Safe Mode

Safe Mode is a way for the Windows operating system to run with the minimum system files necessary. It uses a generic VGA display driver instead of the vendor-specific driver, which means you will likely be working with only 16 colors in a resolution of 640x480. Safe Mode also turns off all third-party drivers for other peripherals such as mice, keyboards, printers, and scanners. In basic Safe Mode, networking files and settings are not loaded, meaning you won't be able to connect to the Internet or other computers on a network.

So why would I ever want to boot in Safe Mode? Well, that's a good question. Sometimes, Windows may not fully load after an unexpected crash and the only way to get the computer to boot is to use Safe Mode. Once you have successfully booted the computer in Safe Mode, you can run a disk utility program to repair corrupted files or directories on the hard drive. You can also reboot into Safe Mode to see your display when you get a "Sync Out of Range" message on your screen.

There may also be times when your computer is performing sluggishly and becomes annoyingly slow. Booting into Safe Mode will allow you to diagnose the problem and determine which files are slowing down the computer. When calling technical support, the support person may ask you to boot into Safe Mode to begin the troubleshooting. To boot your Windows computer into Safe Mode, hold down the F8 key while the computer is starting up. Then select Safe Mode from the list of boot options.

Updated 2006

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