Posted on December 12, 2014 · Posted in Windows 8

Add Safe Mode to Windows 8 Boot Manager

Safe Mode is a special Windows boot mode used for troubleshooting and system diagnostics. When booting in the Safe Mode, the system is loaded with the minimum necessary drivers and services needed to run Windows. The Safe Mode appeared in Windows 95 and was used in all subsequent Windows versions. To boot in the safe mode, press F8 on the initial stage of booting and select Safe Mode in the boot menu.

In Windows 8 the developers have introduced a new boot menu (so called Metro boot loader) and decided to abandon the use of F8 functional key to call the menu of additional boot options. Of course, it doesn’t mean that Windows 8 is not able to boot to the Safe Mode. Now you can do it in the other way.

In this article we’ll show how to add safe boot to Windows 8 Boot Manager.

We’ll consider two cases:

  1. Adding «Safe Mode» to the graphical Windows 8 Boot Loader
  2. Return to the «classic» text Windows loader  with the support of F8 and an opportunity to choose booting in the Safe Mode

How to Add the Safe Mode to the Graphical Windows 8 Boot Loader

  1. Open the command prompt as an administrator and run the following command:
    bcdedit /enum /v

    bcdedit /enum /v

    This command displays the current configuration of Windows Boot Manager. We are interested in the Windows Boot Loader section: make sure that the value of the description field is Windows 8, copy the value of the identifier field (in this example it is {ddafec8c-a5ff-11e2-b839-9d7170753ab1}, but in your case the value will be different).

  2. Run this command in the command line
    bcdedit /copy {Your_identifier} /d "Windows 8 Safe Mode"

    In our example the command looks like this:

    bcdedit /copy {ddafec8c-a5ff-11e2-b839-9d7170753ab1} /d "Windows 8 Safe Mode"

    bcdedit /copy /d "Windows 8 Safe Mode"

    Note. The /d switch specifies the name of the item, which runs the system in the Safe Mode, displayed in the Boot Manager. This name can be changed. Moreover, the line /d «Windows 8 Safe Mode» should be entered manually, not copied and pasted, otherwise the system returns an error.

  3. Open the configuration editor msconfig. To do it, press Win+R, type msconfig in the following window and press Enter.msconfig
  4. Move to the Boot tab, select the newly created  record Windows 8 Safe Mode (C:\Windows) and specify the following settings for it:
    • Safe Mode: Minimal
    • Timeout (amount of time to make a choice): 30 seconds (it can also be less)
    • Make all boot settings permanent
  5. Click OK, then apply changes and now the system can be restarted by clicking Restart.restart system
  6. Now when booting the system, the GUI menu is displayed where you can select Windows 8 Safe Mode, thus starting the system in the safe mode.Windows 8 safe mode option in boot menu

To remove Safe Mode from the Boot Manager, do the following:

  1. Display the current Boot Loader configuration using the command:
    bcdedit /enum /v
  2. Find the section with the description of Windows 8 Safe Mode and copy the value of the identifier field in this section. In our example it is {45f3ecd2-a693-11e2-be69-0050568efd76}bcdedit enum safe mode
  3. Delete the boot record Windows 8 Safe Mode from the menu with this command
    bcdedit /delete {your_identifier}

    In our example the command looks like this:

    bcdedit /delete {45f3ecd2-a693-11e2-be69-0050568efd76}
  4. Close the command prompt. After the restart, the option Safe Mode disappears from the Boot Loader.

Getting Back to the Standard Boot Manager

In Windows 8 you can drop the graphical Boot Manager and get back to the «classic» text boot menu.

To do it, there is a special parameter bootmenupolicy in the BCD. The BootMenuPolicy parameter can take any of the two values:

  • 0 – Legacy, is a standard Boot Loader familiar to us since Windows 7
  • 1-  Standard, is using new Windows 8 loader interface, so called Metro Boot Loader, which is a part of bootux.dll (by default)
  1. The current bootmenupolicy value can be obtained using this command:
    bcdedit /enum /v

    bcdedit enum bootmenupolicy

    As you can see, a graphical Windows 8 Boot Loader is currently being used.

  2. To go back to the old text boot loader, open the command prompt with the administrator privileges and run the following command:
    bcdedit /set {default} bootmenupolicy legacy

    windows 8 bootmenupolicy legacy

    If the operation was successful, the following message would appear:

    The operation completed successfully.

  3. Then during the next boot of the system, the standard Windows 7/Vista text window to choose the boot options will appear, and by pressing F8 you will proceed to the familiar Advanced Boot Options menu, in which you can select booting in the Safe Mode.Advanced Boot Options Windows 8

To restore the graphical Windows 8 Boot Loader, run this command:

bcdedit /set {default} bootmenupolicy standard

windows 8 bootmenupolicy standard


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