How to boot into safe mode in Windows 8

If you're finding it tricky to access safe mode in Windows 8 Release Preview, here's the solution.

Whenever you get a blue screen of death on your PC, the first port of call is always the trusty safe mode. Unfortunately, when I had to use it shortly after installing the latest Windows 8 Release Preview , I had no idea how to actually get to it as the old F8 shortcut has changed.

The good news is that you can still access safe mode through a shortcut, but it's now Shift+F8. The alternative solution is to create a second safe mode instance of your machine that you can boot from, although it's a little more involved. Here's how to do it.

Settings for safe mode boot up
1. From the home screen, do a search for "cmd". This will get you to the command prompt in the traditional environment. You'll need administrator privileges in order to do what we want to do here, so right-click the icon and select "Run as Administrator".

How to use Windows 8 safe mode
Screenshot by CNET UK

2. Now, with the command prompt open, we want to list all the boot entries that you have. To do this, type "bcdedit /enum /v" (without the quotation marks). You're looking for the entry next to the heading "identifier" under Windows Boot Loader, as we're going to copy that entry.

Command prompt in Windows 8
Screenshot by CNET UK

3. The next step, while still in command prompt, is to make a copy of that boot loader you just found. To do this, type 'bcdcedit /copy {Your Identifier} /d "What you want to call the new entry"', where your identifier is the string that you found earlier. If you're unsure how to do this, just copy the contents of the screenshot below, changing the identifier number within the curly brackets to your own.

Command prompt in Windows 8
Screenshot by CNET UK

4. Almost there now: The final step is to enable safe mode on this new entry you've created. To do this, go to msconfig.exe from the command prompt and go to the "Boot" tab. Select the entry you just made and then check "Safe boot" below. Check the "Make all boot settings permanent" option and apply the changes.

How to use Windows 8 safe mode
Screenshot by CNET UK

Now you can go into safe mode the next time you boot up.

Originally published as How to boot into safe mode in Windows 8 on CNET UK.

Tech Culture
About the author

    John Thompson has been addicted to technology ever since he tinkered with his custom built PC when he was 10 years old. He has been the proud owner of seven Amazon Kindles, but only because he accidentally destroyed the first six. John is a freelance journalist and is not an employee of CNET.


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