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2012-03-14

A+: Advanced Boot Options

Windows Vista/XP/2000 offers the following startup options as part of the Advanced Boot Options menu:

    • Safe Mode— Starts system with a minimal set of drivers; can be used to start System Restore or to load Windows GUI for diagnostics.

    • Safe Mode with Networking— Starts system with a minimal set of drivers and enables network support.

    • Safe Mode with Command Prompt— Starts system with a minimal set of drivers but loads command prompt instead of the Windows GUI.

    • Enable Boot Logging— Creates a ntbtlog.txt file.

    • Enable low-resolution video (640 × 480)— Uses a standard VGA driver in place of a GPU-specific display driver, but uses all other drivers as normal. (This is called Enable VGA Mode in Windows XP/2000.)

    • Last Known Good Configuration—Starts the system with the last configuration known to work; useful for solving problems caused by newly installed hardware or software.

    • Directory Services Restore Mode— This is used to restore a domain controller’s active directory (Windows Server). Even though it is listed, it is not used in Windows Vista/XP/2000.

    • Debugging Mode— This is an advanced diagnostics tool that enables the use of a debug program to examine the system kernel for troubleshooting.

    • Disable automatic restart on system failure (Vista only)— Prevents Windows from automatically restarting if an error causes Windows to fail. Choose this option only if Windows is stuck in a loop where Windows fails, attempts to restart, and fails again.

    • Disable driver signature enforcement (Vista only)— Allows drivers containing improper signatures to be installed.

    • Start Windows Normally— This can be used to boot to regular Windows. This option is listed in case a user inadvertently presses F8, but does not want to use any of the Advanced Boot Options.

If Windows Vista fails to start properly and then restarts automatically, it will normally display the Windows Error Recovery screen, and give you the following options: Safe Mode, Safe Mode with Networking, Safe Mode with Command Prompt, Last Known Good Configuration, and Start Windows Normally. This means that Windows has acknowledged some sort of error or improper shut down and offers a truncated version of the Advanced Options Boot menu.


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