Troubleshooting

How to boot in Safe Mode on Windows 10

You can start your PC in Safe Mode to access to troubleshoot and fix Windows 10 problems — Here are four ways you can access this environment.

Safe Mode in Windows 10

On Windows 10, starting in Safe Mode allows you to load a basic set of features and generic device drivers just enough to diagnose and fix common software and hardware related problems.

For instance, you can use Safe Mode to troubleshoot your computer when it’s not booting correctly, problems with network connection, and app or Windows Update stuck downloading updates. It’s also a good environment to diagnose and fix graphics driver problems as well as to perform a virus scan to remove any malware, which otherwise will be impossible to fix when the OS is running in normal mode.

In the past, starting in Safe Mode was as easy as rebooting your device and pressing the F8 key, but this is no longer the case with Windows 10.

In this guide, you’ll learn the steps to boot in Safe Mode on Windows 10 in four different ways, including using the Power menu, Settings app, Command Prompt, and MSConfig.

How to start Windows 10 in Safe Mode using Power menu

When you need to troubleshoot a device driver, software, or Windows 10, and the operating system is running in normal mode, the easiest way to start your computer in Safe Mode is using the Power menu on the Start menu or on the Lock screen.

Use these steps to start in Safe Mode using the Power menu:

  1. Open Start.

  2. Click the Power menu.

  3. Press and hold the Shift key and then click the Restart button.

    Shift key + Restart button in Windows 10

  4. On the Choose an option screen, click the Troubleshoot option.

  5. Click the Advanced options button.

  6. Click the Startup Settings option.

  7. Click the Restart button.

    Startup Settings in Windows 10

  8. Choose one of the Safe Mode environments, including “Enable Safe Mode,” “Enable Safe Mode with Networking,” or “Enable Safe Mode with Command Prompt.”

    Safe Mode - Windows 10 Startup Settings

    Typically, depending on the problem, you will have to use option No. 4 (Enable Safe Mode). However, if you need to have access to the internet to update drivers or download a new antivirus definition to do a full virus scan, you can also choose the option No. 5 (Enable Safe Mode with Networking).

Once you complete the steps, your computer will start in the mode that you specified allowing you troubleshoot and fix any problem.

How to start Windows 10 in Safe Mode using Settings

Use these steps to start in Safe Mode from the Settings app:

  1. Open Settings.

  2. Click on Update & Security.

  3. Click on Recovery.

  4. Under the “Advanced startup” section, click the Restart button.

    Recovery settings, Advanced startup
    Recovery settings, Advanced startup
  5. On the Choose an option screen, click the Troubleshoot option.

  6. Click the Advanced options button.

  7. Click the Startup Settings option.

  8. Click the Restart button.

    Startup Settings in Windows 10

  9. Choose one of the Safe Mode environments, including “Enable Safe Mode,” “Enable Safe Mode with Networking,” or “Enable Safe Mode with Command Prompt.”

After completing the steps, the device will enter into the Safe Mode environment where you can troubleshoot and fix problems more easily.

How to start Windows 10 in Safe Mode using Command Prompt

Use these steps to boot Windows 10 in Safe Mode using Command Prompt:

  1. Open Start.

  2. Search for Command Prompt, right-click the top result, and select the Run as administrator option.

  3. Type the following command and press Enter:

    Bcdedit /set {bootmgr} displaybootmenu yes

    Command to display boot menu in Windows 10

  4. Restart your computer.

  5. In the Windows Boot Manager, press the F8 key to access the Startup Settings menu options.

    Windows 10 Boot Manager

  6. Choose one of the Safe Mode environments, including “Enable Safe Mode,” “Enable Safe Mode with Networking,” or “Enable Safe Mode with Command Prompt.”

    Safe Mode - Windows 10 Startup Settings

Once you complete the steps, Windows 10 will boot in Safe Mode with the option that you specified.

When you no longer need to boot Windows 10 in Safe Mode, you can always revert the changes using the same instructions, but on step No. 3, make sure to use this command  Bcdedit /set {bootmgr} displaybootmenu no.

How to start Windows 10 in Safe Mode using MSConfig

Use these steps to launch Safe Mode using MSConfig on Windows 10:

  1. Open Start.

  2. Search for msconfig and click the top result to open the experience.

  3. Click the Boot tab.

  4. Under the “Boot options” section, check the Safe boot option

  5. Choose the Minimal option to boot in Safe Mode environment, or the Network option to boot in Safe Mode with networking support.

    System Configuration (msconfig) boot option to start in Safe Mode
    System Configuration (msconfig) boot option to start in Safe Mode
  6. Click the Apply button.

  7. Click the OK button.

  8. Restart your computer.

The only caveat with this option is that Windows 10 will continue to boot into Safe Mode until you revert the changes.

After fixing the problem with your device, you can revert the changes using the same instructions, but on step No. 4, make sure to clear the Safe boot option.

The steps outlined above will help you to enter in Safe Mode on devices running Windows 10 as well as those running Windows 8.1.

Keep in mind that there are a number of techniques to access the “Advanced startup” menu to boot your PC in Safe Mode. You can refer to this previous guide to learn the different techniques to get to the Advanced startup menu in Windows 10.

Update June 25, 2019: This guide was originally published in February 2016, and it’s received for the latest version of Windows 10.