Windows 8: How to Access Safe Mode

Dennis Faas's picture

This great question recently made its way to us from a frequent Infopackets reader:

"Hi guys,

I just purchased a Windows 8 PC. For the most part I'm enjoying the new OS. However, I noticed that Safe Mode is no longer available. I think this is an important feature and can't figure out why it would have been removed. Is there a way to bring it back?


Richard F."

Our response:

Yes, Richard, it is an important feature. There are many situations in which it's helpful to boot your computer into Safe Mode. So it's good to know you can do this in Windows 8. Actually, there are two ways to access Safe Mode in Windows 8.

First, you can access Safe Mode after reaching the Windows 8 desktop in Normal Mode.

However, in situations where a problem prevents a normal boot up, that won't work. You'll need to access Safe Mode the second way: from Windows 8's Recovery Console.

Running Safe Mode in Windows 8

To access Safe Mode from the desktop after a normal boot, press Win + R to access the run dialog. Then enter the command 'msconfig' (no quotations).

In the Boot tab, check Safe Boot and select the desired type of Safe Mode (several options are available). Now click Apply and reboot your machine to have it boot into Safe Mode. (Source:

Running Safe Mode When Windows 8 Will Not Run Normally

To access Safe Mode in Windows 8 when Normal Mode cannot be accessed, hold down the Shift key and repeatedly strike the F8 key as the system is trying to boot up. This will open Windows 8's helpful Recovery Mode.

With the Recovery screen displayed, click on the 'See Advanced Repair Options' button.

At the next screen, hit the Troubleshoot button and then click 'Advanced Options'. This is where you can access 'Windows Startup Settings.'

This will lead to a screen asking you to restart the computer. After it restarts, you will be greeted with the familiar Advanced Boot Option screen (the same one that has been available since Windows XP).

From this screen, you can select Safe Mode, which allows you to access the Windows 8 desktop with the usual precautions in place. (Source:

These same steps can be followed to return Windows 8 to Normal Mode. After entering the Windows Recovery Mode, simply uncheck the Safe Boot option. When the machine restarts, Windows 8 will return to Normal Mode (so long as that's technically possible).

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