Know Your Tech: Safe Mode

If you’re trying to identify a specific issue with your PC, it can be difficult to do so due to the fact that there are so many moving parts in an operating system. Still, you want a secure way to find the problem and diagnose it. Thankfully, safe mode allows you to take a look at your computer in its most basic form to see what the root of the issue is.

What Safe Mode Does
Chances are that your business’s computers have extra drivers and features on them that make things a little more difficult for your organization. When you boot up a device in safe mode, you make it much easier to diagnose problems since you’re booting it up in its bare minimum state. If the issue persists even in safe mode, you know it’s a problem with the core functions of your PC, whereas the opposite means it’s a more specific issue with something you’ve installed.

There are two major ways you can access safe mode on your PC. The first is the one that we just outlined. The other can include your network drivers and devices, but this sometimes isn’t what you’re looking to do.

Follow these directions to implement safe mode on startup.

From the Start menu:

  • Select the ​Start ​button in the lower-left corner of the screen.
  • Select ​Settings​ (the gear icon)
  • Click on ​Update & security
  • Go to ​Recover ​in the left-hand column
  • Go to ​Advanced startup​ and select ​Restart now
  • When the device restarts, select ​Troubleshoot > Advanced options > Startup Settings > Restart
  • Upon startup, hit ​F4 ​or the number ​4 ​for ​Safe Mode. Hit ​F5 ​or the number ​5 ​for ​Safe Mode with Networking

From the sign-in screen:

  • Restart your PC. Hold down the Shift key while you’re selecting Restart.
  • When the device restarts, select Troubleshoot > Advanced options > Startup Settings > Restart

Upon startup, hit F4 or the number 4 for Safe Mode. Hit F5 or the number 5 for Safe Mode with Networking