This article explains how to reboot your Windows computer into a low-level diagnostic mode called 'safe mode'.
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 hence cannot be cleaned up
Applies to the following Sophos product(s) and version(s)
Not product specific
Option 1: Reboot and tap F8
The easiest way to boot into safe mode is to switch the computer off (or restart) and as the computer restarts (commonly after the first system beep is heard) tap the F8 key on the keyboard every second. This method does rely on good timing.
If the F8 key is not pressed at the correct moment, or if the system failed to detected the key press the computer will boot as normal. If the Windows start up screen appears the computer has failed to detect the key press and you must wait for the start up to complete and then shutdown/restart the computer and try again.
If judging the timing of the key press is causing a problem see option 2 below.
Option 2: Set the operating system to reboot straight to safe mode
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 open
msconfig by searching for it from the start screen (Windows 8) by or from the applications list (Windows 7, Vista), or pressing the Windows key and R together (to open a run box) and type msconfig then enter (Windows XP/Vista/7/8). Example:
|Windows 8 ||Windows 7/Vista |
Once open go to the 'Boot' tab and under 'Boot options' select the 'Safe boot' option and select the 'Minimal' option. Then apply and OK the change. Example:
Important: When you need to reboot your computer into the normal mode you must remove the boot option you set in msconfig. To do this open msconfig in safe mode and de-select the 'Safe Boot' option, save the change and reboot.