What is Safe Mode
Safe Mode is a diagnostic Start Mode for Windows used mainly for troubleshooting. Safe Mode loads only the essential drives and services required to boot Windows. None of the third-party drivers or startup programs and services is loaded in the Safe Mode.
The knowledge of Safe Mode can help you recover from most of the Windows errors on your own.
Types of Safe Mode
There are three types of Safe Mode:
- Safe Mode – Bare minimum drivers, programs, and services are loaded with Windows. This mode does not allow the access to the internet.
- Safe Mode with Networking – This type of Safe Mode includes the Networking drivers that let you access the internet.
- Safe Mode with Command Prompt – No GUI boot, a command prompt window is provided to work with. Because of its command-line nature, only experts use this.
How to know if you are in Safe Mode
- The text Safe Mode is written in all of the four corners of the screen.
- The black desktop background wallpaper.
- The brightness is up to 100%.
- There are no third-party program icons in the Notification area of the Taskbar.
- The Desktop boots a lot faster.
- Everything works better, and Windows feels much faster than usual.
10 Uses of Safe Mode / Why boot into Safe Mode
- System Restore – System Restore is a great feature, but using it in the Normal mode is the least effective option. Most of the times, the Antivirus software installed on the computer interferes with it, and tries to prevent the changes being made to the system files. System Restore always works best when done from Safe Mode because there no antivirus or other software can prevent it from doing its job.
- Emergency Boot – Sometimes, the Safe Mode is the only option left for the user to log into his PC. For example, when the Normal startup mode is not working, and Windows becomes unbootable. One logged into the Safe Mode, you can perform your diagnostics, troubleshooting, and recovery processes.
- Delete Locked Files – There could be a problem in deleting some files from within the Normal mode of Windows. For example, some programs create temporary files that cannot be deleted while using the regularly booted Windows.
- Delete Windows.old – When you upgrade your Windows to a new version, the files of the previous installation are stored in the Windows.old folder in you OS partition, which is C:\. With the help of these files, you can downgrade to the older version of Windows if you don’t like the upgrade. But if you have no intention of going back to the previous version of Windows then it is better to delete this folder to make space for other important files. Deleting these files from Safe Mode is much easier than doing so in the normal mode.
- Uninstall Stubborn Programs – Some programs just won’t go away in the Normal mode. They have spread their files in so many places, and have created so many services that it becomes difficult to clean them up properly. The best way to remove them is through Safe Mode where none of their startup items or services start with Windows.
- Device Manager – The Device Manager is a major system tool that displays all of the hardware components installed and connected to your system. It allows you to Update, Disable, Enable, and Uninstall hardware components. It also displays warning messages for erroneous system components. Running it in Safe Mode ensures no clashes or compatibility issues.
- Scan for Malware – The Safe Mode is the best place to scan your Windows for malware because none of the additional program or services start in the Safe Mode. Sometimes, certain types of malware boot before the antivirus is able to boot, and become undetectable. In Safe Mode, these malware cannot start, hence cannot hide themselves from the Antivirus scanner. Even if your system is running fine, you should boot it in Safe Mode once every month, and scan for malware.
- Find Problematic Programs – The Safe Mode can be used to find problems caused by programs. For example, there could be one or more errors in your current Windows installation, which have made it unusable. Because of these errors, you decide to reinstall the operating system. But, it reality, these errors could be because of a third-party program, or the clash of two programs. You can use the Safe Mode to check if the error(s) that occur Normal mode occur in Safe Mode as well. If those errors do not occur in Safe Mode that means your Windows installation is fine, and you need to find and remove those troublesome programs to fix those errors.
- Check for Windows Errors and Hardware Problems – You can use the Safe Mode to identify the causes of various types of Windows Errors and Hardware Problems. If the errors occurring in the Normal mode do not occur in Safe Mode then is means that the problem was with the driver(s), a specific program, or the clash of two or more programs. But, if the same errors occur in the Safe Mode as well, then you either has a Windows problem or a Hardware failure. In case of Windows related errors, you can either perform the System Restore or do a complete OS reinstall. In the case of Hardware faults, you can further your diagnosis by using specific tools for finding problems in specific hardware components such as HDD, RAM, Display, etc.
- Windows Performance Testing – Safe Mode represents how fast your System can be. You can run your Windows in Safe Mode, and check how much impact the installed software have had on your computer performance, speed, and response rate. Generally, Windows runs faster in the Safe Mode but if the performance difference between the two modes is too much then you should try some tools to recover the performance of your computer such as uninstalling or disabling some software and services, or cleaning of temporary and junk files, or defragmenting the computer hard disk drive.