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Windows 7: Advanced Boot Options

Advanced Boot Options

How to Boot to the Advanced Boot Options in Windows 7
Published by Brink
23 Nov 2008
Published by

How to Boot to the Advanced Boot Options in Windows 7

information   Information
This will show you how to boot into the Advanced Boot Options screen to select options to start Windows 7 in advanced troubleshooting modes.

Note   Note
Some options, such as safe mode, start Windows in a limited state, where only the bare essentials are started. If a problem does not reappear when you start in safe mode, you can eliminate the default settings and basic device drivers as possible causes. Other options start Windows with advanced features intended for use by system administrators and IT professionals.

Here's How:
1. Turn on or restart the computer.

2. If you Multi Boot with more than One Operating System
A) At the Windows Boot Manager screen, select the OS you want to use the Advanced Boot Options for, then press F8. (see screenshot below)
NOTE: On some systems, pressing F5 may also work.
Advanced Boot Options-boot_manager.jpg
3. If you Only Boot with One Operating System (ex: Windows 7)
A) Press and keep tapping the F8 key about every second until you see the screenshot below.
NOTE: If the Windows startup logo appears, you will need to repeat steps 1 and 3 again. If you dual boot, then you will need to select the OS you want to use the Advanced Boot Option for and then press F8. On some systems, tapping F5 may also work.
Advanced Boot Options-advanced_boot_options.jpg
4. Use the arrow keys to select an advanced option to start Windows 7 into and press Enter. (See screenshot above)
NOTE: See the table below for a description of each option.
Advanced Option Description
Repair Your Computer
Shows a list of system recovery options that you can use to repair startup problems, run diagnostics, or restore your system. If Repair your computer isn't listed as an option, then your computer doesn't include preinstalled recovery options, or your network administrator has turned them off. You could also boot from a retail Windows 7 installation disc to see the System Recovery Options.
Safe Mode
This starts Windows 7 with a minimal set of drivers and services.
Safe Mode with Networking
This starts Windows 7 in safe mode and includes the network drivers and services needed to access the Internet or other computers on your network.
Safe Mode with Command Prompt
This starts Windows 7 in safe mode with a command prompt window instead of the usual Windows interface. To exit from here, press Ctrl+Alt+Delete or type Exit and press Enter.
Enable Boot Logging
Creates a file named ntbtlog.txt, that lists all the drivers that are installed during startup and that might be useful for advanced troubleshooting.
Enable Low Resolution Video (640 X 480)
Starts Windows 7 using your current video driver and using low resolution and refresh rate settings. You can use this mode to reset your display settings, or to use a television monitor with your computer if needed.
Last Know Good Configuration (advanced)
Starts Windows 7 with the most recent registry and driver configurations that worked successfully. Every time you turn your computer off and Windows 7 shuts down successfully, important system settings are saved in the registry. You can use those settings to start your computer if a problem occurs. For example, if a new driver for your video card is causing problems, or an incorrect registry setting is preventing Windows 7 from starting correctly, you can restart your computer using Last Known Good Configuration.
Directory Services Restore Mode
Starts Windows 7 domain controller running Active Directory so that the directory service can be restored. This option is intended for IT professionals and administrators.
Debugging Mode
Starts Windows 7 in an advanced troubleshooting mode intended for IT professionals and system administrators.
Disable Automatic Restart on System Failure
Prevents Windows 7 from automatically restarting if an error causes Windows 7 to fail. Choose this option only if Windows 7 is stuck in a loop where Windows 7 fails, attempts to restart, and fails again repeatedly.
Disable Driver Signature Enforcement
Allows drivers containing improper signatures to be temporarily installed.
Start Windows Normally
Starts Windows 7 in its normal mode to the logon screen or user desktop. This can be helpful after a improper shutdown.
That's it,

28 Dec 2009   #1

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient


I'm familiar with F8 option to get into Advanced Boot Options. My previous laptop was running XP Pro 32-bit and I used ABO often. Purchased new laptop running Win 7 Pro 32-bit but F8 option doesn't seem to work. When clicking F8 a black screen quickly flashes and comp continues to welcome screen. The black screen has nothing to do with ABOs. It seems to have info regarding kernels and other obscure (to me) system info. Unable to get screen shot or even take picture with digital camera. Screen flashes by much too fast. :-( Does this sound like an OS problem or a computer problem?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Dec 2009   #2

64-bit Windows 10 Pro

Hello Marsmimar, and welcome to Seven Forums.

Not sure why you are not seeing it. According to the "STEP 3" section in the link below at Dell, you should be able to keep tapping F8 during boot to enter the ABO screen.

Dell - Technical Support
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Dec 2009   #3

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient


Thank you for the quick reply. I feel a little foolish.

Accessing the Advanced Boot Options in Windows 7 is slightly different than what I was used to in XP. On my old machine all I had to do was click F8 once and the ABO menu would eventually appear. The secret to accessing ABO with Win 7 (at least on my new machine) is to continue clicking F8 until the clicking produces a beeping sound. Each beep seems to equal about one second that the mysterious black screen will remain visible. When that black screen disappears the ABO menu appears.

I also found out through trial and error (mostly error) that clicking the F5 key during startup also allows access to the ABO as well as a couple of other options.

Thanks for all the great info on this site!
My System SpecsSystem Spec

29 Dec 2009   #4

64-bit Windows 10 Pro

You're welcome Marsmimar. I'm happy to hear that you got it sorted out. Thanks for the F5 tip. :)
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Jan 2010   #5

Windows 7 Home Premium x64

How come this guide references Vista instead of 7 a lot

Try searching in your browser (ctrl+f) and type vista to see what Im talking about

Great Guide though!!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Jan 2010   #6

64-bit Windows 10 Pro

Hello RJ,

Whatever do you mean?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
30 Jan 2010   #7

Windows 7 Home Premium x64

I think I saw misprints. Maybe it was my brain thinking that vista should have these but here is one thats real

3. Use the arrow keys to select an advanced option to start Vista into and press Enter.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
30 Jan 2010   #8

64-bit Windows 10 Pro

LOL, no you weren't imaging things. It was copied over from our Vista Forums and updated for Windows 7, but I missed a few Vistas in there. Thank you for letting me know about them. :)
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Jun 2010   #9

Microsoft Windows

Hi no matter what option i choose, it will not boot or progress to anything, the 'repair your computer' goes to a blank screen and does nothing. safe mode starts loading files, stops then restarts, so i am now back to square 1. what can i possibly do to get it to boot. it is really new and i dont have any files on it so i wouldnt mind if i lost them. can i somehow re-install windows 7? it didnt come with the installation CD though and it was pre-installed.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

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