Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Force Windows Safe Boot

Issue: Need to reboot a remote machine into safe mode with networking support. Or if just want to force your local machine without having to hit the F8 key.

Quick: Add to the boot.ini file - /safeboot:minimal /sos /bootlog /noguiboot

Warning!!! This help shows you how to edit the boot.ini file. Be careful when working with this file. This file tells the computer where to go to boot windows and if you mess that up it wont start windows anymore till it is fixed. So be careful!

The example below shows XP. In XP and later you can run msconfig on the start run line to edit the boot.ini with a gui interface, but it works for windows 2000 as well you just have to edit the boot.ini file manually.

Go to the c:\ folder and open the boot.ini file in notepad.

Note: You may have to unhide system files for the boot.ini file to show up. You can show hidden files by opening a windows explorer window and select tools menu - folder options - view tab - uncheck "hide protected operating system files". You may also need to right click in the boot.ini file and uncheck the box for "read only"

Just take out the added boot.ini switches to boot normal again.

This link shows you all the switches
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The Safe-mode boot modes and corresponding switches include:

Mode: Safe Mode
Switch: /safeboot:minimal /sos /bootlog /noguiboot

Mode: Safe Mode with Networking
Switch: /safeboot:network /sos /bootlog /noguiboot

Mode: Safe Mode with Command Prompt
Switch: /safeboot:minimal(alternateshell) /sos /bootlog /noguiboot

Mode: Enable Boot Logging
Switch: /bootlog

Mode: Enable VGA Mode
Switch: /basevideo

Mode: Directory Services Restore Mode (Domain Controllers Only)
Switch: /safeboot:dsrepair /sos

Mode: Debugging Mode
Switch: /debug

NOTE: The /sos /bootlog /noguiboot switches are not required with any of the above settings, but they are useful to help with troubleshooting. These switches are included if you press F8 and choose one of the modes.

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