How to Enable the F8 Key in Windows 8x

By | September 8, 2014
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Windows 8 introduced a new boot loader that decreased the time that it takes Windows 8 to start. Unfortunately, in order to do this Microsoft needed to remove the ability to access the Advanced Boot Options screen when you press the F8 key when Windows starts. This meant that there was no easy and quick way to access Safe Mode anymore by simply pressing the F8 key while Windows starts. Instead in order to access Safe Mode, you would need to either start Windows 8 and then tell it to restart into safe mode or for Windows to fail to start, where you could then tell Windows reboot again into safe mode. Regardless of how you did, it became a 2-3 step process to access the Windows 8 Safe Mode rather than a 1-step process that we have become familiar with.

Microsoft introduced a boot sequence in Windows 8 (8.x) to decrease the overall boot time for Windows 8x. However, by doing so they also removed the ability to boot into Safe Mode or access the Advanced Boot Options by simply tapping the F8 key during Windows start up.

Without the F8 key option, to access Safe Mode in Windows 8x you’d need to start Windows first then choose the option to restart in Safe Mode or Windows would need fo first fail to boot — either way, it makes accessing Safe Mode a 2 or 3 step process.

We think, if possible, most people would prefer have access to Safe Mode and Advanced Boot Options by simply tapping the F8 key during Windows start up.¬†With that in mind, we’re going to show you how to enable the F8 key in Windows 8x with a simple command.

Open an Elevated Command Prompt in Windows 8x by typing CMD anywhere on the start screen or from Search. When Command Prompt appears, right-click it and choose “Run as administator”.

At the prompt type the following, exactly as shown, including the spaces:

bcdedit /set {default} bootmenupolicy legacy

Press Enter

If you entered the command exactly as shown, you’ll get a message that the operation completely successfully.

One thought on “How to Enable the F8 Key in Windows 8x

  1. Barbara

    Thanks so much for this tip. When I first got my computer I was having problems with it booting up properly and found that good old windows 8 had made it more difficult to get into Safe Mode. This is something that is useful for many things when something goes awry, so getting there faster is a big help!


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