XP Startup Issues - Safe Mode or Safe Mode with Networking Support

To troubleshoot potential environmental issues (i.e. Driver/Hardware related), first restart your computer in Safe mode or in Safe mode with networking support. If the issue is with a program that does not depend on network connectivity, Safe mode is appropriate. If the issue is with a network program, and you are using a network adapter to connect to a network, Safe mode with networking support may permit you to test the networking program, including browser issues.

Note: You cannot use Safe mode with networking support when you use a modem or a PC Card connection to a network because modem drivers and PC Card drivers do not load in Safe mode or in Safe mode with networking support.

If you start the computer in Safe mode or in Safe mode with networking support, and you can perform an operation that you previously experienced problems with, the issue is most likely environmental.

Note: In Windows XP, you can perform a clean-boot by using the System Configuration Utility (Msconfig.exe). To use this tool go to: Start | Run | Type "msconfig"

For more information about the System Configuration utility, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/310560

Note: You may not be able to test some operations in Safe mode because not all services and devices load in Safe mode or in Safe mode with networking support. For example, you cannot test multimedia issues that involve sound, nor can you test suspend or hibernation issues in Safe mode.

If you start the computer in Safe mode or in Safe mode with networking support, and the issue still occurs, an environmental issue may still be the cause. Many function or filter drivers that third-party software installs may continue to load in Safe mode. Therefore, you may have to take an additional step to test and remove third-party drivers in Safe mode.

To start the computer in Safe mode, follow these steps:
  1. Print these instructions before you go to step 2. They will not be available after you shut down the computer in step 2.
  2. Restart your computer.
  3. Use the F8 key. On a computer that is configured to start to multiple operating systems, you can press F8 when you see the Startup menu.
  4. Use the arrow keys to select a Safe mode option, and then press ENTER. Note: NUM LOCK functionality must be turned off for the arrow keys on the numeric keypad to work.
  5. If you have a dual-boot or multiple-boot system, use the arrow keys to select the installation that you want to access, and then press ENTER.
In Safe mode, you have access to only basic files and drivers (such as mouse, monitor, keyboard, mass storage, base video, default system services, and no network connections). You can select from the following options:
  • The Safe Mode with Networking option loads all these files and drivers and the services and drivers necessary to start networking.
  • The Safe Mode with Command Prompt option is the same as Safe mode except that a command prompt starts instead of the graphical user interface (GUI).
  • The Last Known Good Configuration option starts your computer by using the registry information that was saved the last time that your computer shut down.
  • Safe mode helps you diagnose problems. If a symptom does not reappear when you start in Safe mode, you can rule out the default settings and minimum device drivers as possible causes. If a newly added device or a changed driver is causing problems, you can use Safe mode to remove the device or reverse the change.
There are circumstances where Safe mode cannot help you. For example, Safe mode cannot help you when Windows system files that are required to start the computer are corrupted or damaged. In this case, the Recovery Console may help you.

Comments

anshul said…
very good tips for me thanks for sharing.I am very frustrated with Slow starup of out PC?Thanks for sharing..
It's true, you cannot always depend on Safe mode to check what is wrong with your computer network. One time, I ran out of troubleshooting methods, so I had to call a professional to diagnose the problem. Despite running some tests in safe mode, I failed to fix things. So when the agent came over, I was told that the next time it happens, I shouldn't hesitate to call. He said that fixing things on my own could worsen the problem. That was one lesson I had to learn the hard way.
I ran out of troubleshooting methods, so I had to call a professional to diagnose the problem. Despite running some tests in safe mode, I failed to fix things. So when the agent came over.