Enabling the Safe Mode Menu Under Windows 8

Silly me let updated nVidia drivers through Windows Update which caused my computer to encounter the blue screen of death upon every boot. As a rule of thumb, I don’t accept such driver updates for this very reason despite usually being able to get out of any resulting mess.

Unfortunately, because I could not seem to get to safe mode I had to restore Windows partition from my last daily backup (which was created last night). I just booted using my Windows Home Server 2011 recovery disc, followed the wizard and let it do the restore which took a couple of hours.

Anyway, knowing that I didn’t have the legacy boot menu available on my installation (the menu that you used to be able to access by hitting F8 just before booting Windows since Windows 95 was released) I decided to turn it on as a “just in case”.

You need to open an administrative command prompt and then type in the following:

bcdedit /set {default} bootmenupolicy legacy

… then hit Enter.

This will enable the familiar boot menu that has saved many a user in the past. I’d recommend everyone do it as under Windows 8 the primary method of getting into safe mode is from within Windows prior to restarting the computer. This is fairly useless when you can’t even get into Windows in the first place!

For the record, the automatic recovery menu also failed to display any option of restarting the computer in safe mode so I was well and truly up the creek without a paddle and would have faced hours of reinstallation activities had it not been for my backup. Remember, you have to back it up in order to get it back!

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