How to set Windows OS to reboot in safe mode


Disclaimer: Please contact Sophos Professional Services if you require assistance with your specific environment.


The common reasons that may require you to boot your computer into safe mode are:

  • There is a problem during the normal start-up of the operating system.
  • A problem that occurs during the normal running of the computer.
  • You need to delete one or more files or folders that cannot be removed/accessed during normal operation.
  • There is malware that runs during the normal start-up of your computer and cannot be cleaned.

This article describes the steps to reboot or set your Windows computer to reboot in safe mode or safe boot.

Applies to the following Sophos products and versions
Not Product Specific

Options for reboot in safe mode

How to reboot in safe mode for Windows 7/Vista

  1. Once the computer is restarted (usually after you hear the first computer beep), continuously tap the F8 key in 1 second intervals. If successful, the Advanced Boot Options menu will appear.
  2. Use the arrow keys to select Safe Mode and press ENTER.

How to boot in safe mode for Windows 8/10

  1. Press SHIFT + Restart on the login screen. This will open a new screen asking you to Choose an option.
  2. Click on the Troubleshoot > Advance Options.
  3. Select Windows Startup Settings to see the Windows options for restart.
  4. Click Restart. When your PC reboots you will see the Advanced Boot Options screen.
  5. Use the arrow keys to select Safe Mode and press ENTER.

How to boot in safe mode through the System Configuration Boot options

You can force Windows to go straight into safe mode after a reboot without requiring the pressing of a key during boot. To do this, follow the steps below:

  1. Open msconfig from the search tool bar of you Windows; it is usually from the start screen (Windows 8) or from the applications list (Windows 7, Vista). As alternative, you can press the Windows key + R to open the run box and type msconfig from there then press enter. This will open the System Configuration window.
  2. Go to the Boot tab and under Boot options select the Safe boot option and select the Minimal option or your preferred Boot option.
  3. Click on Apply then OK.

How to boot in safe mode through Advanced Boot Options

On the Advanced Boot Options screen, you may highlight the option you want:

  • Safe Mode: Starts Windows with the minimum of drivers and services possible.
  • Safe Mode with Networking: Similar too Safe Mode but includes drivers and services needed to enable the network connection.
  • Safe Mode with Command Prompt: Starts Windows in safe mode with a command prompt window instead of the usual Windows interface.
  • Enable Boot Logging. Creates a file listing all the drivers that are installed during startup
  • Enable low-resolution video (640×480): Starts Windows using your current video driver using low resolution and refresh rate settings.
  • Last Known Good Configuration (advanced): Starts Windows with the last registry and driver configuration that worked successfully.
  • Directory Services Restore Mode: Starts Windows DC running AD so that the directory service can be restored.
  • Debugging Mode: Starts Windows in an advanced troubleshooting mode intended for IT professionals and system administrators.
  • Disable automatic restart on system failure: Prevents Windows from automatically restarting if an error causes Windows to fail.
  • Disable Driver Signature Enforcement: Allows drivers containing improper signatures to be installed.
  • Start Windows Normally: Starts Windows in its normal mode.

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Formatting changes
[edited by: Yashraj at 4:55 PM (GMT -7) on 15 Apr 2021]