Enable F8 key & Safe Mode in Windows 10

Windows 10/8 boots real fast, as a result, you may have found that the F8 key does not work. There is a reason for this. Microsoft has reduced the time-periods for F2 and F8 keys to almost near-nil intervals – less than 200 milliseconds if you want to know – as a result of which the chances of it detecting the F8 interrupt is extremely low and users do not get time to press F8 for invoke the boot menu and subsequently enter Safe Mode in Windows.

Safe Mode in Windows 10

While we know how to boot Windows into Safe Mode using the msconfig tool, we have seen how to make Windows show Advanced Boot Options and use it to boot into safe mode. We have also seen how we can display Startup Settings to boot into Safe Mode in Windows 8.  In this post, we will see how to enable the F8 key so that we can boot into Windows 10/8 Safe Mode, using this key – as we did in Windows 7 and earlier.

You will have to enable the legacy boot policy. Mind you, when you do this, Windows will start a few seconds later. When you enable this policy on a dual-boot system, you will also be able to select the operating system you wish to boot into. You will no longer need to again follow these steps.

Windows F8 key not working

To enable the F8 keep, so that we can use it to start Windows 10/8 in safe mode, open an elevated command prompt window. Type the following and hit Enter:

bcdedit /set {default} bootmenupolicy legacy

Windows 8 F8 key not working

You will see a message: The operation completed successfully.

You will find that the Windows 8 F8 key which was not working, is now working! You may have to restart your computer to get the setting to work.

If you wish to reverse the setting, type the following and hit Enter:

bcdedit /set {default} bootmenupolicy standard

Safe Mode in Windows 8

You will again see a message: The operation completed successfully. The settings will be restored back to Windows 10/8 defaults.

If you need to boot to safe mode or access the diagnostic & troubleshooting tools frequently, you may want to enable the F8 key; but as mentioned, your Windows 10/8 could start a few seconds slower, and so you should be prepared to lose those few seconds.

Also, read:

  1. Display Startup Settings & Boot into Safe Mode in Windows
  2. How to boot in Safe mode while dual booting Windows
  3. How to directly reboot in Safe Mode in Windows.
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Anand Khanse is the Admin of TheWindowsClub.com, a 10-year Microsoft MVP Awardee in Windows (2006-16) & a Windows Insider MVP. Please read the entire post & the comments first, create a System Restore Point before making any changes to your system & be careful about any 3rd-party offers while installing freeware.