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How to boot into Safe Mode in Windows 10

Safe Mode in Windows disables unnecessary drivers and programs during the startup process so you can isolate system errors and fix them. We'll show you how you can boot into Safe Mode with Windows 10.

1. Tap or click the search form in the taskbar and type msconfig. This opens the System Configuration tool.

2. Tap or click the Boot tab and check the box, Safe boot. There are four choices for Safe boot. The minimal option is the most common choice, but read on for more details.

  • Minimal. On startup, opens the Windows graphical user interface (File Explorer) in safe mode running only critical system services. Networking is disabled.
  • Alternate shell. On startup, opens the Windows command prompt in safe mode running only critical system services. Networking and File Explorer are disabled.
  • Active Directory repair. On startup, opens File Explorer in safe mode running critical system services and Active Directory.
  • Network. On startup, opens File Explorer in safe mode running only critical system services. Networking is enabled.

3. Tap or click Apply, and then Ok. You can either restart right away or continue working until you need to restart.

4. After your computer restarts, you can continue troubleshooting in Safe mode.

How to exit Safe mode in Windows 10

1. To exit Safe Mode, open the System Configuration tool by opening the Run command (keyboard shortcut: Windows key + R) and typing msconfig then Ok.

2. Tap or click the Boot tab, uncheck the Safe boot box, hit Apply, and then Ok. Restarting your machine will exit Safe mode.

Found this guide useful? We have many more posts like this one in our Windows 10 help, tips, and tricks page.

Mark Guim is Video Editor at Windows Central. He switched to Windows because the MacBook Pro isn't Pro enough. You can follow him on Twitter at @markguim.

39 Comments
  • And the F8 too on boot
  • ^ This. Was just coming to type that. Only way I've ever done it actually
  • Does the F8 on boot work on the Surface Pro?
  • F8 on boot has done nothing since Windows 8. If you want safe mode the easiest way is to interupt the startup three times in a row, then windows will assume somehting is wrong and the next boot will give you the repair/diagnostics options including safe mode.
  • This is what I've had to do, even on older systems with BIOS.
  • On BIOS systems, it's SHIFT+F8
  • Or....power and volume up (or down, can't remember which one). It's the easiest one of all...and is designed for tablets that have no keyboard.
  • actually I remember reading there is a command that needs to be entered into bcdedit
    http://www.howtogeek.com/96980/enable-use-and-disable-safe-mode-in-windo...
    http://www.tenforums.com/tutorials/2304-safe-mode-start-windows-10-a.html Posted via the Windows Central App for Android on WM10
  • Not on uefi systems though Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • I thought that was removed in Windows 8? (Unless you set the bootloader to legacy, that is)
  • F8 doesn't work in Win10. In fact, if you're having trouble booting into Windows, it's a huge pain to troubleshoot. 
  • Coz windows 10 will NEVER give you any problems at all, ever!  lol They started this with 8 and apart from the stupid tile UI was the worst thing about 8.
  • Well, i gotta say, i haven't seen the need for safe mode yet.  Not saying it's perfect but, it certainly doesn't require it like Win 7 did.  Very rarely required it in Win8.
  • but if you install something and can not start? and  windows do not detect the problem till get the blue screen?
  • especially if your sata controller is the problem Posted via the Windows Central App for Android on WM10
  • F8 barely works anymore because of how fast OS boots up nowadays!
  • Or simply shift click restart
  • this. Was the only way to get a relative's laptop into safe mode after Norton internet security tried to kill her system following the windows 10 upgrade
  • Thumbs up.
    Seen it before but didnot try but I guess now I can.
  • or u can just enable the F8 option by going to Administrative Command Prompt and type
    bcdedit /set {default} bootmenupolicy legacy
    then enter and that is it u can enter it just by bressing F8 when starting windows
  • Need to give this a try on my Surface.
  • That doesn't look as pretty, though. :P
  • You still have to go thru the slow sluggish w8 style bootloader to get it to appear
  • ^^this is what I did to my 8 and 8.1 pc's. Works
  • Too bad safe mode is broken in Windows 10, the Start menu being disabled.
  • Broken?
  • Did Not Work on my Tablet. How I Go Back to Normal Mode on if I Exit Safe Mode on my Tablet?
  • You can do that through Settings App on the Recovery Menu right? More friendly-user.
  • Only if you do it thru a bcdedit command as its not enabled by default
  • The other method Microsoft recommended when the display doesn't work is turn your PC on and off three times!!!
  • From the shutdown menu hold shift while clicking restart or if on a tablet press and hold restart as if long pressing for a right click Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • I was just about to type in - ... this is much more helpful as safe-boot is often used when in problems (booting, logging in). I didn't know about the "long press" - still not sure how that'd work, gotta try that on my tablet ?
  • ----
  • how to delete a post ? anyone? It did a full post instaed of a reply, and it's stuck sitting here.
  • Safe mode on boot needs to be enabled separately. I forgot how but it's easy to google, er, bing it.
  • ...Or you can simply GoTo Start-->Power-->Press and Hold SHIFT and select Restart ;)
  • or you can just press shift while pressing the restart button
  • Exactly... Left shift key + power Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • <p>thanx..worked for me</p>