How to access the safe mode of Windows 11

Windows 11 safe mode is a tool for troubleshooting PC problems when a bug in the system itself, installed drivers or applications, or even a malware infection, prevents a standard loading of the operating system. It can also be used when the computer is working properly, as a self-diagnostic function.

Its definition as ”error-proof startup” or  “fail-safe boot” is accurate, because that is precisely what it is all about. It loads only the essential services and drivers that allow us to boot the computer, then troubleshoot the PC and later access the full version of the system without fail.

The version of Windows 11 is very similar to that of Windows 10. Not many changes were needed because in this version Microsoft increased its functions and ways of access and the truth is that it resulted in a very complete tool. Its purpose remains the same. And you should know it because it is a method that sometimes is essential for recovering the proper functioning of Windows without having to adopt more radical methods such as restoring or reinstalling.

Windows 11 safe mode options

This special mode offers three options of use at the user’s choice. Here is a brief reminder of them to give you an idea of what to expect once you log in:

  • Safe mode: Windows will start with a minimum set of drivers and services Network connectivity is also disabled.
  • Safe mode with network functions: Windows will start with a basic set of services, but will include the necessary drivers to be able to connect to a local network or the Internet. It only works with wired networks, not Wi-Fi wireless networks
  • Safe mode with command prompt: for advanced users who do not need the graphical user interface and prefer to directly access the command line terminal to troubleshoot their computer.

How to access Windows 11 safe mode

Here we have to differentiate between two usage situations. The first is when errors exist, but they are not critical and we have access to the operating system. The second is when we definitely cannot access the system because of the severity of the bugs. We discuss several ways to access this mode in both situations.

Configuration

If you can boot your computer the easiest way to access Windows 11 safe mode is from the general Configuration tool. Step by step:

  • Press the hot key combination “Windows + I” to access the safe mode
  • Go to System > Recovery.
  • Under Recovery Options select Restart Now.

windows 11 safe mode

  • When the PC restarts, under Choose an option select Troubleshoot > Advanced > Startup Settings > Restart.
  • Select number 4, 5 or 6 to enter safe mode.

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Lock screen

Safe mode can also be started from the lock screen:

  • Restart the PC.
  • On the lock screen press any key to see the options.
  • On the login screen, hold down the Shift key and click on restart.
  • The rest of the process is the same as above.

Resets

Windows, by default, boots into the Windows recovery environment after three unsuccessful attempts to load the operating system. In this way, you can force the PC to shut down several times to make the system believe that it cannot boot properly.

  • Turn off the computer.
  • Press the Power button and when it starts to load, press and hold the Power button to force the computer to shut down. Repeat the steps one more time.
  • On the third attempt, press the Power button and let Windows load and boot the Windows recovery environment.
  • The rest of the process is the same as above.

Console

You can also access Windows 11 safe mode using the Windows console. As follows:

  • Right-click on the start button and access the command prompt (administrator)
  • Type the command shutdown.exe /r /o and click on enter.

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  • Close the pop-up dialog box and Windows will reboot in 1 minute.

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  • The recovery environment will open where you can follow the steps above.

Msconfig

One of the most direct options to access Windows 11 safe mode is to use this internal tool. To do so:

  • Press the hot keys  “Win + R” to access the Run application and type msconfig.

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  • Once in the system configurator, go to the ‘Boot’ tab and enable ‘Safe Boot’.
  • You can select the options you need, such as the basic âminimumâ or the ânetworkâ option.

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  • Restart the system to enter the special mode.

Hot keys

Until Windows 7 access to this special mode was as simple as pressing the “F8” function key at boot time. Since Windows 8 with the implementation of the new UEFI firmware and the use of solid state drives for internal storage, this way does not usually work on Windows 10 and Windows 11 computers. Although you can still try it, as well as another shortcut  “Shift + F8”.

The one that does work is the aforementioned “Shift + Restart”. Open the start menu and click on the shutdown button. With the shift key pressed, click on the reset button. You will be taken to another configuration screen that will allow you to enter safe mode.

When Windows 11 does not boot

The best option in these cases is to use an installation media. If you follow us regularly you must know it by heart:

  • Go to the Windows 11 download page.
  • Select the available option (Windows 11 multi-edition), the English language and download the image  “Win11_Spanish_x64v1.iso”.

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  • Use an empty pendrive of at least 8 GB capacity.
  • Download the âRufusâ application (it can be another one you prefer to burn the image).
  • Configure the software as in the image and create the bootable flash drive. (If you do not have TPM or secure boot select the second option).

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From here, this installation media will also serve you as access to Windows RE, the recovery mode of which this failsafe mode is a part. Simply boot with the created USB and before proceeding to the installation section, click on the “Repair your computer” link.

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As in previous versions, interesting this safe mode of Windows 11. A tool intended to perform self-diagnostic tests or troubleshoot the PC before having to use more radical methods such as recovery or complete reinstallation of the system.

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