What happened to the safe mode in Windows 8?
Why can’t you press F8 during Windows boot and go directly to safe mode?

You are not alone with these questions. For answers we would have to turn to Microsoft but for the time being, I’ll show you a trick to re-enable the Windows boot manager menu.


I have previously documented on how to add safe mode into the boot entries in https://atkdinosaurus.wordpress.com/2015/07/31/how-to-add-safe-mode-boot-to-windows-8-boot-entries/

Actually this is now unnecessary. Run the following command in Administrator CMD prompt:

C:\>bcdedit /set {bootmgr} DisplayBootMenu true

To change the boot manager timeout from the default 30 seconds to 10 seconds run

C:\>bcdedit /set {bootmgr} Timeout 10

Now when you restart your computer, you will be shown the Windows boot manager.

Please follow the steps below:

  • To specify an advanced option for this choice, press F8
  • Press F10 for more options
  • Launch recovery environment
  • Troubleshoot
  • Microsoft Diagnostics and Recovery Toolset

In this environment you are provided with a lot of tools.
The list is as follows:

  • Registry Editor
  • Locksmith
  • Crash Analyzer
  • File Restore
  • Disk Commander
  • Disk Wipe
  • Computer Management
  • Explorer
  • Solution Wizard
  • TCP/IP Config
  • Hotfix Uninstall
  • SFC Scan
  • Search
  • Defender
  • Remote Connection

You can open CMD prompt through Explorer if you need it.
It is beyond me why these tools are hidden away until you re-enable the boot menu.
The environment resembles a preinstallation environment with the system drive on X:

Edit (20170116):

This method also works with Windows 7. You’ll get access to the same tools by pressing F8
in the Windows boot loader menu and selecting “Repair your computer”.