Windows Safe Mode: A “Window” into Boot Problems

by Geek Squad Agent on ‎02-23-2012 12:40 PM (19,744 Views)

What do you do? Panic? Smack the computer? Roll your 12-sided die?  Perhaps you should check out Safe Mode!


What is Windows Safe Mode?


Windows Safe Mode loads Windows in a “stripped down” version – just the essentials for running the operating system. Safe Mode avoids loading all extra drivers and applications that may have come installed on the computer.  It also does not load most antivirus software, communication programs like Skype and Yahoo! Messenger, and other software that may have built up on your computer over time.


Windows Safe Mode is part of on all versions of Windows beginning with Windows 95.  It’s a great utility to help diagnose boot-up issues, and allows you access to the system when it won’t boot up normally.


When and Why Would I Use Windows Safe Mode?


Sometimes installing new programs, updates or hardware drivers can confuse Windows, causing it to be unusable.  For example, let’s say you installed the latest antivirus software, and now your computer has problems turning on.  By using Windows Safe Mode, you can boot up your computer and try to uninstall that program in order to get your machine back to normal.


Windows Safe Mode can also be a way to try and remove basic viruses.  Since Windows Safe Mode only loads the basics of your computer, many viruses will not load when booted.  This can allow you to go through the computer and try removing infected files.


What are the Dangers of Safe Mode?


Since Windows Safe Mode does not load all of the normal Windows files, you can accidently delete files that are normally protected – ones that are critical to Windows running at all.  If you are using Safe Mode to remove files, make sure you only delete files that are not important. (Not sure if the file is important? Here’s a tip: Google the file name and see what others say.)


Getting into Safe Mode is another task in itself – not one for the faint of heart.  (Check out our Do-It-Yourself section for instructions on doing so.)  If you still have problems, or would rather have someone else do it for you, you can get help from  Geek Squad Agent by visiting your local Best Buy, calling 1-800-GeekSquad or chatting with an online support Agent at

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