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Self Help: How To Boot Your Computer Into Safe Mode

This post is part of my Self Help series of blogs where I talk about troubleshooting and repairs you can do yourself either to quickly fix minor issues or prepare the computer for a remote tech to access. After I get a good number of these posts out, I'll plan on making them into an e-book I will send to E-Newsletter subscribers. This is the second post in the series, click here for the first post. Make sure to bookmark these posts on your smartphone or print them out so you have them when things go south. It will make things a lot easier for you and anyone who's working on your computer.

Sometimes when a computer has a really nasty virus or there is a serious error, it can be so screwed up that a remote support connection or some on-site services just can't be done in it's current state. A good troubleshooting step is to boot the computer into Safe Mode. I'm going to teach you what Safe Mode is and how you can get into it on your computer so you can self troubleshoot some issues or allow a remote support tech such as myself to remote in to be able to fix your computer when it's not possible normally.

What Is Safe Mode?

Safe mode is a special mode for a computer where it loads only what the Operating System needs to work and nothing else. If your computer has a virus, in most cases this is enough to prevent the virus from loading on the computer and a tech can go in to clean it out. In other cases, it might be a corrupted program or driver that is screwing things up and Safe Mode allows you to go in and fix it to make the computer boot in to normal mode. Some tech tools will only work in Safe Mode as well so that makes it an indispensable tool for techs and regular users for troubleshooting purposes. Now that you know what it is, let's enter it.

How To Enter/Exit Safe Mode on Windows Vista/7/8.1/10

Note: While there are other methods to booting your computer into Safe Mode depending on what Windows version you are using, I am going to be outlining this specific method as it works for all versions of Windows and is easy enough to follow.

  1. Press the Windows key + R, this will open the Run command window.
  2. In the command box, type msconfig and press Enter on your keyboard.
  3. Now go to the Boot tab in the new window that shows and check the Safe Boot option.
  4. Under the Safe Boot checkbox there are 4 additional options, generally you will want to make sure the Network option is selected so that a technician can get online if need be or other tools can be run that require Internet Access.
  5. Finally, click OK. You will be prompted to restart your computer so click on restart and your computer will now reboot into safe mode.
  6. Repeat steps 1-3 to uncheck the Safe Boot option to exit Safe Mode, otherwise your computer will keep rebooting into Safe Mode.

How To Enter/Exit Safe Mode on Mac OS X

To enter Safe Mode on a Mac, make sure the Mac is turned off and then press and hold the Shift key and keep holding it while you press and release the Power button. Keep holding Shift until you see the Apple logo. Your Mac will take longer to boot as it's doing extra self checks before booting into Safe Mode. To exit Safe Mode simply reboot and the Mac will boot normally.

And there you have it, if you have any questions about booting into Safe Mode or you have booted into Safe Mode and want help fixing the issues that caused you to need to enter Safe Mode, click the button below and I'll be happy to help you out.