Windows Safe Mode
How & Why to Use Safe Mode
Windows Safe Mode is a great tool for troubleshooting. Most
times an infected PC will boot into safe mode without loading
the malware causing the problems.
Even when the malware is found, many times it cannot be
removed without booting the computer to safe mode. The reason
for this is that in normal mode, with malware running, there is
a "lock" on the infected files. Windows respects this lock and
will not let you or a software cleaner delete the file.
Booting into Windows Safe Mode requires "catching" the boot
process at the proper time and pressing the 'F8' key on your
This is a whole lot easier if you have Windows Recovery
Console installed. I have no idea why no manufacturer (that I
know of) does this. With recovery console, you get a mini-menu
of boot choices with a default timeout (I use 3 seconds). If
you don't change your selection in that timeframe a normal boot
Critical Point: Microsoft
states that you press the 'F8' before Windows launches.
Most PC's hide their boot diagnostics (I don't) and instead
will display a company logo of some kind. That's all dandy -
until you have a problem. Once that diagnostic screen or logo
goes away, immediately tap the 'F8' key a couple of
If you repeatedly press 'F8' too soon you may get a keyboard
error from your PC. Wait too long and you'll see the "XP" logo
and it's too late. Wouldn't it be nice to have that little boot
When you are successful in pressing 'F8' at the right time,
you will get a Windows Safe Mode boot menu. Regular safe mode
is fine for cleaning and repairing, if you want to use an
online scanner though you'll need to select "safe mode with
... more to come ...
I include here Microsoft's instructions for Windows Safe
Mode just in case I left something out. I chose not to
rely on just Microsoft since their page could someday
disappear, and I think I have added some extra value in my
discussion above. Hope you agree!