Recipe 3.6. Running Windows in Safe Mode


You cannot start Windows normally. Windows hangs when the GUI should be presented, or after the GUI starts but devices do not function properly.


Using a command-line interface

  1. Restart your computer, and then press F8 during the initial startup to start your computer in Safe Mode.

  2. Windows will begin to boot, but much more slowly than normally. It carefully picks and chooses default drivers and avoids loading noncritical services and resident applications.

  3. Log on using an account with administrator rights.

  4. Click OK when Windows presents its very obvious "running in Safe Mode" dialog.

  5. You are left with Windows displayed in 640 480 16-color resolution and an annoying "Safe Mode" background. At this point Windows is pretty much powerless, though sometimes simply booting into Safe Mode and restarting can be enough to clear Windows' mind and let it start normally.

  6. If Windows cannot restart normally after a pass through Safe Mode, repeat from step 1, but stay in Safe Mode without restarting and follow the next step.

  7. Use Device Manager to disable or remove recently installed, conflicting, or suspect devices to get Windows back to a bootable state. Restart the system to learn whether you've found and removed the troublesome device.


Safe Mode lets you "get under the hood" of Windows without the clutter of excess services, drivers, and resident programs, including some viruses and spyware. It gives you raw, brute force control over troublesome configuration items stemming from recently installed or corrupt hardware or software. In Safe Mode you have full access to everything Device Manager knows about the system hardware so you can remove devices, update or roll back device drivers, and even reset the configuration data of legacy devices to match their true hardware settings. You also have access to the Registry Editor and services console to remove or disable troublesome services and programs.

Safe Mode does not allow you to use Add/Remove Programs because the Windows installer service is not running and some uninstall processes simply will not run in Safe Mode.

By coincidence, just running in Safe Mode can allow Windows' Device Manager to reset device configurations without troublesome drivers in the way, allowing Windows to restart normally without your having to touch a thing. With all these subtle yet powerful benefits Safe Mode can be your best friend in times of Windows' seemingly unreasonable confusion about what and how it should run.

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

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