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Safe Mode with Command Prompt

Monday, March 28th, 2011 by | Filed Under: System Tune-Up Help

Have you ever booted up your computer and not been able to reach the Windows desktop? It may be because of corrupted Windows system files, or perhaps you inadvertently downloaded a virus. Either way, a terrible sense of panic begins to set in – trust me, I know. “All my photos and files are gone! I have no backups!” Take a deep breath and relax. Today, I’m going to show you the simplest method to get your computer back to operational in no time! Pay attention, because you never know when disaster might strike!

When your computer starts acting kooky, by giving you error messages or not loading properly, my first advice is always to boot into Safe Mode. We’ve talked about Safe Mode at WorldStart before, but just to reiterate, it’s a mode of Windows that only loads the bare minimum of necessary system files. However, if one of the fundamental system files has become corrupted or attacked by a virus, then even Safe Mode will not load. Luckily, Microsoft thought ahead and developed Safe Mode with Command Prompt. This mode of Windows only loads a simple command prompt feature… like the old days when you turned on your computer and this DOS window was all you would get!

From here, we can open up System Restore, and roll back our settings to an earlier date, when things were working correctly.

To get started with Safe Mode with Command Prompt, turn off your computer. As soon as you press the power button, begin tapping the F8 key multiple times to open the Boot Menu.

Using your arrow keys, highlight Safe Mode with Command Prompt, and select Enter.

Allow Windows time to load the necessary processes, and very soon you’ll see a full screen command prompt window as I showed you before.

If you are using Windows XP, you’ll need to enter %systemroot%\system32\restore\rstrui.exe and select Enter.

However, if your computer is Windows Vista or 7, it’s a little bit easier. Simply type rstrui.exe and press Enter.

System Restore will open and from here it’s a piece of cake. For a quick review, select a restore point prior to when you first began experiencing symptoms on your computer. If you need a refresher, we have a great video tutorial in the archives.

After the restore wizard finishes, your computer will restart, and you should be back to normal!

Be prepared to amaze your friends with how quickly you can fix their computer woes!

~ Jay Neil Patel

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10 Responses to “Safe Mode with Command Prompt”

  1. K.Vee.Shanker. says:

    Hi Jay,
    Thanks for your tip. I’ve a question here. There’s an option in the screen. “Last Known Good Configuration….’ already, which could be the last restore point or even after that (better). Then, why do we have to type and go for restore screen?

  2. Jay Neil Patel says:

    From my understanding, Last Known Good Configuration only resets the registry values which deal with the “boot-up” procedure of a computer. This could be altered by a faulty keyboard driver installation, and could be solved using the Last Known Good Configuration. For more on that topic, check out this article:

    The procedure detailed above is more all encompassing in that System Restore reverts all system settings to those of a previous date. For example, the explorer.exe file is not necessary for the computer to boot up, but it is necessary for the icons and desktop to load (and for you to use your computer). System Restore can fix this dilemma, whereas Last Known Good Configuration cannot.

    I know the difference between Last Known Good Configuration might still a little unclear, so please post back if it still doesn’t make complete sense. Either way, it helps to have both tools in your arsenal to fight against computer illnesses!

    Thanks for writing,
    Jay Neil

  3. Jan says:

    And after you do that, what do ya do if your restore won’t restore?

  4. Dirgster says:

    Thanks for your great tip! Are your Safe Mode instructions correct by saying, “To get started with Safe Mode with Command Prompt, turn off your computer. As soon as you press the power button, begin tapping the F8 key multiple times to open the Boot Menu.” Should it not read,”To get started with Safe Mode with Command Prompt, restart your computer. As soon as you see the XXX logo of your computer come up, begin tapping the F8 key multiple times to open the Boot Menu.” Please correct me if I’m wrong. Thanks you!

  5. Jay says:

    Are you sure about rstui? I thought the file was rstrui.exe

  6. Cjuan says:

    Hi Jay

    I am not a PC buff and so need clarification – you said for XP cases, one has to enter %systemroot%\system32\restore\rstrui.exe

    Is this what you mean – type and replace the prompt that pops up with this: C:\%systemroot%\system32\restore\rstrui.exe ?

    I would be grateful if you could spell the steps out in full.


  7. Jenny says:

    Even safe mode with command would not load past three files for me. Any further assistance?

  8. M.P says:

    Thank You Sooooo Much!!!

  9. soul says:

    hi jay

    me too Im not a prof in comp and for me its another prob

    what about if I cant choose any of the options[safe mode ,safemode prompt

    last known good confg or even start windows normally] nothing works

    its just restart but I can access to f8 and f11.

    I would be grateful if u can help me.thanks

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