How to boot in Safe Mode on Windows 11

You can start your PC in Safe Mode to troubleshoot and fix Windows 11 problems — here are four ways to access this mode.

Windows 11 boot in Safe Mode
  • The easiest way to boot Windows 11 in Safe Mode, open Start’s Power menu, hold the “Shift” key, and click the “Restart” button. Click on Troubleshoot > Advanced Options > Startup Settings > Restart. Select the “Safe Mode” option.
  • You can also start Windows 11 in Safe Mode from boot (BIOS), Settings app, Command Prompt, and MSConfig.

On Windows 11, you can boot a computer in “Safe Mode” in at least five ways through the Start menu, Settings, Command Prompt, System Configuration (msconfig), or from boot, and in this guide, you will learn how.

“Safe Mode” is a feature that only loads a basic set of features and genetic drivers to troubleshoot and fix software and hardware-related problems. While in this environment, you can troubleshoot the startup process when Windows 11 is not booting correctly, network connection problems, Windows Update is stuck downloading updates, applications, and more. In addition, you can use Safe Mode to resolve video driver issues and perform a virus scan to detect and remove malware that wouldn’t be possible to remove while the operating system was running in normal mode.

This guide will teach you the steps to start Windows 11 in Safe Mode using Command Prompt, Settings, Power options menu, and System Configuration, or from boot (also refers sometimes to “from BIOS”).

Windows 11 Safe Mode from Start

To start in Safe Mode on Windows 11 from the Start menu, use these steps:

  1. Open Start on Windows 11.

  2. Click the Power menu.

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

    Shift key and Restart combo

  4. Click the Troubleshoot option.

  5. Click on Advanced options.

  6. Click the Startup Settings option.

    Windows 11 Startup Settings

  7. Click the Restart button.

  8. Choose one of the Safe Mode environments you want to start Windows 11: 

    • Enable Safe Mode – Select 4 or press the F4 key.
    • Enable Safe Mode with Networking – Select 5 or press the F5 key.
    • Enable Safe Mode with Command Prompt – Select 6 or press the F6 key.

    Windows 11 Safe Mode types

Once you complete the steps, the device will start in the specified mode, allowing you to troubleshoot and fix virtually any Windows 11.

Windows 11 Safe Mode from Settings

To access Safe Mode from the Settings app on Windows 11, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.

  2. Click on System.

  3. Click on Recovery.

    Recovery settings

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

    Windows 11 Advanced Startup option

  5. Click the Restart now button again on Windows 11.

  6. Click the Troubleshoot option.

  7. Click the Advanced options button.

  8. Click the Startup Settings option.

    Windows 11 Startup Settings

  9. Click the Restart button.

  10. Choose one of the Safe Mode environments to start Windows 11: 

    • Enable Safe Mode – Select 4 or press the F4 key.
    • Enable Safe Mode with Networking – Select 5 or press the F5 key.
    • Enable Safe Mode with Command Prompt – Select 6 or press the F6 key.

    Windows 11 Safe Mode types

After you complete the steps, the device will enter into the Safe Mode environment, where you can troubleshoot and resolve system problems more efficiently.

Windows 11 Safe Mode from Command Prompt

To boot Windows 11 into Safe Mode from Command Prompt (F8 key method), use these steps:

  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

    Windows 11 bcdedit Safe Mode

  4. Restart the computer.

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

    Windows Boot Manager

  6. Choose one of the Safe Mode types to start Windows 11: 

    Windows 11 Safe Mode types

    • Enable Safe Mode – Select 4 or press the F4 key.
    • Enable Safe Mode with Networking – Select 5 or press the F5 key.
    • Enable Safe Mode with Command Prompt – Select 6 or press the F6 key.

Once you complete the steps, Windows 11 will start in Safe Mode with the specified option. If you select the “Networking” option, you will have access to Ethernet and Wi-Fi.

You can always exit the basic boot level using the same instructions, but in step 3, make sure to use the Bcdedit /set {bootmgr} displaybootmenu no command.

Windows 11 Safe Mode from MSConfig

To start Windows 11 in Safe Mode from System Configuration (msconfig), use these steps:

  1. Open Start.

  2. Search for msconfig and click on System Configuration to open the app.

  3. Click the Boot tab.

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

  5. Choose the Minimal option to start Windows 11 in Safe Mode. Or you can select the Network option to boot Windows 11 with networking support.

    msconfig boot in Safe Mode

  6. Click the Apply button.

  7. Click the OK button.

  8. Restart the computer.

The only caveat with this option is that Windows 11 will boot into Safe Mode until you revert the changes.

After resolving the problem with the device, you can revert the changes using the same instructions, but in step 4, make sure to clear the Safe boot option.

Windows 11 Safe Mode from boot

To enter Safe Mode from boot (cold boot) on Windows 11, use these steps:

  1. Press the power button.

  2. Immediately after the Power-On Self-Test (POST), and you see the blue Windows logo, press the power button again to shut down.

  3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 twice. In the third restart, Windows 11 should enter into the Windows Recovery Environment (Windows RE).

    Preparing automatic repair

  4. Select your Windows 11 account.

  5. Confirm the account password. (You can’t start Safe Mode without a password.)

  6. Click the Continue button.

  7. Click the Advanced Startup button to continue. 

    Advanced options automatic repair

  8. Click the Troubleshoot option.

  9. Click the Advanced options button.

  10. Click the Startup Settings option.

    Windows 11 Startup Settings

  11. Click the Restart button.

  12. Choose one of the Safe Mode environments to start Windows 11: 

    • Enable Safe Mode – Select 4 or press the F4 key.
    • Enable Safe Mode with Networking – Select 5 or press the F5 key.
    • Enable Safe Mode with Command Prompt – Select 6 or press the F6 key.

    Windows 11 Safe Mode types

After you complete the steps, the computer will boot into Safe Mode to troubleshoot and resolve problems on Windows 11.

It’s important to note that method of using the “F8” or “Shift + F8” no longer work to start Windows 11 in Safe Mode from BIOS during boot because firmware and software technologies had evolved, and now devices use UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) instead of BIOS (Basic Input Output System).

However, you can still use the old methods but only to access the Windows Recovery Environment (WinRE), where you can access the option to boot in Safe Mode.