at the System Configuration window. Click on the Boot tab to see all of the boot options Windows has to offer.

Boot Tab on System Configuration

Locate the section titled Boot Options on the System Configuration window. Here you can check the option titled Safe Mode. Notice that Minimal Safe Mode is the default Safe Mode option.

Choose Safe Mode Under Boot Options

The Minimal Safe Mode option is the default because it is the same kind of Safe Mode you get using the F8 method. Once you have chosen your options, click the OK button. Windows will then ask if you want to Restart Now or Exit Without Restarting. Click the Restart Now button and your computer will restart in Safe Mode.

Restart Your Computer in Safe Mode

More Safe Mode Options

As it turns out, using the method described above to start up Windows in Safe Mode has several advantages over the F8 method. The options available on the System Configuration window are powerful troubleshooting and diagnostic tools for discovering what is wrong with your computer.

You may find that this method of entering Safe Mode is preferred even when the F8 method works on your computer. If you can’t get into Windows for some reason and access MSCONFIG, then you can try getting into safe mode when the computer first boots up.

Microsoft has an article on how to access the advanced startup options screen by pressing the F8 or similar key while the system boots up. You should see Safe Mode, Safe Mode with Networking and Safe Mode with Command Prompt.

If you can get to this screen, but Windows won’t boot up even into Safe Mode, then there is something wrong with the Windows install. In that case, you need to create a system repair disc using another working copy of Windows 7/10 first and then boot problematic PC using that CD or USB stick.

You can do this by going to Control PanelSystem and MaintenanceBackup and Restore.

Click on Create a system repair disc and follow the directions in the wizard to create a recovery CD or DVD. You’ll then need to change the boot sequence in the BIOS and boot from the CD/DVD. Try to perform a startup repair to see if that fixes the problem. If you can get Windows to boot up again, then you can use any of the two methods above to get into Safe Mode.

If you are not able to use the F8 method or get into Windows, the only option you have is to use the command prompt from the system repair disc.

At the command prompt, you need to copy and paste the following command to go to safe mode:

bcdedit /set {default} safeboot minimal

For Safe Mode with Networking, use this command:

bcdedit /set {default} safeboot network

Finally, for Safe Mode with Command Prompt, use these two commands:

bcdedit /set {default} safeboot minimal
bcdedit /set {default} safebootalternateshell yes

Once you type in the command and press Enter, it should say something like The operation completed successfully. Then you close the command prompt window and click Continue or Restart.

It should reboot into the desired Safe Mode state. Those are all the ways you can get into Safe Mode using Windows 7. If you are running Windows 10, there are a few extra ways to get into Safe mode, which you can read by following the link. Enjoy!

Comments [1]

  1. Try DELETE, not F8. (If you hit it too soon you might get into the BIOS. If so exit that without saving, then hit delete again.) I searched a long time online, didn’t find this answer, I accidentally discovered it myself. Apparently I am the only person who knows this.

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