Safe Mode boots Windows in a basic state using only a specific, smaller amount of files and drivers, and it's meant to help troubleshoot problems on the PC. When using Safe Mode on Windows 10, the system uses a minimal interface and loads only the basic, vital services, files, and drivers that are needed for the OS to start and perform basic functions. Therefore, it's fully understandable that even the basic idea of having to boot their Windows systems into Safe Mode sends shivers down the spine to the majority of users with at least some basic computer experience, as this action is usually associated with problems, crashes, and other unfortunate events that make it hard or impossible to use a Windows system properly. And indeed, though it's not always the case, booting in Safe Mode is most often required when issues with the Windows OS start occurring. Things got even a bit more complicated with the release of Windows 10, as the classical methods of accessing the Safe Mode, pressing the F8 or Shift + F8 keys on your keyboard while booting, will no longer work most of the times, especially of the considerably increased booting speed. Now, in order to start Windows 10 in Safe Mode, you will most likely have to follow one of the next procedures:
1. The official Microsoft method (using the Troubleshoot menu of the boot options)
1. Press the Start button in the lower-left corner of your screen, then select Settings (you can also press the Windows logo key + the I key on your keyboard to open Settings).
2. Select the Update & security option, then press on Recovery.
3. Under Advanced startup, select Restart now.
You can also skip these three steps and do the following instead: Press the Start button in the lower-left corner of your screen, then click once on Power. Next, while keeping the Shift key pressed, click or tap on Restart. You can also use the Shift + Restart combination from the Login screen.
4. The system will restart. A menu with a couple of options will be displayed instead of booting straight into Windows. Choose Troubleshoot. Then, on the Troubleshoot screen, select Advanced options.
The Troubleshoot option
Advanced Troubleshooting Settings
5. On the Advanced options screen, choose Startup Settings. Press the Restart from this window and let the computer reboot.
6. After Windows 10 restarts, you can choose one of the available boot options. Three Safe Mode variants are available. To enable Safe Mode, press the F4 key on your keyboard, to enable “Safe Mode with Networking” press F5 and to enable “Safe Mode with Command Prompt” press F6. This is it. Your computer will start in Safe Mode. The difference between the simple Safe Mode and Safe Mode with Networking is the fact that the latter contains the network drivers and services required to access the Internet and other computers on your network.
2. Using the System Configuration tool (msconfig.exe)
A pretty simple and straightforward method of booting into Safe Mode in Windows 10 is with the help of the MSConfig tool (also known as the System Configuration tool), which is included by default in any Windows 10 edition.
1. Simultaneously press the Windows logo key + R key on your keyboard. The Run window will open.
2. Type msconfig.exe (or just msconfig) and press Enter.
3. A new window will open. Click on the Boot tab.
4. In the Boot options section, select the Safe boot option. Click on OK.
System Configuration - Boot Options
5. A new window will pop up asking if you want to restart the system right away or later. When the system restarts, Safe Mode will be booted.
3. Using a Recovery drive
Using this method involves creating or having a USB recovery drive first. Then, you can use this drive to boot your Windows 10, select the Troubleshoot option of the Boot menu, and then follow the same steps as for the first method described in this guide.
As you can see, starting Windows 10 in Safe Mode has indeed become a bit more complicated, but it's not that scary. Just choose one of the above described methods, follow the aforementioned steps, and you'll surely be fine with it.