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Going into Safe Mode

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Safe Mode refers to one of the two main ways to launch the Windows® OperatingSystem (OS): 'Normal Mode' and ' Mode'.

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Normal Mode is what you normally see when you open Windows - with all your favourite programs running, that nice picture in the background, and the screensaver showing some nice pictures. By contrast, this Mode has none of these: it is just Windows, and nothing else. To open in ' Mode', either your Windows OS has to be seriously sick (in which case it happens automatically), or you have to deliberately choose to start Windows in ' Mode'. Why would you want to do this? Answer: because often it is a good place to run some maintenance programs, and to install programs safely.

The F8 method of opening in 'Safe Mode':

  1. Start or restart your computer.

  2. Watch for the first screen. In most computers, this shows information about the computer - its memory, hard drives and so on. In a few computers, it shows the name of the manufacturer (Toshiba, HP, etc). Just before this screen disappears, begin repeatedly pressing the F8 key - tap, tap, tap!

  3. If you are successful, the computer will show the Windows Setup screen. (if not, wait until Windows has completed booting, and then restart, and try again.)

  4. Use the arrow keys to choose ‘Safe Mode’, and press .

  5. You may be asked to choose which OS you wish to use. Unless you have more than one OS installed, you will only have a choice of one, so choose it.

  6. Windows now begins to load. The names of various files will appear on the screen, which you can ignore. After a while, your logon screen may appear, in which case choose your usual user name. (Note: a user account named ’Administrator’ may appear; if so, ignore it. This account only appears while entering 'Safe Mode'.)

  7. The screen will go black, with ‘safe mode’ written in each corner. A dialog box willappear, telling you that you are in 'Safe Mode', and asking you if you want this (in which case press ) or wish to restart in Normal Mode (in which case press ). This dialog box is intended for occasions when something goes wrong during bootup. If you intend to be going into 'Safe Mode', then just click .

  8. The normal Desktop appears, though with ‘safe mode’ written in each corner. Note that there will be no icons in the System Tray.
You are now in 'Safe Mode', and can do whatever it is that you wish to do.

The MSConfig Method of entering Safe Mode

The following method is useful if you need to go into Safe Mode repeatedly. It will cause Windows to automatically boot into Safe Mode.

  1. Start your computer normally, and wait for Windows to complete loading.
2. Go to the Start Menu, and click on Run. A box will appear. Type in ‘msconfig’ and click on ‘OK’ or press .

3. The System Configuration
dialog box will
now appear.
Set the
Selection’ to

4. Click on the

5. Another dialog box will appear. Tick the checkbox labeled "/SAFE BOOT", then press the OK button. You will now be asked if you would like to reboot your computer.. Press ’Restart’, and your computer will restart in Safe Mode.

6. To reset Windows to reboot normally, go back into MSConfig and reverse steps 1, 2 and 3 above.

Practice entering using both methods of entering Safe Mode on differentcomputers. Being able to do this is a very useful skill, and taking the timeto learn how to do it easily will safe you a lot of trouble later on.

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