Safe Mode is a special diagnostic state of an operating system (OS), in which the OS is limited to a set of basic functions and services, without any background applications or processes. It is designed to help diagnose and fix operating system issues, such as corrupted boot settings or malfunctioning hardware drivers.

In Safe Mode, the user does not have full access to all available system options, drivers, and programs; however, certain tasks may still be performed, such as running utilities, defragmenting or activating the system’s built-in recovery tool. Depending on the OS version and configuration, Safe Mode may automatically launch certain applications such as an antivirus scanner, or prompt the user to choose amongst a list of options such as launching in Safe Mode with Networking or the Last Known Good Configuration.

Safe Mode is not enabled by default. To access it, the user must often press a key combination at the BIOS splash screen during start-up or through a menu within the OS itself. The exact method varies by OS and usually involves either a sequence of keys or a particular key combination.

Safe Mode can be useful when faced with any of the following scenarios:

• Crashed applications
• Changing options or settings in the OS
• Installing, troubleshooting, or uninstalling programs
• Locating and removing malicious software or viruses

When troubleshooting an issue, Safe Mode can be used to start the computer with minimal settings and limited functionality. This can be helpful in finding and isolating faulty drivers or applications, thereby allowing the user to find and fix the problem without resorting to a more complex solution.

Safe Mode should not be used for standard computing tasks, as its limited functionality can render certain applications unreliable or non-functional. To return the OS to its normal operating capabilities, users need to restart the computer while not in Safe Mode.

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