What to do Windows 7/8/10 Safe Mode when F8 is not working?

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Sep 14, 2021 • Filed to: Windows Computer Solutions • Proven solutions

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You want to keep your Windows in Safe mode, which is the primary function of the F8 key, and what if that F8 key isn't working? Yes, this could be a little confusing for non-tech-savvy guys who don't love to dive into the ocean of these technical aspects. That is the reason we've come up with our ultimate guide on what to do Windows 7/8/10 Safe Mode when F8 is not working. The sections below will discuss the overview of the entire problem, related solution fixes, and the expert tips to avoid this issue. Yes, and that's great if all your Function keys are working correctly. 


Part 1: Overview of the Windows 7/8/10 Safe Mode when F8 is not working

“Can’t even boot into safe mode?”

When you hit the F8 key or desire to use this function, it usually gets you to Advanced Boot Options or Windows Startup Menu. Thus, users’ primary concern is to boot their computer into safe mode via F8. However, there's another use of the F8 key by which you can repair the computer to access System Recovery Options. But, we aren’t concerned about this aspect here. So, let’s continue with our first discussion on Safe Mode.

By Safe Mode, we generally refer to run:

Now, the scenarios are a bit different in the respective Windows we've mentioned above. For instance, the F8 key under Windows 7 will give you access to System Recover Options under Advanced Boot Options.

windows 7 f8 key

Whereas these ‘Advanced Boot Options’ are replaced with Startup Settings Menu under Windows 8 and Windows 10.

startup settings menu

Well, there isn't much to say in terms of scenarios when F8 isn't working. The problem will be recognized when you've entered a keystroke of F8 on the computer, and it failed to catch. Yes, this the common symptom that your Windows aren't efficient or running too quickly to recognize the stroke of F8 on the keyboard. To say the most, it usually occurs on Windows 8 and Windows 10. 


Part 2: Solutions to fix the Windows 7/8/10 Safe Mode when F8 is not working

Luckily, we've some quick solution fixes for you in the following sections regarding this problem. So, let's discuss them in a short step-by-step guide for respective Windows.

  1. Check it via the Start menu

If F8 isn't working and you've to restart your computer in Safe Mode immediately, try it via the Start menu.

Open the Start menu and then Settings> Update & Security> Recovery> Restart Now option. While your computer is in reboot mode, you’ve to select Troubleshoot under the Select an Option screen. Then, select Advanced Options> Startup Options> Safe Mode.

enable safe mode

  1. Fix the F8 is not working problem manually

There is a manual solution to fix this problem via Command prompt in administrator privileges. Now, your basic command looks as follows.

“bcdedit / set {default} bootmenupolicy legacy”

enter command prompt

Then, hit the Enter tab and restart your computer while continuously pressing the F8 key until the Advanced Boot Options menu appears. Then, choose the Safe Mode

Well, you can also disable the F8 key via the following command.

“bcdedit / set {default} bootmenupolicy standard”

  1. Do it unusually!

Yes, there’s another way when your Windows aren’t booting normally. What you can do to activate Windows 7/8/10 safe mode when F8 is not working is the unusual manner.

Force shut down your PC until you get the Preparing for Automatic Repair screen.

preparing for automatic repair screen

Then, Windows will show the following message along with the two options.

“Automatic Recovery cannot restore your computer.”

And, the two options are:

  1. Advanced Options
  2. Shutdown

From which, you have to go for Advanced Options> Troubleshoot> Startup Options> Safe Mode [by pressing the F4 key].

  1. Use system configuration

You can use the free Msconfig utility to activate Windows in Safe Mode. Press Windows + R button and type the word 'msconfig,' into the dialog box on the screen. Then, proceed with the Enter tab.

Then, you need to select ‘Secure Boot’ under the Download section and go for one of the Safe Boot options as given below.

use system configuration

  1. Safe Mode with Command Prompt
  2. Minimal
  3. Safe Mode with Networking

Confirm with Apply> OK to restart the Windows in safe mode.

  1. Login desktop screen

Yes, we got you that there may be chances that you may not be able to log in to your PC. Select the Power button in the lower-right corner of your Windows and long-press the Shift key on the keyboard to restart.

login desktop screen

Then, select Options> Troubleshoot> Advanced Options> Startup Options> Safe Mode in the next screen.

  1. Activate Safe Mode from the Sign-In screen

Accessing safe mode from the Sign-In screen is quite similar to the method mentioned in the first point. Yet, the starting stages are a bit different. All you have to do is hit the Power button and correspondingly hold the Shift key while clicking over the Restart button. 

It will then restart the PC and let you enter the Windows Recovery Environment. The following instructions are almost similar to our first method, where you head to Settings and ultimately to the Startup Options to activate Safe Mode

  1. Use Bootable USB or Disk for Windows 10

You can boot into Safe Mode if you've your bootable Windows 10 Flash Drive or Windows 10 CD. Again, use these methods when Windows are extremely corrupted to the point and can't load at all. 

The bootable drive can also be created using the Windows 10 Media Creation Tool. You should have a USB drive and PC with at least 8GB of free space. 

Then, you need to insert the bootable drive into the PC and start it. Firstly, select the preferred language and keyboard layout leading by clicking the Repair your Computer button on the bottom-left corner. Now, you're into Windows Recovery Environment. All over again, the exact instructions will apply here as well. 

use bootable usb or disk


Part 3: Tips to avoid the Windows 7/8/10 Safe Mode when F8 is not working

The tips to avoid this situation are pretty generic that you need to alert for your system requirements. For Windows 7, it's pretty straightforward to access the F8 right from the keyboard. And, the similar function drops to manual settings in Windows 8 and Windows 10. 

Thus, you're required to follow the solutions above to fix what to do Windows 7/810 Safe Mode when F8 is not working. Still, we'd like to offer you some tips as follows.


The Bottom Line

Thus, we left no stone unturned to let you know what to do with Windows 7/810 Safe Mode when F8 is not working. Stay updated in terms of every solution mentioned, as one of them will indeed find your way. Also, make sure to stay upgraded in terms of your system requirements. Hopefully, your problem gets solved by now!


People Also Ask

1 – How do I start my computer in Safe Mode when F8 doesn’t work?

Here's a simple solution to do this via the Start menu itself in Windows 10 specifically. Please go check out the first solution in Part 2, where we've suggested exploring the Update and Security tab all up to the activation of Safe Mode after Startup Options

2 – How do I boot into Windows Recovery?

Well, you’re to crash force your Windows to enter WinRE (Windows Recovery Environment). We’ve devised the whole way in section ‘Force Windows to enter WinRE’ above in Part 2.

3 – How do you fix Windows 10 that cannot boot up?

We've discussed almost 6-7 ways to boot your Windows in Safe Mode, specifically when F8 is not working. So, check out each of our solutions above and search the best way possible! 

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