Recipe 20.1. Using Safe Mode


Windows hangs, restarts by itself, or crashes with a blue screen error, or your video display is garbled and you cannot get control of the display resolution.


  1. Restart your PC and press the F8 key at the end of the BIOS to access Windows' start menu.

  2. Select the Safe Mode option and let Windows start up.

  3. Log onto Windows if prompted.

  4. Click OK or Yes to acknowledge the "running in safe mode" dialog.

  5. Use Safe Mode to reset any recent configuration changes, uninstall recently installed hardware, or run System Restore to return the system to a working state.


Safe Mode uses only basic files and drivers (mouse, except serial mice; monitor; keyboard; mass storage; base video; default minimal system services; and no network connections). In Safe Mode, your desktop display is limited to 640 480 resolution, allowing you to select another resolution to be used after restart helpful if you have video driver or resolution selection problems. Many 32-bit device drivers are not loaded, limiting the number and types of programs you can use for instance a Pinnacle PCTV tuner card cannot be used in Safe Mode. As well, entries in Windows Registry Run and Run Once keys are bypassed in Safe Mode an essential feature for removing spyware and unwanted programs that will not go away in Normal Mode. If your computer does not start successfully using safe mode, you might need to use the Recovery Console feature to repair your system (see Recipe 20.5).

Additional Safe Mode options exist Safe Mode with Networking and Safe Mode with Command Prompt. Safe Mode with Networking adds basic networking components to the Spartan mix of few device drivers and features so you can access LAN and web-based resources as needed. Safe Mode with Command Prompt presents the command-line interface instead of the Windows GUI, most useful if you are having trouble with and need to repair displaying Windows' graphics.

See Also

Safe Mode is one of the most limited ways to run Windows XP, but it lets you get under the skin of the OS. For a couple of non-Microsoft views of Safe Mode, visit and

Windows XP Cookbook
Windows XP Cookbook (Cookbooks)
ISBN: 0596007256
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2006
Pages: 408

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