Force Windows 7, 8, or 10 to Boot Into Safe Mode Without Using the F8 Key

Starting Windows in Safe Mode isn’t terribly difficult. But, if you need to repeatedly reboot your PC and start in Safe Mode each time, trying to hit that F8 key or restarting from Normal Mode each time gets old. There is an easier way, though.

There are several ways to start Windows in Safe Mode, depending on the version of Windows you’re running. Pressing the F8 key at just the right time during startup can open a menu of advanced boot options. Restarting Windows 8 or 10 by holding the Shift key down while you click the “Restart” button also works. But sometimes, you need to restart your PC into Safe Mode several times in a row. Maybe you’re trying to remove pesky malware, roll back a finicky driver, or maybe you just need to run some troubleshooting tools that require a restart. There’s actually an option in the System Configuration utility that lets you force Windows to always boot into Safe Mode—until you turn the option off again.

Force Windows to Boot into Safe Mode

The easiest way to open the System Configuration utility is to hit Windows+R to bring up the Run box. Type “msconfig” into the box, and then hit Enter. This method should work in pretty much any version of Windows.

In the “System Configuration” window, switch to the “Boot” tab. Enable the “Safe Boot” check box, and then make sure the “Minimal” option below that is selected. Click the “OK” button when you’re done.

Windows asks if want to restart your PC now or wait until later. Whatever you choose, the next time you restart your PC, it will enter Safe Mode.

After restarting, you’ll know that you are in Safe Mode because Windows places “Safe Mode” text in the four corners of the screen.

And now, every time you restart your PC, Windows will start in Safe Mode until you’re ready to turn it back off again.

Turn Safe Mode Back Off

When you’re done fixing whatever required working in Safe Mode, you just need to turn off the “Safe Boot” option you turned on earlier.

Hit Win+R, type “msconfig” into the Run box, and then hit Enter to open the System Configuration tool again. Switch to the “Boot” tab, and disable the “Safe Boot” checkbox. Click “OK” and then restart your PC when you’re done.

It’s not often you’ll need to return to Safe Mode several times in a row, but when you do, this method will save you a lot of hassle.

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.