How do I start up in safe mode?

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How do I start up in safe mode?

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I have an XPS 410, running Windows XP SP3.  On start up, vertical lines appear on the XP logo screen.  When it goes off, I get a blank screen with the vertical lines, then a checkerboard pattern with vertical lines, then the screen goes blank, the monitor light turns amber, as if the computer were turned off, but it is still running.  I restarted and pushed F12 and ran some diagnostics (the vertical lines ever present) then I was given the option to start in safe mode, which I did.  The computer started up & worked ok in safe mode, but I had to leave before accomplishing anything.

Now I run diagnostics again, but I am not given the option of starting in safe mode, and it will not start up in normal mode.  I know there must be a way to start up in safe mode.  NOTE:  I have read other posts, and F8 does not work for me.  I'd really like to get in to at least recover some files before buying a new computer.

Oh, if anyone reading this is real tech savvy, my computer passed all the tests except the VESA SVGA video video memory tests.  All of those failed.  Any help would be appreciated.

All Replies
  • First F8 BEFORE Windows starts to load is how you get to Safe Mode.  F8 will give you a menu with several options including Safe Mode, Safe Mode with networking and several others.  Usually I hit F8 several times, not just once to get to the Safe Mode option screen.

    Are there lines or video distortion when it first starts up?  If it's just When/After Windows starts that suggests either a bad video driver or a hardware problem with the video card.  If it's OK on startup, POST, BEFORE Windows starts, the video card is using it's basic VGA mode, and the same way in Safe Mode, it's using it's basic VGA mode.  When Windows starts, it loads the Video driver and it sounds like this is when there is a problem and if this is the case it's most likely a defective Video Card. 

    But before you consider replacing the video card, "reseat" the card and see if that helps.  Reseat - with the PC powered off, open the case, disconnect the Monitor cable from the card,  and remove the Video Card then reinstall it making sure it's fully and correctly seated. Reconnect the Monitor cable and power on and try.    If this doesn't work, in the Safe Mode, reinstall the drivers for the Video Card as a last chance.

    I am not a Dell Employee

    Dell forum member since 2002

    Home Built PC with Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD5H motherboard, i7 3770 CPU,  Windows 7 64 bit Home/Win 8.1.  SSD drive.  Sonar X3c 64 bit Recordng Software.

     

    Member of Nashville based R.O.P.E.

  • Thanks.  I did manage to get into safe mode.  Reseating the card had no effect.  Nor did reinstalling the drivers.  Yes, the lines are there as soon as I turn the computer on, when the Dell logo appears.  But everything looks ok in safe mode.  Video card?

  • Most likely the Video card is toast.

    I am not a Dell Employee

    Dell forum member since 2002

    Home Built PC with Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD5H motherboard, i7 3770 CPU,  Windows 7 64 bit Home/Win 8.1.  SSD drive.  Sonar X3c 64 bit Recordng Software.

     

    Member of Nashville based R.O.P.E.

  • Should I be concerned because the lines appear on startup, POST, not just after Windows starts up?