Windows XP defaults to Safe Mode at every startup


Windows XP may default to Safe Mode at every startup. Even if you select the option Start Windows Normally, it still boots into Safe Mode. IOW, you cannot get out of Safe mode.

This happens if the /safeboot switch is added in the Boot.ini file. /Safeboot parameter forces a start in safe mode by using the specified parameters. The available parameters are:

  • minimal

  • network

  • safeboot:minimal(alternateshell)

For more information on Boot.ini switches, see Reviewing and Correcting Boot.ini Settings on x86-based Systems


  • Click Start, Run and type MSCONFIG

  • Select the Boot.ini tab

  • If you have dual-boot setup, select the appropriate entry under [operating systems]

  • In the Boot Options section at the bottom, uncheck /SAFEBOOT option

  • Click OK

  • Restart Windows

The /safeboot entry will now be removed from the Boot.ini file.

Alternately, you can also edit the Boot.ini file manually and then remove the /safeboot switch. See article: How to edit the Boot.ini file in Windows XP