How to Start a Windows 10 Device in Safe Mode

Safe mode in Windows 10 allows you to troubleshoot and resolve problems when Windows doesn’t function as expected. In this article, we’ll go through the steps to start your Windows 10 device in Safe mode from various states.


How to Start a Windows 10 Device in Safe Mode


We’ll also cover the command prompts for Safe mode and discuss scenarios when booting up in Safe mode is useful.


How to Start a Windows 10 Device in Safe Mode


Depending on what state your device is in, starting your Windows 10 device in Safe mode can be done several ways:



  • If your device is failing to boot up properly, to enter Safe mode, you can connect a bootable USB or insert a recovery DVD.

  • If your device is displaying a blank screen when it boots up, you can get to Safe mode by entering the Windows Recovery Environment command “winRE”.


If your device has successfully booted up:



  • You can get to Safe mode from the sign-in screen or “Settings.”

  • You can enter “bcdedit /set” commands via the command prompt.


How to Start Windows 10 Safe Mode Using a Bootable USB or Disk


If your Windows 10 PC does not boot up, you can start it in Safe mode by using a bootable USB or recovery DVD. To do so:



  1. Ensure your computer is on and running Windows 10 desktop.

  2. Connect your USB or insert your DVD into your computer.

  3. Select the “Start” button and click on the Power icon to see the Shutdown options.

  4. Long-press the “Shift” key and select “Restart.”

  5. Once your computer restarts, the “Advanced Startup Options” screen will display.

  6. Select “Use a device.”

  7. Click on the USB or recovery DVD you wish to boot from, then your PC will restart using your selection.


How to Boot Windows 10 Safe Mode Using a Command Prompt Command


Next, we’ll show the commands to enter in the command prompt to enter Safe mode, enter Safe mode with network, and enter Safe mode with command prompt.



  1. On your keyboard press, the “Win” + “R” keys together to launch the “Run command” window.

  2. In the command window type “cmd” and press the “Ctrl,” “Shift,” and “Enter” keys together to launch the command prompt in elevated mode.

  3. In the command prompt window, to boot your computer in Safe mode, type the following command: “bcdedit /set {default] safeboot minimal” then “Enter.”

  4. To boot your computer in safe mode with networking, type the following command: “bcdedit /set default safeboot network” then “Enter.”

  5. To boot your computer in Safe mode with command prompt, type the following command: “bcdedit /set default safeboot minimal bcdedit /set default safebootalternateshell yes,” then “Enter.”

  6. To restart your PC, enter the command “shutdown /r.”4


Note: To come out of Safe mode, before restarting your computer, run the following command: “bcdedit / deletevalue default safeboot.


How to Start Windows 10 Safe Mode From a Failed Startup


If your Windows 10 device fails to startup, you can start up from a USB device or recovery DVD. To do this:



  1. Ensure your computer is on and running Windows.

  2. Connect your USB or insert your DVD into your computer.

  3. Select the “Start” button and click on the Power icon to see the Shutdown options.

  4. Press and hold the “Shift” key and select “Restart.”

  5. Once your computer has restarted, the “Advanced Startup Options” screen will display.

  6. Select “Use a device.”

  7. Click on the USB or recovery DVD you wish to boot from. Your computer should restart using your selection.


How to Boot Into Windows 10 Safe Mode From a Blank Screen


For those times when your computer is completely not playing ball and displays a non-responsive blank or black screen, you can start it up in Safe mode by doing the following:



  1. Turn off your computer by long pressing the power button for 10 seconds, then turn it on again.

  2. As soon as Windows indicates it has started, long-press the power button again for 10 seconds to turn your computer off.

  3. Press the power button again to turn it on and repeat step 2.

  4. Turn your computer on again but this time allow it to restart completely. Enter “winRE.


From “winRE” complete the following steps to enter Safe mode:



  1. From the “Choose an option” screen, click on “Troubleshoot.”

  2. Choose “Advanced Options,” “Startup Settings” then “Restart.”

  3. Once your computer restarts, a list of options will display.

  4. Click on option 5 or the “F5” button for Safe mode with Networking.


How to Start Windows 10 Safe Mode From the Sign-In Screen


If you can’t access “Settings” to access Safe mode, you can get there from the sign-in screen. Do the following:



  1. At the sign-in screen, long-press the “Shift” key while selecting “Power” then “Start.”

  2. Once your computer restarts, the “Choose an option” screen will display.

  3. Click on “Troubleshoot,” “Advanced Options,” “Startup,” “Settings,” then “Restart.” You may need to enter your BitLocker recovery key – an encrypted code that allows you access to your computer – so be sure to have that handy before starting the process.

  4. Once your computer restarts, a list of options will display. Select option 4 or the “F4” button to start in Safe mode.

  5. Alternatively, choose 5 or the “F5” button for Safe mode with Networking should you need to use the Internet.


How to Boot Windows 10 in Safe Mode From Settings


Do the following to boot your Windows 10 computer in Safe mode via Settings:



  1. On your keyboard, press the Windows key and “I” together to launch “Settings.” Or failing that, select the “Start” button, then “Settings.”

  2. Choose “Update & Security” then “Recovery.”

  3. Beneath “Advanced startup,” select “Restart now.” Once your computer starts the “Choose an option” screen will display.

  4. Click on “Troubleshoot,” “Advanced Options,” “Startup,” “Settings,” then “Restart.” You may need to enter your BitLocker recovery key.

  5. Once your computer restarts, a list of options will display. Select option 4 or the “F4” button to start in Safe mode.

  6. Alternatively, choose 5 or the “F5” button for Safe mode with Networking should you want to connect to the internet.


Additional FAQs


When Should I Boot Windows 10 in Safe Mode?


Safe mode is the problem-solving mode of a computer’s operating system. Consider booting your device in Safe mode in the following scenarios:


A Suspected Malware Infection


Malware protection isn’t perfect and unfortunately, brand new malware can slip through the net. You should consider booting your Windows 10 computer in Safe mode if your experience matches the following:


· Its responses become extremely slow.


· You’re bombarded with advertisements that may contain links to malicious websites to further infect your PC.


· Your browser may redirect you to unfamiliar sites.


Unstable Hardware Drivers and/or Software


Buggy drivers and software can sometimes cause blue screens. When Windows 10 boots up in Safe mode, it starts your PC with only the programs that are necessary. No third-party drivers or software are loaded. This can help to determine what’s causing the problem and keep it from getting in the way.


Safe mode also makes it easier to roll back problematic drivers to previous versions should you need to.


Failing to Boot Up


Whenever Windows doesn’t start up properly, booting it up in Safe mode is a good place to start troubleshooting the cause.



What Is Safe Mode?


Safe mode is a diagnostic environment intended to aid in troubleshooting and fixing problems within an operating system. Safe mode boots a device with a minimal set of services and drivers. No third-party software is loaded, only what’s necessary. Therefore, the software causing the problem can simply be removed or rolled back without interference.



How Do I Leave Windows 10 Safe Mode?


You can exit Safe mode in Windows 10 two ways:


1. On your keyboard, click on the “Windows” key and “R” together.


2. In the “Open” box type “msconfig” then select “OK.”


3. Click on the “Boot” tab.


4. Beneath the “Boot options” uncheck the “Safe boot” check box.


Or alternately, simply restart your device.



Getting Your Device to Safety With Safe Mode


Safe mode is a safe place to troubleshoot problems with your PC. It loads your computer without the interference of third-party software and drivers.


In Safe mode, if your PC is infected with malware, you’ll be able to minimize its interference. In this environment, you can do whatever is necessary to fix your computer when it stops operating as expected.


Were you able to successfully boot your computer in Safe mode? Were you experiencing problems and did Safe mode help you to resolve them? Tell us about the problem you had and how you resolved it in the comments section below.

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