Boot Your Windows Computer Into Safe Mode

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Some viruses may not be detected or might only be partially removed, causing issues for various programs if the system is not booted into Safe Mode for the scan. Booting in Safe Mode prevents extraneous services and programs — including most malware — from loading at startup.

Difficulty: Easy

Time Required: Less than a minute

Here's How:

  1. If the system is already turned off, power it on.
  2. If the system is already on, shut down the system normally, wait 30 seconds, then power it back on.
  3. Begin tapping the F8 key every few seconds as the system boots up until the screen offering the Safe Mode option appears.
  4. Use the arrow keys to highlight Safe Mode and press the Enter key.
  5. The system will now boot into Safe Mode.
  6. On Windows XP, you may receive a prompt asking if you really want to boot into Safe Mode. Choose Yes.
  7. Once Windows has booted into Safe Mode, open your antivirus program using the Start | Programs menu and run a complete virus scan.


  1. If your PC is a multi-boot system (i.e. has more than one operating system to choose from), first select the desired OS and then begin tapping the F8 key every few seconds while it boots.
  2. If tapping F8 did not result in the Safe Mode option being offered, repeat the steps.
  3. If after several attempts you are still unable to boot into Safe Mode, post a message in the Antivirus Forum. Be sure to note which operating system you are using.