Helpdesk Challenge – Windows Safe Mode and System Recovery

by , Deputy Computing Editor Computing Helpdesk 10/11/2012
Windows 7 Safe Mode

We show you how to start Windows in Safe Mode, which will allow you to perform many windows troubleshooting tasks with all but the most important elements of your system disabled.

This can be handy if you’re encountering regular system crashes or performance issues that could mean your system has a virus or a corrupted program.

How to start in Safe Mode

Power up your computer and continue to tap the F8 button on your keyboard until the Advanced Boot Menu appears.

Use the arrow keys to move down and highlight either Safe Mode or Safe Mode with Networking (if you need internet access). Press Enter.

When Windows loads, it will look different but you will be able to use security and troubleshooting tools as normal.

Windows Recovery Options

Where Safe Mode doesn’t start properly, try booting your PC to the Windows Recovery Options instead.

Power on your PC and tap F8 as before, but this time choose Repair my computer from the Advanced Boot Menu. Choose your keyboard language from the dropdown menu, click Next and input your Windows account login details.

You’ll see a selection of tools, including System Restore and the Windows Memory Diagnostic.

For computers that won’t start, the tool to try first is Startup Repair. Click this and follow the prompts.

If this doesn’t seem to work when you next restart your computer don’t despair, try running the tool three or four times to see if it has any effect.

Windows System Recovery Options

Don’t worry if you can’t get to the Advanced Boot Menu, there is still hope. If you have an original Windows 7 installation disc or a System Repair disc, then you can try to use this to boot directly to the Windows Recovery Options.

Power on your PC and insert the disc into your CD/DVD drive. The computer should boot straight from the CD and ask for your keyboard language before launching the Windows Recover Options or offering you the option to repair your computer.

Creating a System Repair Disk

It’s well worth making your own System Repair disc in case the worst ever happens.

Insert a blank CD, then click Start, type System Repair and press Enter on your keyboard. Click Create disc in the box that opens.

More on this…

 

10 comments

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William Hill

Does this work for Windows XP, or is it only for Windows 7 ?

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aps

Will this work for Vista, plz?
If not, or the method needs amendment, plz post.
Thank you
aps

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xrayspex

Yes, it works for XP, Vista and indeed all version of Windows before Windows 8.

But it doesn’t work for Windows 8/8.1.

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Steve

I was wondering if it was available or what the equivalent for XP was too William.

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david nathan

We have one of those new notebook computers which does not have a disc player, but runs W7. How do we deal with the problem if we have no means of playing the disc supplied with the machine. It is an MSL, as sold by Argos.

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Les Thorley

it really depends on the ‘disc’ type that you want to play. Is it a CD-ROM or DVD. If CD-ROM, then very cheap external drives at much less than £50 are available. They connect to PC USB ports and behave exactly like the built-in versions found on higher spec notebooks.

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Laurie Whelan

Having opened the in safe mode, you then say we should “use the arrow keys to move down . . .”. I don’t know about others, but my PC always devotes to Number Lock, so using the up or down keys has no effect. It took me ages atfirst to eealise that athte NumLock light was on.

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Jaytee

Try using Ubuntu and you’ll avoid encountering problems in the first place!

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xrayspex

This method of using F8 to get into the boot menu and thereafter into Safe Mode does not work with Windows 8/8.1 as delivered; it is more convoluted.

Microsoft have provided a way, using the MSCONFIG Command, from Normal Mode, but that is no good if you can’t boot up normally or a virus has locked you PC, say ransomware, and stops you doing anything useful.

It has been said that keeping the key down whilst tapping F8 SOMETIMES works, but I’ve never got it to work.

Otherwise there are other more low-level methods to be found, but they need to be employed earlier than you get to the position that you need to get into Safe Mode.

avatar

xrayspex

REPOSTED DUE TO ERROR IN PREVIOUS

This method of using F8 to get into the boot menu and thereafter into Safe Mode does not work with Windows 8/8.1 as delivered; it is more convoluted.

Microsoft have provided a way, using the MSCONFIG Command, from Normal Mode, but that is no good if you can’t boot up normally or a virus has locked you PC, say ransomware, and stops you doing anything useful.

It has been said that keeping the SHIFT key down whilst tapping F8 SOMETIMES works, but I’ve never got it to work.

Otherwise there are other more low-level methods to be found, but they need to be employed earlier than you get to the position that you need to get into Safe Mode.

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