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Getting Through Safe Mode

Friday, August 4th, 2006 by | Filed Under: System Tune-Up Help
 
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Q:
You’ve explained what safe mode is before, but how exactly do you go about fixing things while in it? I’m just a little confused about the process.

A:
That’s a fair question and it’s probably something we should have already covered. Basically, working in safe mode is a troubleshooting type of situation. Depending on your problem, you just have to do some trial and errors to figure out what exactly is causing the problem. Before I go any further, here’s a small explanation of what safe mode is for any of you who are not sure what it is.

Safe mode is a maintenance utility that is found in every version of Windows that comes in handy when you’re having computer trouble. Safe mode starts your computer in a limited state with only the basic files and drivers needed for Windows to run. If you’re having problems with a newly installed program or something similar to that, you can try running the program in safe mode to help pinpoint the actual problem a bit more.

For example, if you install a new program and you receive an “Illegal Operation” error message, you can then try running the program in safe mode. If it works fine in safe mode, you know there is some other program or driver that’s causing interference with the new application. Without safe mode, you may have never figured that out.

Okay, now let’s go into some more about troubleshooting in safe mode. Below are some common problems that occur that safe mode can help, followed by what you can do while in the safe mode to try and fix it. Hopefully by the end, you will be free of computer blunder!

1.) You installed a new program and Windows will not work anymore. It’s probably safe to say that the new program is not compatible with the version of Windows you have. You can try uninstalling the program while you are in safe mode and then check the system requirements of the program to make sure it’ll work with your version of Windows. If it’s supposed to, try the installation again after a fresh reboot.

2.) You installed a new device, video card or any other piece of hardware and Windows will not work anymore. With this situation, the driver for the device or card may not be compatible with the version of Windows you are using. Again, try uninstalling the device driver while in safe mode. If that still doesn’t work, you can then try to uninstall or remove the device from your computer. After you do that, make sure you restart your computer. If that still doesn’t help, you can try doing a system restore on your system back to before you installed the device and see if that will put your computer back into working condition again.

3.) You can’t get connected to the Internet. The first thing you’ll want to try is restarting your computer using the Safe Mode with Networking option. This is the only feature that allows networking and Internet capabilities. Once in there, try connecting to the Internet. If you still can’t connect, try restarting your computer and any other networking hardware that you may be using (such as a modem or a router). This process will rule out any hardware issues. If you still can’t connect, contact your ISP for additional help.

4.) Your computer starts in safe mode automatically and you don’t know why it’s doing that. If you’re having this type of problem, you can use the process of elimination to try and find the cause of the problem. This will only work if you haven’t installed any new programs or hardware recently though, so please keep that in mind. First, start up any programs that you use on a regular basis, including any in your startup folder. Do this one by one with each program and hopefully you will be able to track down the one that is causing your computer to start in safe mode automatically.

5.) None of the above worked for you, so what else is there to do? The main thing you can do is turn your computer back to a previous time with a system restore. This will return your system files back to a time when you weren’t noticing any problems. If that doesn’t seem to work, try running a Startup Repair along with your Windows installation CD.

Hopefully your problem is fixed now, but if you’re still having trouble, seek help from your computer’s manufacturer, because they may be the only ones who can help you now.

~ Erin

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