Safe mode in Windows 8.1

So I decided to upgrade my graphics drivers and something went terribly wrong. Everything disappeared and the screen showed nothing but the cursor only if you moved the mouse.

At first I thought “it’s cool, this shit happens when you update the ol’ gfx drivers…” Because it does. The only thing was after an hour there was no change so I held down the power button on my laptop until it turned off and then I fired she up again. To my dismay, Windows returned to that same lifeless screen I’d just described.

Unlike it’s predecessors, Windows 8.1 doesn’t have a safe mode so to speak. It’s an “advanced options menu” or something like that. But you can’t simply get to it by bashing the F8 key on start up. Apparently you can but you have to hold shift and bash the life out of your F8 key just for that tiny possibility of Windows detecting your distress and booting up the recovery options. Otherwise you have to be on Windows to be able to get to this menu. Either that or foresee your problem and plan ahead by creating a recovery disk. What an absolute plethora of hep-C-synonymous pain I’ve experienced. A headache, simply put.

Some machines have a recovery mode you can get to by hitting F11 but this requires your bios to be configured properly and that the said recovery mode actually exists. Your bios boot mode has to be set to UEFI and naturally, mine was. But another headache emerged when hitting F11 proved fruitless. Frantic yet tranquil searching for a solution finally yielded results when I switched secure boot ON (another bios option I have disabled for Linux to boot happily).

I had made it through a cluster fuck of stress and found my way to the coveted menu!

I am pleased to say that system restore has just finished and I now have access to my desktop again. It IS visible!

Moral of the story, ensure Windows 8 is set to launch its advanced options menu before you ever need it. Oh, also, make sure uefi secure boot is on if you’re trying to get to your system recovery menu via F11.

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