Understanding and accessing Windows 8s advanced boot options

first_imgAs each version of Windows is released, Microsoft has done a better job putting all of the advanced tasks in a centralized location. Windows 8 is no exception, but this time Microsoft has seen fit to add a number of steps in order to access some features that advanced users will undoubtedly want to access right away.Any time you feel the need to force the computer into Safe Mode, or disable driver signature enforcement in Windows 8, you will need to access the Advanced Startup. This is now also where you handle things like system failure controls, debugging mode, and boot logging. If you’re looking for the place to go for a system restore, image recover, or just to repair Windows 8, you’ll now find that in the Advanced Startup as well. Microsoft has done a great job rounding all of the tasks up that typically come with their own instruction manual and sticking them far away from the average user. In order to get to any of these features now, you need to find the option in the Control Panel that allows you to reboot into the Advanced Startup.Once you have rebooted into Advanced Startup, you will be walking through a series of Modern UI-like screens that all have very basic user interfaces. You will use a mouse or your finger if you have a touchscreen. There are some option panels in this menu that require the use of a keyboard, so if you are using a hybrid laptop or a Surface you will need to make sure your keyboard is nearby otherwise you will need to try this again later. You start off by selecting Troubleshoot, unless you have entered this menu by mistake.The Troubleshoot menu gives you several options for different tasks. If you need to wipe your PC and start with a fresh installation of Windows 8, you can do that here. If you want to keep all of your personal information, but would like to get rid of any apps or files that may be causing your Windows 8 install to run slower than expected, the refresh tool will remove all but your personal data and allow you to restore if you choose later on. Anything else you might want to do is hidden under the next menu layer, so hit Advanced options to move forward.The Advanced options is what you more than likely came to Advanced Startup for. Here you can perform a system restore using a recovery point you created earlier, or use a system image file to recover your PC if you back up your PC with image files. You can access the command prompt with the advanced controls enabled if you know what you are looking for, or you can go with the automatic repair if you think Microsoft knows best when it comes to repairing your PC.If you are interested in things like driver controls, boot logging, or debugger tools, you will need to enable them in the Startup Settings menu.In order to get to the Startup Settings menu, you will need to restart your PC. (Repeatedly pressing F8 while restarting won’t do it! Microsoft says Windows 8 is too fast for that.) When you click the icon, you will be asked if you are sure you would like to reboot your PC to access this menu. When you select restart you will be taken to a lower resolution blue screen that requires the keyboard to use. Your mouse and touch screen won’t work on this menu at all. This menu will allow you to make changes to Windows 8 that will be reflected immediately after the computer boots back into Windows 8. If you need specific kinds of Safe Mode, or if you would like to disable some of the features Microsoft has enable for the safety of basic users, this screen will get you what you need. Once you have made the changes you would like to make, the PC will reboot and you’ll be back at your lock screen.It’s something of an understatement to say that Microsoft hid some of these features — considering you have to go through no less than two reboots and five menu layers just to get to the options. The placement of some of these features makes some power users concerned that Microsoft will use this to make it easy to dispose of these features in the future, forcing users to do things the Modern UI way. While we’re still a long way away from Microsoft being able to remove most of these features, they have certainly accomplished their goal of hiding them from users who might accidentally do harm to their PCs.last_img