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HP PCs - Windows 8 Safe Mode

This document pertains to HP and Compaq computers with Windows 8.

Safe Mode is a diagnostic mode that allows you to use Windows with basic drivers. If you are having errors or software problems in Windows 8, restarting in Safe Mode can allow you to continue working and troubleshoot the problem. When in Safe Mode, no extra software is loaded, so troubleshooting software and driver problems is much easier.

NOTE: In Safe Mode, Windows might look different, because Safe Mode uses a low graphics mode for the display. Also, the words Safe Mode appear in the four corners of the screen.

Entering Safe Mode at startup

When Windows 8 fails to start properly, you may be prompted to start in recovery mode. When this happens, you can open Windows in safe mode as follows:

  1. From the Choose an option screen, click Troubleshoot .

    Figure 1: Choose an option screen

    Choose an option screen with Troubleshoot selected
  2. Click Advanced options .

    Figure 2: Troubleshoot screen

     Troubleshoot screen with Advanced options selected
  3. Click Startup Settings .

    Figure 3: Advanced options screen

  4. Click Restart .

    Figure 4: Startup Settings screen

     Startup Settings screen with Restart button selected

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

  5. Choose the safe mode option you want from the Startup Settings menu:

    • Press the F4 key for Enable Safe Mode.

    • Press the F5 key for Enable Safe Mode with Networking.

    • Press the F6 key for Enable Safe Mode with Command Prompt.

    Figure 5: Startup Settings screen

     Startup Settings screen showing menu of available startup options
  6. If prompted, select your keyboard language type and sign in with a user account name that has administrator rights.

  7. When finished troubleshooting, exit Safe Mode by pressing Windows + I.

  8. Click Power , and select Restart .

    Figure 6: Restart power setting

    Image of Restart selection under power options in Settings

    The computer starts normally.

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Entering Safe Mode from Windows 8

Use the following steps to start in Safe Mode from Windows:

  1. Press the Windows + R key to open the Run dialog box.

  2. Type msconfig into the Open field.

  3. Click OK .

    Figure 7: Run window

    Image of Run dialog box with msconfig entered into the Open field
  4. If prompted, sign in with a user account that has administrator rights.

    The System Configuration tool opens.

  5. Click the Boot tab.

  6. Under Boot options, click Safe boot and select Minimal .

    Figure 8: Boot tab of the System Configuration tool

    Image of System Configuration tool on the Boot tab with Safe boot selected
  7. Click Apply , and then click OK .

  8. When prompted, click Restart .

    Figure 9: System Configuration window

    Image of System Configuration  showing the Restart selection
  9. If prompted, select your keyboard language type and sign in with a user account name that has administrator rights.

    The computer starts in Safe Mode.

  10. When finished with troubleshooting, exit Safe Mode by opening the System Configuration tool again.

  11. On the General tab of the System Configuration tool, select Normal startup .

  12. Click Apply , and then click OK .

    Figure 10: General tab with Normal startup selected

    Image of System Configuration windows on the General tab with Normal startup selected
  13. Click OK when prompted to restart.

    The computer starts normally.

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