When problems come up with your computer that are hard to solve while running the computer in normal mode, many times troubleshooting tips will tell you that you need to run your computer in safe mode. In safe mode, you can access many computer troubles that may be locked up when running your computer normally. In this way, you can get your computer into proper working order again.

1. Load your computer into safe mode. Restart your computer. As it is loading, press F8 repeatedly, though try not to press more than once a second or else a keyboard error message will display. If you perform this correctly, an Advanced Options menu will display. From here, select Safe Mode as the startup option, then press Enter. If you don’t get the Advanced Options menu, restart your computer and try again.

2. Open Device Manager. To do this, click Start, then Control Panel if you’re using Windows Vista or 7. For Windows XP and earlier, click the Start button, then click Settings. After the Settings window comes up, click Control Panel. From here, select Hardware, or Hardware and Sound in Vista and 7. There will be a tab that reads Device Manager that you will select.

3. Expand the listed devices in the Device Manager tab to see if they are working properly or not. Devices that aren’t working properly will display a caution symbol beside them, which is a yellow triangle with an exclamation point in the center. If you see devices with this symbol, you will likely need to uninstall, then reinstall that device’s drivers. You’ll find drivers for your software either on the website of your computer manufacturer or on the website of the device manufacturer.

4. Disable devices to see if they are the cause of computer errors you experience while in normal mode. This is helpful if your computer stops working properly after installing a new program or piece of hardware. To do this, right-click the device you want to disable and select Disable, then reboot your computer in normal mode. If the error doesn’t occur upon reboot, that device is the cause of your computer troubles and needs to be repaired.

6. Perform a system restore. System restore rolls your computer back to a state it was in before whatever technical problems you are experiencing existed, in most cases. Within safe mode, click Start and perform a search for System Restore. Once the window opens, pick a restore point and click OK to revert your computer and hopefully solve your troubleshooting issues.

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