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Clean-Up the Start-Up
Force Windows XP to Boot in Safe Mode

 

What is Safe Mode?

 

Safe mode is an diagnostic mode, or operational state where Windows operates with as few programs and services as possible.  It's like taking away everything inside of a house and only leaving the structure.

 

The reason we need to boot into safemode first is because most viruses and spyware do not load in safe mode.  This allows us to work in an environment where viruses and spyware are not active, allowing us to configure your system to start cleanly the next time we start the computer into normal mode.

 

How to Boot into Safe Mode

 

There are two methods to get your computer into safemode.  I suggest starting with method 1 which will force windows to boot into safemode. If that doesn't work, try method 2.

 

 


Open the System Configuration Utility


Open the System Configuration Utility

Click Start > Run.  Type in “msconfig” without the quotes

Click Start > Run. Type in msconfig


Configure boot options

This step will force windows to boot into safemode the next time the computer is started or rebooted. Click on the boot.ini tab.  Check the box next to “safeboot”.  You may want to also select the “network” option if you require internet access in safe mode.  If you don't need it, don’t check it.  Please note that some systems will not be able to connect to the internet in safe mode, depending on what type of internet connection you have.  Click Apply.  Click Close.  Click Yes to restart.

Configure boot options to boot into safemode using the system configuration utility

When your computer starts up this time, it will load into safemode.  You will notice a few differences when your computer boots into safemode.

Watch the video on how to boot into safemode
Windows boots into safemode


Choose a user account

Click your username you would normally use to login to windows.  If you are using Windows XP Home Edition, there is no password to login to the “Administrator” account.  Do not use the Administrator account if you are using Windows XP Home Edition.

Click on a username to get into safemode

Once you have click on your user account, the screen will turn black and you will be prompted with a message that asks if you want to work in safemode or use the system restore feature if Windows XP.  Choose Yes to work in safemode.

Click Yes to work in safemode

NOTE!  Your display will not look as sharp.  As mentioned earlier, when you boot Windows into safe mode it operates in the most basic state possible.  Your video card drivers are not loaded - this is why the color looks poor and not as crisp as when you are in normal mode.

You are now ready to work in Safe mode! 

Getting out of safe mode after using Method 1

When you are finished working in safemode, follow these instructions:


Open the System Configuration Utility

Click Start > Run.  Type in msconfig.  Click OK.

Click Start > Run. Type in msconfig. Click OK.


Configure boot options

Click on the boot.ini tab and UNCHECK the checkmark next to safeboot.  Click Apply.  Click Close.  Click Yes to restart.

Click on the boot.ini tab and UNCHECK the checkmark next to safeboot. Click Apply. Click Close. Click Yes to restart.

Click Restart

Your computer will now restart into normal mode, and any changes you made to your system in safe mode should now be permanent.

WARNING!

Once Windows has fully booted up, you will be prompted with a dialog box that says:

"You have used the system configuration utility to make changes to your system"

Click the check box that says:

“Do not show me this message again”, then click ok.

This box pops up after we make changes in the system configuration utility (msconfig) and will go away if you check the box before clicking ok.

Method 2 – The “F8” key

Your computer should currently be turned off.  When you are ready:

Step 1
Turn on the PC and tap the "F8" key

Turn the computer on and immediately start to tap the “F8” key on your keyboard.  You must tap the “F8” key TWICE every second, otherwise you may miss the opportunity to boot into safe mode.

Step 2
Choose Safe Mode at the advanced options menu

Watch the screen as you are tapping “F8” – you will eventually see a screen that says “Windows Advanced Startup Options”. 

There will be a list of options you can choose from as to how you want windows to start up.  Using your up and down arrow key on your keyboard, select “Safe Mode”, or “Safe Mode with Networking(if you wish to have internet access) and then press enter.  Please note that some systems will not be able to connect to the internet in safe mode, depending on what type of internet connection you have.

Using your arrow keys on your keyboard, highlight safemode and press enter

**COMMON PROBLEMS WITH METHOD 2**

The most common problem with method two is that either you are not tapping the F8 quick enough or at the right time, or you have a “F-Lock” key on your keyboard that needs to be turned on in order for the PC to recognize you are tapping the F8 key. 

If this is the case, you must turn on you computer, and immediately turn on the “F-Lock” key before you begin to tap “F8”.

The “F-Lock” key usually looks something like this:

Make sure your F-Lock key is turned on before tapping F8