By Ivy / Last update April 25, 2022

Can I Backup My Files in Safe Mode?

Safe mode is a troubleshooting feature that starts your computer with only the basic files and drivers necessary for system startup, and most of the nonessential features are disabled. It is really useful for dealing with programs and drivers that might not start correctly or prevent Windows from starting correctly. 

Thus, in this mode, you don't need to worry about any interruption or data security risks due to viruses or malware. And you can easily backup files in safe mode.

Backup Files in Safe Mode

However, most backup program does not work in this mode, how do I backup files in safe mode without using backup software. Through extensive information search, I found the "copy and past" or wbadmin works well in file backup. And there is a possibility that you cannot access safe mode due to different reasons, in this case, try to backup hard drive without booting Windows in the Windows PE environment.

How to Backup Files in Safe Mode Step by Step 

Before backing up files in safe mode, you need to access it and then try "copy and past" or wbadmin. And the way to get into safe mode is a little different in different system, please check the following steps:

For Windows 7:

Start your computer, and press the F8 key repeatedly before showing the Windows logo. Then, you will see the Advanced Boot Options. From there, select Safe Mode with Command Prompt.

Safe Mode Command Prompt

For Windows 8/10/11: 

  • If your computer is still bootable: Hold the Shift key on while selecting Restart. Then, in the Choose an opton window, select Troubleshoot > Advanced options > Startup Settings > Restart. At last, press 4 or F4 to start your computer in safe mode.

Enable Safe Mode

  • If your computer does not boot: Force shut down your computer 3 times. Then, select Restart in the Startup Settings and then 4 or F4 to get into safe mode, just like it is bootable. 

After getting into safe mode, you can try the following two ways to backup files:

Way 1: Backup File in Safe Mode with Copy and Paste

The copy and paste method are very easy to operate, you just need to connect an external storage device to the computer having trouble, then copy files you want and paste them to the connected device.

Copy

Way 2: Backup File in Safe Mode with Wbadmin

Except for copy and paste, you can use Wbadmin to backup data in safe mode. Take the example of backing up all the data saved on C: drive to F: drive, type as below: 

wbadmin start backup -backuptarget:F: -include:C:

Note: If you do not want to be prompted to confirm, you can add “-quiet” switch to the command.

Backup Files Safe Mode Wbadmin

 Then it will show you the detail of the operation and ask your confirmation. Just type “Y” to start backing up under Safe Mode.

Besides, you are still able to backup system drive and all the critical volumes with wbadmin start backup. Type as below and hit "Y" when you are asked to confirm the backup process.

Wbadmin start backup -backuptarget:F: -include:C: -allcritical

What If You cannot Access Safe Mode?

Safe mode is very helpful to protect data when your computer does not work. But what if you cannot access safe mode? 

It does not matter, you can choose to create a boot repair USB and boot into Windows PE. Similarly, you can backup files in Windows 7/8/10/11. To complete this task, you need an all-in-one backup software like AOMEI Backupper Standard

Please download and install this free backup software on a working computer. For server users, try AOMEI Backupper Server

Download FreewareWin 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download

Step 1. Create a bootable USB with AOMEI Backupper.

  • In main interface of AOMEI Backupper, click Tools and select Create Bootable Media.
  • Select bootable disc type -  Windows PE and click Next.
  • Select boot device - USB. Then, click Next to start the creation of bootable USB.

Select Bootable Media

Step 2. Boot computer into Windows PE.

  • Insert the bootable USB into computer having trouble. 
  • Restart your computer, press F2 or ESC to access BIOS and set this bootable USB as the first boot option.
  • Then, save changes and reboot from it.

Change Boot Order

Step 3. In the Windows PE, click Backup and select File Backup.

File Backup

Step 4. Click Add Folder or Add Files to select files you want to backup. Then, select a destination path, you can backup files to external hard drive, network drive, etc. 

Add Folders Files

Step 5. Confirm you select all the files you want to backup and click Start Backup to backup files without booting Windows.

Summary

You can backup files in safe mode when your computer does not work. Also, you can backup files with bootable USB if safe mode is not accessible. By comparison, the second is widely used in all scenarios, whether you are experiencing a system crash or just want to backup files before upgrading Windows, etc.

Then, you can restore system to a working state, or perform system upgrade. And you can use it to backup files automatically for data protection. Besides, it still allows you to delete old backup image regularly to prevent backup disk full issue from the beginning. 

If you do not like an image backup, you can also clone hard drive, system partition or data partition without imaging using AOMEI Backupper Standard.