The best way to diagnose a problem with your PC is to start Windows in Safe mode. Reason being, when you boot your PC in safe mode, you have access to only basic drivers for the computer to function, so the processor is free from running a lot of data. Let's see how we can boot the PC in a Safe mode. There are two ways to it. You can select whichever way you are comfortable with. In the first method, to get into safe mode, restart your PC. Before you get the Windows XP screen (shown below), press the F8 key on your keyboard. Pressing the F8 key would take you to the "Advanced Options" menu. Here you are presented with various options to select from. We will briefly describe what each option would do, if you select that.
- Safe Mode: It loads minimum processes required to start Windows XP
- Safe Mode with Networking: Along with starting computer in safe mode it includes drivers needed for network connectivity
- Safe Mode with Command Prompt: On starting the computer, it displays Command Prompt instead of Windows GUI.
- Enable Boot Logging: It troubleshoots boot problems and creates a log to help you identify the device or driver which is causing problem during startup.
- Enable VGA mode: It starts the PC in standard VGA mode by using the video driver. You can use this option if you are getting distorted video display.
- Last known Good configuration: It restores the entire configuration that was used last when your computer functioned successfully. This is the safest and should be tried out first in Safe booting.
- Debugging mode: It uses kernel debugger to troubleshooting.
- Start Windows Normally: Starts Windows in normal mode.
- Reboot: Restarts the computer.
Using the arrow keys on your keyboard, highlight "Safe Mode" and press "Enter". When a dialog box shows up stating that "Windows is running in safe mode". To proceed to work in safe mode, click yes. Click on the "Yes" button and you can start working in Safe mode. Once you complete making necessary changes, restart your PC and this time let it start in the Normal mode. In case you are not comfortable logging into safe mode in the method described above, you can try this: Click on the "Start" menu on the taskbar and then click on "Run" In the "Run" dialog box type: msconfig and then click on "OK" Next, in the "System Configuration Utility" window that open, under the "BOOT.INI" tab, within the "Boot Options" area, check mark on "/SAFEBOOT" box. Click on "Apply" and then "OK". Now when you boot, Windows will go into Safe mode. A brief description of options along with /SAFEBOOT:
- Minimal: This option uses a minimal set of device drivers and services to start Windows.
- Network: This option uses a minimal set of device drivers and services to start Windows along with the drivers needed to load networking.
- DSREPAIR: This is the "Directory Services Repair Console" . You don't need to use this.
- Minimal(AlternateShell): This option is the same as Safe mode, except that Cmd.exe starts instead of Windows Explorer.