How to start Windows 10 in Safe Mode and then exit later

woman with headphones using PC desktop computer
There are several ways to enable Safe Mode in Windows 10.

  • Safe Mode is a Windows 10 feature that starts your computer with most of its nonessential features disabled.
  • You should boot in Safe Mode when you’re troubleshooting an issue, or if Windows 10 won’t start normally.
  • To exit Safe Mode, go into the “Boot options” menu, or just restart your computer.
  • Visit Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

Nearly every version of Windows has a Safe Mode feature. This lets you start your computer with just the basic files and drivers it needs to run – most extra features will be disabled, and programs will run more slowly. By default, you won’t even have internet access.

But Safe Mode isn’t meant to be used every day. You’ll use Safe Mode when your computer isn’t working correctly, or when it won’t start up at all. By only loading the essentials, it’ll help you narrow down what’s causing the problem: The system itself, or something else you installed.

Here’s how to boot in Safe Mode, and exit it when you’re done.

How to boot in Safe Mode in Windows 10

There are many ways to enter Safe Mode, but here are the three easiest.

Using the Power icon

If you’re signed in:

1. Click the Windows icon in the bottom-left corner.

2. Holding down the Shift key, click the Power icon and then Restart.

A Windows 10 desktop with the Start menu opened and the "Restart" option highlighted.
Hold down the Shift button as you click “Restart.”

3. Your computer will restart, and then open onto a blue screen titled Choose an option. Select Troubleshoot, and then Advanced options.

safe 3
Choose “Troubleshoot” on the Choose an option screen.

4. Click Startup Settings, and then Restart. Your computer will turn off and on again.

safe 4
Choose “Startup Settings” and then click Restart to get to the final selection menu for Safe Mode.

5. Once the screen comes back, you’ll be given a few options. Press 4 to start your computer in Safe Mode, or 5 to start Safe Mode with internet access.

A PC screen asking how the user would like to start the computer. Two "Enable Safe Mode" options are highlighted.
Enable Safe Mode with or without internet access.

If you’re not signed in, do the same thing, but click the Power icon on the sign-in page.

Using the Settings app

1. Open the Settings app by pressing the Windows key + I.

2. Click Update & Security, and then Recovery.

3. On this page, underneath Advanced startup, click Restart now.

safe 2
Click “Restart now” to get to Safe Mode.

4. Your computer will restart onto the Choose an option screen. Here, click Troubleshoot, and then Advanced options.

5. Select Startup Settings and then Restart.

6. When your computer boots back up, you’ll be given some startup options. Here, press 4 to start your computer in Safe Mode, or 5 to start Safe Mode with internet access.

Holding down the power button

This is the method to use if you can’t boot into Windows normally.

1. Press your PC’s power button to turn it on.

2. As soon as you see something appear on the screen – probably the manufacturer’s logo – hold down the power button until the PC turns off again.

3. Do this two more times, and then turn on your PC again. As it’s starting, the words Preparing Automatic Repair will appear at the bottom of the screen. Let your PC go through this process – it should eventually boot onto the Choose an option screen.

A black screen with a Windows logo and the words "Preparing Automatic Repair."
Force-restarting your computer three times will put you into automatic repair mode.

4. On this screen, select Troubleshoot, then Advanced options, and then Startup Settings. When prompted, click Restart.

5. When the computer turns back on, press 4 to start your computer in Safe Mode, or 5 to start Safe Mode with internet access.

How to exit Safe Mode

There are two ways to exit Safe Mode.

The first – and easiest – is to just restart your computer. You can do this by holding down the power button, or by going through the Start menu.

If you’ve restarted your computer but it’s still in Safe Mode, you should:

1. Press the Windows key + R to open the Run menu.

2. In the text box, type msconfig and press Enter.

Screenshot_01
Run should still be a usable tool in Safe Mode.

3. At the top of the System Configuration menu, click Boot.

4. Underneath Boot options, make sure that Safe boot is unchecked. Once it is, click OK and restart your computer again.

Screenshot_02
The menu you’re looking for should look like this. The button you’re looking to uncheck is in the bottom left.

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The 30 most useful Command Prompt commands for editing files and managing your PC

typing on computer with spreadsheets
If you’re going to use the Command Prompt, you need to know its commands.

  • Command Prompt commands let you manage your computer just by typing.
  • Some Command Prompt commands let you move files, while others let you change your internet settings.
  • Here are some of the most useful Command Prompt commands, and what they do.
  • Visit Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

The Command Prompt isn’t pretty, but it’s one of the most powerful apps on your PC. With it, you can move or delete files, change your Wi-Fi settings, lock your hard drive, and even shut down the computer.

But to use Command Prompt, you’ll need to know the commands for it. Here are some of the most useful commands, along with explanations of what they’ll do.

The essential Command Prompt commands

We’ll sort these commands into a few different groups, based on what they’re used for.

hands typing on laptop keyboard PC
Basic commands include closing apps and moving files.

Managing your apps

Command What it does
At Lets you schedule apps or other commands to run at a specific date and time
Msiexec Starts Windows Installer, an app that helps you properly install software
Taskkill Ends a program or process that you specify
Tasklist Shows you every app, service, and process currently running on your computer

Editing files

Command What it does
Assoc Lets you change which programs are used to open different types of files
Comp Compares two or more files, or sets of files
Del Deletes a specified file
Makecab Creates a CAB file, which can compress and store data just like a ZIP file
Move Lets you move files from one folder to another
Print Sends a specified text file to a specified printer
Recover Scans a specified disk and retrieves all the readable data on it – great for recovering files from corrupted hard drives
Robocopy Lets you copy files, folders, and more from one location to another
Tree Shows you the folder structure for a specified drive or location

businesswoman using desktop PC computer at office
Some Command Prompt commands let you troubleshoot computer or internet issues.

Managing Windows

Command What it does
Chdir Tells you the name of the directory you’re currently working from, and lets you change it
Chkdsk Scans your hard drive for errors and tries to fix them
Cmdkey Lets you view, create, or delete stored usernames and passwords
Defrag Defragments the hard drive, reorganizing the files to make data retrieval faster and more efficient
Driverquery Gives you a list of all the drivers installed on your computer
Format Formats a specified drive, erasing all the data on it
Ipconfig Shows details about your internet connections, and lets you refresh your IP addresses
Net Lets you view and edit network settings
Reg Lets you manage the Windows Registry by adding keys, exporting data, and more
Sfc Scans, verifies, and replaces important Windows system files
Shutdown Lets you shut down or restart your computer
Ver Shows the current Windows version number
Vol Tells you the volume label and serial number of a specified hard drive

Miscellaneous

Command What it does
Clip Automatically copies the output of any command to the clipboard
Cls Resets the Command Prompt and clears all the text
Color Lets you change the Command Prompt’s text and background colors
Help Generates a list of example commands, just like this one

How to zip and unzip files in Windows 10Alt + F4: The Windows keyboard shortcut for closing applications, explainedWhat is Secure Boot? A guide to your PC’s security check during startupHow to check the power supply on your PC, a crucial step before upgrading it

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How to fix an Apple Pencil that’s not working

ipad pro 10.5-inch apple pencil
If your Apple Pencil isn’t working, it’s probably easy to fix.

  • If your Apple Pencil isn’t working, it might just need to charge.
  • If your Apple Pencil still isn’t working after a charge, reset its connection to your iPad and then pair it again.
  • You should also make sure that your Apple Pencil and iPad are compatible.
  • Visit Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

Apple prides itself on making accessories that “just work,” no fiddling with settings or complicated button layouts required.

That’s why it can be immensely frustrating when one of those accessories – like your Apple Pencil – stops working. Luckily, these issues usually have easy fixes.

How to fix an Apple Pencil that’s not working

Charge it

It sounds too simple to be true, but your Apple Pencil’s batteries might just be dead.

Related Article Module: How to charge either Apple Pencil model with your iPad, and what to do if it won’t charge

Connect your Apple Pencil to its charger and leave it there for at least an hour. Once you’ve done that, try using it again. If this doesn’t work, try charging it with another charging source, like a different iPad.

pencil 1
Charge your Apple Pencil using the iPad or charging adapter.

Reset its connection

An Apple Pencil won’t work with an iPad that it’s not properly paired with. An Apple Pencil that’s stopped working might be having issues with that connection.

First, unpair it from your iPad.

1. Open your iPad’s Settings app and tap Bluetooth in the left sidebar.

2. If you see Apple Pencil as an option underneath My Devices, tap the “i” icon to the right of its name. If you don’t see your Apple Pencil here, move onto the pairing process.

An iPad's Bluetooth menu, with the information icon next to an Apple Pencil highlighted.
Open your Apple Pencil’s connection information screen.

3. Tap Forget This Device.

Now, let’s pair it to the iPad again.

  • To connect a 1st Generation Apple Pencil, plug it into your iPad’s charging port and then tap Pair when it appears on the screen.
  • To connect a 2nd Generation Apple Pencil, latch it onto the side of your iPad and then tap Pair if it appears on the screen.

Now try using your Apple Pencil again.

Make sure your Pencil and iPad are compatible

Not all Apple Pencils work with all iPads. You need to make sure that you have compatible devices, or they’ll never work together.

The 1st Generation Apple Pencil works with:

  • iPad Pro 12.9-inch (first and second generations, released in 2015 and 2017)
  • iPad Pro 9.7-inch (released in 2016)
  • iPad Pro 10.5-inch (released in 2017)
  • iPad (sixth generation, released in 2018)
  • iPad (seventh generation, released in 2019)
  • iPad Air (third generation, released in 2019)
  • iPad mini (fifth generation, released in 2019)
  • iPad (eighth generation, released in 2020)

The 2nd Generation Apple Pencil works with:

  • iPad Pro 11-inch (first, second, and third generations; released in 2018, 2020, and 2021)
  • iPad Pro 12.9-inch (third, fourth, and fifth generations; released in 2018, 2020, and 2021)
  • iPad Air (fourth generation, released in 2020)

If you’re not sure which iPad you have, check out our article on finding and identifying your iPad’s model number.

Contact Apple

If all else fails, there might be an issue with your Apple Pencil’s internal hardware. In this case, you’ll need to go to a professional.

Contact Apple by phone, or bring your devices into an Apple Store. They should be able to help you there.

Retail workers on the sales floor at the Tower Theater Apple Store
Most Apple retail stores also act as service centers, where you can bring in your defective devices.

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How to put your iPhone into recovery mode to repair it when it’s malfunctioning

iPhone X
Recovery mode can fix serious issues with your iPhone.

  • iPhone recovery mode is useful if your iPhone won’t turn on or there’s been a critical error.
  • Recovery mode lets your computer connect to the iPhone and try to fix the operating system.
  • If recovery mode doesn’t fix your iPhone’s bugs, you might need to contact Apple support.
  • Visit Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

Like any high-tech device, the iPhone is designed to be as trouble-free as possible, and most people will own one for years without ever experiencing a serious issue.

But sometimes things can go wrong, and if your iPhone is unresponsive – and all other troubleshooting steps have failed – then you might need to enter recovery mode.

Here are some reasons why you might need recovery mode:

  • Your iPhone’s display shows nothing but the Apple logo for a long time and never fully turns on.
  • During an iOS update, the phone gets stuck in a loop of continuously restarting.
  • The phone won’t turn on, turn off, and is completely unresponsive.

Recovery mode is a troubleshooting tool that connects your iPhone to a computer and lets an app – either Finder or iTunes – diagnose and fix the problem.

How to put your iPhone into recovery mode

The method you use to activate recovery mode will differ depending on whether you’re using a newer version of macOS, an older version, or a PC with Windows.

1. Connect your iPhone to your Mac or PC with a USB charging cable.

2. If you’re running macOS Catalina or newer, open a Finder window. If you’re running macOS Mojave or older or Windows, open iTunes.

3. You’ll need to press and hold buttons on your iPhone to activate recovery mode.

  • On an iPhone 8 or newer, press and quickly release the Volume Up button, and then the Volume Down button. Then press and hold the Lock button until the recovery mode screen appears.
  • On an iPhone 7 or 7 Plus, press and hold the Lock and Volume Down buttons until the recovery mode screen appears.
  • On an iPhone 6s or earlier, press and hold the Lock and Home buttons until the recovery mode screen appears.
iphone recovery mode screen
Don’t release the buttons until you see a screen that looks like this.

4. In Finder, click on your phone in the left sidebar; or in iTunes, click the iPhone icon near the top-left corner of the window.

iphone recovery mode with iphone selected in finder
If you’re using a version of macOS that doesn’t have iTunes, you’ll find your iPhone in the Finder’s sidebar.

5. You’ll be asked if you want to Update or Restore your iPhone. Click Update – this will try to fix your phone without erasing the data. If the recovery finishes and your phone still isn’t fixed, try it again but click Restore.

iphone mac recovery mode warning screen
You’ll be given a warning before you choose a recovery option.

Once you’ve gone through the recovery process, your phone should exit recovery mode on its own. Turn it back on and set it up.

If recovery mode didn’t work, and your iPhone is still malfunctioning, then you’re probably out of options you can perform at home. Try contacting Apple directly for more help.

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How to troubleshoot when AirPlay is not working between your devices and fails to cast content

woman watching tv looking through content on phone
If AirPlay is not working for you, there are a few ways to troubleshoot the problem using the devices involved.

  • If your AirPlay is not working, you may need to troubleshoot the involved Apple or AirPlay-compatible devices or your Wi-Fi router.
  • When everything is working properly, you can use AirPlay to send video from your Mac, iPhone, or iPad to an Apple TV or another AirPlay-supported device.
  • Here is a list of things to check on each device when AirPlay is not working.
  • Visit Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

AirPlay is one of the features that makes the Apple ecosystem feel interconnected; with just a tap or two, you can stream audio or video from your Mac, iPhone, or iPad to another compatible device, like a television, Apple TV, or smart speaker.

Most of the time, AirPlay appears effortlessly in the Share menu of your media app, and you don’t need to think much about it. Occasionally, though, it doesn’t work, and it’s not clear why. Here’s what to do if AirPlay is not working.

What to do when AirPlay is not working

Most of the time, if AirPlay isn’t working, it simply fails to work at all – your device, like an Apple TV or your television doesn’t appear in the AirPlay device list. But AirPlay can also suffer from other glitches, like if the audio or video stutters or is otherwise low quality.

Here’s a short checklist of things to investigate, organized by the various parts of the AirPlay equation: your iPhone, iPad, or Mac, the screen or speaker you want to AirPlay to, and your Wi-Fi router. As always when running down a troubleshooting list, try AirPlay after each step to see if that fixed the problem; if it didn’t, keep going until you solve the issue.

iPhone and iPad troubleshooting

  • Toggle your Wi-Fi. The easiest way to do this is to put your iPhone or iPad in airplane mode for a few seconds, then turn off airplane mode (see our guide to airplane mode for details). This forces the device to reconnect to Wi-Fi, which solves all sorts of connectivity issues.
What to do if Airplay is not working 1
Turning airplane mode on and off again resets the Wi-Fi and can often instantly fix AirPlay glitches.

  • Make sure your device is up to date. Is your device running the latest version of iOS or iPadOS? Update it if necessary by following the steps in our guides to updating your iPhone or iPad.
  • Restart your iPhone or iPad. A software glitch might be preventing AirPlay from working properly, so restarting the device can wipe the slate clean and let it work normally again. See our guides to restarting your iPhone or iPad.

Mac troubleshooting

  • Check for AirPlay compatibility. If you’ve never used AirPlay on your Mac before, make sure it supports AirPlay. To check, click the Apple menu and choose “System Preferences,” then “Displays.” If your Mac works with AirPlay, you should see an AirPlay Display menu and an option to “Show mirroring options in the menu bar when available.”
What to do if Airplay is not working 2
To be sure your Mac is AirPlay-compatible, check the Display tab in System Preferences.

  • Toggle your Wi-Fi. Restart your Wi-Fi connection and make sure that it’s working properly. Test your Wi-Fi by opening a webpage in a browser.
  • Restart your Mac. A restart can clear out any potential temporary glitches from memory.
  • Check for a MacOS update. Make sure you’re running the latest MacOS version.

Apple TV, smart TV, or speaker troubleshooting

  • Power on your device. Make sure the device you want to play to is powered on and awake.
  • Connect to the same Wi-Fi network. Make sure the second device is connected to the same Wi-Fi network as your iPhone, iPad, or Mac. If not, switch networks to sync your devices.
  • Make sure the device is successfully using Wi-Fi. Try to use the device to stream content from the internet. If that’s not working, AirPlay won’t work either, and you might have a more serious issue with your device, or the router might need to be restarted.
  • Update your Apple TV. If you’re using an Apple TV, make sure the device is up to date. Check for software updates and install it if available.
  • Restart the device. A restart can clear its memory and star the connection fresh.
  • Check the device’s audio. If AirPlay is only partially working – you see video but don’t hear audio, for instance – make sure the device’s audio isn’t muted. Also, make sure your iPhone or iPad isn’t set to mute.

Wi-Fi router troubleshooting

  • Restart your router. If the source of your trouble appears to be your Wi-Fi or internet connection, restart the router. Unplug it, wait two minutes, and then plug it back in.
  • You may need to update your router. Check your router to see if it needs a firmware update. Many modern routers are easy to update via a mobile app; if your router is older, you might need to log into its web console (see the router’s user guide for details).

How to use AirPlay on Apple TV to stream content from your iPhone, iPad, or MacHow to use AirPlay on Roku to screen mirror your iPhone, iPad, or MacHow to watch Apple TV on your Mac computer using the Apple TV website or appHow to manually update your Apple TV, or set it to update automatically in the background

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5 ways to fix your PS4 when it won’t connect to Wi-Fi

Playstation 4 PS4 controller
These are the five most common solutions for when your PS4 won’t connect to the internet.

  • If your PS4 won’t connect to the internet, the PlayStation Network may be offline.
  • You should also make sure to check your Wi-Fi connection and reset or move your router and modem.
  • You can also try adjusting your PS4’s DNS settings as a final resort to fix connection issues.
  • Visit Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

If your PS4 is unable to connect to the internet, you won’t be able to take advantage of many of the console’s most important features, like multiplayer gaming, streaming video, and installing new games.

Here’s how to troubleshoot your connection issues and fix your PS4.

Why won’t my PS4 connect to the internet?

If your PS4 won’t connect to Wi-Fi or the internet, it’s likely one of the following reasons:

  • The PlayStation Network may be offline
  • Your router may not be connected or having larger connectivity issues
  • There may be password issues with your Wi-Fi or console
  • You may need to change your DNS settings on your PlayStation

Check whether the PlayStation Network is online

PS4 Connection 2
Ensure the PlayStation Network is online before you try more extensive troubleshooting steps.

If you can get online but can’t access the PSN, your first step should be to make sure it’s online.

You can go to the PSN Network Status Page on another device to see if the status is green. If it’s down, you might just need to wait a while for the issue to be fixed.

Determine if other devices can connect to the internet

PS4 Connection 3
Check to see if your phone or computer is connected to the internet.

If your PS4 is having trouble connecting to the internet, you might want to narrow down where the problem is right away by determining if the issue is with your PS4 or with your Wi-Fi network.

  • See if other devices are working: Check to see if other devices on your home network, like computers and tablets, are connecting to the internet.
  • Check your connection type: You should also make sure that devices on the same kind of connection are working – for example, if your PS4 is connected to the router with a wired Ethernet cable, then plug a computer into the router as well. If the PS4 is using Wi-Fi, connect to Wi-Fi with your phone and see if it works.
  • Reboot your modem and router: If your other devices can’t connect either, it’s time to power off your modem and router, wait several minutes, and turn them back on. For extra measure, reboot your PS4 after rebooting your router and modem. That means fully powering it down and turning it back on.

Check your PS4’s internet connection to the router

PS4 Connection 4
Try playing with your PS4 Ethernet cables and ports, or move the console closer to your Wi-Fi router.

Your PS4 connecting may not always be an issue with your console. It may be your wired or wireless connection creating your gameplay disruptions – including your device settings.

Here are a few tips on how to test whether it’s your console or your internet connection.

Swap your Ethernet cord: If you are connecting via Ethernet, try swapping out the cable to see if it’s the issue. Another option is to try plugging your cable into a different Ethernet port on the router in the case that the current port has blown.

Move your PS4 console closer to your wireless router: You may be experiencing intermittent signal loss due to the distance – or even walls – between your console and router. You should first try to move them closer if they aren’t already, and if that doesn’t work, try rebooting both your modem and router.

Re-enter your Wi-Fi password

PS4 Connection 5
Go to Settings and choose to set up your internet connection to ensure your Wi-Fi settings are correct.

If you are using Wi-Fi, be sure you are using the correct Wi-Fi password. You can also re-enter it on your PS4 to see if that refreshes your connection. Here’s how.

1. Using the PS4 controller, select “Settings.”

2. Select “Network” and then select “Set Up Internet Connection.”

3. Select “Use Wi-Fi”

4. Select “Easy.”

5. Choose your Wi-Fi network from the list, enter the password, and wait for it to connect.

Check your PS4’s DNS settings as the last resort

PS5 Connection 6
When you choose to test your connection, the PS4 attempts to go online and evaluate the upload and download speed.

If none of the previous steps solved your problem, some users have found that changing the PS4’s DNS server settings – which is like an address book that tells your PS4 how to find locations on the internet – can fix connection issues.

1. Using the PS4 controller, select “Settings.”

2. Choose “Network” and then select “Set Up Internet Connection.”

3. Hit either “Use Wi-Fi” or “Use a LAN Cable” depending upon how you’re connecting.

4 . Select “Custom.” If necessary, choose your Wi-Fi network from the list.

5. Choose “Automatic.” Then select “Do Not Specify” and then “Manual.”

6. Pick “Primary DNS” and then enter “208.67.222.222”

7. Select “Secondary DNS” and then enter “208.67.220.220”

8. Hit “Next.”

9. Choose”Automatic.”

10. Select “Do Not Use.”

Now test your internet connection.

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