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Computing Terms

Safe Mode -

Safe mode is a Windows maintenance mode where only the bare minimum of drivers are loaded. You don't have access to CD ROMS, printers, or other non-essential devices.

It's helpful to use this mode when you are having problems with your PC.

For example, you may have loaded an incorrect video driver and now your display is completely messed up. If you go into Safe mode, you can fix it.

I also use it to help find problems with programs. If I get lots of "illegal operation" messages, I try running the program in safe mode to see if the program itself is the problem (note that not all programs will run in safe mode, whether they're OK or not, but it's a start). If the program runs fine in safe mode, I can assume I have another program or driver that's interfering with the program's operation and causing the error.

To get to Safe mode, press the F8 key when Windows starts to boot. You have to do this BEFORE you see the first "Windows" screen. I start tapping away at mine when I see the "Starting Windows 98" message, although not all computers display it.Experiment and you'll get it.

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