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HP PCs - Windows Safe Mode (Windows 10, 8)

This document is for HP and Compaq computers with Windows 10 or Windows 8.
Safe Mode is a diagnostic mode that allows you to use Windows with basic drivers. If you encounter problems in Windows, restarting in Safe Mode allows you to continue working and troubleshoot the problem. The Safe Mode feature does not install any software.
In Safe Mode, Windows might look different because Safe Mode uses a low graphics mode for the display. Also, the words Safe Mode display in the four corners of the screen.
note:
Depending on your version of Windows, some graphics and information in this document might vary slightly.

Entering Safe Mode from Windows

Choose your operating system for the steps to enter Safe Mode.
  1. Depending on your operating system, do one of the following:
    • Windows 10: Search for and open Recovery options.
    • Windows 8: Search for and open PC Settings. Click Update & recovery, and then click Recovery.
  2. Under Advanced startup, click Restart now.
  3. Click Troubleshoot.
    Clicking Troubleshoot on the Choose an option screen
  4. Click Advanced options.
  5. Depending on your operating system, do one of the following:
    • Windows 10: Click See more recovery options, and then click Startup Settings.
    • Windows 8: Click Startup Settings.
  6. Click Restart.
     Clicking the Restart button on the Startup Settings screen
    The computer restarts, and another Startup Settings screen opens showing a list of different startup options.
  7. Choose the Safe Mode option you want from the Startup Settings menu:
    • Press the F4 key for Enable Safe Mode. Safe Mode starts Windows with a minimal set of drivers and services.
    • Press the F5 key for Enable Safe Mode with Networking. Safe Mode with Networking starts Windows in Safe Mode and allows access to the Internet and your network.
    • Press the F6 key for Enable Safe Mode with Command Prompt. Safe Mode with Command Prompt starts Windows in Safe Mode with a Command Prompt. Typically, only IT professionals use this mode.
     Startup Settings screen showing menu of available startup options
  8. Sign in to the computer with your account name and password.
    note:
    You need to enter your Windows account name and password to log on in Safe Mode. You cannot log in using another method, such as a Personal Identification Number (PIN) or a fingerprint reader.
    The computer opens in Safe Mode.
  9. When finished troubleshooting, exit Safe Mode by clicking Start.
  10. Click Power, then select Restart.
    The computer starts normally.

Entering Safe Mode from outside Windows

When Windows fails to start properly, you might be prompted to start in recovery mode. When this happens, the Choose an option screen displays.
If the Choose an option screen does not display, shut down your computer. Turn on your computer and repeatedly press the esc key until the Startup Menu opens. Begin a System Recovery by pressing F11, then use the following steps to open Windows in Safe Mode.
  1. If prompted, select your keyboard layout, then from the Choose an option screen, click Troubleshoot.
    Troubleshoot selected in the Advanced options window
  2. Click Advanced options.
  3. Click Startup Settings. If the Startup Settings option does not display, follow the steps in the section Entering Safe Mode without access to Startup Settings.
    Startup Settings selected in the Advanced options window
  4. Click Restart.
     Startup Settings screen with Restart button selected
    The computer restarts, and another Startup Settings screen opens showing a list of different startup options.
  5. Choose the Safe Mode option you want from the Startup Settings menu:
    • Press the F4 key for Enable Safe Mode. Safe Mode starts Windows with a minimal set of drivers and services.
    • Press the F5 key for Enable Safe Mode with Networking. Safe Mode with Networking starts Windows in Safe Mode and allows access to the Internet and your network.
    • Press the F6 key for Enable Safe Mode with Command Prompt. Safe Mode with Command Prompt starts Windows in Safe Mode with a Command Prompt window. Typically, only IT professionals use this mode.
     Startup Settings screen showing the menu of available startup options
  6. If prompted, select your keyboard language type and sign in with an account name that has administrator rights.
    note:
    You need to enter your Windows account name and password to log on in Safe Mode. You cannot log in using another method, such as a Personal Identification Number (PIN) or a fingerprint reader.
    The computer opens the desktop in Safe Mode.
  7. When finished troubleshooting, exit Safe Mode by clicking Start.
  8. Click Power, then select Restart.
    The computer starts normally.

Entering Safe Mode without access to Startup Settings

In some cases, the Startup Settings option does not display. Open Windows in Safe Mode using Command Prompt.
  1. Turn on your computer and repeatedly press the esc key until the Startup Menu opens.
  2. Begin a System Recovery by pressing F11. If prompted, select your keyboard layout.
  3. The Choose an option screen displays. Click Troubleshoot.
  4. Click Advanced options.
  5. Click Command Prompt to open the Command Prompt window. You might need to select your account and enter your password to continue.
    Command Prompt selected in the Advanced options screen
  6. Enter the command for the Safe Mode option you want. Enter the information exactly.
    • Enable Safe Mode - Type:
      bcdedit /set {default} safeboot minimal and press Enter.
    • Enable Safe Mode with Networking - Type:
      bcdedit /set {default} safeboot network and press Enter.
    • Enable Safe Mode with Command Prompt - Type:
      bcdedit /set {default} safeboot minimal and press Enter, and then type:
      bcdedit /set {default} safebootalternateshell yes and press Enter.
    The operation completed successfully displays when you have entered the command correctly.
     Safe Mode enabled from the Command Prompt
  7. Close the Command Prompt window by clicking the X in the upper right corner.
  8. The Choose an option screen displays. Select Continue and sign in to Windows with your account name and password.
    note:
    You need to enter your Windows account name and password to log on in Safe Mode. You cannot log on using another method, such as a Personal Identification Number (PIN) or a fingerprint reader.
    The computer opens the desktop in Safe Mode.

Exiting Safe Mode

In most cases, you can exit Safe Mode by restarting your computer. When you enter Safe Mode using Command Prompt, restarting your computer does not exit Safe Mode.

View a video of exiting Safe Mode in Windows 8

  1. Turn off your computer, then turn on your computer and repeatedly press the esc key until the Startup Menu opens.
  2. Begin a System Recovery by pressing F11. If prompted, select your keyboard language type.
  3. The Choose an option screen displays. Click Troubleshoot.
  4. Click Advanced options.
  5. Click Command Prompt to open the Command Prompt window. You might need to select your account and enter your password to continue.
    Startup Settings selected in Advanced options window
  6. Type the following command to exit Safe Mode:
    bcdedit /deletevalue {default} safeboot and press Enter.
     Command Prompt with Exit Safe Mode command
  7. Close the Command Prompt window by clicking the X in the upper right corner.
  8. The Choose an option screen displays. Select Continue.
    The computer starts normally.

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