Safe-Mode Boot Switches for Windows Boot.ini File

This article applies to Windows 2000. Support for Windows 2000 ends on July 13, 2010. The Windows 2000 End-of-Support Solution Center is a starting point for planning your migration strategy from Windows 2000. For more information see the Microsoft Support Lifecycle Policy.


Windows includes a Safe-mode boot feature. To use this feature, press F8 during boot, and then choose the Safe-mode boot mode you want to use. There are also switches that you can use to make any of these modes available in the Boot.ini file. You may want to do this if you frequently use one of these boot modes or you need to automate a process.

More Information

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

Sample Boot.ini File with "Safe Mode with Command Prompt" Switch

[boot loader]
[operating systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINNT="Microsoft Windows 2000 Advanced Server" /fastdetect /SAFEBOOT:MINIMAL(ALTERNATESHELL)
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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