Starting Windows 10 in Safe Mode

by Barry Dysert
(last updated April 24, 2017)

There may come a time when you need to start your computer in Safe Mode. For example, you may have acquired some malware, a driver may be acting up, or the Desktop is not loading. Safe Mode is a special way to start up your computer "safely," i.e., before networking and a lot of the operating system is loaded. With this stripped-down version you may be able to identify whatever problem you're having and fix it.

The easiest way to boot into Safe Mode is from the login screen. When that is up, instead of logging in you instead press and hold Shift, click Power, and then select Restart (holding down Shift the whole time). When Windows restarts you'll be presented with a screen that gives you three choices of how to proceed: Continue, Troubleshoot, or Turn off your PC. If you click Continue, your boot process will continue normally like it always does. If you instead click Turn off your PC, your computer will obviously shut down. So to boot into Safe Mode you want to select the Troubleshoot option.

The next window that appears is the Troubleshoot window. It has two options, and for our purposes you want to choose the Advanced Options item. When the Advanced Options window appears, choose Startup Settings and finally Restart.

Now the computer boots but instead of directly booting into Windows, you're presented with a Startup Settings screen, which has several options. Entering option 4, for example, enables Safe Mode. Option 5 enables Safe Mode with networking, and Option 6 enables Safe Mode with a command prompt.

It is well beyond the scope of this tip to tell you how to proceed from this point. For one thing, it totally depends on the symptoms you were having which prompted you to enter Safe Mode to begin with. Troubleshooting at this level often requires a knowledge of Windows "under the hood," can often be a trial-and-error exercise, and is not for the faint of heart. At this point you may realize that the best thing to do is simply shut down and take your machine to a local computer repair shop.

 This tip (181) applies to Windows 10.

Author Bio

Barry Dysert

Barry has been a computer professional for over 35 years, working in different positions such as technical team leader, project manager, and software developer. He is currently a software engineer with an emphasis on developing custom applications under Microsoft Windows. When not working with Windows or writing Tips, Barry is an amateur writer. His first non-fiction book is titled "A Chronological Commentary of Revelation." ...

MORE FROM BARRY

Running a Program as Administrator

Sometimes a program you're trying to run needs to run with elevated privileges. Assuming you have the authority to do ...

Discover More

Making the Mouse Pointer More Visible

Windows has a lot of features designed to make your computing experience easy on the eyes. Some of these features have to ...

Discover More

Moving the Pictures Library

The Pictures folder is one of several system libraries created in Windows by default. This library is specifically ...

Discover More
More WindowsTips

Understanding Notifications in the Windows 10 Action Center

The Action Center is essentially the old Notification Area. This tip helps you understand it.

Discover More

Evaluating System Performance Using the Task Manager

One of the many functions of the Windows Task Manager is to allow you to see how your system is performing. If necessary, ...

Discover More

Selecting Objects

Windows uses a graphical user interface that requires the manipulation of objects that appear on the screen. ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WindowsTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is nine minus 4?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WindowsTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.