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Windows 7: Safe Mode thinks installation isn't finished, but Normal boot is A-OK

26 Dec 2012   #1

Win7 Home Premium 64bit
Safe Mode thinks installation isn't finished, but Normal boot is A-OK

I reinstalled Win7 on my laptop yesterday (a recovery reinstall, not a clean one). The install worked fine, I'm able to boot up and use all my programs again no prob, but when I attempt to go into Safe Mode, it thinks Windows hasn't completed the install. While the message “Setup is starting services” is on the screen, a popup appears saying "Windows cannot complete installation in Safe Mode. To continue installing Windows, restart the computer".

I'm thinking there's got to be a simple registry key fix for this but am having a bear of a time finding anything applicable online.

I don't have an urgent need to use Safe Mode, btw, just doesn't seem right not having it available should I need to. Thanks!

I've tried:
msconfig, disabling services and startup
services, disabling Windows installer
recovery disk start up
cursing at the laptop (didn't work but was cathartic)

My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Dec 2012   #2

Windows 7 Ultimate 64 bit

Sounds like to me your reinstall was corrupted some how. I take it that this is a laptop. I would save any important data...doc's, pictures and so on to some discs. Then do a reinstall to factory settings. A bit of a pain I know but it's what I would do.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Dec 2012   #3

Win7 Home Premium 64bit

The dreaded phrase "clean reinstall". :) I thought that might be the only alternative. I'll hold out a bit longer in case anyone else has another idea but thanks, I was suspecting as much.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

27 Dec 2012   #4
Microsoft MVP


While you're at it dump the OEM bloatware which throttles Win7 native good performance to do what most tech enthusiasts do and Clean Reinstall - Factory OEM Windows 7.

You only have to get it perfect once following the steps closely, then save a backup image to use in place of future reinstalls - even applying your customized install to another PC.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Dec 2012   #5

Win7 Home Premium 64bit

That's exactly what I'll do. This site has been invaluable already (I'm generally a forum lurker, rather than an active poster) and I'd already checked that out. Really hate doing this from zero again but it's best.

Thanks for your help!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Dec 2012   #6

Windows 7 home premium x64

Personally, if it's not too late, I'd run sfc /scannow again, it can take a few attempts it might fix it..........possibly.:) What message did you get at the end of the run?
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Safe Mode thinks installation isn't finished, but Normal boot is A-OK

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