Safe Mode vs. Clean Boot

I hear these options are used all the time to troubleshoot and resolve issues.  I know the steps on how to perform each option.  I am not clear how the options differ.
Safe Mode vs. Clean Boot.  They both start PC with minimal services.  Why or when is one option preferred over the other.  Is one usually the initial option and the other the more advanced option.   Beyond starting PC with only minimum required programs.  Whats the difference. 
Trying to enhance my personal knowledge base.
Respectfully
bjm_
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Answer
Answer
Hi bjm_

Running Defrag and/or scandisk/check disk from a Clean Boot is best as no other Startup Programs can interfere with the defrag or scans (you could do the same in Safe Mode, but some system programs do not work in Safe mode)

By running your computer in safe mode, non-essential processes do not start and non-core components are disabled. In other words, only the minimum necessary programs will load. Tough to remove viruses, spyware and other malware usually have no chance to run and disrupt your system and can more easily be removed.

**To run a virus scan in safe mode, you must have active antivirus software installed on your computer.

To run a virus scan in safe mode, follow these steps:

1.     If your computer is on, shut it down

2.     Power on your computer

3.     Immediately after you power on your computer, repeatedly press the [F8] key (about once per second)

4.     In the Windows Advanced Options Menu screen, use the arrows to select Safe Mode and press [Enter]

5.     Select your current operating system and press [Enter]

6.     Select the user you would like to login under (if applicable)

7.     When your system finishes booting, click the Start button on your task bar

8.     Move your cursor over All Programs and navigate to your antivirus program

9.     Click on your Antivirus program to run it and follow the antivirus program’s normal steps to run a virus scan

10.  After the virus scan is complete, Delete all detected viruses

11.  Close out of your Antivirus software

12.  Restart your computer (it should start in normal mode)

I hope this helps to answer your questions - thank you


Ken
Microsoft Answers Support Engineer
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Hi GYeomans,

 

Thank you for using the Community Forum for Vista.

 

That's a good question. I'm glad you asked it.

 

Basically it is this.

 

Safe mode shuts down just about everything that isn't absolutely necessary to get Windows to launch. What is left running, is running with the most stable drivers available and any accelerators or “tweaks” are turned off too. Like video and other hardware acceleration.

This is designed to be as close as can be to a stable environment.

It is slow and clunky, but it shouldn't crash.

It also disables 3 party addons.

 

While there are a variety of issues you can use this for Safe Mode is mostly for hardware issues or issues where a software package left regular Windows inaccessible.

 

Clean Boot does not care about the windows environment. It assumes that Windows is not the problem and that it works fine.

It removes 3 party vendor addons that are loaded on start up.

 

While there are a variety of issues you can use this for the purpose of Clean Boot is mainly to troubleshoot software compatibility issues.

 

If this isn't clear, please let us know!

 

I hope this helps.


Matt Hudson
Microsoft Answers Support Engineer
Visit our Microsoft Answers Feedback Forum and let us know what you think.
Matt Hudson

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Last updated May 11, 2021 Views 17,929 Applies to: