Microsoft Windows computer operating systems are the primary operating system for many of the world’s laptop and desktop computers. Sometimes Windows OS is susceptible to viruses, system errors, software glitches, driver issues, and other problems that make Windows behave in strange ways.


However you can troubleshoot and even correct the many errors that Windows encounters by using Windows Safe Mode. This Safe Mode setting means that the computer begins by booting Windows in safe mode with the bare minimum drivers, software, and programs running to allow the computer to start. This means potentially incompatible files or viruses may be unable to function in the safe mode environment allowing you to troubleshoot the issues.


Starting Windows in safe mode is actually quite easy and you can run most versions of Windows such as 95, 2000, XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7 in safe mode. Be sure you disconnect any external hard drives and peripheral devices before proceeding.Screenshot of Windows Safe Mode Boot ScreenCredit: By Microsoft corporation. [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons


Save any open files or documents you were working on. Click on “Start” and choose Restart from the Shut Down menu. Wait for the computer to close out of Windows and locate the F8 key for safe mode on your keyboard.


When the computer restarts press F8 a few times. You will see a black screen with white-gray text on it that offers multiple options of Windows safe mode. Use the keyboard arrows to scroll up and down and select the safe mode boot you want to use.


For example choose basic Safe Mode if you are having issues with networking, internet, or a possible virus hijacking your computer. This will boot Windows in a setting with no internet access or outgoing connections.  Note that your particular version of Windows may have different options. 


However, you might need internet access to download updated drivers or security patches. In this case you will want to choose Start Windows in Safe Mode with Networking. This starts Windows in a limited fashion where only basic networking services are enabled.


You can also boot into single user safe mode for advanced users. This boot up for running windows in safe mode allows you to access the administrator account and reset the administrator password in most cases. Useful if you have forgotten your administrator account password for your copy of Windows. 


While in Safe Mode it is normal to see decreased screen resolution, low graphics, and different icons. To turn off Windows Safe Mode when you’ve determined the problem, simply reset the computer and choose “Start Windows Normally” or “Start Windows with Last Known Good Configuration” and you’ll be back in the full featured Window.


Remember that you may also need anti virus software to help detect and remove malware, viruses, and other bad downloads from our computer to keep it running smoothly.

In addition if you forgot your Windows Administrator Password you'll want to read this article: How to Recover My Administrator Password for Windows.