How to Get to Safe Mode Without a Keyboard

Safe Mode enables you to troubleshoot various software problems.
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If you want to boot your computer into Safe mode, you must restart it, press a key on the keyboard -- F8 in most cases -- and then select the Safe Mode option and press Enter. If your keyboard doesn't work, Windows will boot normally and will not enter Safe Mode. You can, however, change the boot settings from Windows so that the computer will go directly to Safe Mode after a restart. In this case, you don't need a keyboard.

Mouse over the lower left corner of the Windows screen and right-click when you see the Start tip to display the Power User menu. Choose "Control Panel" from the menu to launch the utility.

Click the "System and Security" link and then the "Administrative Tools" link to open the Administrative Tools folder.

Double-click the "System Configuration" shortcut to open the System Configuration window.

Click the "Boot" tab and then check the "Safe boot" box. Click the "Minimal" radio button under Safe Boot and then "Apply" and "OK" to apply the new settings and close the System Configuration window.

Restart your computer and don't touch anything. Windows will boot in safe mode by default.

  • Information in this article applies to Microsoft Windows Vista, 7 and 8. Procedures may vary slightly or significantly with other versions or products.
  • To boot into Safe Mode with Networking mode, click the "Network" radio button instead of the "Minimal" button.

Nick Peers has been writing technology-related articles since 2003. His articles have appeared in dozens of technical publications, including MSN UK, CNET, BBC Who Do You Think You Are, LifeHacker UK and TechRadar. He holds a Masters in information technology degree from the University of East London.