How to boot your Windows 10 computer into 'Safe Mode,' to diagnose and troubleshoot problems

Antonio Villas-Boas/Business InsiderThere are several ways to boot into Safe Mode in Windows 10.

  • If you’re having problems with Windows, you can troubleshoot by booting your computer into Safe Mode, which doesn’t use most of the files and drivers associated with a full version of Windows.
  • There are several ways to boot into Safe Mode in Windows 10, depending upon how serious your problems are. You can start Safe Mode from Settings, the sign-in screen, and even a completely blank, unresponsive display.
  • You can boot into Safe Mode or Safe Mode with Networking in Windows 10, depending upon whether you will need internet access to solve your computer problems.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Safe Mode is a startup mode for Windows that uses a basic set of drivers and files as a sort of “clean slate” for troubleshooting a problematic computer.

There are several ways to start in Safe Mode in Windows 10, and you can use the one that’s most practical given the kind of problem you are having with your computer.

Check out the products mentioned in this article:

Windows 10 Home (From $US129.99 on Amazon)

How to boot into Safe Mode on Windows 10 from Settings

If your computer is running and you can see the Windows desktop, you should be able to start Safe Mode from Settings.

1. Open Settings from the Start menu.

2. Click “Update & Security.”

Safe 1Dave Johnson/Business InsiderThe Settings app is a fast and easy way to get to Safe Mode if you’re on the Windows desktop.

3. In the pane on the left, click “Recovery.”

4. In the Advanced startup section, click “Restart now.”

Safe 2Dave Johnson/Business InsiderClick ‘Restart now’ to get to Safe Mode.

5. When your computer restarts, you’ll see the “Choose an option” screen. Click “Troubleshoot.”

Safe 3Dave Johnson/Business InsiderChoose ‘Troubleshoot’ on the Choose an option screen.

6. Click “Advanced options,” click “Startup settings,” and then click “Restart.”

Safe 4Dave Johnson/Business InsiderChoose ‘Startup Settings’ and then click Restart to get to the final selection menu for Safe Mode.

7. After the computer restarts again, you’ll see a list of restart options. Use the arrow keys on the keyboard to select “4” (or press F4) to start in Safe Mode, or, if you need access to the Internet, select “5” (or press F5).

How to boot into Safe Mode on Windows 10 from the sign-in screen

1. If your computer won’t boot all the way to the desktop, or you can’t open Settings, you can start Safe Mode form the sign-in screen instead.

2. On the sign-in screen, hold the Shift key while you click “Power” and then “Restart.”

3. After the computer restarts, you’ll see the “Choose an option” screen. Click “Troubleshoot.”

4. Click “Advanced options,” click “Startup settings,” and then click “Restart.”

5. After the computer restarts again, you’ll see a list of restart options. Use the arrow keys on the keyboard to select “4” (or press F4) to start in Safe Mode, or, if you need access to the Internet, select “5” (or press F5).

How to boot into Safe Mode on Windows 10 from a blank screen

If you can’t see anything at all on your screen, all hope is not lost – you can still get to Safe Mode for troubleshooting. You’ll need to restart your computer several times, so follow these steps carefully:

1. Hold the computer’s power button for 10 seconds until the computer shuts off.

2. Press the power button to turn the computer on.

3. As soon as you see that Windows is starting, hold the power button for 10 seconds to turn it off again.

4. Press the power button to turn it on.

5. When your computer starts, it should now be in the Windows Recover Environment and showing the “Choose an option” screen. Click “Troubleshoot.”

6. Click “Advanced options,” click “Startup settings,” and then click “Restart.”

7. After the computer restarts again, you’ll see a list of restart options. Use the arrow keys on the keyboard to select “4” (or press F4) to start in Safe Mode, or, if you need access to the Internet, select “5” (or press F5).

Related coverage from How To Do Everything: Tech:

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.