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Safe Mode: What is it? How do I get to it?

Safe Mode and Safe Mode With Networking are two modes within Windows that load the bare minimum of drivers and services so your computer can boot.

In Windows 2000, XP, Vista and 7 this has a variety of uses. Chief among them:

  • Troubleshooting malware, virus and spyware issues
  • Fixing issues when booting into Normal Mode

Safe Mode is usually accessed via hitting F8as the machine boots up.

Note: With some computers if you press and hold a key as the computer is booting you will get a stuck key message. If this occurs, instead of pressing and holding the F8 key, tap the F8 key continuously until you get the menu shown below.

You will be presented with the following menu:

When using Safe Mode since a bare minimum of drivers and services are loaded you will not have internet access. Keep this in mind because it will limit the ability to use your machine to its full extent when in this mode.

Safe Mode With Networking will load the bare minimum of drivers with the addition of your networking device drivers. Therefore, you will have internet access while in this mode.

However, that is not always the best mode to run in. Keep in mind what was said above: bare minimum of drivers. Your anti-virus and anti-malware application drivers will not load in this mode so you will have no protection when doing normal surfing.

How do you know you're in Safe Mode?

When in Safe Mode or Safe Mode With Networking you will see a desktop similar to this:

Notice Safe Mode in the corners. The icons may be different depending on your version of Windows but you will always get the popup in the image as well as see Safe Mode in white text when operating in this mode.

I hope you find this tutorial helps all of you :)
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