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[ The PC Guide | Troubleshooting and Repair Guide | The Troubleshooting Expert | Troubleshooting Specific Components | Troubleshooting Operating Systems and Applications ]

I am using Windows 95 and when I start it up, it boots into safe mode

Explanation: When you boot up Windows 95, it starts in safe mode.

Diagnosis: Safe Mode is usually invokes when Windows 95 encounters a problem it cannot easily resolve when trying to boot up the system normally. There are a wide variety of different reasons why this may happen. Some of these are hardware-related, some are related to the operating system installation itself, and others are related to drivers or other software.

Recommendation: I would strongly recommend checking at Microsoft's web site or using other software-specific on-line or off-line resources to resolve your problem. However, you may find the following general advice to be of some assistance:

  • Scan the system for viruses. Viruses can interfere with the Windows 95 boot process and are a common cause of the system booting up in safe mode.
  • If you have recently worked inside the PC or added any new hardware to it, that is likely the cause of the problem, even if it seems unrelated.
  • If you just added any new software to the system, it could be causing the problem. In particular, any software that includes items that are automatically loaded when Windows starts should probably be considered suspect.
  • If you just installed Windows 95, and you installed it over top of a previous installation of Windows 3.x, there may be a conflict or problem being caused by settings inherited from the old installation. I (and most others) recommend only installing Windows 95 clean to a new hard disk or directory.
  • Check your CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT files for extraneous programs or drivers being loaded. Disable anything being referenced there that you do not absolutely definitely need.
  • Check the file system of the boot drive for errors. File system errors in the wrong part of the hard disk can cause the system to boot improperly.
  • The Windows 95 registry may be corrupted. Rebooting using the backup copy of the registry may help (but be careful before mucking around with the registry).
  • There could be a bad driver on the system. Try updating or changing to a system-standard driver and see if this helps.
  • Double-check your BIOS settings. Make sure they are not set too aggressively. Try resetting to default settings after making a record of the current settings.
  • There could be a resource conflict between two pieces of hardware causing the problem.
  • There could be a problem with a particular piece of hardware that is only showing up within Windows. If you suspect a possible hardware problem, troubleshoot it by looking up the best description of the problem in the appropriate hardware area.
  • The same sorts of problems that can cause general system instability can tend to cause Windows 95 to boot into safe mode. You may want to check this section for more ideas, but bear in mind that some of the suggestions listed there may not apply to this specific situation.

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