Safe Mode and Recovery From Windows Registry Errors

Today, I bumped into a colleague at work who reads this blog and we had a brief chat about yesterday’s article and the fact that I could have come off a little too casual in the way I provided the instructions without warning about the potential risks (up to and including nuking your Windows installation) if you mucked up.

Whenever you are dealing with something as delicate as the Windows registry you absolutely do need to exercise care, particularly if you are not used to venturing into such areas of the operating system.

Anyway, if you do happen to hose Windows after editing the registry the best thing to do is to go into safe mode and follow the System Restore wizard. To get into safe mode, you need to do the following:

  • Restart your computer,
  • Repeatedly press F8 on the keyboard (don’t hold it down though as your computer might protest with loud beeping),
  • On the “Advanced Boot Options” screen use the arrow keys on the keyboard to scroll down to “Safe Mode”,
  • Press “Enter”,
  • If you are asked to login then provide your credentials.

Once you reach the safe mode desktop you should also be presented with the System Restore wizard which will guide you through the process of rolling back Windows to the previous restore point (or you can choose an earlier one if you fancy).

You can also use this to recover your system if an application or driver installation goes horribly wrong so it’s worth bearing in mind next time something goes rather awry.

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