How to Boot Windows in “Safe Mode” When “F8″ Key is not Working? Add “Safe Mode” Option to Windows Boot Loader

"Safe Mode" in Windows is a special mode which is mainly used for troubleshooting purposes. Many times when you can't boot into Windows because of a virus infection, a faulty software or driver installation, you can boot into Safe Mode and fix the problem. You can scan your system with antivirus, uninstall faulty software or driver using Safe Mode and you'll be able to boot into Windows normally without any problem.

So you can see Safe Mode is very useful feature of Windows OS. If you don't know how to boot into Safe Mode, let us tell you in details!

To boot into Safe Mode, you need to press "F8" key in your keyboard just before Windows boot screen appears. If you have a dual boot system, you can press "F8" key when the boot loader is shown where you select a Windows to boot. As soon as you press "F8" key, a new screen is shown which contains several booting options and on top of all options, you get an option to start Windows in Safe Mode.

Many times you are not able to get the screen where you select Safe Mode option. Sometimes "F8" key doesn't work in many systems or sometimes you can't press the "F8" key exactly when it needs to be pressed by you.

Then what to do in such situation? How to access Safe Mode option and boot into Safe Mode successfully?

Don't worry. Today in this tutorial, we'll tell you a way to add a new option in Windows boot loader to boot Windows into Safe Mode. In this way, you'll not need to press "F8" key. Just select Safe Mode option from Windows boot loader and get ready to boot Windows in Safe Mode without any problem.

So without wasting time, lets start the tutorial. We have divided this tutorial in 2 parts:

  • STEP 1: Adding a new entry for Safe Mode in Windows boot loader
  • STEP 2: Adding functionality to new entry in Windows boot loader

STEP 1: Adding a New Entry for Safe Mode in Windows Boot Loader

First we'll add a new entry in Windows boot loader to start Windows in Safe Mode. We'll do that by making a copy of existing Windows entry in boot loader.

This method is different for Windows XP and Windows Vista, 7.

For Windows XP and Server 2003 users:

1. Right-click on My Computer icon and select Properties. It'll open System Properties window. You can directly open it by using sysdm.cpl command in RUN.

2. Now go to "Advanced" tab and click on "Settings" button present in "Startup and Recovery" section.

3. It'll open a new window. Now click on "Edit" button as shown in following screenshot:

Editing_Windows_XP_Boot_INI_File.png

4. It'll open "boot.ini" file in Notepad. This is the main file which provides required information to Windows boot loader like which entries should be shown, how much time should be given to users, etc.

The boot.ini file content should be similar to following:

[boot loader]
timeout=30
default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS
[operating systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" /noexecute=optin /fastdetect

5. Now we need to make a copy of existing Windows entry. We'll select the last line showing "Microsoft Windows XP Professional", copy it and paste it at the end. So now the file content should look like following:

[boot loader]
timeout=30
default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS
[operating systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" /noexecute=optin /fastdetect
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" /noexecute=optin /fastdetect

As you can see now there are 2 same entries in the file. Now edit the 2nd entry and add "Safe Mode" text after Windows XP Professional label.

So the final content of the boot.ini file would look like following:

[boot loader]
timeout=30
default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS
[operating systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" /noexecute=optin /fastdetect
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional Safe Mode" /noexecute=optin /fastdetect

Adding_Safe_Mode_Entry_Windows_XP_Boot_Loader.png

Save the file and close it.

That's it. We have successfully added a new entry in boot loader to start Windows in Safe Mode.

For Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Server 2008  users:

Windows Vista and Windows 7 boot loader is quite different from Windows XP boot loader. It doesn't use boot.ini file. Although you can use built-in BCDEDIT command to modify boot loader, its a bit complicated task. So we are going to use a freeware "VistaBootPro" to modify Windows Vista and Windows 7 boot loader.

1. First download and install VistaBootPro using following link:

Download VistaBootPRO

2. Now open the software and click on "Manage OS Entries" tab. The program might show a warning message for Windows 7 users, ignore it.

3. You'll see a checkbox "Add New OS Entry" at the bottom of the window. Enable the checkbox, provide any desired name in "OS Name" text box which you want to set for new entry in boot loader to start Windows in Safe Mode. We'll use "Windows 7 Safe Mode" for OS Name.

Select "OS Type" as "Windows Vista". Don't worry! Even if you are editing Windows 7 boot loader, you'll need to select Windows Vista as OS type. It'll work without any problem.

Select "OS Drive" as C:.

Adding_Safe_Mode_Entry_Windows_Boot_Loader.png

4. That's it. Click on "Apply Updates" button and you have added a new entry in Windows boot loader to start Windows in Safe Mode.

STEP 2: Adding Functionality to New Entry in Windows Boot Loader

In above step we have added a new entry in Windows boot loader but it'll not start Windows in Safe Mode as we have not changed the entry functionality.

In this step, we'll set the entry to start Windows in Safe Mode.

1. Type msconfig in RUN or start menu search box and press Enter. It'll open System Configuration Utility window.

2. Now go to "BOOT.INI" tab in Windows XP and "Boot" tab in Windows Vista and 7 systems.

3. Now you just need to select the new entry for Safe Mode which we created in step 1 and enable "Safe Boot" option for it as shown in following screenshots:

Windows XP or Server 2003:

Enabling_XP_Safe_Mode_Option_MSConfig.png

Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Server 2008:

Enabling_Safe_Mode_Option_MSConfig.png

4. That's it. Click on Apply button and you have successfully added a new entry in Windows boot loader to start Windows in Safe Mode.

Using "Safe Mode" Option Present in Windows Boot Loader

Now when you'll start your system, you'll see the new option to start Windows in Safe Mode present in boot loader:

Safe_Mode_Option_Windows_Boot_Loader.png

Select the option using arrow keys and press Enter key. It'll start booting Windows in Safe Mode and you'll be able to boot Windows into Safe Mode without any problem:

Windows_Safe_Mode.png

Feel free to share your feedback or ask any question regarding this tutorial in your comment...





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Posted in: Troubleshooting, Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP


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