How to Enter Safe Mode on Most Computers

Safe mode limits your computer's abilities, allowing you to perform maintenance, troubleshooting or virus removal safely. Safe Mode in Windows loads only the drivers and files necessary to run the operating system. All others are disabled. Most computers enter Safe Mode in the same way.

laptop attached to combination lock of safe and displaying warning dialog box
Safe Mode limits your computer's operating system so you can remove harmful files.
credit: Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Step

Reboot your computer.

Step

Press and hold the "F8" key on your keyboard while the computer is booting up. If you see the Windows screen rather than the Advanced Boot Options menu, restart your computer and try again. You need to be able to access the Advanced Boot Options menu.

Step

Use the arrow keys on your computer to highlight "Safe Mode." You may have three Safe Mode options: Safe Mode, Safe Mode with Networking or Safe Mode with Command Prompt. If you're unsure which one you need, simply select "Safe Mode." Press "Enter" to enter Safe Mode.