Knowledge Base

Windows Vista Cannot Boot to Safe Mode

Article Summary: This article troubleshoots computers that can access the Advanced Options Menu, but cannot boot to any mode of Windows.

Table of Contents:

  1. Use Startup Repair to Restore Critical Windows Files
  2. Use System Restore to Revert to a Previous State
  3. Attempt to Boot to the Last Known-Good Configuration
  4. Run the Extended Dell Diagnostics
  5. Restore the Operating System to Factory Settings

Step 1: Use Startup Repair to Restore Critical Windows Files
Startup Repair is a Windows Vista recovery tool that can fix certain problems, such as missing or damaged system files, that might prevent Windows from starting correctly. When you run Startup Repair, it scans your computer for the problem and then tries to fix it so your computer can start correctly.
To learn more about using Startup Repair to restore critical Windows files, click the link below:
How to Run Windows Startup Repair

Step 2: Use System Restore to Revert to a Previous State

If the Windows Advanced Options menu does not appear, restart the computer and try again.
  1. Restart the computer.
  2. Tap < F8 > during startup until the Windows Advanced Options menu appears.
  3. Press < Down Arrow > until Repair Your Computer is highlighted, and then press < Enter >.
  4. In the System Recovery Options window, click to select your language, and then click Next.
  5. Log in as a user with administrative rights, and click OK.
  6. From the Choose a recovery tool menu, click System Restore.
  7. In the System Restore window, click Next.
  8. Click the Show restore points older than 5 days checkbox for a complete listing of restore points.
  9. Click to select a restore point.
    Attempt to restore from the most recent restore point. If this fails to correct the problem, try the next most recent restore point until you find a restore point that resolves the issue. You will need to reinstall any software installed after the selected restore point.
  10. Click Next and then click Finish.
  11. Click Yes in the confirmation window.
  12. Click Restart after system restore successfully completes.
  13. If you encounter any error messages during the restore process, follow the on-screen instructions to correct the error.

Step 3: Attempt to Boot to the Last Known-Good Configuration

The Last Known-Good Configuration can help you reestablish the settings that your computer used the last time that you successfully booted to Windows. To invoke the Last Known-Good Configuration, perform the following steps.
  1. Power on the system.
  2. Press < F8 > when the message For troubleshooting and advanced startup options for Windows, press F8 appears.
  3. Choose Last Known-Good Configuration.

This procedure only works if the system has not successfully booted since any changes were made.

Step 4: Run the Extended Dell Diagnostics
A piece of hardware may be interfering with the normal boot process of Windows. Dell has an exhaustive suite of diagnostic tools to identify hardware problems on your Dell computer. Click the link below to get information on running the Dell 32-bit diagnostics.
How to Run the Dell Diagnostics Utility

Step 5: Restore the Operating System to Factory Settings
A critical error has occured with your operating system that is neither hardware related, nor can it be repaired using standard system tools. To restore your computer's operating system and software to the original factory settings, launch the link below:
Launch the Microsoft Windows Reinstallation Guide

Article ID: SLN125837

Last Date Modified: 10/20/2014 09:19 AM

Rate this article

Easy to understand
Was this article helpful?
Yes No
Send us feedback
Feedback shows invalid character, not accepted special characters are <> () &#92;
Sorry, our feedback system is currently down. Please try again later.

Thank you. Your feedback has been sent.