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How to Boot in Safe Mode on Windows 10

Ever attempted to troubleshoot your own computer? Then you’ve encountered Safe Mode. Safe Mode is an inbuilt troubleshooting feature which disables unnecessary drivers and programs during the startup process. It allows us to isolate any setting or system errors and fix them at the root, without non-essential applications interfering.

For example, you can use Safe Mode to run System Restore when troubleshooting your computer or to delete a file in use by another program. Here we’ll take a quick look at booting into Safe Mode with Windows 10, and what to do if you cannot boot into Safe Mode.

Method 1: System Configuration

To open the System Configuration screen, type msconfig in your Start Menu search bar and select the Best Match. Open the Boot tab and note the Boot Options. Selecting the Safe Boot option will force your system to boot into Safe Mode following its next restart.

windows 10 system config

You can choose from additional options. Here’s what they do:

  • Minimal: Starts Safe Mode with the absolute minimal amount of drivers and services, but with the standard Windows GUI (Graphical User Interface).
  • Alternate Shell: Starts Safe Mode with a Command Prompt, without the Windows GUI. Requires knowledge of advanced text commands, as well as navigating the operating system without a mouse.
  • Active Directory Repair: Starts Safe Mode with access to machine-specific information, such as hardware models. If we unsuccessfully install new hardware, corrupting the Active Directory, Safe Mode can be used to restore system stability by repairing corrupted data or adding new data to the directory.
  • Network: Starts Safe Mode with the necessary services and drivers for networking, with the standard Windows GUI.

Select Minimal > Apply > OK. System Configuration will now ask if you want to restart your system. Selecting Restart will immediately initiate the restart process, so be sure to save any active documents or projects.

Method 2: Advanced Startup

Your next option is Windows 10 Advanced Startup. It isn’t that advanced, but it is really useful to know.

Windows 10 Advanced Startup

Type advanced start up in your Start Menu search bar and select the Best Match. Now, under Advanced start-up, select Restart Now.

Clicking Restart Now will restart your system in recovery mode where you will encounter three options: Continue, Troubleshoot, or Turn Off Your PC.

Select Troubleshoot > Advanced Options. You now have a new range of options to choose from.

Select Start-up Settings > Restart. Your system will restart. The Startup Settings screen will load after you reboot. From here, choose the requisite option for Safe Mode.

windows 10 advanced startup settings

Advanced Startup Shortcut

You can skip the somewhat lengthy clicking process by holding down Shift and clicking Restart under Power, found in the Windows 10 Start Menu. This reboot takes you straight to the Recovery options, where you can select Troubleshoot > Advanced Options > Startup Settings.

Windows 10 Restart

Method 3: Tapping

Until the introduction of Windows 8, the most common method for entering Safe Mode was tapping F8 on your keyboard during startup. Tapping F8 brings up the Safe Mode options screen, listing the options found under Method One (above) and several alternatives.

Windows 10 (and Windows 8/8.1) has F8 Safe Mode disabled by default. However, you can sacrifice a couple of seconds during startup by enabling the F8 menu using the Command Prompt.

Begin by opening an elevated Command Prompt. Right-click the Start menu and select Command Prompt (Admin). Select Yes in the User Account Control dialogue, if it appears. Command Prompt should now be open.

Windows 10 Start Option

Input (or copy/paste) the following command:

bcdedit /set {default} bootmenupolicy legacy

Job done!

Windows 10 Command Prompt BCDEdit

To undo this legacy command at any time, reopen the elevated Command Prompt as per the above instructions and type:

bcdedit /set {default} bootmenupolicy standard

This returns startup to its original state, so to reach Safe Mode you’ll have to use one of the alternate options in this article.

What If Nothing Works?

Even if none of the above works, you still have two aces up your sleeve.

If you installed Windows 10 via a disc or USB flash drive, you can boot straight into recovery mode by inserting the said installation media before turning your system on.

Choose your keyboard layout, followed by Repair Your Computer, in the bottom-left of the screen. From here you can head to Troubleshoot > Advanced Options where you’ll find System Restore, System Image Recovery, Startup Repair, Command Prompt, and Go Back to the Previous Build.

windows 10 repair your computer

For System Image Recovery to work, you’ll have to have made a backup image before your system error, something we would absolutely advise you to do. You can create a System Image by typing recovery into the Start Menu search bar and selecting the Best Match. The Advanced Recovery Tools will open. Select Create a Recovery Drive

How to Create a Windows 8 Recovery Disk

How to Create a Windows 8 Recovery Disk

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and follow the steps.

System Repair Disc

Another helpful tool at your disposal is the System Repair Disc. Unlike the System Image, these aren’t machine-specific, so you can acquire one via a friend if all goes completely pear-shaped.

Windows 10 System Repair

Head to Control Panel > System and Security > Back-up and Restore (Windows 7).

Don’t let the Windows 7 tag put you off: you’re in the right place. Select Create a System Repair Disc from the left-hand column, and follow the instructions.

How Do I Get Out of Safe Mode?

Once you fix your Windows 10 issue, you can leave Safe Mode. But how do you get out of Safe Mode once you’re in there?

There are two options, depending on how you booted into Safe Mode.

If you entered Safe Mode using Method 1 (via System Configuration), you must turn the Safe Mode option off in the configuration window. Otherwise, Windows 10 will boot back into Safe Mode after each restart.

If you entered Safe Mode using Method 2 (via Advanced Startup) or Method 3 (via Tapping Your Keyboard), shut down or restart your system to leave Safe Mode.

Accessing Safe Mode on Windows 10 Is Simple

You now know the three easiest methods to access Windows 10 Safe Mode. Make sure to take note of the final section on System Image Recovery and System Repair Discs. Do always remember the former only works if you’ve set the recovery location before your world began collapsing in a BSOD-induced nightmare.

If you’re truly in a terrible state of affairs, with no Image Recovery and no repair disc, you could always try tech-support savior Hirens BootCD

The 5 Best Rescue and Recovery Disks for a Windows System Restore

The 5 Best Rescue and Recovery Disks for a Windows System Restore

Here are the best Windows rescue disks to help you access your computer for making repairs and backups, even when it won’t boot.
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. It has saved many people, many times, and it’ll save you too!

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Google Announces Maps Incognito Mode and More Privacy Controls

Google security lock icon

Today, Google is announcing a plethora of new privacy and security features: Incognito Mode for Google Maps, auto-deletion of your YouTube history, voice privacy controls in Google Assistant, and Password Checkup built into Google’s password manager.

First up: Google Maps is getting Incognito Mode soon. Google says it will start rolling out on Android later this month, with support for iPhone and iPad coming soon. Just like using Incognito Mode in YouTube, you can search for locations in Google Maps and view them without those locations being added to your history. They won’t be used to personalize your experience.

When this feature arrives, you’ll be able to tap your profile photo and then turn Incognito Mode on. Google didn’t say whether this feature is coming to the Google Maps website for desktop, but you can always open Google Maps in an Incognito window in Chrome for desktop.

YouTube History auto-deletion controls.

YouTube is getting auto-delete, a feature that’s already available for your Google account’s location history and web & app activity. When you enable it for your YouTube History, Google can automatically delete your YouTube watch and search history every 3 months or 18 months—whichever you choose.

You’ll get some of the benefits of personalization, but YouTube won’t build up a years-long history of your interests.

Deleting what you said to Google Assistant via voice.

Google Assistant is getting better voice controls. Rather than digging through Google’s app or website to delete things you’ve said to Assistant, you can now say “Hey Google, delete the last thing I said to you” or “Hey Google, delete everything I said to you last week.”

Google says this feature will arrive in English next week and for other languages next month.

Password checkup in Google's password manager.

Google’s password manager is getting better, too. Password Checkup is arriving in Google’s password manager on the web. Just like similar features in password managers like LastPass and 1Password, it’ll want you about which passwords are weak, which you’ve reused across multiple websites, and which were discovered to be compromised in a data breach. You then know which passwords you should consider changing.

The password features are arriving in Cybersecurity Awareness Month, which is apparently October. A Google/Harris survey found that 66% of Americans reuse the same password for multiple sites and that only 12% of Americans use a password manager. It’s good to see Google’s password manager getting more and more capable.

Google also says the Password Checkup feature is coming to Chrome later this year. If any of your usernames or passwords has been leaked in a known data breach, Chrome will warn you and suggest you change your password. In other words, Google is building its Password Checkup extension into Chrome.

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How to Enable Dark Mode on Outlook for Android, iPhone, and iPad

Microsoft Outlook Logo with Dark Background

Microsoft has been rolling out a dark mode to its Office apps for over a year. This change has been available in Outlook for desktop and the web for several months, and now it’s live on Android, iPhone, and iPad. Here’s how to enable the theme.

The instructions for turning on Outlook’s dark mode is identical for all mobile devices. If you don’t see the option for the theme, check for an app update. Dark mode should be available on Android version 4.0.4 (345) and above. iPhone and iPad owners should have Outlook version 4.2.0 installed or newer.

Start by launching the Outlook app on your Android, iPhone, or iPad. Next, tap on the gear icon in the bottom-left corner of the interface.

The Outlook Settings cog.

In the Settings menu, scroll down to the “Preferences” section and then select the “Theme” option.

The Them option showing the default theme of "Light".

Change the theme option from “Light” to “Dark.”

The dark mode option.

The moment you select “Dark,” the Outlook app will invert the white background to black and the black text to white.

The Outlook app in dark mode.

Alternatively, a third option called “Set by Battery Saver” is automatically enabled when your mobile device enters Battery Saver mode. Dark mode won’t necessarily increase your battery life, but it won’t hurt.

Note: For anyone with accessibility needs, dark mode is not optimized for high contrast modes. Some things, like images and text highlighting, aren’t converted, so they may not look great.

Also, at the time of writing, the message body will remain white when you’re editing a draft. Microsoft is working to add dark mode to the editor, but it might be some time before the theme is fully implemented.

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Snapchat’s 3D Camera Mode Adds Depth to Your Selfies

Snapchat has launched a new 3D Camera Mode that lets you add extra depth to your selfies. Snapchat has led the way in turning selfies into an artform, and its 3D Camera Mode takes that a step further. Unfortunately, it’s not available to everyone.

How to Use Snapchat’s 3D Camera Mode

Snapchat announced the 3D Camera Mode on the Snap Newsroom. The company states that the 3D Camera Mode lets you “create Snaps that capture spatial detail, changing in perspective and appearance based on how you move your phone when you view them.”

The new 3D Camera Mode utilizes the depth data now captured by some front-facing smartphone cameras. So, rather than a traditional flat selfie, your Snaps can now have a 3D element which you can view by tilting and twisting your phone.

The 3D Camera Mode is available from the dropdown menu on the right of the Camera mode. Snapchat has also launched new 3D Effects. So, once you have shot your 3D Snap, you can add an effect to it by swiping through the Filter Carousel.

At launch, you’ll need an iPhone X or newer to use Snapchat’s new 3D Camera Mode. This is despite the fact that some Android phones also boast front-facing cameras capable of capturing depth data. However, anyone on any phone will be able to view 3D Snaps.

A Beginner’s Guide to Snapchat

Snapchat’s 3D Camera Mode adds another dimension to your selfies. Literally. And it’s sure to become the new standard for Snapchat users. And given the ongoing war between Snapchat and Instagram we expect Instagram to launch a similar feature soon.

Whether or not you can create 3D Snaps using Snapchat’s 3D Camera Mode, there’s still plenty of things you can do on Snapchat. So whether you’re a veteran or completely new to the app, be sure to check out our beginner’s guide to using Snapchat

How to Use Snapchat: A Complete Beginner’s Guide

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Browsers Are Bringing Automatic Dark Mode to Websites

Chrome logo over a dark background with dry ice smoke clouds.

Dark mode is now everywhere, including in iOS 13 and Android 10. Web browsers like Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge have embraced dark mode, too. Now, browsers are bringing automatic dark mode to websites thanks to a feature called prefers-color-scheme.

Websites Can Now Detect Dark Mode Like Apps Can

YouTube's webside with the dark theme enabled

Some sites offer dark modes today. For example, you can enable dark mode on YouTube, Twitter, or Slack in a few clicks. That’s pretty cool, but who wants to enable this option separately each time they visit a new website?

When you enable dark mode on Windows 10, macOS, iOS, or Android, the applications you use all know you’ve enabled dark mode and can automatically enable it. Google Chrome doesn’t even have an easy-to-access dark mode option. Chrome just automatically adjusts itself based on your overall operating system choice.

In the past, there wasn’t a way for websites to automatically implement dark mode. Even if your browser’s interface goes dark, websites will continue using their bright backgrounds. You have to manually enable dark mode or use a browser extension that forces dark mode.

It wasn’t web developers’ faults—they had no way of detecting whether dark mode was enabled on your device. That’s changed with a new cascading style sheets (CSS) feature websites can take advantage of.

It’s Already In a Browser Near You

Enabling dark mode in Windows 10's Settings app

The answer to this problem is prefers-color-scheme, a CSS feature that websites can use to ask your web browser whether you have dark mode enabled. A web page can use a different theme depending on whether you have dark mode enabled or disabled.

This feature was only recently added to modern web browsers in 2019.

  • Google Chrome for all platforms (including Android) has supported it since Chrome 76, released on July 30.
  • Safari for iPhone and iPad gets it with Safari 13 as part of iOS 13 on September 19.
  • Mozilla Firefox has supported it since Firefox 67, released on May 21.
  • Safari for Mac has supported it since Safari 12.1, released on April 5.
  • Microsoft Edge doesn’t support it, but the new Chromium-based Edge browser will.

This isn’t an option you select in your browser itself. Just choose between light and dark modes in your operating system, your browser will obey the change, and websites can follow along and automatically enable dark mode if they like.

So Where Are the Dark Mode Websites?

While this feature is live today and working in all the popular browsers, it’s very new. Dark mode comes to iPhone and iPad with the new iOS 13. On the Android side, only Android phones with the new Android 10 have dark mode support. Even Google Chrome on desktop has only supported prefers-color-scheme for a few weeks.

It’s just so new. You likely won’t encounter many websites that use prefers-color-scheme to automatically enable dark mode yet.

That will hopefully change in the future. Websites can now respect your dark mode preference and automatically follow it. Web developers have a new option they can take advantage of.

We love dark mode. Now that it’s an option on all the latest operating systems, we’ll be excited to see it spread across the web.

RELATED: Dark Mode Isn’t Better For You, But We Love It Anyway

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