How to Start a Computer

Three Methods:Starting Your Computer in Normal ModeStarting Your PC in Safe ModeStarting Your Mac in Safe Mode

There are several ways to start up a computer. The two most common are in normal mode and safe mode. Normal mode allows for everyday use, without restriction (save any restrictions you may have set up on your computer, such as parental or administrative controls and rules). Another mode in which to start a computer is safe mode. Safe mode is used for diagnosis purposes. When working in this mode, there is limited functionality, usually confined to programs and tools necessary to find and fix problems. The steps below outline how to start a computer in normal mode and in safe mode, detailing the different keystrokes necessary to start a PC and a Mac in safe mode. Safe mode can be launched with just 1 key for both PCs and Macintosh computers. Proper timing is necessary for successful start up in Safe Mode.

Method 1
Starting Your Computer in Normal Mode

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    Plug in your computer and all peripherals. Peripherals include such items as your monitor, keyboard, mouse and printer, if you have one. In order to protect your computer, you should use a surge protector.
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    Turn on the surge protector. Usually surge protectors feature a light that will glow when powered on.
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    Press the power button on your computer or CPU (Central Processing Unit). These buttons can be recognized by the power symbol, a circle with a vertical line intersecting the top of it. Your computer will boot, and you can begin using it as desired.

Method 2
Starting Your PC in Safe Mode

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    Power on your computer as described in the steps describing how to start in Normal Mode.
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    Press and hold the F8 key before Windows boots. This action will launch the boot menu.
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    Select Safe Mode using your arrow keys. When Safe Mode is highlighted, press Enter.

Method 3
Starting Your Mac in Safe Mode

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    Press the power button to turn on your Mac.
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    Hold down the Shift key after you hear the startup sound. Do not press the Shift key before your Mac plays this sound.
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    Release the Shift key only when you see the Apple icon. This gray image is accompanied by a spinning wheel which indicates that the computer is processing.


  • If you do not press F8 fast enough to start your PC in safe mode, you can simply allow the PC to boot and then restart it from the Start menu.
  • If your computer typically displays a boot menu before starting up, you do not need to press F8, as the PC will enter the boot menu automatically.
  • On either PCs or Macintosh computers, you may be prompted to enter a username and password during normal mode boot up. These are typically case sensitive and user specific. To prevent forgetting your username or password, record them in a safe place.
  • If you're not sure whether or not you're operating in safe mode after you start a computer, look at the top and bottom of the screen. The words "Safe Mode" should be constantly displayed if you have successfully booted in that mode.
  • Exit safe mode by restarting your computer. This will work for PCs and Macintosh computers alike.

Things You'll Need

  • Surge Protector

Article Info

Categories: Basic Computer Skills