How to start the computer in Safe mode

Situation:
You want to boot your computer into Safe mode.

Solution:
Safe mode is the Windows diagnostics mode. When you start the computer in Safe mode, only the specific components that are needed to run the operating system are loaded. Safe mode does not allow some functions, such as connection to the Internet. It also loads a standard video driver at a low resolution; therefore, your programs and the Windows desktop may look different than usual, In addition, the desktop icons may have moved to different locations on the desktop.

All Windows operating systems except Windows 3.1 and Windows NT can be started in Safe mode.

NOTES:

      This information is provided for your convenience. Safe mode is a function of the operating system. If you need additional help with starting the computer in Safe mode, please contact Microsoft or the computer manufacturer.

      The main focus of this document is for operating systems that are supported by currently available Symantec software and that include the System Configuration Utility, which can be used to configure the system to start in Safe mode. For those that do not include the System Configuration Utility, and for other ways to start in Safe mode for those that do, we provide links to other documents.


Please see the instructions for your operating system.

Windows 95
Windows 95 does not include the System Configuration Utility.

 

To use the F8 method

  1. Restart the computer.
  2. Watch the screen while it is black. When you see "Starting Windows 95," immediately press the F8 key. Windows starts in Safe mode.


Windows 98/Me
Windows 98/Me includes the System Configuration Utility. If you can start the computer normally into Windows, this is the easiest--and the recommended--way to restart the computer in Safe mode.

To configure the System Configuration Utility to start the computer in Safe mode:

1. Close all open programs.
2. Click Start, and then click Run. The Run dialog box appears.
3. As shown in this illustration, type msconfig and then click OK.



4. The System Configuration Utility, as shown in this illustration, appears. (It may look slightly different in Windows Me.) Click "Advanced."



5. The Advanced Troubleshooting Settings dialog box appears. Check Enable Startup Menu as shown here, and then click OK. Click OK again when the System Configuration Utility reappears.



6. You will be prompted to restart the computer. Click Yes. The computer will restart in Safe mode. (This can take several minutes.)


NOTE: When you are finished with all troubleshooting (in Safe mode) repeat these steps, but in step 5, uncheck "Enable Start-up Menu," and then close all programs and restart the computer as you normally would.

To use the F8 method

  1. Restart the computer.
  2. As the computer restarts, press and hold down the F8 key until the Windows 98 startup menu appears.
  3. Choose Safe mode from the startup menu, and then press Enter. Windows starts in Safe mode.

Windows 2000
Windows 2000 does not include the System Configuration Utility.

NOTE: Some IT departments or computer manufacturers may include the System Configuration Utility as part of a custom Windows 2000 installation. The version that they include may differ. Both the Windows 98/Me and the Windows XP versions will run on Windows 2000. (This is not supported by Microsoft.) If you can start Windows 2000 normally, and the System Configuration Utility is installed on your computer, follow the instructions for Windows 98/Me or XP (depending on your version). Otherwise, continue with the instructions in this section.

To use the F8 method to start Windows 2000 in Safe mode:

1. If the computer is running, shut down Windows, and then turn off the power.
2. Wait 30 seconds, and then turn the computer on.
3. When you see the black-and-white Starting Windows bar at the bottom of the screen, start tapping the F8 key on your keyboard. The Windows 2000 Advanced Options Menu appears.
4. Ensure that the Safe mode option is selected. In most cases, it is the first item in the list and is selected by default. (If it is not selected, use the arrow keys on you keyboard to select it.)
5. Press Enter. The computer will start in Safe mode. This can take a few minutes.
6. When you are finished with all troubleshooting, close all programs and restart the computer as you normally would.


Windows XP
Windows XP includes the System Configuration Utility. If you can start the computer normally into Windows, this is the easiest--and the recommended--way to restart the computer in Safe mode.

To configure the System Configuration Utility to start the computer in Safe mode:

1. Close all open programs.
2. Click Start, and then click Run. The Run dialog box appears.
3. As shown in this illustration, type msconfig and then click OK.



4. The System Configuration Utility appears, as shown in the following illustration. Check the "/SAFEBOOT" option, and then click OK.



5. You then see the prompt to restart the computer. Click Restart.



The computer restarts in Safe mode. (This can take several minutes.)


NOTE: When you finish with all troubleshooting (in Safe mode) repeat these steps, but in step 4, uncheck "/SAFEBOOT" and then close all of the programs and restart the computer as you normally would.

To use the F8 method
Use this method only if Windows XP is the only operating system installed on your computer.

  1. Start Windows, or if it is running, shut Windows down, and then turn off the computer.
  2. Restart the computer. The computer begins processing a set of instructions known as the Basic Input/Output System (BIOS). What is displayed depends on the BIOS manufacturer. Some computers display a progress bar that refers to the word BIOS, while others may not display any indication that this process is happening.
  3. As soon as the BIOS has finished loading, begin tapping the F8 key on your keyboard. Continue to do so until the Windows Advanced Options menu appears. If you begin tapping the F8 key too soon, some computers display a "keyboard error" message. To resolve this, restart the computer and try again.
  4. Using the arrow keys on the keyboard, scroll to and select the Safe mode menu item, and then press Enter.

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