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Summary :

how to start Windows 10 in Safe Mode

Windows 10 Safe Mode is one essential diagnostic method to help you identify and fix possible causes of Windows 10 PC issues. This post provides 6 ways with step-by-step guides on how to start Windows 10 in Safe Mode (while booting) to troubleshoot the problems you are having with your Windows 10 PC.

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Windows 10 PC is not working well? Once the computer is infected with malware, virus or installed some improper drivers, the PC may not behave normally, and freeze or crash occasionally.

Windows 10 Safe Mode may be helpful to help you diagnose and fix the issues of your computer. So, how to start Windows 10 in Safe Mode (while booting)?

Check the 6 ways with detailed guides on how to boot in Safe Mode Windows 10, and how to use Safe Mode to fix issues on Windows 10 PC.

If you suffer some data loss due to errors in Windows 10 PC, an ultimate data recovery guide is also provided in the second part of this tutorial to help you easily recover lost/deleted files for free.

Tip: MiniTool Power Data Recovery - Recover any deleted/lost files from Windows computer, USB, memory card, external hard drive, SSD, etc. Rescue data in various data loss situations.

Free Download

Windows 10 Safe Mode

How Does Windows 10 Safe Mode Work?

In Windows 10 Safe Mode, the OS will be started with only core components, and many other non-necessary drivers or services such as video drivers, sound will be disabled. Third-party startup programs are also prevented from loading. And this makes it easier to isolate causes of operating system problems.

For instance, you can start Windows 10 in Safe Mode to identify if it’s the Windows 10 default settings and drivers are causing the misbehaving of Windows 10 PC, or to diagnose if it’s the installation of poor-configured software/programs that prevents Windows 10 PC from booting in a normal state. Windows 10 Safe Mode allows you to safely remove bugged programs, solve driver issues, diagnose hardware conflicts, and more.

Besides, sometimes if you can’t start Windows 10 PC normally, but you can still start Windows 10 in Safe Mode. This makes it a good option to troubleshoot problems of PC, e.g. blue screen, black screen because of malware, virus infection, or inferior hardware drivers.

When You Need to Start Windows 10 in Safe Mode

If your Windows 10 PC seems to have some problems, doesn’t function well, keeps crashing/freezing, or occur blue screen/black screen time to time, then you may try to start Windows 10 in Safe Mode to fix some Windows 10 issues.

The Three Types of Windows 10 Safe Mode

Windows 10 offers three types of Safe Mode. You can choose to boot Windows 10 in any type of Safe Mode based on your own need.

Windows 10 Safe Mode

  • Enable Safe Mode: This is the most basic type of Safe Mode. It starts Windows 10 by loading the most essential settings and services of the system. Any other unnecessary programs, drivers or services won’t be loaded. This puts the PC in a safer status by cutting off the possible malware or virus that may move through third-party software, drivers, or local networks.
  • Enable Safe Mode with Networking: If you choose to start Windows 10 in safe mode with networking, then it will add other necessary drivers and services that are required to access the networks, while keeping the same set of drivers and services of Safe Mode. This is not as safe as Safe Mode, but it’s useful when you need to access the Internet.
  • Enable Safe Mode with Command Prompt: If you choose to boot Windows 10 in Safe Mode with Command Prompt, then your computer will display a big Command Prompt window. Professionals can easily use command lines to fix related issues of Windows 10 PC. However, if you don’t know much about CMD, it’s not advised to choose this option. Both Safe Mode and Safe Mode with Command Prompt are not connected to network.

Let’s cut to chase, check how to start Windows 10 in Safe Mode in these 6 ways, namely, through Settings, msconfig (System Configuration), Start menu, F8 key, from sign-in screen, black/blank screen.

Quick Video Guide:

1. How to Start Windows 10 in Safe Mode from Settings

If you’ve already logged into Windows 10 computer, then you can boot into Safe Mode in Windows 10 with Advanced Startup tool.

Step 1 – Open Windows Settings

You can click Start menu and click Settings on Windows 10 PC. Or press Windows and I keys on the keyboard to open Windows 10 Settings.

Step 2 – Enter into Startup Settings Window

Then you can click Update & Security, choose Recovery option from the left panel, and click Restart now under Advanced startup to enter Windows RE (Recovery Environment).

Next you can click Troubleshoot -> Advanced options -> Startup Settings -> Restart.

enter into Startup Settings window

Step 3 – Choose a Safe Mode Option

You can now choose preferred Safe Mode option to start Windows 10 in Safe Mode.

Press 4 or F4 on the keyboard to start Windows 10 PC in Safe Mode; press 5 or F5 to boot Windows 10 in Safe Mode with Networking; press 6 or F6 to access Windows 10 in Safe Mode with Command Prompt.

2. How to Start Windows 10 in Safe Mode through msconfig

If you can enter into Windows 10 system, you can also try another way to boot into Safe Mode in Windows 10, namely, using Windows System Configuration (msconfig.exe) tool.

Step 1 – Open Windows System Configuration Tool

You can press Windows + R key, input msconfig in Windows RUN window and hit Enter to open the System Configuration utility.

Step 2 – Select a Safe Boot Option

Then you can click Boot tab. Under Boot options, you can choose a preferred Safe boot option based on your own need.

  • Minimal equals to Safe Mode.
  • Alternate shell refers to Safe Mode with Command Prompt.
  • Network refers to Safe Mode with Networking.
  • Active Directory repair option is used to repair the Active Directory server.

start Windows 10 in Safe Mode through msconfig

Generally, you can choose either Minimal or Network option to start Windows 10 in Safe Mode to troubleshoot problems in Windows 10 system.

Tip: Booting Windows 10 in Safe Mode through msconfig, your computer will start in Safe Mode each time you start your Windows 10 PC. To get out of Safe Mode, you can check the part of “How to get out of Safe Mode Windows 10” later in this post.

3. How to Start Windows 10 in Safe Mode While Booting from Start Menu

If you can log in Windows 10, you can also boot into Safe Mode in Windows 10 by using Start menu.

Step 1. You can press and hold Shift key on the keyboard, and click Start menu on Windows 10 at the same time. Then click the Power icon in the Start menu and choose Restart.

click restart

Step 2. After you get into the Choose an option screen, you can click Troubleshoot -> Advanced options -> Startup Settings -> Restart, to enter into the Startup Settings window.

Step 3. Next press F4, F5, or F6 to choose a desired Safe Mode option to start Windows 10 in Safe Mode while booting.

4. How to Start Windows 10 in Safe Mode While Booting from Login Screen

If you can’t log in Windows 10, but you can enter into the Sign-in screen, you can also enter Safe Mode in Windows 10 from the login screen by using Shift + Restart.

Step 1. You can restart the Windows 10 PC. When you see the Sign-in screen, you can also press the Shift key and don’t release, and click the Power icon at the bottom-right and choose Restart.

enter Windows 10 Safe Mode from sign-in screen

Step 2. After you enter into the WinRE screen, click as follows: Troubleshoot -> Advanced options -> Startup Settings -> Restart.

Step 3. After the Windows 10 PC restarts, you can see a list of Windows startup options. You can then press F4 to boot Windows 10 in Safe Mode, or press F5 to start in Safe Mode in Windows 10 with Networking.

5. How to Start Windows 10 in Safe Mode from a Black/Blank Screen

If your Windows 10 PC can’t start normally, you can also choose to boot Windows 10 in Safe Mode to troubleshoot problems there.

To boot your Windows 10 PC in Safe Mode from a black or blank screen, you need to enter into the Windows Recovery Environment (WinRE) at first by turning off and on the PC 3 times.

Step 1. Enter into WinRE

You can press and hold the Power button on your PC for 10 seconds to turn off the computer, then turn on the PC by pressing the Power button again. When the computer is going to boot the operating system (e.g., the computer manufacturer’s logo appears when restarting), rightly press the Power button again for about 10 seconds to turn off the device.

Follow the same process to turn off and on your Windows 10 PC 3 times. When the PC is turned on for the third time, the computer should enter into the Automatic Repair window now. If not, follow the same steps until the WinRE screen shows.

If the Automatic Repair couldn’t repair your Windows 10 PC problems, you can click Advanced options to enter into Windows Recovery Environment screen to try other options to repair PC.

Step 2. Enter into Startup Settings

In the WinRE window, you can then enter into the Startup Settings window by clicking Troubleshoot -> Advanced options -> Startup Settings -> Restart.

Step 3. Start Windows 10 in Safe Mode with Networking

Then you can press F5 to start Windows 10 PC in Safe Mode with Networking. And this is a suggested option when you need to troubleshoot a black or blank computer screen. You can search on the Internet for solutions to the issues.

6. How to Boot in Safe Mode Windows 10 While Booting through F8 Key

In Windows 7, you can continuously press F8 key to enter into Advanced options window before logging into Windows. And we know that this method isn’t working in Windows 10 and 8 because Windows 10/8 has much faster booting speed.

However, you can still make F8 work again in Windows 10 with the BCD (Boot Configuration Data) Edit command.

Step 1. Open Administrator Command Prompt window

You can press Windows key and R key on computer keyboard at the same time to open RUN window. Then type cmd in the box, and press Ctrl + Shift + Enter key at the same time to run the Administrator Command Prompt window. Please do not simply click OK, because it won’t open the Command Prompt (Admin) window.

open Administrator Command Prompt

Step 2. Reactivate F8 key function

Then you can type this command line: bcdedit /set {default} bootmenupolicy legacy. And hit Enter key.

boot in Safe Mode Windows 10 with F8 key

Step 3. Reboot Windows 10 PC in Safe Mode

Next you can close the Command Prompt window, and restart your PC. Now before the Windows logo appears, you can constantly press F8 to enter into the Advanced Boot Options screen.

You can then use the arrow keys on the keyboard to choose to start Windows 10 in Safe Mode, Safe Mode with Networking, or Safe Mode with Command Prompt.

choose a Safe Mode option

Tip: Please be noted that you can only reactivate F8 function in Windows 10 on condition that the Windows PC can start normally. If you can’t access Windows 10 PC, you should try other ways in this post to boot in Safe Mode Windows 10.

If you want to get rid of the F8 key function in Windows 10, you can follow the same operation to get into the Administrator Command Prompt window, and input this command line: bcdedit /set {default} bootmenupolicy standard. Hit Enter and restart computer again.

disable F8 key function in Windows 10

How to Get Out of Safe Mode Windows 10

To get out of Safe Mode in Windows 10, you can follow the steps below realize it.

Step 1. You can press Windows and R key on the keyboard. And then input msconfig and hit Enter again to open the System Configuration window.

Step 2. Tap Boot icon and uncheck the Safe boot option, and click OK. Then your Windows 10 computer will boot in normal screen next time you start the PC.

get out of Safe Mode Windows 10

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How to Use Safe Mode to Fix Your Windows 10 PC Issues

Starting Windows 10 PC in Safe Mode can help you fix some problems of your computer.

1. Recover Lost Data/Files in PC

If your computer is infected by malware or virus, or has a system crash or hard drive error, you may lose some important data and files, and can’t start Windows 10 normally.

After you access Windows 10 in Safe Mode, you can use the best free data recovery software like MiniTool Power Data Recovery to easily recover deleted files or lost data in 3 simple steps.

MiniTool Power Data Recovery is a 100% clean data recovery tool which is compatible with Windows 10/8/7.

You can use this software to recover lost or mistakenly deleted files from PC hard drive, external hard drive, SSD, USB flash drive, pen drive, SD card (from Android, cameras, etc.), and more, under various kinds of data loss situations.

Download and install MiniTool Power Data Recovery on Windows 10/8/7, and follow the detailed guide below to recover lost data and files with ease.

Free Download

Step 1 – Run MiniTool Power Data Recovery

Launch MiniTool Power Data Recovery to enter into the main UI. All the detected drives and devices on PC are displayed.

Step 2 – Scan for Lost Data on PC

Choose one partition under Logical Drives and click Scan button, and it will automatically scan for all lost, deleted and normal files on this partition. If you don't know which partition contains the deleted/lost files, you can click Devices tab and choose the whole disk to scan.

scan the drive or partition

Step 3 – Preview and save lost files

After the scanning is finished, you can browse from the scan result to find your needed files, and click Save button to store the wanted files to another drive or partition, or external hard drive, USB drive, etc.

MiniTool Power Data Recovery allows you to preview up to 70 types of files.

Show Lost Files, Find, Filter functions are available to help you quickly find the wanted files.

recover lost or deleted files

Tip: If your Windows 10 PC can’t boot normally and your computer haven’t installed this software before, it’s advised to start Windows 10 in Safe Mode with Networking. Thus, you can download and install MiniTool Power Data Recovery Free on your PC in Safe Mode to recover lost data in PC.

If your computer can’t boot or even can’t start in Safe Mode, you can still recover data and files in Windows 10 PC with MiniTool Power Data Recovery. Related guide: How to Recover Data When PC Won't Boot

2. Remove Malware or Virus

If your computer is crashed or stops working because of malware or virus infection, you may boot Windows 10 in Safe Mode to scan and remove malware/virus.

You can also use Windows Defender in Windows 10 to scan and kill the malware and virus in PC. If you don’t have an antivirus program in your Windows 10 PC, it’s also possible to download and install one in Safe Mode only if you start Windows 10 in safe mode with Networking.

3. Uninstall Improper Software

If your Windows 10 computer can’t normally start or work because of some recently installed programs which may have conflicted drivers, you can uninstall the suspicious software from the Control Panel in Windows 10 Safe Mode. Then restart your computer to see if the problem is fixed.

4. Perform System Restore

If your Windows 10 computer runs unstable recently, you can perform a System Restore to restore the system to an earlier state which has a good configuration. But what if Windows 10 System Restore stucks in normal Windows 10 start mode? Then you may try to start Windows 10 in Safe Mode to run a successful System Restore without crashing.

Beyond above, you can also boot Windows 10 in Safe Mode to fix Windows 10 black screen, blue screen issues like the Kernel Data Inpage Error, and more.

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Bottom Line

This post illustrates 6 ways for how to start Windows 10 in Safe Mode (while booting) with step-by-step guides. If your computer doesn’t run well, can’t boot, or has some other problems, you may try to start Windows 10 in Safe Mode to fix issues of your Windows 10 computer, and recover lost data and files with MiniTool Power Data Recovery Free.

If you still have problems about how to boot in Safe Mode Windows 10, please contact [email protected].

Windows 10 Safe Mode FAQ

How to start Windows 10 in Safe Mode while booting?
This tutorial introduces 6 ways with detailed guides to allow you to start Windows 10 in Safe Mode while booting. You can try one of them.
How do I start Win 10 in Safe Mode?
You can check the 6 ways in this post to easily enter in Safe Mode on Windows 10.
How do I boot up in Safe Mode?
You can boot into Safe Mode on Windows 10 via Settings, msconfig, Start Menu, Login screen, F8 key, etc. The detailed instructions are included in this tutorial.
Can I boot in Safe Mode from BIOS?
You can press F8 key during booting to enter into Windows Advanced Boot Options screen, and choose a Safe Mode option to boot Windows 10 into Safe Mode.
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