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How do I start my Win 8 system in Safe Mode?

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Started ‎12-02-2012 by
Modified ‎05-21-2013 by


There seems to be an issue with my Win 8 system as it can't seem to boot up properly. On previous versions of Windows I could get into Safe Mode to troubleshoot by pressing F8.

On Win 8, however, this hotkey doesn't work. How can I start the system in Safe Mode?


To reduce start up time, the design of Windows 8 eliminates the F8 function and while holding Shift and pressing F8 has been reported to work in rare cases, it may not be practical on most systems as the window of time for the system to detect the key sequence is extremely small.


There are several articles that explain how to configure safe mode from within Windows including this one from Microsoft.   If you are able to get the system to respond from a cold boot, by holding shift and pressing F8 , the recovery mode screen will come up. From the Recovery Mode screen, 


Go to See Advanced Repair Options >> Troubleshoot >> Advanced Options.


Win8 advanced options.gif


Select  Windows Startup Settings >> Restart to reboot systems so users can have the option to boot into Safe Mode.  When the system reboots, you should see safe mode come up.


Here is another article featuring the full screen shot progression.


The consensus of most articles from MS or other sources, coupled with first hand experimentation suggests that the best way to configure for safe mode start up is from within Windows.


To access Safe Mode if  Windows is already running in standard mode, press the Windows key + R to open the dialog box and type msconfigthen select Boot and choose the Safe Boot option.