Resources > Windows 7 Tips > Start Windows 7 in Safe Mode

Start Windows 7 in Safe Mode

Step 1. Press F8 Before the Windows 7 loading Screen

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Starting the PC in Windows 7 Safe Mode would help you diagnose and solve some serious problems, especially when starting Windows normally is impossible.

To begin running Windows 7 Safe Mode, turn on or restart your PC.

Just before the Windows 7 loading screen shown above appears, press the F8 key to enter Advanced Boot Options.

Step 2. Choose a Windows 7 Safe Mode Option

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Now you can see the Advanced Boot Options screen. If not, you must have missed the short window of opportunity to press F8 in the previous step and Windows 7 is probably now continuing to boot normally assuming it’s able to. If this is the case, just restart your computer and try pressing F8 again.

Here you are presented with three variations of Windows 7 Safe Mode you may enter:

  • Safe Mode – This is the default option and is usually the best choice. This mode will load only the absolute minimum processes necessary to start Windows 7.
  • Safe Mode with Networking – This option loads the same processes as Safe Mode but also includes those that allow the networking functions in Windows 7 to work. You should choose this option if you think you may need to access the Internet or your local network while troubleshooting in Safe Mode.
  • Safe Mode with Command Prompt – This version of Safe Mode also loads a minimum set of processes but will allow immediate access to the Command Prompt. This is a valuable option if more advanced troubleshooting is necessary.

Using the arrow keys on your keyboard, highlight either the Safe Mode, Safe Mode with Networking, or Safe Mode with Command Prompt option and press Enter.

Step 3. Wait for Windows 7 Files to Load

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The minimum system files necessary to run Windows 7 will now load. Each file being loaded will be displayed on screen.

Note: You don’t need to do anything here but this screen could provide a good place to start troubleshooting if your computer is experiencing very serious problems and Safe Mode won’t completely load.

If Safe Mode freezes here, document the last Windows 7 file being loaded and then search my site or the rest of the Internet for troubleshooting advice. You can also post the problem in the blog and someone will likely be able to help.

Step 4. Login With an Administrator Account

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To enter Windows 7 Safe Mode, you must log on with an account that has administrator permissions.

Note: If you’re not sure if any of your personal accounts have administrator privileges, logon using your own account and see if that works.

Step 5. Make Necessary Changes in Windows 7 Safe Mode

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Entry into Windows 7 Safe Mode should now be complete. Make any changes you need to make and then restart the computer. Assuming there are no remaining issues preventing it, the computer should boot to Windows 7 normally after a restart.

Note: As you can see in the screen shot above, it’s very easy to identify if a Windows 7 PC is in Safe Mode. The text "Safe Mode" will always appear in each corner of the screen when in this special diagnostic mode of Windows 7.

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