How to Boot VMware Windows 10 into Safe Mode [4 Easiest Ways]

When your VMware virtual machine stops responding or has performance problems, you cannot figure out the exact reason immediately. So you will boot Windows into Safe Mode that disables all third party applications and non-essential Windows services.


By Crystal / Updated on April 16, 2024

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Boot Windows 10 into Safe Mode in VMware

Safe Mode starts Windows in a basic state, using a limited set of files and drivers. For example, you can use Safe Mode to troubleshoot your computer when it does not start properly, when there is a problem with your VMware network connection or application or when Windows Update stops downloading updates.

If a problem doesn't happen in Safe Mode, this means that default settings and basic device drivers aren't causing the issue. This is also a good means of diagnosing and fixing problems with graphics drivers and performing virus scans to remove any malware that would otherwise not be fixed when the computer is running in normal mode.

This article will introduce how to boot Windows 10 into Safe Mode in VMware virtual machine and how to protect data from damage using VMware Backup.

VMware boot Windows 10 into safe mode

4 ways of VMware boot Safe Mode on Windows 10

In VMware virtual machine, there are 4 efficient ways to start Windows 10 in Safe Mode. For example, you can use the MSConfig, Startup menu, Restart and Command Prompt.

  • Use MSConfig to boot Windows 10 into Safe Mode
  • Use Startup Settings to boot VMware Windows 10 into Safe Mode
  • Use Restart to enter Safe Mode in Windows 10
  • Use Command Prompt to start Windows 10 in Safe Mode

Method 1. Use MSConfig to boot Windows 10 into Safe Mode

In VMware VM, some users find that it’s hard to start Windows 10 in Safe Mode since BIOS passes too quickly to interact with the screen. So you need to add a boot delay first, then go to boot Windows 10 into Safe Mode in VMware virtual machine.

1. In VMware ESXi Web Client, power off the virtual machine you want to add a boot delay, then right-click the VM and select Edit Settings.

2. In VM Option pane, select Boot Options and check the box beside Safe boot and select Minimal (default). Enter a value of 5000 or 10000 instead of 0 for Boot Delay. There are 1000 milliseconds in a second, and the maximum value for the boot delay is 10000 milliseconds or 10 seconds. When you finish, click Apply >> OK.

use MSConfig to boot Windows 10 into Safe Mode

Note: More information for other VMware virtualization software, please click here: Accessing the BIOS when the POST screen clears too quickly.

3. Check for Force BIOS Setup.

4. Open virtual machine and start the boot process.

Methods 2. Use Startup Settings to boot VMware Windows 10 into Safe Mode

Power on VMware virtual machine, then navigate to Startup Settings to start Windows 10 in Safe Mode.

1. Click Windows Start menu >> Settings >> Update & Security >> Recovery >> Advanced startup >> Restart now.

use Startup Settings

Note: If the Start menu is not working, you can right-click anywhere on Windows desktop, choose Display settings or Personalize to open the Settings.

3. When Windows 10 restart, please select Troubleshoot >> Advanced options >> Startup Settings >> Restart.

select Startup Settings

4. After Windows 10 restarts one more time, you see several options to boot Windows 10 into Safe Mode.

  • Standard Safe Mode - press the 4 or the F4 key on your keyboard to start it
  • Safe Mode with Networking - press 5 or F5
  • Safe Mode with Command Prompt - press either 6 or F6

Note: According to your configuration, you may need to press n+F8 and then F8 at the same time.

Safe Mode options

When you’re unable to boot into Safe Mode, you can remove any recently added hardware, restart your VM and long press the Power Button to force shutdown it. Windows virtual machine crashes after passing loading screen and boots into Automatic Repair screen.

force to use automatic repair

Method 3. Use Restart to enter Safe Mode in Windows 10

In VMware Windows 10, using Restart is convenient to get into Safe Mode.

1. Press and hold Shift on your keyboard, then click Start >> Power >> Restart to open Troubleshoot windows.

2. Follow the same steps as we mentioned in Method 2. In short, access to Advanced options >> Startup Settings >> Restart, then see the Safe Mode options.

Method 4. Use Command Prompt to start Windows 10 in Safe Mode

If you are used to commands, you can open Command Prompt to boot VMware Windows 10 into Safe Mode.

1. On the Advanced options screen, click Command Prompt to open the window.

use Command Prompt

2. Type this command and press Enter.

bcdedit /set {default} safeboot minimal

3. Close the Command Prompt when you see the notice of The operation completed successfully, then select Continue on the next screen.

enter command

After your virtual machine reboots, Windows 10 starts into Safe Mode. You can log in with administrator permissions, and perform the changes you want.

Error: Why cannot boot Windows 10 into Safe Mode using Shift + F8

On Windows 7, you can press Shift + F8 to get into Windows 10’s Safe Mode. However, if you have a modern PC with a UEFI BIOS and a fast SSD drive, you cannot interrupt the boot procedure with your keypresses. But you can try the methods introduced in this article that will help you boot Safe Mode in Windows 10 successfully.

Although booting Safe Mode in Windows 10 is a good way to troubleshoot a virtual machine when it fails to start or has any program problems, it’s too late to save your enterprise data at that moment since you've already exposed yourself to the dangers of data loss. So it’s important to regard VMware backup as a part of daily routine. Regular backup reduces the data risk and protects business security.

[Important] Always backup VMware Windows 10 VMs to avoid computer failure

Safe Mode is designed to load only essential system files and drivers. However, it's important to remember while in Safe Mode, your system may not be fully protected against security threats since certain security features and software may not be active. Therefore, it's advisable to back up your crucial VMware VMs before booting Windows 10 into safe mode.

In VMware ESXi, you can manually clone a VM, copy files in datastore or export VM at once. It’s time-wasting and easy to cause human errors. In order to simplify multiple VM backup and management, you can use the free VMware backup softwareAOMEI Cyber Backup to perform virtual machine backup and recovery. It offers flexible backup strategies to secure your VMware environment continuously and automatic backups for multiple virtual machines. You can easily enjoy the following features via the centralized console.

Support Free ESXi: support both paid and free versions of VMware ESXi.
Perpetual Free: 100 % free for AOMEI Cyber Backup Free version.
Easy-to-use: backup and restore multiple virtual machines via a central console without complicated configuration and reinstallation.
Auto VM Backup: run multiple VM backups automatically without human intervention and business downtime.
Fully Compatible: Backup the entire Hyper-V or VMware virtual machine including OS, configuration, application, personal data and system state.
Restore From Any Point: backup VMs according to 3-2-1 backup rule, and restore a virtual machine easily.
Centralized Backup: works for all size of business and creates backups from a central console instead of Agent backup.

Please hit the button below to download and use AOMEI Cyber Backup for free:

Download FreewareVMware ESXi & Hyper-V
Secure Download

Automate VMware backups for free via AOMEI Cyber Backup

With the 100% automatic backup workflow, Hyper-V backup and management is no longer a day-to-day job ensuring you ease-of-use and data consistency.

1. First of all, you need to bind your VMware ESXi to AOMEI Cyber Backup. Then click Create New Task to start scheduling VMware Backups.  

Add VMware ESXi host

2. In the opened window, enter Task Name and select VMware ESXi Backup. Then select the VMware virtual machines on the host.

select multiple VMs

3. In Target section, backup VMware ESXi VMs to different locations, such as NAS or local disk.

backup VM to different places

4. In Schedule section, create the automated backup based on daily/weekly/monthly, and it can keep tracking the VM data with full/incremental/differential backup.

automate VM backups

5. Click Start Backup.

✍ While the Free Edition covers most of the VM backup needs, you can also upgrade to Premium Edition to enjoy:
✦ Batch VM Backup: Batch backup large numbers of VMs managed by vCenter Server or standalone ESXi hosts.
✦ Backup Cleanup: Specify retention policy to delete unwanted VM backups automatically, thus saving storage space and cost.
✦ Restore to new location: Easily make a clone of a virtual machine in the same or another datastore/host, without reinstalling or configuring a new VM.

Restore to new location

With AOMEI Cyber Backup, you can easily restore VMware to its previous state or restore it to another host without any complicated reinstallation and configuration.


Booting Windows into Safe Mode is necessary for troubleshooting various issues like blue screen errors, driver conflicts, or software problems. It's also crucial for removing viruses or malware as Safe Mode prevents most third-party software, including malware, from running. Additionally, it can help with problematic software installation or removal, driver issues, system maintenance tasks, and performing System Restore to revert to a previous working state when the system fails to boot properly. Overall, Safe Mode serves as a valuable tool for diagnosing and resolving a wide range of Windows-related problems.

By the way, it’s important to perform virtual machine backups regularly, which protects business from security threats.

Crystal · Editor
Crystal is an editor from AOMEI Technology. She mainly writes articles about virtual machine. She is a positive young lady likes to share articles with peolpe. Off work she loves travelling and cooking which is wonderful for life.