Tip: Safe Mode hotkey changed in Windows 8 CP

As one does when trying out a new version of Windows, I decided to install the Windows 8 Consumer Preview to a second hard drive in my computer to test out the operating system natively, rather than using a virtual machine. At first I thought this would be awesome, until I ran in into some problems.

I was trying to get Windows 8 to install the Windows 7 x64 drivers for my internal PCI Wireless N adapter, and on reboot I got to experience the brand new “Blue Screen of Death” for the first time. Obviously something went wrong and I immediately thought to go into Safe Mode to sort out my problem. Oh wait, I couldn't; at first.

Pressing F8 on boot as one normally does returns absolutely nothing, so my BSoD loop continued until I booted my Windows 7 installation (which thankfully I kept). I originally thought that they had disabled Safe Mode, but a commenter has pointed out that they have just changed the hotkey to (holding) Shift+F8 rather than keeping the traditional F8 hotkey.

Alternatively, you could attempt to enable Safe Mode as a startup option using the same method as for the Developer Preview. This is an easier way than holding Shift+F8, because in the short time I tested the new hotkey it often didn't work.

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19 Comments

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Just to clear something up. Technically you only have to hit the F8 key the once to get into safe mode, however knowing when to hit it can be tricky so people generally mash the key to make sure they get it right.

So with this new thing of Shift+F8 (aka F20), is it now:
HOLD Shift + MASH F8
or
HOLD Shift + HOLD F8
or
MASH Shift+F8 together (as in letting go of Shift before pressing it and F8 together again)?

It was changed in Developer Preview itself. But it's a bad combination. At least for something like boot where you can quickly miss it and the OS loads, a combination hotkey is a bad decision.

I don't understand why they didn't just link it to the Windows key. It's not useful for anything else at boot time, and no ones going to forget it.

Kaedrin said,
I don't understand why they didn't just link it to the Windows key. It's not useful for anything else at boot time, and no ones going to forget it.

The Windows key is not a official, per say, key.

htcz said,

The Windows key is not a official, per say, key.

Sillyness for an offical vendor key to not exist in the standard by now. I haven't seen a keyboard without it what... over 13 years? Windows Key / Apple Key, same exact function mapping.

Jimmy422 said,
Maybe it has been changed to support tablet devices in the future? That's the only thing I can think of.

Because adding a keystroke is making this easier to do?
How so?

GS:mac

Sraf said,
Only thing that comes to mind is that F8 might have some new use
On my computer pressing F8 on boot brings up the UEFI boot menu, with a list of connected drives. It's annoying, as sometimes if I press F8 too early it will bring that up instead of the Windows Safe Mode prompt.

Pwnadoggy said,
They didn't remove it by default, they just changed the hotkey for it. Hit Shift+F8 instead of just F8 during boot.

figured it had to be something as simple as that, i wouldn't think MS would ditch it altogether.

3dfxman said,

figured it had to be something as simple as that, i wouldn't think MS would ditch it altogether.

Aha that would make sense. I'll update this article in a minute or two

Pwnadoggy said,
They didn't remove it, they just changed the hotkey for it. Hit Shift+F8 instead of just F8 during boot.

But why change it? Everybody knows F8 brings up the startup menu at Windows boot. What are they using F8 for if not for the startup menu?

Scorpus said,

Aha that would make sense. I'll update this article in a minute or two

Hmm... I couldn't boot in to safe mode using Shift+F8 just then. Maybe I was doing it wrong...?