Nov 25 2007

What is Safe Mode

lifesaver Safe mode is a troubleshooting option for Windows that starts your computer in a limited state. Only the basic files and drivers necessary to run Windows are started. The words “Safe Mode” appear in the corners of the display to identify which Windows mode you are using. If an existing problem does not reappear when you start in safe mode, you can eliminate the default settings and basic device drivers as possible causes.

If you don’t know the cause of the problem, you can use the process of elimination to help you find the problem. Try starting all of the programs you commonly use, including the programs in your Startup folder, one by one, to see if a program might be the cause of the problem.

If your computer automatically starts in safe mode without prompting, a problem with your computer might be preventing Windows from starting normally. If you think the cause of the problem might be a recently installed program or device, try using System Restore.

Here is a list of drivers that start in Safe Mode.

Floppy disk drives (internal and USB)
Internal CD-ROM drives (ATA, SCSI)
External CD-ROM drives (USB)
Internal DVD-ROM drives (ATA, SCSI)
External DVD-ROM drives (USB)
Internal hard disk drives (ATA, SATA, SCSI)
External hard disk drives (USB)
Keyboards (USB, PS/2, serial)
Mice (USB, PS/2, serial)
VGA display cards (PCI, AGP)

Flavors of Safe Mode:

Safe mode with networking:
Starts Windows in safe mode and includes the network drivers and services needed to access the Internet or other computers on your network.

Safe mode with command prompt:
Starts Windows in safe mode with a command prompt window instead of the usual Windows interface. This option is intended for IT professionals and administrators.

Enable boot logging:
Creates a file, ntbtlog.txt, that lists all the drivers that are installed during startup and that might be useful for advanced troubleshooting.

Enable low resolution video (640 × 480)
Starts Windows using your current video driver and using low resolution and refresh rate settings. You can use this mode to reset your display settings.

Last Known Good Configuration:
Starts Windows with the last registry and driver configuration that worked successfully.

Directory services restore mode:
Starts Windows domain controller running Active Directory so that the directory service can be restored. This option is intended for IT professionals and administrators.

Debugging mode:
Starts Windows in an advanced troubleshooting mode intended for IT professionals and system administrators.

Disable automatic restart on system failure:
Prevents Windows from automatically restarting if an error causes Windows to fail. Choose this option only if Windows is stuck in a loop where Windows fails, attempts to restart, and fails again repeatedly.

Disable Driver Signature Enforcement:
Allows drivers containing improper signatures to be installed.

(From the Windows help file)

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  • Setup Vista To Boot Into Safe Mode On Next Boot
  • Running System Restore From A Command Prompt In Vista
  • Working With System Restore
  • System Restore FAQ
  • Running Vista’s Compatibility Mode
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