How-To Geek

How To Boot Into Safe Mode On Windows 8 (The Easy Way)


One of the most common steps when troubleshooting a PC is to boot into safe mode. For a long time this has been achieved by pressing the F8 key, this all changes with Windows 8 and its Automatic Repair mode. But what if we want Safe Mode?

You can still have Safe Mode, however, it is buried deep into the recovery options of Windows 8. While just mashing the F8 key as we all know will boot you into automatic recovery mode, you can still manually access the recovery options by pressing the Shift+F8 key combination.


Booting Into Safe Mode on Windows 8

The trick is to hold the Shift button and mash the F8 key, this will sometimes boot you into the new advanced “recovery mode”,  where you can choose to see advanced repair options.


You will need to click on the Troubleshoot option.


Now select Advanced Options.


Now choose the Windows Startup Settings option, by the looks of things we were never meant to find Safe Mode.


Finally hit the Restart button.


Like magic, when your PC reboots you will be able to boot into Safe Mode from the familiar looking Advanced Boot Options screen.


Getting To Safe Mode From Within Windows 8

You have a second option, however, this requires you to be booted into Windows already. Press the Win+R key combination and type msconfig in the run box and hit enter.


Switch over to the boot tab, and click on the Safe Boot check box.


You can also choose the type of Safe Mode you want to boot into:

  • Minimal is normal safe mode.
  • Alternate Shell is safe mode with command prompt
  • Network is safe mode with networking.

The Active Directory option pertains to restoring a server that is a Domain Controller for your network. Once you have chosen your option click the ok button and restart your machine.


You PC will be booted into Safe Mode automatically.


If you restart you PC you will just keep getting booted into Safe Mode, to stop this open msconfig again and uncheck the Safe Boot option, then hit the ok button.


Finally Restart your Machine.


That’s all there is to it. Be sure to follow me on Twitter: @taybgibb

Taylor Gibb is a Microsoft MVP and all round geek, he loves everything from Windows 8 to Windows Server 2012 and even C# and PowerShell. You can also follow him on Google+

  • Published 03/5/12

Comments (13)

  1. myron

    Good to know about the How To Boot Into Safe Mode On Windows 8 and giving the easy way.

  2. randall

    i messed around for a while before i thought about that way of doing it. somehow i was thinking tho that when it booted up in safe mode the first time it said that some settings were not set to normal and asked if i wanted to see the options. i forget totally how that was as that was quite a while ago that i did that.

  3. pbug56

    I guess MS had to find something else to break. And there are far too many choices for people to have to make.

  4. SMHenryT

    There are probably other methods as well e.g.

    1) Getting To Safe Mode From Within Windows 8:
    Create a batch file so you can double-click and reboot in safe mode.
    2) Booting Into Safe Mode on Windows 8 from the bootloader:
    (Note: this requires you can log into windows 8 the first time.)
    Use the command bcdedit to change the Windows Boot Manager. In a nutshell: create another entry
    with the same identifier number as your windows 8 partition and change the boot options with
    msconfig like above to enable save mode. This way you can select a normal or a safe boot.

  5. venkat

    This post is not necessary F8 just working fine for me. it is shift+f8 in the consumer preview to bring advanced options, now F8 brings the advanced boot options which includes safe mode for Windows 8 consumer preview.

  6. venkat

    sorry for another comment shift +F8 worked in WDP, now f8 in WCP

  7. Taylor Gibb

    @venkat what are you going on about, ive tested this myself and i can confirm that you have to use the shift+f8 method in Windows 8 Consumer Preview !!!!

  8. Mike

    There’s another option. In Windows 8, go to settings from the charm bar and from there you can choose something like “Change advanced options” with the description saying that it will restart windows into the window shown here:

  9. wardog

    Thanks a lot. Keep lists of Win 8 infos. All subject to change in Final. Prob won’t go off Win 7 x64
    until maybe a Win 8 SP1 unless early word ultra strong. Plenty happy with classic view as is.
    I mean hassle with Safe Mode?? Come on guys. Make yet another batch or shortcut. Ugh. Watching for first hack that returns the Start button too. Will need another of those Customize small proggys that allow for settings we all know & love. Often can take several months tho so another reason for letting the second mouse get the cheese.

  10. UltimatePSV

    That msconfig way to activate safe mode works in Win7 too, doesn’t it?

  11. Scott

    Charms, WTF Microsoft.

  12. Alendra

    A little warning for the use of msconfig : some malwares are known (like bagle for example) to delete the safeboot key that is present in the registry. When that is done, if you set msconfig to boot in safe mode, the computer will reboot endlessly, and will do so until the registry key can be repaired (with tools from livecds)

  13. Carrossier

    i can’t get into Safe Mode neither with F8 or shift+F8…
    the autorepair feature starts and never stops

    I get the WCP and Sunbelt Firewall (Kerio) just cause me a BSOD when windows restarts.

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