You may need to boot in to safe mode when troubleshooting your PC (for example, a normal boot fails or hangs). Sometimes a driver problem or spyware infection will require a fix in safemode before you can use Vista as normal.

Safe Mode loads the minimum set of drivers and components, letting you perform many tasks to restore problems - but at a cost of reduced functionality. Often the best course of action is to perform a system restore.

To boot in to safe mode, press F8 just before the Vista loading screen appears. If you are unsure when this is, just keep repeatedly pressing the F8 key after the BIOS screen has disappeared.

If you have done this correctly you will be taken to an Advanced Boot Options menu:


You can then select one of the safe mode options with the arrow keys and then press enter:​

  • Safe Mode - this will launch the most basic version of safe mode, which loads only the minimum of services. Use this version unless you need internet access.
  • Safe Mode with Networking - this is the same as above, however network/internet access is included. Only use this if you require this functionality.​
  • Safe Mode with Command Prompt - this adds command prompt access to safe mode. It is unlikely you will need this mode.​
Ian, Apr 19, 2008