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What Is ‘Safe Mode’ and When Would I Use It?

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What Is 'Safe Mode' and When Would I Use It?

If your PC isn’t running properly, diagnosing the problem is the first step, so it can be dealt with before it becomes a system-breaking issue. Safe Mode (or Safe Boot on a Mac) is a way to boot up your computer in order to help identify troublesome issues. So when should you use Safe Mode, and how do you get into it?

How Does Safe Mode Work?

When you use Safe Mode it means that non-core components are disabled, and only critical drivers and files are activated. That helps you to troubleshoot the issue and quickly identify where the problem lies. If the computer works just fine in Safe Mode then it’s most likely that it’s not a critical driver causing the malfunction, but some other component that has been added.

Entering Safe Mode

Safe Mode can be accessed in two different ways. The best known is when you reboot your computer. The other way (Safe Mode with Networking) has greater functionality because it also includes other network drivers and devices, if required. In Windows, here’s how to implement Safe Mode.

On start up:

  1. Select the Start button in the bottom-left corner of the screen.
  2. Select Settings (the gear icon).
  3. Click on Update & Security.
  4. Go to Recover, in the left-hand column.
  5. Go to Advanced Startup and select Restart Now.
  6. When the device restarts, select Troubleshoot > Advanced Options > Startup > Settings > Restart.
  7. At start up, hit F4 or the number 4 for Safe Mode. Hit F5 or the number 5 to select Safe Mode with Networking, if required.

From the Sign-in Screen:

  1. Restart your PC but, while you’re selecting Restart, press the Shift key at the same time.
  2. When the device restarts, select Troubleshoot > Advanced Options > Startup > Settings > Restart.
  3. At start up, hit F4 or the number 4 for Safe Mode. Hit F5 or the number 5 for Safe Mode with Networking, if required.

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