How to Boot Windows 11 in Safe Mode

This post will show you five ways to boot Windows 11 in Safe Mode. Safe Mode is an integral part of Windows that comes in handy when bad software or drivers cause frequent crashes, and is preventing the system from working properly. Some people also use Safe Mode to properly delete GPU drivers or other software.


Boot Windows 11 in Safe Mode

There are different ways to start Windows 11 in Safe Mode. The operating system may even automatically try to initiate Safe Mode after several failed attempts to start normally. If Windows 11 has a hard time starting, it will engage automatic repair. If it fails, Windows 11 will display the Advanced Startup options, from where you can start the OS in Safe Mode. Some may say interrupting the boot sequence is one way to start Windows 11 in Safe Mode, but we do not recommend using such methods unless your computer cannot start as usual. Instead, we recommend you to use the following.

Method 1 - msconfig

This method works only if your system can remain operational for at least one or two minutes. That time is enough to boot Windows 11 in Safe Mode.

  1. Press Win + R and enter the msconfig command. You can also use Windows Search to find the System Configuration applet.Windows 11 Run Msconfig
  2. In the System Configuration window, go to the Boot tab.
  3. Place a check mark next to the Safe Mode option.Boot Windows 11 In Safe Mode
  4. If necessary, change the Safe Mode configuration. By default, Windows 11 uses "Minimal" Safe Mode, but you can also switch to "Alternate Shell," "Active Directory Repair," and "Network." The latter allows using an Internet connection.
  5. Press OK, then click Restart. You can also ignore the prompt and restart the system later. Windows will remember your choice and launch in Safe Mode next time you restart your computer.Msconfig Restart To Boot Windows 11 In Safe Mode

Important: Do not forget to switch back to normal boot mode after you finish troubleshooting your system; otherwise, Windows will boot into Safe Mode every time you turn on or restart your PC. Just repeat the process described above and uncheck the Safe Mode option.

Method 2 - Boot Windows 11 in Safe Mode from Recovery

Like the previous option, this method works if you can start your computer and get to the Desktop.

  1. Open the Start menu and click the power button.
  2. Hold the Shift button on your keyboard, then click Restart. Windows will restart into Advanced Startup (WinRE).Windows 11 Restart From Start Menu
  3. You can also open Windows Recovery environment by opening Windows Settings > Windows Update > Advanced Options > Recovery > Advanced Startup > Restart Now.Restart To Advanced Startup Button
  4. Wait for the system to reboot into Windows Recovery Environment (blue screen with several big square buttons).
  5. Click Troubleshoot.Winre Troubleshoot
  6. Click Advanced Options.Winre Advacned Options
  7. Finally, click Startup Settings.Winre Startup Options
  8. Finally, click Restart.Restart To Advanced Boot Options
  9. Wait for Windows to restart.
  10. Press F4 to Boot Windows 11 in Safe Mode. You can also select one of three available options: Safe Mode, Safe Mode with Networking, and Safe Mode with Command Prompt; use the F1-F12 buttons to make your choice.Boot Windows 11 In Safe Mode From WinRE

Method 3 - Shift + F8

You can get to the previously described Recovery environment even if your system cannot start as usual. All that is needed is to press Shift + F8 before you see Windows boot animation.

Windows 11 Boot Animation In Hyper V

Tip: You might need to press Shift + Fn + F8 if your keyboard by default uses the F-keys row as media keys.

Method 4 - Command Prompt

You can initiate boot in Safe Mode using a simple command in Command Prompt. It will also work in PowerShell and Windows Terminal. Just keep in mind that you need to launch your preferred console application with elevated privileges.

  1. Launch Command Prompt, PowerShell, or Windows Terminal.
  2. Enter the following command: shutdown.exe /r /o /t 0 and press Enter.Boot Windows 11 In Safe Mode From Cmd
  3. Wait for Windows to reboot into Recovery.
  4. Go to Troubleshoot > Advanced Options > Startup Settings > Restart.
  5. Select one of the three Safe Mode options using the F4 - F6 buttons.

Method 5 - Windows Installation Media

This method is useful when you cannot boot Windows 11 into Safe Mode using any previously mentioned option.

  1. Insert Windows Installation Media and boot from it.
  2. Press Next on the first Windows Setup screen.
  3. Next, click the Repair Your Computer link in the bottom-left corner of the window.Repair Your Computer Link
  4. Your computer will reboot into Recovery.
  5. Go to Troubleshoot > Advanced Options > Startup Settings > Restart.
  6. Select the desired Safe Mode option with the F4-F6 buttons.

That is it. Now you know how to boot Windows 11 in Safe Mode.

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Author: Taras Buria

Taras is here to cover stories about Microsoft and everything around, although sometimes he prefers Apple.

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