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.
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.
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 http://www.pcstats.com/articleview.cfm?articleID=1643 and http://www.youthtech.com/techstuff/explore_windowsxp/xptroubleshoot.htm.