Using Windows Safe Mode and Advanced Options

Computer problems can be tricky to pin down. We’ve often seen minor software bugs produce issues that would seem to be asymptomatic of hardware problems, and vice versa. Some hangs can only be fixed by shutting down the computer and restarting it, others need advanced troubleshooting techniques like accessing the Safe Mode and Advanced Options.

With Safe Mode, Windows will load using a basic set of drivers, which is an ideal environment for troubleshooting problems from recently installed devices, drivers, and applications. You’ll also be able to perform a System Restore in Safe Mode, so you could return your computer to a point before you installed a trouble program or driver. To access Safe Mode in Windows 7, turn on your computer and repeatedly press and hold the F8 key during the initial boot up process, which will bring up Windows’ Safe Mode options.

In Windows 8, you can force the PC to go into Safe Mode from within Windows. Open the Charms bar, hold the SHIFT key, click the power icon, and select Restart while holding down the SHIFT key. When Windows boots up again, it will bring up the Advanced Startup menu. From there, you can select Troubleshoot, Advanced Options, and Windows Startup Settings. Then, choose Enable Safe Mode and select Restart, which will bring up the familiar Safe Mode.

Once inside Safe Mode, you should be able to delete the driver or application that’s causing a problem, or you can try to reinstall the troublesome program or driver to see if it will fix the issue. If removing the application doesn’t solve the problem, try a System Restore to a point when the computer was working normally. If your PC can’t even boot into Safe Mode, you may need to completely reinstall Windows to fix the issue.


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