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How to Boot Your Computer into SafeMode

When your computer starts up in regular mode, it loads everything it needs to perform like it was intended to. This includes Antivirus software, messaging programs, etc… However, when you are experiencing a hardware or software problem, your computer may not function properly, or man not even boot at all. One basic technique you need to know how to do to conduct basic repair and maintenance on your PC is how to get into Safe Mode.

Safe Mode is a diagnostic mode of Windows, and is available in Windows 95, 98, ME, 2000, and XP. When your computer is booted into Safe Mode, your CD ROM may not work, your peripherals will not function, your screen may look funny, and you will not have any sound. This is completely normal, because in Safe Mode only the most essential components of Windows are loaded into memory.

Select the directions below that pertain to your operating system. Once you have done what your need to do, simply restart your computer to reboot back into Normal Mode.

Windows 98/Me

We recommend that you use the System Configuration Utility to get into Safe mode, however, the F8 key can also be used.

To use the System Configuration Utility to start Windows 98/Me in Safe mode

  1. Close all open programs.
  2. Click Start > Run.
  3. In the Run dialog box, type msconfig and then click OK.Safe Mode: Safely boot your computer into Safe Mode
  4. On the General tab, click Advanced
    Windows Me will look a bit different than the picture below.Safe Mode: Safely boot your computer into Safe Mode
  5. In the Advanced Troubleshooting Settings dialog box, check Enable Startup Menu, and then click OK.Safe Mode: Safely boot your computer into Safe Mode
  6. Click OK again when the System Configuration Utility reappears.
  7. When you are asked to restart the computer, click Yes.
  8. When the Windows 98 (or Me) Startup Menu appears, select Safe Mode and press Enter.

The computer restarts with Windows in Safe mode. (This can take several minutes.) When you are finished working in Safe mode, use the System Configuration Utility to start Windows 98/Me in normal mode.

To use the System Configuration Utility to start Windows Me in normal mode

  1. Finish what you need to do in Safe mode.
  2. In the section “To use the System Configuration Utility to start Windows 98/Me” above, repeat 1-6, but in step 5, uncheck Enable Startup Menu.
  3. Close all programs, and restart the computer.

To use the F8 key to start Windows 98/Me in Safe mode

  1. Restart the computer.
  2. As the computer restarts, press and hold down the F8 key until the Windows 98/Me Startup menu appears.
  3. When the Windows 98 (or Me) Startup Menu appears, select Safe Mode and press Enter.

Windows starts in Safe mode. (This can take several minutes.)

Windows 2000

The F8 key is the only way to get into Safe mode.

To use the F8 key to start Windows 2000 in Safe mode

  1. Restart the computer.
  2. When you see the black-and-white Starting
    Windows bar at the bottom of the screen, start tapping the F8 key.
  3. In the Windows 2000 Advanced Options Menu, select Safe mode if it is not selected.
    If it is not selected, use the arrow keys to select it.
  4. Press Enter.

Windows starts in Safe mode. (This can take several minutes.)

Windows XP

We recommend that you use the System Configuration Utility to get into Safe mode, however, the F8 key can also be used.

To use the System Configuration Utility, you must log on to Windows XP with an Administrator account.

To use the System Configuration Utility to start Windows XP in Safe mode

  1. Close all open programs.
  2. Click Start > Run.
  3. In the Run dialog box, type msconfig and then click OK.Safe Mode: Safely boot your computer into Safe Mode
  4. In the System Configuration Utility, on the BOOT.INI tab, check /SAFEBOOT.Safe Mode: Safely boot your computer into Safe Mode
  5. Click OK.
  6. When you are asked to restart the computer, click Restart.Safe Mode: Safely boot your computer into Safe Mode

    The computer restarts in Safe mode. (This can take several minutes.) When you are finished working in Safe mode, use the System Configuration Utility to
    start Windows XP in normal mode.

To use the System Configuration Utility to start Windows XP in normal mode

  1. Finish what you need to do in Safe mode.
  2. In the section “To use the System Configuration Utility to start Windows XP” above, repeat steps 1-7, but in step 4, uncheck /SAFEBOOT.
  3. Close all programs, and restart the computer.

To use the F8 key to start Windows XP in Safe mode

  1. Restart the computer.
    Some computers have a progress bar that refers to the word BIOS. Others may not let you know what is happening.
  2. As soon as the BIOS loads, begin tapping the F8 key on your keyboard. 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. If this happens, restart the computer and try again.
  3. Using the arrow keys on the keyboard, select Safe mode and then press Enter.
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