Start Windows 10 in Safe mode

Windows 10 inherited the boot options from Windows 8 and comes with the same graphical environment for various recovery related tasks. Due to this, the Safe mode is hidden by default in favor of the automatic repair engine shipped with the new OS. If Windows 10 fails to boot, it starts the automatic repair mode and tries to analyze and fix startup problems on its own without your help and without asking you what actions it is going to take. If you feel you need to run Windows 10 in Safe mode, e.g. to troubleshoot some issue with drivers and apps, here are instructions on how you can access Safe Mode.
Before you will start, you might be interested in reading the following article:

How to start Windows 10 in safe mode and access F8 options when it doesn’t boot normally

There are at least two options which allow you to start Windows 10 in Safe Mode. Let's delve deeper.

Boot Windows 10 in Safe mode via Troubleshoot options of the Recovery environment

  1. Boot into Troubleshooting options. The following screen will appear on the display:
  2. Click the Troubleshoot icon.
  3. Next, click the Advanced options icon:
  4. On the next screen, click the Startup options icon:
  5. Click the Restart button and your PC will reboot:
  6. After reboot, you will see the Startup settings screen:

    To enter Safe mode, press the appropriate function key, i.e. F4.

You are done.
Tip: You can start Windows 10 in Safe Mode this way using bootable media too, for example, if you have a bootable USB stick with Windows 10 Setup.

Start Windows 10 in Safe Mode using the bootloader option

Open an elevated command prompt and type the following command:

Bcdedit /set {bootmgr} displaybootmenu yes

This will enable the regular text-based boot menu. Now restart Windows and be ready to press F8 before Windows starts booting. After the power on self test (POST) checks of the BIOS are complete, the good old textual boot menu will appear:

Press F8 there to get the boot menu. Choose Safe Mode or Safe Mode with Networking and press Enter. After you are done working in Safe Mode, you can turn off the text-based boot loader and revert to the graphical one using the following command:

Bcdedit /set {bootmgr} displaybootmenu no

That's it.

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Author: Sergey Tkachenko

Sergey Tkachenko is a software developer who started Winaero back in 2011. On this blog, Sergey is writing about everything connected to Microsoft, Windows and popular software. Follow him on Telegram, Twitter, and YouTube.

27 thoughts on “Start Windows 10 in Safe mode”

  1. You typically want to get into safe mode because Windows won’t boot. Telling us how to boot into safe mode after booting into Windows normally provides zero value.

    1. Exactly. It’s like tell you how to unlock the door from the inisde…when you are lock outside!

      Have so far found no way to get in to the computer in safe mode from the outside in Windows 8 thru 10. Of the several “solutions” posted, none of them has worked, at least for me they didn’t. Still looking.

  2. I’ve seen the automatic repair sequence in Win 8/8.1 a number of times. Almost always it’s failed. A couple of restarts, a flash of an obscure blue screen error msg, and click off as thermal cutout occurs. etc.

    The best thing I’ve done is to add Safe Mode as a boot option. (Requires a registry edit).

    Usually, once in the automatic repair loop of death, a full power off cold start (disconnect power, press power button, reconnect) even to boot from a boot disk.

    Fundamentally unimpressed with this. Even fiddling with .theme files can get you into this automatic repair loop of death.

    1. “Automatic repair loop of death” — Love this description! This is exactly what’s happening to my son’s computer; just upgraded from Win7 to Win10, and it worked great … until yesterday, when it got stuck trying to boot up. (Well, “great” might be over-stating it, as he says the “Start” menu didn’t work properly for the last several days.) Anyway, we tried both of these options, but neither worked. Planning to make a Win10 boot DVD and try booting from that. /sigh/
      btw, my son says he wasn’t originally going to upgrade to Win10 until it had been out a while & de-bugged; now he wishes he’d waited. Hmmmmm …

  3. Aside from anything else, if you DO get to the menu choice screen after the restart, you may find that your PC ignores your keyboard, and you CAN’T choose Safe Mode. Happens to me.

  4. I updated windows 8.1 to windows 10.
    For some reason – I was unable to access “settings” button on desktop, or the “store” – so after trying various ideas, I tried safe mode – restarted system and notebook booted into safe mode – except total black screen, nothing on keyboard works, cursor visible, but nothing I try, allows me out of safe mode – (nothing except cursor is visible in “safe mode” I sign in as normal – then it just stays black blank.

    Any help appreciated – I truly have no idea

  5. Installed Win 10 and when it came to the desk top it started flashing. Some times it stops but mouse icon says it is still working and starts flashing again after a few seconds. Totally unuseable

      1. I get the same thing as above. Desktop begins flashing and nothing will allow me to continue. I can control/alt/delete but when I try to sign in again flashing starts again.

          1. Here is the fix. It worked for me. Now very happy.


    1. Same here. During one attempt to boot-up, the system tried to send error message to Microsoft, and I saw the “IRQL-NOT-LESS-THAN…” error. Have tried to boot from emergency boot disc (made in Windows 7, so probably doesn’t recognize it??) but it just ignores it and tries to start up Windows 10, nor can I get it to go into safe mode with F8 key. PLEASE, DOES SOMEONE HAVE SOME ADVICE ON HOW TO EITHER BOOT IN SAFE MODE, GET A BOOT DISC TO WORK, OR TO FIX THE ERROR SO THAT WINDOWS 10 WILL WORK?
      To Ed, Rebecca, Frank, or Roland … if any of you discover something, would you please email the rest of us? My email is Thanks!

  6. I upgraded from 8.1 to 10 on my Toshiba laptop. This morning I booted into safe mode. Now I can’t get out of safe mode. Any one have a suggestion on what to do?

    1. Still stuck from safe mode ?

      Right Click the bottom left (windows icon) , then click the option “run”. And type “msconfig” then click the “boot tab” and uncheck the safe mode … After that click restart

  7. Installed windows 10. You must go into safe mode without going in. (The system displays only the lower left corner of the desktop) Tell me please how to do it

  8. updated frm win8.1 to win10 my laptop got very slow i think its because 2 os installed at the same time dont knw how to fix dat n have all the imp data in “C drive” so cant form
    at having a recovery drive with inbulit win8.1 in that so dont have bootable disc
    suddenly laptod has stoped working showing start up repair
    just wanted to recover my data and want a rid from dis win10 can any1 help me in this.

  9. Upgraded from 8.1 to 10.took overnight to complete. Now black screen – no signal, no USB ports working including wireless sub, ms mouse and keyboard. Powered up and did not boot first few times. Now boots up but I can’t do anything as nothing periferals working so can’t even get to bios or safe mode. Any ideas?

  10. I went into safe mode using msconfig and mow my pc won’t boot up. Please help I tried all the options but still no luck and I don’t want to have to reset my pc and lose all my files. Again can anyone help with this problem?

  11. My computer starts but will not go to desk top. All lights are on…There is even a ‘backlight’ on the screen but a black screen still. There have been no ‘Blue screen errors’. Will trying to start in safe mode still work, Or can I?

  12. A heartfelt thank you for your very precious hard work
    regarding Windows 10 safe mode boot, DOS lives on
    forever amongst Intel processors . . .
    Please keep up your valuable work forever . . .

  13. pls help anyone… i upgraded to 10 from 8.1 a few days ago. it was working fine then i had a prompt that says restart on safe mode so i clicked… now my laptop is [censored]ed… i cant get out of safe mode i tried everything and am so pissed already PLEASEHELP

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