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How to enable using F8 during boot up to enter safe mode in Windows 10

Seasoned MS Windows users are very likely to have experience using F8 during computer boot up to enter into "safe mode" of the Windows operating system.

In many occasions, "safe mode" can save your day to enable you to fix something that is broken in the Windows system. Such occasions including but not limited to:

  • Windows update has caused problem and instability to the system. 
  • Problematic hardware device driver (normally arises after new driver update). 
  • Incompatible screen resolution with the monitor causing blank screen or distorted display.
  • Windows is infected by virus or malware that unable to be removed in "normal" mode.
  • Problematic software/application that causes system crash (and unfortunately it autorun during Windows start up)
  • Minor damage to Windows registry or system file due to improper power off.
You can keep on pressing the F8 key on your keyboard during boot up of Windows 7 to enter a boot up menu that include the "safe mode" boot up option. However, this F8 function is disabled by default in Windows 8 and Windows 10.

You can still reboot Windows into "safe mode" if you are able to boot into the login screen of Windows 8/10 and the login screen is still functioning properly. You just need to hold down the Shift key on your keyboard while clicking on the Power icon in the login screen and select the Restart option to reboot your computer.

You can also create a bootable Windows recovery USB drive that can be used to fix Windows problem.

If you want to enable using F8 during boot up to enter safe mode in Windows 8/10 as another rescue resort, here are the steps.

Step 1: Enter Command Prompt with Administrator's right

Click on the Magnifying Glass in Windows Quick Launch bar and search for "cmd".

You should be able to find "Command Prompt". Right click on it, and select "Run as administrator". This will open the Command Prompt window with Administrator's right.

Step 2: Change the Boot Menu Policy to Legacy

In the Command Prompt, type the following command and press .

bcdedit /set {default} bootmenupolicy legacy

This command edits the boot configuration data (BCD) to bring back the F8 safe mode function.

Upon successful execution, you will see the message "The operation completed successfully". You are done!

Step 3: Testing

Now, restart your Windows and test your F8 key. It should be able to call out the following Advanced Boot Options menu.

If for any reason you want to roll back and disable F8 during boot up, you can use the instruction in Step 1 to enter Command Prompt with Administrator's right again, and issue the following command instead:

bcdedit /set {default} bootmenupolicy standard

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