Inside Out

Use an administrative account

To solve problems in Safe Mode, you need administrative credentials. With a standard account, you'll have read-only access to some diagnostic tools, but you won't be able to take any troubleshooting actions .


You can't display the Advanced Boot Options menu

Pressing F8 at precisely the right moment to cause the Advanced Boot Options menu to appear is sometimes difficult. If you're able to boot your computer normally at least once, you can use another method to start in Safe Mode or with other boot options .

To use the other method, while Windows is running type msconfig in the Start menu search box and press Enter to open System Configuration, shown below. Click the Boot tab, and then make selections under Boot Options. These options take effect the next time you restart your computer—without requiring you to first press F8 . Select Safe Boot to invoke Safe Mode; the suboptions Minimal, Network, and Alternate Shell correlate to the three Safe Mode options on the Advanced Boot Options menu.

In Safe Mode, you can access certain essential configuration tools, including Device Manager, System Restore, and Registry Editor. All local Help And Support features are available;

if you choose the Safe Mode With Networking option, you'll have access to online help as well.

One important troubleshooting tool that is not available in Safe Mode is Backup And Restore. To restore a system image backup, for example, you need to use the Windows Recovery Environment, not Safe Mode .

If Windows appears to work properly in Safe Mode, you can safely assume that there's no problem with the basic services . Use Device Manager, Driver Verifier Manager, and Event Viewer to try to figure out where the trouble lies . If you suspect that a newly installed device or program is the cause of the problem, you can remove the offending software while you're running in Safe Mode. Use Device Manager to uninstall or roll back a hardware driver; use Control Panel to remove a program . Then try restarting the system normally to see whether your changes have resolved the problem .

For information about using Device Manager, see "Managing Devices with Device Manager" on page 866. For information about Driver Verifier Manager, see "Uninstalling a Driver" on page 886.For information about using Event Viewer, see "Digging Deeper with Event Viewer" on page 825. For information about removing programs, see "Uninstalling Programs" on page 179 .

If you need access to network connections, choose the Safe Mode With Networking option, which loads the base set of Safe Mode files and adds drivers and services required to start Windows networking. Note that this option will do you no good on a portable computer with a PC Card (PCMCIA) network adapter, because PC Card peripherals are disabled in Safe Mode

The third Safe Mode option, Safe Mode With Command Prompt, loads the same stripped-down set of services as Safe Mode, but it uses the Windows command interpreter (Cmd. exe) as a shell instead of the graphical Windows Explorer. This option is unnecessary unless you're having a problem with the Windows graphical interface . The default Safe Mode also provides access to the command line . (Press Windows logo key+R, and then type cmd.exe in the Run dialog box.)

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