[Modified From July 2020]
If you’re an old Windows user, you’ve probably heard of the term Windows Safe Mode. But what does Safe Mode really mean, why Safe Mode is needed, and when will you activate Windows Safe Mode? Most Windows users are unaware of these issues. Normally, we don’t need these extra features of Windows as an average desktop user. However, it is good to know about Windows Safe Mode, as it can be very useful for you at any time.
If you ever used torrent or another 3rd party websites for downloading games and software, then maybe you have inadvertently downloaded games or software or crapware with a file that gives you a variety of annoying popup ads. The browser’s default search engine has changed and is doing a lot more that is not normally the case. Many times these crap plugins and services become so deeply integrated with Windows that it becomes almost impossible for a normal user to remove these popups and annoying content.
Basically, that’s when you need the Windows Safe Mode feature. No, Windows Safe Mode is not an antivirus or antimalware software, not even software. When you boot your laptop or desktop, you will usually have the option to boot Windows into Safe Mode in the BIOS menu.
In that case, if you boot from BIOS to Windows Safe Mode, then Windows will basically boot in a state where the minimum number of drivers, services, and background processes required to run Windows will be kept. It’s a lot like starting a car where only the engine, brakes, and steering wheel are working. Extra features or extra modules are being turned off.
The advantage here is that when running in safe mode, since Windows is not loading anything but its very necessary drivers, services, and background processes (without which Windows will not run), then definitely the apps or software or programs that were creating problems for you, None of that will load Windows. If the programs are designed to run with Windows boot-up and start a malicious activity, they will not open if Windows is in safe mode.
Since you are preventing these programs from running automatically at startup, it makes it easier to identify and remove the problem later or take action. Not only that, you can use Windows Safe Mode for many more purposes. Most of the problems that are common in Windows can be prevented through Windows Safe Mode. The other benefits you can get by running Windows Safe Mode-
- 1. If you unknowingly or inadvertently created or deleted a registry entry, you can prevent any new problems created by this registry entry at startup, making it easier to delete or reset the registry entries again.
- 2. Unintentionally changing any important Windows settings, which you can’t fix even after troubleshooting, you can also find these settings by running in Windows Safe Mode and it will be easier to fix them in Windows Safe Mode.
- 3. It is often seen that when a third party installs a driver or updates a driver to a bugged version, various components of the desktop do not work properly or stop working. This problem often happens to Windows users. Running in Windows Safe Mode makes it easier to find driver issues and upgrade or downgrade the driver version in Windows Safe Mode since no extra drivers are loaded except for the Essential drivers.
- 4. Safe mode is also very useful in restoring the system. If you do any damage to your Windows by changing any important Windows settings or editing the registry or downloading any malicious software and can’t fix any problem, you can easily restore the system to the state in which your Windows was before changing anything. You can take it back.
But now you may be thinking that since running in Windows Safe Mode will bring so many benefits, then why don’t we always run in Windows Safe Mode? This is supposed to be the best way to use Windows. But no, if there is a problem on the desktop and you can’t fix the problem in safe mode, then booting Windows in safe mode is never the best idea. Since in Safe Mode Windows is only loading the minimum drivers and services to run on its own, if you try to use Windows regularly in this mode, you will encounter various strange problems.
Basically, you can’t do all the things that a third party driver requires. For example, if you run Windows in Safe Mode, you may notice that your monitor is not running at the native supported resolution of your desktop, or you may not be able to hear any sound, since most of the time these require a third party display driver or sound driver. And in Windows Safe Mode you have to completely forget about gaming, needless to say!
However, Windows Safe Mode does not mean that you can solve all kinds of Windows problems. Many times the Windows registry becomes so altered that it is not possible to fix these problems in safe mode or any other mode without full system restore or reinstalling Windows. Many times many viruses or malware that integrate themselves into the Windows kernel, there is no way to prevent them in Windows Safe mode. In that case, the best choice for you would be to back up your data as much as possible and format your entire hard drive and reinstall Windows.