How to start Windows 10 in Safe Mode and then exit later

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There are several ways to enable Safe Mode in Windows 10.

  • Safe Mode starts your Windows computer with most features disabled.
  • Boot in Safe Mode when you’re troubleshooting an issue, or if Windows won’t start normally.
  • To exit Safe Mode, go into the “Boot options” menu, or just restart your computer.

Nearly every version of Windows has a Safe Mode feature. This lets you start your computer with just the basic files and drivers it needs to run. Most extra features will be disabled, and programs will run more slowly. By default, you won’t even have internet access.

Safe Mode isn’t meant to be used every day. You’ll use Safe Mode when your computer isn’t working correctly, or when it won’t start up at all. By only loading the essentials, it’ll help you narrow down what’s causing the problem, which can include the system itself or something you installed.

Here’s how to boot in Safe Mode, and exit it when you’re done.

How to boot in Safe Mode in Windows 10

There are many ways to enter Safe Mode. Here are the three easiest:

Using the Power icon

If you’re signed in:

1. Click the Windows icon in the bottom-left corner.

2. Hold down the Shift key, click the Power icon and then Restart.

Screenshot of the Windows start menu highlighted in a hot pink box with an arrow pointing at it.
Hold down the Shift button as you click “Restart.”

3. Your computer will restart and open to a blue screen titled Choose an option. Select Troubleshoot, and then Advanced options.

Screenshot of the Choose an option screen with the Troubleshoot option highlighted in a hot pink box.
Choose “Troubleshoot” on the Choose an option screen.

4. Click Startup Settings, and then Restart. Your computer will turn off and on again.

The Advanced options screen with the Startup Settings option highlighted in a hot pink box.
Choose “Startup Settings” and then click Restart to get to the final selection menu for Safe Mode.

5. Once the screen comes back, you’ll be given a few options. Press 4 to start your computer in Safe Mode, or 5 to start Safe Mode with internet access.

Picture of the Startup Settings screen with the Enable Safe Mode and Enable Safe Mode with Networking options highlighted in a hot pink box.
Enable Safe Mode with or without internet access.

Using the Settings app

1. Open the Settings app by pressing the Windows key + I.

2. Click Update & Security, and then Recovery.

3. On this page, underneath Advanced startup, click Restart now.

Recovery screen with the Restart now button highlighted by an arrow pointing at it.
Click “Restart now” to get to Safe Mode.

4. Your computer will restart on the Choose an option screen. Here, click Troubleshoot, and then Advanced options.

5. Select Startup Settings and then Restart.

6. When your computer boots back up, you’ll be given some startup options. Press 4 to start your computer in Safe Mode, or 5 to start Safe Mode with internet access.

Holding down the power button

This is the method to use if you can’t boot into Windows normally.

1. Press your PC’s power button to turn it on.

2. As soon as you see something appear on the screen — probably the manufacturer’s logo — hold down the power button until the PC turns off again.

3. Do this two more times, and then turn your PC on. As it’s starting, the words Preparing Automatic Repair will appear at the bottom of the screen. Let your PC go through this process — it should eventually boot into the Choose an option screen.

Preparing Automatic Repair screen.
Force-restarting your computer three times will put you into automatic repair mode.

4. On this screen, select Troubleshoot, Advanced options, and then Startup Settings. When prompted, click Restart.

5. When the computer turns back on, press 4 to start your computer in Safe Mode, or 5 to start Safe Mode with internet access.

How to exit Safe Mode

There are two ways to get out of Safe Mode.

The first — and easiest — is to just restart your computer. You can do this by holding down the power button, or by going through the Start menu.

If you’ve restarted your computer but it’s still in Safe Mode, you should:

1. Press the Windows key + R to open the Run menu.

2. In the text box, type msconfig and press Enter.

Run window highlighted in a hot pink box.
Run should still be a usable tool in Safe Mode.

3. At the top of the System Configuration menu, click Boot.

4. Underneath Boot options, make sure that Safe boot is unchecked. Once it is, click OK and restart your computer again.

Windows 10 boot options highlighted in a hot pink box.
The menu you’re looking for should look like this. The button you’re looking to uncheck is in the bottom left.

Advanced Safe Mode Options for Troubleshooting

There are two advanced versions of Safe Mode: 

  1. Safe Mode with Networking. The networking option allows you to access the internet and other computers on your network while in safe mode.
  2. Safe Mode with Command Prompt. The Command Prompt option will, after login, bring you to a command prompt window where you can conduct advanced troubleshooting.

Accessing either of these modes is accomplished by following one of the methods described above and then pressing 5 or 6 in the last step instead of 4.

Read the original article on Business Insider
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