Windows Legacy OS forum

General discussion

F8 key does not bring up startup menu

by galadriel2x / September 4, 2006 8:25 AM PDT

Hi, I have had my PC for about 4 years. It is an AMD athlon and was custom built. I have never been able to use any of the F keys to get into safe mode. I always use xp configuration utility. I downloaded a file that puts a screen up when booting, offering me the option of booting into safe mode. However today I needed to boot into safe mode and the PC did not get as far as the option screen due to a missing NTLDR file (which I have sorted out thanks to my sisters PC and google!!) My Del key gives the setup menu F8 gives a boot option menu (i.e. boot from floppy, CD etc) . Is there any EASY way to make an Fkey offer me the option to boot into safe mode please? Many thanks for any help.(I can no longer contact the person who built the P.C. to ask for advice!)

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I might check out.....
by Michael Geist / September 4, 2006 8:59 AM PDT

another keyboard to rule out a bad circuit.

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Already used different keyboard.
by galadriel2x / September 4, 2006 9:38 AM PDT
In reply to: I might check out.....

Hi Michael. Thanks for the reply. I have had 3 different keyboards already with this PC and none of them have brought up safe mode with any of the F keys.Best wishes from Pauline

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by Papa Echo / September 4, 2006 10:21 AM PDT

If you have not done it before, it may need trial and error to get it just right - try tapping the F8 key repeatedly about once every half a second, or faster, just after switching on the computer. It is too late if you do it after the computer starts to boot up, e.g. after the manufacturer's logo comes up. Note:just hope that the boot menu program which you installed have not disabled the Window' own F8 boot menu.

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F8 key works differently
by galadriel2x / September 14, 2006 1:53 AM PDT
In reply to: Practice.

Hi Papa Echo thanks for your input. The f8 key does work it just brings up the boot menu not the startup menu (boot from floppy, ide etc.). I have tried all other F keys (and several others!) but none bring up safe mode. I have had this problem since I bought the PC so installing the boot menu program hasnt disabled it. I've tried all other suggestions to no avail also so looks like I will just have to live with this:( Thanks again. Best wishes from Galadriel2x

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Startup menu ?
by Papa Echo / September 14, 2006 7:57 AM PDT

Where you have options from which of CD-ROM, HD or floppy to boot from first ? That would be at the BIOS, i.e. the setup configuration ? For entering the BIOS, watch the bottom of the screen as the computer is booting up for the specific key(s). It may be "Delete" "Shift+Delete", F2, etc. depending on the mother board. The "safe mode" option is one of the options at the boot menu activated by F8 - do you mean you do not have that (at the top) ?

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no safemode option
by galadriel2x / September 14, 2006 8:32 AM PDT
In reply to: Startup menu ?

Hi Papa Echo, when I press the F8 key, the menu says to choose where to boot from first. I then get the options: FLOPPY IDE-O, CDROM, OR NETWORK. There is no option for safemode.

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Sorry .
by Papa Echo / September 14, 2006 5:47 PM PDT
In reply to: no safemode option

I have never heard nor read that the F8 key will bring up the ''Boot sequence'' options, which, for all I know, is at the BIOS. F8 will bring up the boot menu(Windows default), i.e. how you want to boot up - Normal, Safe Mode, Safe Mode with Net working, Last good configiration, etc. Perhaps the program you installed ( regarding boot menu) is interferring with your computer. Have you tried uninstalling it, then remove its program folder,if it still remains, and clear the Temp folder ? Try a regisry cleaner.

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Seems my PC was set up this way!!
by galadriel2x / September 15, 2006 1:04 AM PDT
In reply to: Sorry .

Apparantly the person who built the Pc set the bios differently to most PC's (Goodness only knows why???) but my F8 serves a different function and no other key seems to bring up the safemode option. I have tried just about everything. I even tried altering my registry as suggested by another forum member, but it didnt work either. I am now trying an xp repair install (and hoping it doesnt wipe anything!) as suggested by a moderator. Keep your fingers crossed. It will take a while to try out as I need to do backups of everything important first - just in case. Very best wishes

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Another suggestion.
by christy / September 15, 2006 9:15 AM PDT

Try: Update/reinstall all the drivers, especially the ones for the mother board. For the keyboard, remove from device manager to let Windows reinstall it at next reboot - if no special drivers are provided. Best of luck for a solution.

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Thanks I gave it a go
by galadriel2x / September 17, 2006 6:15 PM PDT
In reply to: Another suggestion.

Hi Christy thanks for your input. I tried what you suggested but the F8 still brings up the boot menu. I have been given a new value for the boot.ini registry and have used that, it means I have to go to a second screen, but I do get the option to start in safe mode. I am going to leave things at that for now At least I can boot into safe mode now. Best wishes

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I Have (in the past) Seen a Few Machines w/ This....
by tobeach / September 4, 2006 3:09 PM PDT

problem & they responded to :
Holding down the "Control key" (Ctrl) on keyboard non stop as soon as you press the start button on the machine. Depending on machine may have to hold up to a minute or so. This should bring up a Boot Menu including Safe Mode Option. Happy

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ctrl doesn't work :(
by galadriel2x / September 14, 2006 1:56 AM PDT

Hi tobeach, thanks for your input. I have tried the ctrl key (both holding down for AGES and repeatedly hitting it) and it doesn't do anything. Looks like I will have to live with this and just hope that most times I can use the config utility, and other times maybe boot from floppy and use config that way!! thanks again and best wishes from galadriel2x

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by welder666 / December 10, 2011 5:39 AM PST

tyvm now my pc does nothing grrrrr

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5 years late?
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / December 10, 2011 5:45 AM PST
In reply to: grrrrr

I'd start a new discussion to see if folk can help.

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Is it a USB keyboard?
by glb613 / September 4, 2006 8:17 PM PDT

I've seen this with a USB keyboard. Try switching to a PS2 style or use an adapter and see if one of the Function keys(F8) gets you into the safe mode.

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Already tried PS2 keyboard:(
by galadriel2x / September 14, 2006 2:00 AM PDT
In reply to: Is it a USB keyboard?

Hi glb613, thanks for your input. The keyboard I had before this was a PS2 and it still didnt work. The keyboard I had before that was serial and that didnt work either. The F8 key brings up the boot menu (i.e. boot from floppy, IDE, etc) not the startup menu. Despite trying all F keys and just about every other key on the keyboard!!! I still cannot find a way to boot into safemode except using windows config utility. So looks like I'll have to just hope that if I get another problem stopping me booting into windows, I can solve it using another PC so that I can eventually get into windows configure to boot into safemode!! Longwinded but if it works I'll have to live with it!! Thanks again, and best wishes from Galadriel2x

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There are trojans and key loggers
by retired / September 14, 2006 3:41 AM PDT

that will cause this, have you done the usual cleaning for such?

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Yes, I do them regularly
by galadriel2x / September 14, 2006 8:28 AM PDT

Hi retired, thanks for your input. Yes I regularly do a disc cleanup, run virus checks, rund adaware and spybot and do reg cleans as well. Best wishes

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If the F8 key doesn't work...
by Edward ODaniel / September 14, 2006 5:46 AM PDT

simply turn off the computer. When you re-boot windows should note it was shut down improperly and present you with the Safe Mode screen.

If that doesn't work try this:

1. Switch on or restart your computer.
2. Watch your display carefully. As soon as you see a blank black display with a small horizontal cursor at the top left, press the <F5> key
3. This will take you to the Windows Advanced Options Menu:

Safe Mode
Safe Mode with Networking
Safe Mode with Command Prompt

Enable Boot Logging
Enable VGA Mode
Last Known Good Configuration
Directory Services Restore Mode (Windows Domain Controllers Only)
Debugging Mode

Start Windows Normally
Return to OS Choices Menu

4. make your choice

If you can boot into windows you can also simply edit your Boot.ini file to give you a menu every time you boot. Give it a short 2 or 3 second boot delay so it doesn't slow normal bootups but does offer you the opportunity to choose safe mode. Here is how to do that by editing your Boot.ini file.

You can access your boot.ini file via System Properties / Advanced tab / Startup and Recovery section / Settings button / Edit button.

You should end up with a boot.ini that looks something like this:

[boot loader]
[operating systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINNT="Windows XP" /fastdetect
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINNT="WINNT="Windows XP SAFEMODE" /fastdetect /SAFEBOOT:MINIMAL(ALTERNATESHELL)

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Will try tomorrow
by galadriel2x / September 14, 2006 8:36 AM PDT

Hi Edward, Thanks for your input. I will try the options you suggest tomorrow. I am having some issues with my PC at the moment and it would not boot at all today. I went to command prompt using the windows disc and ran chkdsk. It worked, so I am now using my PC. However, I am worried that I will have more similar problems, so I am backing up everything important whilst I have access to my files. I am too worried to turn off the PC and try what you suggest until I have finished my backups, just in case it wont boot again!!!
As soon as I have tried tomorrow, I will post back and let you know if it worked ok. Many thanks and best wishes

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After this long and no F8
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / September 14, 2006 8:47 AM PDT
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I KNOW - I should have sorted it out eons ago :(
by galadriel2x / September 14, 2006 9:55 AM PDT

Hi Bob, thanks for your input. I don't exactly understand the post the link points to, but I will google for XP Repair install and see if I can do it. I am having some serious boot issues at the moment and need to get this sorted out really. Because I have never really needed the F8 key to boot into safe mode because I have always been able to use the config, I just got complacent about it. Thanks again and best wishes

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What If....
by galadriel2x / September 15, 2006 1:15 AM PDT

Hi I have backed up and created a slipstream CD with SP2. What worries me now is that if I replace the function of the F8 key how will I then be able to tell my PC to boot from floppy first. I have been having boot problems and need to be able to boot from floppy or xp cd. If the F8 key takes on its usual function of bringing up the startup menu, what key will I press to bring up the boot from menu? Many thanks and best wishes

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That boot option is pre-Microsoft.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / September 15, 2006 1:21 AM PDT
In reply to: What If....

That is, the hard disk has not booted yet.

So the option to boot from CD, Floppy or hard disk is something we set in the BIOS. Some newer BIOS's have a boot menu to select which device to boot from, but I only note that for completeness.


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by Themisive / September 15, 2006 1:25 AM PDT

You can get the F8 key to bring up the Safe Mode menu, you can get it to start normally quite easily, look at message 16.

You get all these options on normal Safe Mode anyway, the one you want is third from the bottom of the list.

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An easy solution
by Espo83 / September 16, 2006 11:48 PM PDT

Have the exact same problem. I find an easy way to by pass this. Start - run - Msconfig - Boot.ini - Check safe mode. This will boot your computer in safemode

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I already do that thanks
by galadriel2x / September 17, 2006 6:20 PM PDT
In reply to: An easy solution

Hi Espo83, thanks for your input. That is how I have been getting into safe mode for the past 4 years. The only reason this became a problem was that a couple of weeks ago, Ihad a problem where I couldn't boot into windows at all! this meant that I couldnt get to safe mode to see what was wrong. (I may not have been able to even boot into safe mode, but I dont know because of my F8 problem I couldnt try!!) I have now been told how to alter the registry for boot.ini and I get an extra screen at startup offering me safemode. I am hoping that this will suffice as I have now exhausted all other suggestions!! Best wishes

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by galadriel2x / September 17, 2006 6:25 PM PDT

Hi all, thanks very much for all the time and effort you have all put in to help me with my F8 problem. I tried all suggestions and the only one that seems to have helped is the suggestion to change the boot.ini registry. This now gives me an extra screen at startup asking if i want to boot into safe mode. Hopefully this will be all I need as my problem related to not being able to get into windows to alter the config to boot into safe mode and now I wont need to. Thanks again and best wishes to all of you

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