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Will Switching My Computer to Safe Mode Really Keep it Safe?

Safe Mode sounds like the best option for a computer that is plagued with viruses or malware, but is it? It keeps your computer safe, right? Well, it depends on what you are expecting Safe Mode to do for you.

Unfortunately, the name doesn't mean that it wipes out computer bugs like antivirus software does. In fact, it is probably more like a safe haven if your antivirus software doesn't work for removing your malware problem.

What Safe Mode Does and How to Use It

Safe Mode, also known as the Diagnostic Mode, refers to when your computer is restricted to using only essential files. This means internet, games and other items aren't useable. You won't be able to use your computer like you normally would, so it isn't a viable option for keeping your computer safe in the long term.

Booting your computer to Safe Mode is simple as long as you are still able to turn your computer on and off using the power button (hard boot) or the Start menu (soft boot). Here is the process:

  1. Turn off your computer if it is on.
  2. After waiting 30 seconds, turn your computer back on using the power button.
  3. Press the F8 key repeatedly until the Windows Advanced Options Menu appears on the screen. There will be a prompt that tells you when to press F8 to access the Windows Advanced Options Menu, but it flashes so fast that it is safer just to press it repeatedly from the moment of startup so that you don't miss the prompt.
  4. When you enter the options menu, choose the Safe Mode option using your keyboard's arrow keys and Enter button.

Taming Infected Files

This process is intended for people who need to remove dangerous files or those who want to fix damaged files or operations. Infected files, in theory, are kept inactive during this mode, making it easier to remove them. In actuality, many new viruses are able to run even in Safe Mode, making it not so safe after all.

Even if they were inactive at this point, most normal computer users wouldn't be able to find the viruses anyway. It involves finding the viruses' executable file and deleting it and its string; these tasks can damage a computer even further if the user isn't experienced with the process. Even reading virus removal tutorials online can't help a novice Safe Mode user because the tutorials can't tell you where the virus is hiding on your computer since each virus is different and they are adapted often.

Fortunately, most antivirus software can clean out even the sneakiest viruses without needing to leave Normal mode. The moral of the story is that you can keep your computer the safest by installing internet security and anti-malware software, and by not opening suspicious files or clicking on unverified website links. A little prevention is better than the need to use the Safe Mode on your computer, especially since Safe Mode can't keep your computer safe anyway.

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