The Startup Settings boot menu allows you to change various settings that affect how Windows 8 starts up as well as providing a launching point into Windows 8 Safe Mode. To access the Startup Settings boot menu in Windows 8, you need to do so via the Advanced Startup options menu.
To restart your computer into the Advanced startup options menu please go to the Windows 8 Start Screen and type Advanced. When the search results appear click on the Settings category as shown below.
Now click on the option labeled Advanced startup options and you will be brought to the General PC Settings screen. Scroll down to the bottom until you see an option labeled Advanced startup. Click on the Restart now button and Windows 8 will restart your computer and go directly into the Advanced Startup options menu.
Now click on the Troubleshoot button and then the Advanced options button. You will now be at the Advanced options screen where you should click on the Startup settings option.
At the Startup Settings screen, click on the Restart button. Your computer will be restarted and brought into the Startup Settings menu as shown below.
The Startup Settings screen contains a variety of settings that change how Windows will start. When you are in the Startup Settings boot menu your mouse will not work and you need to use your keyboard to select a setting. To select a setting you simply press the number associated with the particular setting that you want to disable or activate. It is important to note that once you press a number, Windows will automatically start Windows using that particular setting. Therefore, you cannot use this menu to disable multiple settings and then start Windows. To see other available setting options you can click on the F10 key.
The options that are available in the Startup Settings boot screen are:
This option enables Kernel debugging. More information about this feature can be found here.
Enable boot logging
This option starts Windows with boot logging enabled. This will create a log file in the %SystemRoot%, which is typically C:\Windows, called Ntbtlog.txt. This file contains detailed information about the boot process of Windows. The information in this log can help you determine there are problems starting a particular driver or other errors occurring during the boot process.
Enable low-resolution video
This option will start Windows in a low resolution mode using your normal video card driver. If Windows is set to a higher resolution than is supported on your monitor it could cause you not to be able to see Windows properly. Using this option allows you to boot into Windows using a resolution that is supported on almost all monitors so that you can specify and set Windows to the correct and supported resolution.
Enable Safe Mode
This starts Windows in a bare bones mode that only starts the programs absolutely necessary for Windows to run. It will also use the VGA.sys driver rather than your normal video card driver. This mode does not contain network support. A dedicated tutorial on how to start in Windows 8 in Safe Mode can be found here:
How to start Windows 8 in Safe Mode
Enable Safe Mode with Networking
This starts Windows in a bare bones mode that only starts the programs absolutely necessary for Windows to run. It will also use the VGA.sys driver rather than your normal video card driver. This mode will enables network support so that you can download files and access servers.
Enable Safe mode With Command Prompt
This starts Windows in a bare bones mode that only starts the programs absolutely necessary for Windows to run. It will also use the VGA.sys driver rather than your normal video card driver. This mode does not display the standard Windows desktop. Instead it will display a command prompt that you need to type your commands in. This mode is different than the Windows 8 Recovery Environment Command Prompt as Windows is online and started rather than being offline.
Disable driver signature enforcement
Starting with Windows Vista, Windows does not allow device drivers, or any other driver that runs with kernel privileges, to load if it has not been digitally signed with a signature that verifies the company it belongs to. By disabling this feature you can allow drivers that are not signed and that run with kernel privileges to load. Please be aware, that this setting is in place for security reasons and that disabling it could allow malware drivers to load on your computer.
Disable early launch anti-malware protection
Early Launch Anti-Malware Protection is a new Windows 8 feature that allows certified anti-virus software to load a driver before any other 3rd-party driver that is installed in Windows. This allows the anti-virus software to scan every driver that attempts to load and block it from loading if it detects it as malware. This feature provides a great deal of security to Windows and should not be disabled unless you feel that there is a driver conflict prevent Windows from starting.
Disable automatic restart after failure
When Windows crashes, it will display an error message and then automatically restart. Unfortunately, there are times that it will restart too quickly and you won't be able to see the crash information. If the crash happens while Windows starts, this can lead to an endless loop where Windows crashes during startup, automatically reboots, crashes again, reboots, etc. To stop this, you can disable the automatic restart after failure so that Windows does not reboot after it crashes, which allows you to then see the crash information.
Launch Recovery Environment
This setting will launch Recovery Environment where you can access diagnostic and recovery tools. More information about the recovery environment can be found here:
How to access the Advanced Startup Options menu in Windows 8
As you can see there are a variety of settings that you can use to alter how Windows starts. For the most part, these settings are only used to diagnose issues with how Windows is starting or operating. If you have any questions regarding these settings, please feel free to ask us in the Windows 8 Forum.