In the first two articles in this series, we explored how to restart you computer in Windows 7 Safe Mode when the F8 method won’t work and some of the options available to you on the Boot tab of the System Configuration window.
There are, however, some other boot options that although not technically part of Safe Mode, complement the Safe Mode options to enhance troubleshooting and diagnosing your computer. These options are found right next to the Safe Mode options.
To view these options, click on Start and then on Run. If you don’t have the Run command on your Start menu, hold down the Windows key on your keyboard and press the R key. Either method will bring up the Run dialog box. Type msconfig in the box and click the OK button.
This will bring up the System Configuration window. Click on the Boot tab and locate the section of the window titled Boot Options. Notice the four types of Safe Mode options discussed in the previous article.
Notice, also, that there are four additional options just to right of the Safe Mode options. These options are the ones we will discuss here.
Although not Safe Mode options, these additional options can be used separately or in conjunction with Safe Mode. Below is a description of each option and a brief discussion of how they can be used to help diagnose your computer.
When you choose the No GUI Boot Option, you force Windows 7 to avoid displaying the Windows Welcome screen when Windows starts up. The Welcome Screen is the part of the boot up process that shows the animated Windows symbol and the progress bar.
Although normally used to shave a few seconds off the boot time, the No GUI Boot Option can help you get passed hangs at the Welcome Screen. This is especially true if you suspect graphics problems.
The Boot Log Option is your best friend when it comes to troubleshooting boot up errors. Upon booting up, Windows will create a boot log of the start up process that can help you diagnose where you computer has gone wrong. Windows 7 stores this boot log in the %systemroot%/Ntbtlog.txt file which is:
for most Windows 7 computers.
When you start up Windows 7 using any of the Safe Mode options, the video drivers are one of the components of your system not loaded. Instead, the operating system loads the GUI in minimal VGA mode.
If you were familiar with Windows 95, you know that VGA mode has a resolution of only 640×480 dpi. This mode can make the GUI seem huge on your monitor. Unlike Safe Mode, however, the Base Video Boot option loads all other drivers and software normally allowing you to troubleshoot your computer’s graphics problems without sacrificing your system’s other features while you diagnose the issue.
When beginning the troubleshooting process, computer technicians commonly use the OS Boot Information option. Upon start up, Windows displays a text listing of every driver as it is being loaded during boot up.
This option is useful if you suspect that certain drivers are not loading correctly. Unfortunately, this options tells you whether the drivers are loading successfully but does not help you find out why a driver is not loading properly. Still, it can help you narrow down the cause of your computer’s errors instead of forcing you to look for a needle in a haystack.
Although not technically part of the Safe Mode options, you can use the boot options discussed above to complement Safe Mode when troubleshooting Windows 7 errors. Each one offers something different that can help you track down and eventually fix whatever ails your computer.