How to repair Windows 10 in safe mode?


Another question that we often get asked is ‘How to repair Windows 10 in safe mode?’

What is Safe mode on Windows?

The Windows safe mode is a diagnostic mode with only the necessary drivers and files loaded to start your computer. This can be very helpful if you are having trouble starting your device, as it will allow you to run System Restore without loading all of the other drivers that are not related to the issue. If this does not resolve your issue, then you may want to re-install Windows.

How do I get into Safe mode on Windows 10?

To enter safe mode:

1) Restart your computer and immediately begin tapping the F8 key until your computer enters the Advanced Boot Options menu.

2) Use the arrow keys to select “Safe Mode” and press Enter.


If your Windows PC repeatedly crashes while attempting to start normally, it should automatically launch in Safe Mode. You may also manually enter Safe Mode:

  • Windows 10: Click Restart on the “Power Options” submenu of the Start Menu while pressing and holding Shift. Click Advanced Options > Startup Settings > Restart. When you see the Startup Settings screen, press the “4” key.
  • Windows 7 and earlier: Select Safe Mode in the menu that appears when you press F8 while the computer is booting (after the initial BIOS screen, but before the Windows loading screen).
  • Windows 8/Windows 8.1: First restart your device, press and hold the Shift key while clicking Restart on the Power menu on either the login screen or through the Start bar menu.

3) Type ‘msconfig’ in the Run Window -> Boot -> ‘Safe boot’


What if my computer doesn’t show me the above screens..?

On every version of Windows, the methods for booting into safe mode vary slightly. Be sure to consult a technician before attempting safe mode repairs. If something goes wrong while attempting these workarounds, simply restart your PC as normal or restore it using system restore.

There are two different safe mode options you can choose from if you have Windows 8, Windows 8.1, and Windows 10, depending on how recently your computer has been started. If your PC was last started normally, simply restart it and press the F8 key repeatedly just as it is starting up to access safe mode options.

If your PC was last started in an unusual way that would prevent you from getting into Safe Mode, then use the following steps:

  • Press Win+R (Windows key plus the R key) at the same time to bring up a Run dialog box. Type msconfig and click OK. This will open the System Configuration window.
  • On the General tab, click Selective Startup. Uncheck Load Startup Items.
  • Now, on the Services tab, click to highlight the Hide All Microsoft Services label so that none of the checkboxes are selected. This will disable all MSCONFIG services except for a few important ones.
  • Finally, click Apply and then OK. Restart your computer in normal mode to see if Windows boots successfully. If it does not boot successfully, repeat these steps after restarting but this time select just one or two of the first few startup items instead of disabling them all.

How to Fix Your PC in Safe Mode

You can use the techniques outlined in this article to fix a problem with your Windows operating system, as well as perform most of the standard computer maintenance and troubleshooting processes.

  • Uninstall conflicting software: If a program (such as a hardware driver or a software application that includes a driver) causes your computer to blue-screen, you may remove it from the Control Panel. After you’ve removed the conflicting software, your computer should operate normally.
  • Scan for Malware: Using your antivirus software to scan for malware and remove it in Safe Mode is a good idea. Malware that’s difficult to get rid of in normal mode—because it’s running in the background, causing interference with the antivirus—may be removed in Safe Mode. If you don’t have an antivirus program, you should be able to download and install one while in Safe Mode. Of course, if you’re using Windows Defender on Windows 10, you may as well do an offline malware scan instead.
  • Boot to a Recovery Environment: If your issue is more serious, you may need to boot directly to a recovery environment. On Windows 8 and 10, this means booting to the Advanced Startup menu and either choosing Troubleshoot or System Restore from there. You can also use Windows 7’s Repair Your Computer option. These will allow you to access tools that are very helpful when dealing with issues that just don’t seem to be able to be solved in Safe Mode.
  • System Restore: If your computer has recently been functioning properly but is now unresponsive, you might restore its system state to the previously known-good condition using System Restore. If your computer’s been crashing a lot lately, trying Safe Mode without first doing a System Restore may be a bad idea.
  • Restore from a system image: You can use the steps described in this section to apply a system image you created earlier.
  • Hardware Drivers: If your computer’s hardware drivers are the source of the problem, you may wish to download and install fresh versions from your manufacturer’s website in Safe Mode. If your computer is unstable, you’ll have to do this from Safe Mode—the hardware drivers won’t cause it to be unstable.

If your computer is stable in Normal Mode but crashes in Safe Mode, there’s a good chance that the problem lies with the software. If your computer continues to crash in Safe Mode, this is frequently a sign of a hardware issue. (Note that stability in Safe Mode doesn’t necessarily indicate it’s due to a hardware problem. For example, if your graphics card is broken and causes shutdowns under load, it may be stable in Safe Mode, as in Safe Mode the graphics card driver doesn’t load up)

What if I can’t fix my issue through Safe Mode?

Try reinstalling Windows

If your computer remains unresponsive after a complete Windows reinstall, your hardware may be faulty. A full Windows reinstall eliminates any software-related issues unless there’s an outdated hardware driver that has to be updated.

If you can’t fix your computer issue through any of the steps above and if you are in Melbourne, you’ll need a little more help from a technician who does computer repairs near you.

I am a computer engineer holding a bachelor's degree in Computer Science, complemented by a Master's in Business Administration from University of Strathclyde, Scotland. I currently work as a Senior IT Consultant in Melbourne, Australia. With over 15 years of...