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How to Boot into Safe Mode in Windows 7

Summary: This article provides step-by-step instructions on how to boot into safe mode in Windows 7.

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NOTE: As of April 11, 2017, Windows Vista customers are no longer receiving new security updates, non-security hotfixes, free or paid assisted support options or online technical content updates from Microsoft. This article will no longer be updated and remains for information only. Please visit the Microsoft site for the full end of support statement.

Safe mode starts Windows in a basic state, using a limited set of files and drivers. If a problem does not happen in safe mode, this means that the default settings and basic device drivers are not causing the issue. Observing Windows in safe mode enables you to narrow down the source of a problem, and can help you troubleshoot problems on your computer.

There are three different types of safe mode boot options that are available in the Advanced Boot Options.

  1. Safe Mode - Starts Windows with the minimum of drivers and services possible.
  2. Safe Mode with Networking - Same as Safe Mode, but adds the network drivers and services you will need to access the internet and other computers on your network. You also need this mode if you need to use devices such as a USB flash drive.
    NOTE: Wireless (Wi-Fi) internet connection is not supported in safe mode with networking.
  3. Safe Mode with Command Prompt - Same as Safe Mode but the Command Prompt as the user interface instead of the windows desktop Graphical User Interface (GUI).
NOTE: The Windows installer service is disabled in Safe Mode and Safe Mode with Command Prompt. Applications cannot be installed or uninstalled in these two modes.


In safe mode, Windows has reduced functionality. The task of isolating problems is easier since many non-essential components are disabled, such as sound, third-party drivers and services, non-essential Windows services, and more. Corrupt software, drivers, or the installation of poorly-configured software prevents Windows from successfully booting into normal mode.


  1. Press and hold the power button for 10 seconds to turn off the computer.
  2. Turn on the computer.
  3. Tap the F8 key until you see the Advanced Boot Options menu.
  4. Use the arrow keys to select the desired safe mode and press Enter.
  5. The computer reboots Windows 7 into safe mode.

Additional Information

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Affected Product

Chromebox, Alienware, Inspiron, Retired Models, OptiPlex, Vostro, XPS, G Series, Chromebook, G Series, Alienware, Inspiron, Latitude, Vostro, XPS, Retired Models, Fixed Workstations, Mobile Workstations

Last Published Date

15 Dec 2021



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