How to Access Advanced Boot Options in Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8

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I have encountered several issues in which booting into Safe Mode, one of the Advanced Boot Options, and then rebooting into Windows normally was enough to fix the issues. It is recommended that only advanced users and system administrators change these settings. If you suspect that Windows XP won't boot because the partition boot sector has been corrupted, you can use a special Recovery Console tool called Fixboot to fix it. A dialog box displays telling you that you may need to restart your computer for the changes to take affect. Once this occurs, the partition boot sector takes over and begins loading Windows.

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These options, along with the other Advanced Boot Options, will be described in the next section. There are five options common to all four operating systems. The image below from Windows XP shows these five options.

Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8 each have additional options. Three choices for Safe Mode are available. The first choice, Safe Mode, is a very basic boot up of Windows that uses generic Windows drivers from Microsoft instead of the drivers provided by the vendor. This option does not allow access to a network or the Internet which can be beneficial if the PC has an issue requiring Internet or network access be disabled prior to resolving the problem.

The Safe Mode with Networking option also uses the same basic boot processes that Safe Mode uses but a generic network driver is added so that users can connect to their network or to the Internet.

This option is generally beneficial to use if access to the Internet is needed in order to allow remote access to the computer. An example of using the Safe Mode with Networking option would be allowing a technician to remote in to the computer to fix a problem such as a virus or corrupt files that are preventing Windows from starting normally.

This third Safe Mode option is more of an advanced function as knowledge of text-based commands is needed. The Last Known Good Configuration option is a good first option to try if changes to the operating system or drivers were recently performed and the computer is not booting normally after the changes were made. The Last Known Good Configuration does exactly what it sounds like it does.

Windows loads the last system configuration in which the system booted normally. If the problem with Windows occurs after the desktop has been loaded, the Last Known Good Configuration will not fix the issue. The Start Normally option is generally used for starting the computer in normal mode if it was accidentally booted into the Advanced Boot Options menu. This option also can be used if the computer was not shut down normally the last time it was used. When the computer automatically boots into the Advanced Boot Options menu as a result of this reason, using the Start Normally option should be tried prior to using the other advanced boot options.

In addition to these five options used with all four operating systems, several more options are available in Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8. The image below from Windows 7 shows the new functionality added that was included starting in Windows Vista.

Other than that, the boot options are the same for both operating systems. Enable Boot Logging is used to track the processes used by the computer when it is booted to Windows. This information can then be analyzed to find where the boot up process is failing. The Enable low-resolution video option is used if a problem with the graphics driver is preventing the user from using the computer. This option allows a specific display resolution of x to be used to address issues with viewing items.

Directory Service Restore Mode is only used if there is a domain a specialized grouping of computers using a specific type of server. This option is used to reconnect computers to a domain. Debugging Mode is an advanced mode in which two computers are used. The working computer receives data from the non-working computer that is then used to fix the issue by analyzing the data using a program called a debugger.

Debuggers are used to find problems in how a program was written. Normally, computers are set to restart a BSOD occurs. This presents an issue in getting all of the information needed to research the BSOD. Using the Disable automatic restart on system failure option prevents the automatic restarts of the computer so that the information about the issue can be obtained.

The Disable Driver Signature Enforcement option is used to allow drivers without a digital signature to be run. In newer versions of Windows, Microsoft has made signed drivers almost a necessity but some companies have hardware available without digital signatures.

This option disables the requirement for the signature which can be beneficial in determining if a boot failure is from a hardware component or if the issue is tied to a driver signature. In Windows 8, Microsoft has removed the Directory Service Restore Mode and replaced it with the Disable early launch anti-malware protection option. Early Launch anti-malware protection is used to malware from installing as Windows loads to the desktop. Disabling this feature can be used to test if a driver or other file needed to start Windows is being blocked as malware.

I would not recommend using this option unless you have an advanced knowledge of troubleshoot. Before I personally would try this option, I would try to boot into one of the Safe Mode options first so that I could run a virus and malware scan in case critical files for booting Windows have gotten infected. Disabling the early launch anti-malware protection could allow the computer to be further infected if the option is disabled and the computer is booting to the desktop.

If the computer was not shut down normally the last time it was used, the computer may automatically boot to the Advanced Boot Options menu. As such, some additional steps are needed to access the Startup Settings menu. If a Windows 8 computer cannot boot normally, Windows 8 will try to automatically repair the problem as the computer is booted. If the automatic repair is unsuccessful, users have some additional options that they can try such as refreshing the PC or formatting the computer and reinstalling Windows.

These options require that the Windows 8 installation software be available. System Restore returns your computer to an earlier time called a restore point without causing you to lose recent work, such as saved documents, email, or history and favorites lists.

Your computer automatically creates restore points called system checkpoints , but you can also use System Restore to create your own checkpoints. This is useful if you are about to make a major change to your system, such as installing a new program or changing your Registry. The following procedure will help you set up restore points. In the System Restore window see Figure 3. I recommend using the date in the name. Type today's date with the word Restore at the end of the name example: Highlight a System Check Point listing on the right that matches the name you just created, as shown in Figure 3.

Make sure all programs are closed, except the Help and Support windows, and click OK to continue. Verify the date and time of the restore point and enter it into Table 3. It is recommended that only advanced users and system administrators change these settings. It is always a good idea to keep track of the changes that you've made. In this section, you learned how to use Windows Me or 98 system tools to gather information and resolve system problems.

When troubleshooting, it is important to gather information so that you can make informed decisions when attempting to find the problem's root cause. Some of the specific skills you practiced include the following:. See All Related Store Items.

What are the Advanced Boot Options used for?

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Jun 10,  · How to Change Windows XP Startup Options. You may have wanted to change the Windows XP startup options, and Microsoft is kind enough to provide a utility to edit them, without having to edit confusing 43K. Aug 31,  · If a problem doesn't reappear when you start in safe mode, you can eliminate the default settings and basic device drivers and services as possible causes. Other options start Windows with advanced features intended for use by system administrators and IT professionals. For more information, go to the Microsoft website . How to Access Advanced Boot Options in Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8 September 10, By Robert Albury In this article, I am going to talk about one of the Windows tools I occasionally need to .