Mar 252008

Accessing Safe Mode is a rarity and only when you have problems to troubleshoot. However, accessing safe mode can get a bit tricky wherein you have to wait for the POST to go through and keep hitting F8 to enter the Startup menu and you may still miss the Startup Menu. A simple option would be add an entry for Safe Mode onto the default Boot menu wherein everytime the system restarts, you get an option to start Windows in Normal mode or in Safe Mode. This procedure should work in Windows 2000,Windows Xp and Windows 2003.

To add Windows Safe mode onto the Boot Menu,

Edit the C:\boot.ini using “notepad”. This file is a protected System file and hence will not be visible by default.

1. Open Windows Explorer and navigate to C:\

2. Click Tools – Folder Options and select “View”

3. Uncheck the following options

“Do not show hiddne files or folders”

“Hide protected operating system files (recommended)”

4. Click Apply and OK. This should show the boot.ini file.

5. Open the file with notepad.

6. Under [operating systems], you should see a line for “Microsoft Windows XP …”

7. Copy the line and paste it in the next line. Replace “Microsoft Windows XP…” with “Safe Mode” and replace all the options that follow (starts with a “/”) like

/fastdetect /noexecute=optin


/safeboot:minimal /sos /bootlog

So the file has something similar to this

[boot loader]
[operating systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\WINDOWS=”Microsoft Windows XP Professional” /noexecute=optin /fastdetect
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\WINDOWS=”Safe Mode” /safeboot:minimal /sos /bootlog

8. Save the file and reboot your PC or Server.

You should now see the Safe Mode option under the default Windows Normal mode.

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