Use Safe Mode to troubleshoot problems with Windows, remove malware, uninstall programs that won't otherwise uninstall, or fix problems with Windows settings and features.
- [Instructor] I find the term, Safe Mode, rather humorous. Does it imply that Windows normally runs in Unsafe Mode? Regardless, the point of Safe Mode is to diagnose and repair software problems. Specifically, those owned by Windows. In Safe Mode, Windows runs with a bare set of drivers and support processes. If the problem you're experiencing is with Windows itself, Safe Mode lets you know. Plus, it provides an environment where you can easily fix other issues.
In this movie, I cover Safe Mode. To enter Safe Mode, you use the msconfig utility. First, ensure that no programs are open and that all your data has been saved. Then press the Windows + R key combination, Win + R, to bring up a Run dialog box. Type msconfig and press Enter. The msconfig utility comes in handy for troubleshooting purposes, and it's covered specifically in a later movie. For now, click the Boot tab.
Choose Safe boot. The Minimal setting is what you want. If you need to use the network in Safe Mode, for example you want to test the network adapter, choose the Network option. Click OK, click the Restart button. Windows shuts down, and then restarts in Safe Mode. Here is the Safe Mode sign in screen. You see that the network is unavailable, because I didn't select that option in the msconfig utility window. Sign into your account on the Safe Mode screen just as you would sign into Windows, type your account's password.
You may notice that the video resolution is lower than normal, and the wallpaper is gone from the desktop, and some startup programs don't run. The screen features the words Safe Mode in all four corners. At this point, you troubleshoot. For example, you can attempt to uninstall a program that won't uninstall otherwise. You can run System Recovery, the System File Checker, restore files from a backup, and perform diagnostics. These tools may run in Safe Mode where they might not otherwise run for whatever reason.
You can also determine at this point whether or not Windows is to blame for the problem. For example, if the system doesn't show any error messages at this point, then you know the issue lies elsewhere with a specific program or hardware driver, but not with Windows. If the problem persists in Safe Mode, it's either an issue with Windows itself, or a hardware problem. To exit Safe Mode, open the msconfig utility again. Press Win + R, Windows Key + R, and you can type msconfig if necessary, or it might already appear as shown here.
Press the Enter key, click the Boot tab, and remove the Safe Boot checkmark. Click OK, click the Restart button, and Windows starts normally. If you can't use the msconfig utility to start your PC in Safe Mode, then you can also access Safe Mode from the Windows Recovery Menu. Using the Recovery Menu is covered in another movie. Once you start the PC, and you see the Recovery Menu, choose Troubleshoot, Advanced options, Startup Settings, and Restart.
After the computer restarts, you'll see the Startup Settings screen. Choose item four to boot into Safe Mode. Choose item five if you need network access while in Safe Mode, and then the PC starts up in Safe Mode. One final note, Safe Mode is for troubleshooting only. It is not meant as an alternative way to run programs in Windows. You don't use Safe Mode to check your e-mail, or use Microsoft Office, or to play a game. If you can't do those things in Windows normally, you need to fix the issue.
If that process involves using Safe Mode, then do so. Once the problem is resolved, and your PC is working again, then you can return to using the computer normally.
- Diagnosing the causes of PC issues
- Troubleshooting hardware and software
- Performing startup and system restore steps
- Accessing the Task Manager
- Using the Registry Editor
- Fixing Windows
- Maintaining storage drives
- Restoring network connectivity