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HP PCs - Windows Safe Mode (Windows 10)

Safe Mode is a diagnostic mode that enables you to use Windows with basic drivers. If you encounter problems in Windows, restarting in Safe Mode allows you to continue working and to 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 are displayed on the four corners of the screen.

Note:

Depending on your version of Windows, some graphics and information in this document might vary slightly.

Enter Safe Mode from Windows

Use the following procedure to enter Safe Mode.

  1. Search for and open Recovery options.

  2. Under Advanced startup, click Restart now.

  3. Click Troubleshoot.

    Clicking Troubleshoot on the Choose an option screen
  4. Click Advanced options > See more recovery options > Startup Settings.

  5. Click Restart.

    Clicking the Restart button on the Startup Settings screen

    The computer restarts, and another Startup Settings screen opens and displays a list of different startup options.

  6. Choose the Safe Mode option that 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 to 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 menu of available startup options
  7. Sign in to the computer with your account name and password. The desktop opens in Safe Mode.

    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.

  8. When finished troubleshooting, exit Safe Mode by clicking Start.

  9. Click Power, and then select Restart. The computer starts normally.

Enter Safe Mode from outside Windows

When Windows fails to start properly, you might be prompted to start in recovery mode.

  1. After Windows fails to start, the Choose an option screen is displayed automatically. If the Choose an option screen is not displayed, do the following:

    1. Turn off your computer.

    2. Turn on your computer and repeatedly press the esc key until the Startup Menu opens.

    3. To begin a system recovery, press f11.

  2. If prompted, select your keyboard layout, and then, from the Choose an option screen, click Troubleshoot.

    Troubleshoot selected in the Advanced options window
  3. Click Advanced options.

  4. Click Startup Settings. If the Startup Settings option is not displayed, follow the steps in Enter Safe Mode without access to Startup Settings.

    Startup settings in Advanced options screen
  5. Click Restart.

    Startup Settings screen with Restart button selected

    The computer restarts, and another Startup Settings screen opens and displays a list of different startup options.

  6. Choose the Safe Mode option that 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 to 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 menu of available startup options
  7. 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 on using another method, such as a Personal Identification Number (PIN) or a fingerprint reader.

  8. When finished troubleshooting, exit Safe Mode by clicking Start.

  9. Click Power, then select Restart. The computer starts normally.

Enter Safe Mode without access to Startup Settings

In some cases, the Startup Settings option is not displayed. Open Windows in Safe Mode from a command prompt.

  1. Turn on your computer and repeatedly press the esc key until the Startup Menu opens.

  2. To begin a system recovery, press f11. If prompted, select your keyboard layout.

  3. The Choose an option screen is displayed. Click Troubleshoot.

  4. Click Advanced options.

  5. Click Command Prompt to open a 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. Type the command for the Safe Mode option that you want:

    • Enable Safe Mode: Type bcdedit /set {default} safeboot minimal, and then press enter.

    • Enable Safe Mode with Networking: Type bcdedit /set {default} safeboot network, and then 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 then press enter.

    The operation completed successfully is displayed when you have entered the command correctly.

  7. To close the command prompt window, click the X icon in the upper-right corner.

  8. The Choose an option screen is displayed. Select Continue and sign in to Windows with your account name and password. The computer opens the desktop in Safe Mode.

    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.

Exit Safe Mode

In most cases, you can exit Safe Mode by restarting your computer. When you enter Safe Mode using a command prompt, restarting your computer does not exit Safe Mode.

  1. Turn off your computer, and 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 is displayed. Click Troubleshoot.

  4. Click Advanced options.

  5. Click Command Prompt to open a command prompt window. You might need to select your account and enter your password to continue.

    Command Prompt in Advanced options window
  6. To exit Safe Mode, type bcdedit /deletevalue {default} safeboot, and then press enter.

    Command prompt with Exit Safe Mode command
  7. To close the command prompt window, click the X icon in the upper-right corner.

  8. The Choose an option screen is displayed. Select Continue. The computer starts normally.


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