Have you ever heard of Windows Safe Mode? If you haven’t, don’t feel too bad, because you’re far from alone. (Does this mean there’s a Dangerous Mode? Yeah. That’s the normal mode!)
Windows Safe Mode is a special way of starting Windows that is very useful for performing in-depth diagnostics. It loads only the most bare-bones components that are necessary for Windows to work. Occasionally, Safe Mode may start automatically when there’s a serious problem with your system that prevents it from starting normally. Windows can also be started in Safe Mode manually, although Microsoft has made it much much harder to do so in the most recent versions.
The main use of Windows safe mode is to troubleshoot recently installed software, updates, or drivers that may prevent Windows from working correctly. Microsoft has currently de-emphasized safe mode to the point of making it very difficult to get to.
We will be dealing mostly with Windows 10 in this article, although some things may apply to Windows 8 as well.
The easiest way to get to the advanced troubleshooting options in Windows 10 is to open the start menu, click the power icon, and hold down the shift key while clicking restart. This will get you a “choose an option” screen. From here, select “troubleshoot” and then “advanced.” In the advanced options window, select “startup settings.” If you now click the restart button, your system will restart and present you with a menu of startup settings. One of those settings is safe mode.
If Windows refuses to start or run normally, any recently installed program or driver can be uninstalled in safe mode, and the system restarted. This can cure many Windows ailments that cannot be dealt with in normal mode. The only down side of the current versions is the fact that Windows has to start almost all the way before you’re presented with the Safe Mode option. If that can’t be done, you’d have to start from a boot disk instead, and I’ve covered that in a recent post.
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