F8 not working in Windows 10? 5 things to try

If you’ve upgraded to Windows 10 from older versions like Windows XP, Vista, and Windows 7, you may have noticed that the F8 function key you pressed during startup to enter Safe Mode no longer works.

The F8 key is still available on your keyboard, but works with other key combinations to perform certain functions, especially when your touchpad or mouse isn’t working and you need to use keyboard shortcuts instead.

In this guide, we are going to show you what to do if you find F8 not working in Windows 10, but first let’s take a look at why this is happening.

Why does F8 not work in Windows 10?

Safe mode is a native Windows feature in all versions of the operating system, which is used to troubleshoot various issues such as driver installation issues, Windows boot issues, and malware or virus related issues.

The F8 boot menu has been removed to improve system boot time. It is like that because Windows 10 boots much faster than earlier versions, so you don’t have enough time to press the F8 key and enter Safe Mode during boot. In addition, it cannot recognize the keystrokes during the boot process, preventing access to the boot options screen where you can select the Safe Mode option.

Instead, Microsoft has provided a new Advanced Boot Options menu feature that gives you access to troubleshooting options such as Safe Mode and others.

You can still access the Safe Mode feature by pressing the F8 key, but you have to manually re-enable it with a few easy steps, and there are other methods that will also allow you to get into Safe Mode, but they are not so simple .

Fix F8 not working in Windows 10

1. Manually re-enable F8 key

  • Type cmd in the search bar and click Run as administrator.
  • Type this command in the command prompt: bcdedit /set {default} boot menu policy legacy and press Enter

Remark: BCD or Boot Configuration Data Edit command is a native tool in Windows that controls how the operating system starts. It also helps you to reactivate the F8 boot menu easily.

  • Restart your PCand repeatedly press the F8 key on the keyboard while it boots up and you will see the Advanced Boot Options menu, from which you can select Safe Mode, Safe Mode with Networkingor Safe Mode with Command Prompt

To disable the F8 key again, open the elevated Command Prompt and type this command: bcdedit /set {default} boot menu policy default

2. Enter safe mode from the start menu

  • Click Get started and select Settings
  • Then click Update & Security in the Settings menu.
  • In the left pane, click recovery and then click Restart now
  • Windows will automatically reboot and the . to display Choose an option screen. Click Resolving problems
  • Then click Startup Settings
  • A screen with several boot options will appear.
  • On your keyboard, press the F4 key or the number 4 key to enter Safe modeor the corresponding key to enter Safe Mode with Networking or with command prompt depending on what you want to do.

Remark: You can also press . click Get startedright click on the Current button and hold the Shift key when you click Restarting† This will automatically restart Windows and display the Choose an option screen, after which you can proceed with the steps to access Safe Mode.

3. Boot into Safe Mode on System Configuration

System Configuration also known as: msconfig, is a system utility used in troubleshooting the Windows startup process. It can disable or re-enable device drivers and programs that run during the boot process to find out why the problem you are having occurred. It saves time compared to other methods where you have to repeat several steps to get to Safe Mode.

  • press the Windows logo key+R to open the Run dialog box and type msconfig† Then press Enter or click on Okay
  • Click Boot and mark the checkbox next to Safe Boot† Select Minimal and click Okay† There are other options available such as: Alternative Shell (Command Prompt Safe Mode), Active Directory Repairand Network (Safe Mode with Network Support)so you can choose the one you need.
  • Click Apply > OK for the changes to take effect and Windows will restart in safe mode.

To exit safe mode from the system configuration, reopen the Boot Options window and check the box next to . from Safe Boot, and click OK. Click Restarting to apply the changes and restart your computer normally.

4. Enter Safe Mode if Windows cannot boot normally

Safe Mode loads with a minimal set of programs and drivers. If Windows can’t boot normally, you won’t have a problem entering Safe Mode because you can restart the PC twice and go to the Automatic Repair screen from which you can enter Safe Mode.

  • Make sure your PC is turned off and then hold down the . pressed Current until the computer turns off. Repeat about two or three times (to activate the startup repair mechanism) until the Prepare automatic repair screen appears.
  • If you see the Prepare Automatic Repair screen when you turn on your computer for the first time, continue to the next step and select the Examine your PC screen will appear. This is followed by the Attempted repair message.
  • Windows shows the Automatic repair can’t fix your PC message and give you the Shut down and Advanced options in the Startup Repair screen. Click Advanced options
  • Click Resolving problems in the Choose an option screen.
  • Then click Advanced options
  • Your PC will reboot and show several boot options on the next screen.
  • Press the F4 key or number 4 key on your keyboard to enter Safe mode† You can also press the corresponding key to enter: Safe Mode with Command Prompt or with Networks depending on what you want to do.

Remark: If you have a bootable USB drive or installation disc for Windows 10, you can use it to start your PC in safe mode if Windows fails to load. Boot the PC using the bootable drive or installation disc, select Fix your computer and you will get to Choose an option screen from where you can perform the above steps to enter Safe Mode.

5. Boot into safe mode when you can’t login to the desktop

This is another method you can use if you find Windows 10 safe mode not working. If you can access your login screen (welcome or login screen) but cannot access or log in to Desktop, use these steps to restart your computer in safe mode.

  • click on Current at the bottom right of the Windows 10 Login screen.
  • Press and hold the Shift key on your keyboard and select Restarting† you see the Please wait screen appears briefly and the Choose an option screen. Click Resolving problems
  • In the Advanced options screen, click Startup Settings
  • On the Startup Settings screen, press the key(s) corresponding to the Safe mode option you want to use.

More ways to boot to safe mode

We hope you found this guide helpful to help you boot into Safe Mode when you find F8 not working in Windows 10. If you know of other methods you can use to access Safe Mode, you can check them out with us share.

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