If you have ever struggled with computer problems and attempted to fix them yourself, it is likely that you will have heard of something called safe mode, or a safe boot. This is a diagnostic tool built into most modern operating systems which allows the user to run the computer under special conditions.

In a windows computer, safe mode was traditionally accessed by tapping the f8 key while booting. However, due to faster boot times and newer design, this method doesn’t work on the newest windows operating systems. Instead, it is most easily accessed by changing your settings once your computer is booted and loaded normally. If you use a different operating system, it’s fairly easy to learn how your specific system can access its version of safe mode.

But what does safe mode do? Safe mode is used in a few scenarios. If the computer will not boot normally, it may be possible to force it to boot into safe mode, allowing you to troubleshoot. This could happen for a variety of reasons. For example, if malware has infected your computer, it might be disabling elements needed for a normal boot. However, safe mode uses only the bare minimum of the required elements. This means that you will see some features that do not work in safe mode, but you are more likely to be able to boot under extreme conditions. This can be extremely valuable when you are dealing with insidious malware which abuses many of the normal operations done by a computer.

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Malware isn’t the only reason to boot into safe mode. Other computer problems might mean that you need to start the computer in safe mode. Only the most basic drivers will be loaded, and this can help the diagnostic process for repair. If the problem does not persist, then it is likely that the problem exists among the programs and elements which were not loaded.

With that said, if you are struggling with your computer, it is usually best to take it in to an expert. This is only a brief explanation, and it would take some time to fully explain even a few of the possible steps one could take when looking to troubleshoot and repair a damaged or infected machine. So while its nice to understand some of the things your machine is capable of, as well as a few of the tools we have in our arsenal to fix problems, simply booting into safe mode is unlikely to solve any problems, unless you have additional knowledge of where to go from there.