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Beginners Guides: Safe Mode in Windows Vista For Crash Recovery

Beginners Guides: Safe Mode in Windows Vista For Crash Recovery - PCSTATS
Abstract: The first step to recovering a crashed computer is Windows Vista's Safe Mode. Knowing this will allow you to deal with bad software drivers, determine if it's a hardware or software error, and fight off virus attacks. Safe Mode is like a second chance to save your PC from certain doom!
Filed under: Beginners Guides Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: PCSTATS Nov 23 2009   Mike Dowler  
Home > Reviews > Beginners Guides > PCSTATS

Identifying the problem in Vista's Safe Mode

If you can boot into safe mode, but not boot normally into Vista, you have a software problem. Let's look at identifying the cause of this with three simple questions:

1. Did you just add or install any hardware or software prior to the problem you are now experiencing? Any installation of software or drivers that took place since you last rebooted the computer is suspect.

2. Does Windows Vista restart during the loading sequence, before you see the desktop or welcome screen appear?

3. Does Windows Vista restart or run improperly (i.e. very slow, not responsive) once the desktop has appeared?

If the answer to question (1) is yes, you need to determine what programs and drivers you installed when the operating system was last working. Write these down if possible, as they are likely the cause of your problem. If you installed a software program or programs, see the 'disabling startup programs' and 'removing bad software' sections of this guide below.

If you installed a hardware device and drivers, see the 'disabling problem devices' and 'rolling back faulty drivers' sections below.

If the answer to question (2) is yes, then your computer likely has a driver issue. These are somewhat more common in Windows Vista right now, because of the relative newness of the operating system. See the sections below on 'rolling back faulty drivers' and 'download new device drivers in safe mode with networking' for more help.

If the answer to question (3) is yes, it is likely that an installed program that is set to run on startup, or a virus or malware infestation is to blame. See the sections below on 'disabling startup programs' and 'removing bad software' for help.

Download new device drivers in safe mode with networking

The Windows Vista safe mode with networking allows you access to the Internet, so if you suspect that you are having issues with a new piece of hardware or its associated software drivers, the first thing to do is boot into safe mode with networking. You'll then need to uninstall the old drivers if possible, or download and install new drivers over top of the previous ones for the offending device. Check the manufacturers website for the correct drivers for Vista, or run a Google search with the manufacturers name, and product model number. For example, if you had a finiky Geforce 8800GT videocard the search could be this:

Google

Use the form here to run your own search by replacing "geforce" with the appropriate brand and model number to describe the hardware you need to find drivers for... but leave the "driver download" bit. The results open in a new window, so don't worry about giving it a try.

Remove bad software

So you've determined, via the method above, that a program that is loading on startup is to blame for your Vista loading problems. Fortunately, the safe mode gives you full access to the control panel and the 'remove programs' option, so it should be easy to strip out the offending program in safe mode then restore the rest of your startup programs and go back to trouble-free computing.

To remove installed programs in Windows Vista safe mode:

Open the 'start' menu and select 'control panel'. Choose 'programs and features'. Find the offending program(s) on the list and remove them using the 'uninstall' option at the top.

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Contents of Article: PCSTATS
 Pg 1.  Beginners Guides: Safe Mode in Windows Vista For Crash Recovery
 Pg 2.  Loading Windows Vista into Safe Mode
 Pg 3.  — Identifying the problem in Vista's Safe Mode
 Pg 4.  Disabling Problem Devices in Safe Mode
 Pg 5.  Use System Restore to revert your Vista install to a working state
 Pg 6.  Removing Viruses and Malware
 Pg 7.  Accessing Files in a 'reduced-functionality' Vista PC

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