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How to boot your Windows PC or Mac in Safe Mode

How to boot your Windows PC or Mac in Safe Mode

You go to use your Mac® or PC, but it keeps crashing and won't properly start. What should you do? Chances are, you may need to start your computer in a feature called Safe Mode. Doing so is easy.

Here at Asurion, when tech breaks, we fix it—whether your laptop's sound isn't working or the battery won't charge. Here's our guide to why you might need to boot your Mac or Windows™ PC in Safe Mode—and how to do it.

What is Safe Mode?

Safe Mode is a way to turn on and use your computer using only the most basic files and device drivers. It may cause your screen resolution to be low or your computer to run slowly—don't worry, that's normal.

When do you need Safe Mode?

If you're experiencing an issue with your computer, starting it in Safe Mode can help you identify the problem. You may want to use Safe Mode when:

  • Your computer keeps crashing.
  • Your Operating System (OS) won't start or is unstable.
  • Your computer is acting erratically after installing a new program.
  • Your machine is infected with malware, a virus, or corrupt files.

We'll walk you through how to start your computer in Safe Mode and identify what's wrong.

How to start in Safe Mode on Windows 8.1, Windows 10 and 11

  1. Click the Start button, and select the Power icon.
  2. Hold down the Shift key, and click Restart.
  3. Select Troubleshoot > Advanced Options > Startup Settings.
  4. Click the Restart button. Your computer will restart.
  5. From the menu that appears, press 4 on your keyboard to enable Safe Mode or press 5 to enable Safe Mode with Networking, which allows you to use the internet.

How to start in Safe Mode on Windows 7

  1. Turn on or restart your computer.
  2. While it's starting, hold down the F8 key before the Windows logo appears.
  3. When the menu appears, release the F8 key.
  4. Use the arrow keys to highlight Safe Mode or Safe Mode with Networking (to use the Internet).
  5. Press Enter.

How to start a Mac in Safe Mode

  1. Shut down your Mac completely (do not restart it). Then wait about 10 seconds.
  2. Press the power button to turn it on, then immediately press and hold the Shift key.
  3. When the login window appears, release the Shift key.

How to exit Safe Mode on a Windows PC or Mac

Restart your computer normally to take it out of Safe Mode. This should allow you to use all the functions on your machine.

How to troubleshoot your computer while in Safe Mode

Once Safe Mode is on, here are three common methods to identify your issue:

  1. Run an antivirus application to remove malware or a virus that may have infected your computer.
  2. Uninstall any new programs.
  3. Update your drivers. These are software files that allow the operating system and hardware devices to communicate with each other.

When you've restarted and returned to normal mode, check to see if your troubleshooting worked.

If you've tried these steps and still need a little help, we're right around the corner. Schedule a repair at the nearest uBreakiFix® by Asurion store and our certified experts can get your device back up and running as soon as the same day.

*The Asurion® trademarks and logos are the property of Asurion, LLC. All rights reserved. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Asurion is not affiliated with, sponsored by, or endorsed by any of the respective owners of the other trademarks appearing herein.*

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