In Windows, what is 'Safe Mode' used for and why?

@moneymind (10521)
February 15, 2007 1:45am CST
While Windows is a versatile and powerful operating system, there are times that it can be frustrating. This frustration is particularly evident when you install a new software application or add drivers for some new hardware. Suddenly, the computer crashes or locks up. You reboot the computer and it loads a strange looking Windows desktop with the words Safe Mode in the four corners. What is this? greetings... : )
3 responses
@BlaKy2 (1475)
• Romania
15 Feb 07
Safe Mode is a diagnostic mode used by certain computer operating systems, including Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X, as well as other complex electronic devices. While an operating system is in safe mode, it will have reduced functionality, but it is easier to isolate problems because many non-core components are disabled. An installation that will only boot into its safe mode typically has a major problem, such as disk corruption or the installation of poorly configured software that prevents the operating system from successfully booting into its normal operating mode. Though it varies by operating system, typically safe mode loads as few executable modules as possible and usually disables devices, except for the minimum necessary to display information and accept input. Safe mode can also take the form of a parallel "miniature" operating system that has no configuration information shared with the normal operating system. For example, on Microsoft Windows, the user can choose to boot to the command console, a small text-based troubleshooting mode kept separate from the main operating system (and can also be accessed by booting the install CD), or to various "safe mode" options that run the dysfunctional operating system, but with features such as video drivers and networking disabled. Safe mode typically provides access to utility and diagnostic programs so a user can troubleshoot what is preventing the operating system from working normally. Safe mode is intended for maintenance, not functionality, and provides minimal access to features which often frustrates users who are only aware that their computer "isn't working right". Safe mode is a troubleshooting method on most electronic devices, including cell phones and interplanetary spacecraft [1] which often run VxWorks. Safe mode in Microsoft Windows is accessed by repeatedly pressing the "F8" key as the operating system boots. An equivalently minimal setting in UNIX-like operating systems is single-user mode, in which daemons and the X Window System are not started, and only the root user can log in. On Mac OS versions 6, 7, 8 and 9, a similar mode is achieved by holding down the shift key while booting, which starts the system without extensions. In Mac OS X holding the shift key after powering up puts the system in safe mode. Safe mode with networking, one of the variations of safe mode, can be used to troubleshoot network issues. Application software sometimes offers a safe mode as well. In the PHP interpreter, safe mode offers stricter security measures. Mozilla Firefox's safe mode allows the user to remove extensions which may be preventing the browser from loading.
• Philippines
15 Feb 07
The safe mode option on windows is basically used when your system starts to fail. This will prevent other automatic loading softwares to run. this typically run only the windows system.. it block all other softwares including the graphics and sound softwares. it allows you to delete other softwares easily when the system starts to be crowded.. hope it helps..
@Ciniful (1589)
• Canada
15 Feb 07
Safe Mode is your computers way of protecting your basic system files. It's also when your system is running at lowest capacity, and only the necessary system files are running. Often if there's a nasty virus infection running in the background, someone will have to go into safe mode to remove it, to ensure that it's not running in the background of the computer, since in safe mode, only essential program files are booted up with your computer. In the case of a system crash, your computer reverts to safe mode to ensure that you can access your system, without all your external systems running, to try and fix the problem. This way you can reboot safely, or run your system scans, or fix whatever issue is causing the crash.