Booting Windows 8.1 in Safe Mode

3 minute read

MinecraftThe other day I realized that I had done something very dumb. I have a killer laptop and I sometimes let my nine year old son play Minecraft on it. The worlds he builds are spectacular. (He also wants you to know that he loves pigs.)

Well, he’s gotten interested in some of the mods that are out there and wanted to try out the Anti-Gravity mod. Minecraft itself is pretty kludgy, but branching off into the wilderness of mods is an entirely different story. There’s no real “place” to find them, just endless forum posts about this, that, and the other thing with links that take you from one forum site to the next with lots of detours into spamware sites and worse.

I thought I’d finally found the mod Calder wanted so I downloaded and installed it. Yeah, too fast. I ended up with my laptop infected with at least two insidious, crapware, bloatware pieces of $hite that I certainly couldn’t leave on there. And the install wasn’t even the mod we wanted.

I’m pretty good at digging myself out of virusland, but one of these little buggers was dug in deep. It was called gorillaprice, and it had itself wedged in way too far to get it out easily.

No problem. I figured I’d just boot my Windows 8 laptop into safe mode and stomp out the little bugger.

Not so fast.

Apparently the wisenheimers in the Windows Division at Microsoft decided that getting to Safe Mode in Windows 8 should be like a treasure hunt, but without a map or eyeballs to help out.

F8 doesn’t do anything on boot up anymore.

I found many articles and blog posts out there, but every single one of them was wrong. No, “mashing” Shift-F8 on start doesn’t work, nor do any of the other ridiculous suggestions I found.

I actually did find an article on the Windows site on that was close, but not close enough. It didn’t show up very high in Bing results, either, so it took me a while to find it.

I’m running Windows 8.1 with the update on top of the update (I’m up to date), so maybe that’s why the article is off. It’s damn hard to keep documentation up to date, especially when people are running every single variant that is possible all the time. “Smart docs” would be awesome. They could detect what you’ve arrived with and adjust their content accordingly. As soon as they invent them.

Without more ados, here’s what worked to get me into Safe Mode, modified from the instructions at the link above. Count the steps and clicks. It’s tough.

  • Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, tap Settings, and then tap Change PC settings. (If you’re using a mouse, point to the upper-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer down, click Settings, and then click Change PC settings.)
  • Under PC settings, tap or click Update and Recovery
  • Click on Recovery
  • Under Advanced startup, tap or click Restart now
  • On the Choose an option screen, tap or click Troubleshoot
  • Tap or click Advanced options
  • Tap or click Startup Settings
  • Tap or click Restart
  • On the Startup Settings screen, choose the startup setting you want
  • Sign in to your PC with a user account that has administrator rights

Simple as pie, and about as hidden as something could be. Maybe we don’t “need” Safe Mode anymore with the wonderfulness that is Windows 8, but in this pickle I sure did.

BTW, the junk I got is gone and I’m back to running speed. We got the Minecraft mod installed and Calder’s been adding upside-down floating trees to his world. Very cool.



  1. Love it. Google indexing is a flipping mystery with this stuff sometimes. May your blog post find its way to the top of the $…heap!

  2. My son is five, I love playing minecraft now, after I was forced to give it a chance. Tell your son the pigs are cool in our house too. I stumbled across this page, after discovering gorillaprice. My ADD or something that causes excessive tabs I cannot make myself close out, found a solution to ridding my pc of it. But your article hit home when I realized I also let my son play minecraft on my laptop and now had a virus to deal with instead of installing a mod to my new world. So apparently I wasnt as download smart as i thought i was, would you mind sharing where you obtained the mod you eventually installed?

  3. Thanks so much – a minecraft mom here. I think the program and all the mods are awesome – love it – BUT I am spending more time on here cleaning viruses than my son is actually playing the game. Wish there was a “scan and clean a mod before you use it ” program. Maybe now some one will come up with it :)
    Will be using the safe mode …

  4. Anderson, I need help, I am afraid to download any apps on my PC Windows 8.1. I’m scared they might have a virus with it and I reallyyyyyyyy want minecraft for computer because I am inspired by a guy on YouTube called Dantdm ( btw plays on pc ) it looks way better than Xbox but I’m afraid it will give me a virus what do I do?


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