How to Add Safe Mode to The Windows 8 Boot Menu

Safe mode is something present in every Windows version since Windows 95 came out. It has helped millions of geeks diagnose issues with their systems by loading only the bare essentials required for Windows to run. This mode, although convenient on its own, is annoying to access and might really bum out those who don’t have the patience to try loading it with the “F8” key on their keyboards. Early versions of the software don’t show a lot of promise to making this process any easier. It seems like you’re going to have to get around this. With Windows 8, you can actually add the option to start in safe mode to the boot menu when you turn on your computer. Let’s see how!

The Process

For this procedure, you’ll have to use the command line to try and figure out some environmental variables as well as use them within a command that can add the safe mode to your boot menu. All chit chat aside, let’s get to work:

1. Start by going into Metro and type “cmd“. The command line’s icon should show up on the left side.

2. Right-click the command line icon. An “options” bar should show up at the bottom of your screen.


3. Click “Run as.” This runs the command line as administrator, at least in the Release Preview. We’re not sure whether Microsoft will include a menu that lets you pick “Administrator” from a list of options in the final build, so if that would show up in your Windows 8 version, pick “Administrator.” In the Developer Preview, you must click “Advanced” and then click “Run as Administrator.” Sorry about the confusion. Like with any pre-release builds, there are lots of quirks where the company developing the software attempts to make up its mind about features.

4. Confirm that you want to run “cmd” in the UAC prompt that comes up when the computer switches you to the desktop.

5. Type

in the command line. A load of information will show up. You’ll have to learn how to copy and paste a piece of it in the command line, which is something slightly different to copying and pasting in a desktop application environment.

6. To copy the information you need, right-click somewhere in the text body and click “Mark.” Drag the mouse through the data next to “identifier” under “Windows Boot Loader.” Press “Enter” and it will copy the information to your clipboard. If you have no idea what information I’m asking you to copy, just look at the image below:


7. Now, type

put a space after it, right-click anywhere on the command line, and click “Paste.” After the identifier, place another space and type

You can call it whatever you want if you want to be original, but you might risk not remembering what it’s there for if you don’t use it often.

8. Close the command line, go into Metro again, type “msconfig,” and press “Enter.”

9. Go into the “boot” tab and select the safe mode item.

10. Select “Safe boot” under “Boot options.” If you want to be able to use the Internet during safe mode, select “Networking” instead of “Minimal” under “Safe boot.” Click “OK” after you’ve finished all that. You will have to restart your computer.

Speaking of Internet, you can choose to repeat this process to add a separate “safe mode” with networking capabilities and call it “Safe Mode With Networking.” It’s up to you! Here’s the result of our (sort of) little tutorial:


Questions? Answers? Suggestions?

Leave all your comments below and we’ll be with you in a very short time!

Miguel Leiva-Gomez Miguel Leiva-Gomez

Miguel has been a business growth and technology expert for more than a decade and has written software for even longer. From his little castle in Romania, he presents cold and analytical perspectives to things that affect the tech world.


  1. I can tell you that the “Run as administrator” option is still there in WIndows 8 final. I am an MSDN user and so got Windows 8 Professional last week.

  2. I booted into Windows 8 safe mode with command prompt. I have no idea how to get out of that version of safe mode. Pleas help. Thank you.

  3. Ridiculous.

    Here’s a better way:
    Admin Command prompt:
    bcdedit /set {default} bootmenupolicy legacy

    f8 works normally now during boot.

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