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While Microsoft Windows 11 may be the latest and greatest version of the operating system, it is still subject to boot failures. To troubleshoot a Windows PC that won’t boot properly, many users start with Safe Mode, which eliminates the loading of extraneous apps, systems and drivers. It is a tried-and-true troubleshooting method.

However, if you have a particularly problematic PC that just won’t boot properly, you may want to improve your troubleshooting chances by adding Safe Mode to your list of booting choices. This would be less frustrating than trying to remember to request Safe Mode for each PC restart. Using the Boot Configuration Data (BCD) Editor, we can change the default settings to add Safe Mode to our list of Windows 11 booting options.

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Add Safe Mode to the boot menu in Windows 11

To accomplish our task, we will be relying on the administrator level command prompt. Click the Windows 11 Search icon on the taskbar and type cmd in the search box. Select Run As Administrator from the right-hand options menu, as shown in Figure A.

Figure A

From the command prompt (Figure B), type this command:

bcdedit /enum /v

Copy the identifier number to your Windows 11 clipboard. It is the bracketed number located under the Windows Boot Loader heading. This number is unique to your PC.

Figure B

Still at the command prompt, type this command:

bcdedit /copy {your identifier number} /d “Windows (Safe Mode)”

As you can see in Figure C, you will be informed if your entry at the command prompt was copied successfully.

Figure C

We can add details to our new Safe Mode configuration by using the msconfig app. The easiest way to get there, since it is right in front of us, is to type msconfig at the command prompt. Once msconfig is running, you can close the command prompt window — it has served its purpose.

Click the Boot tab on the msconfig app (Figure D). As you can see, we have added Safe Mode to our list of potential boot configurations. Place a checkmark in the box next to Make All Boot Settings Permanent to keep our new configuration in place.

Figure D

From this configuration menu you can modify the Safe Mode settings to include network drivers, which may be important for your troubleshooting. Place a checkmark in the Safe Boot box and then select Network from the submenu.

When you are ready, click the Apply button and then click the OK button. The next time you restart or boot up your Windows 11 PC you will be given a choice of the default configuration or the Save Mode configuration (Figure E). If you do nothing for 30 seconds, the default will be chosen for you.

Figure E

When you no longer need the Safe Mode option, run the msconfig app again, click the Boot tab, select the Safe Mode entry, and then click the Delete button. Apply the changes and click OK to complete the process. Your PC will now return to its default boot process.