- Safe Mode is the diagnostic mode of Windows and it will run only have essential system programs.
- It's recommended to update Windows 10 in Safe Mode only if you can't start the PC normally.
- If you install updates in Safe Mode after you restart the computer normally you will only have a limited number of components installed.
- If you manage to start the computer normally, reinstall the updates or service packs again.
If you’ve ever had problems with your PC, then most likely you may have needed to use Safe Mode. For those of you that don’t know, Safe Mode is the diagnostic mode of any OS.
In the case of Windows, Safe Mode only allows essential system programs and services to start up at boot.
Additionally, whenever you install an update, Windows will scan what devices and which system components are enabled to determine what gets updated.
So it’s not optimal to update Windows 10 in Safe Mode unless you can’t start the PC normally.
Should you install Windows Updates in Safe Mode?
Since not all devices and components are active in Safe Mode, this will result in only partial updates. This eventually leads to intermittent file errors or registry errors when you finally boot the PC normally.
Because of this, services and features that we are used to running in the background, such as Windows updates, will not be activated by default.
Note: Microsoft recommends that you do not install service packs or updates when Windows is running in Safe mode unless you cannot start Windows normally.
The only acceptable situations are if you cannot start Windows normally or if Windows Update won’t work. Even so, if you do install a service pack or update while Windows is running in Safe Mode, immediately reinstall it after you start Windows normally.
How do I install Windows updates in Safe Mode?
- Press Windows.
- Click on the power button.
- Hold Shift and select Restart.
- Click the Troubleshoot option.
- Select Advanced Settings.
- Choose Start-up Settings.
- Click Restart.
- Press 5 to choose Safe Mode with Networking.
- Press Enter.
- Open the Start Menu.
- Type Windows Update into the search bar.
- Click the Windows Update icon.
- Go to the left side of the screen.
- Click Change Settings.
- Choose Install Updates Automatically.
- Click Check for Updates (The latest updates will appear as available).
- Click View Available Updates.
- Choose the updates you need and click Install.
- Reboot the PC when the updates are finished.
- Reinstall the updates once you boot the PC in normal mode.
By following these steps, you should now be able to get the latest Windows updates, even when you boot the PC in Safe Mode.
While this is not recommended, there are a few situations when this may be your only choice left.
Windows Update in Safe Mode – Something went wrong
Speaking about limited choices, you might even encounter Windows Update errors when booting in Safe Mode. Such is the case with this one: Windows Update something went wrong. Try to reopen the settings later.
While it is not a pleasant situation, rest assured that not everything is lost.
Here’s what to do if Windows Update says something went wrong:
- Open the Command Prompt in Safe Mode (You just need to access the Windows Recovery Environment, as you did before).
- Select Troubleshoot, Advanced options, Restart and Enable Safe Mode with Command Prompt.
- Don’t worry about privileges as you will be directed to an admin CMD instance by default in Safe Mode.
- The next step is to restart the Windows Update service.
- To do that, simply paste the following commands in the CMD window and press Enter after each:
net stop wuauserv
net stop bits
net stop cryptsvc
net start wuauserv
net start bits
net start cryptsvc
If you’re a Windows 11 user, also check out this guide including 4 ways to start Windows 11 in Safe Mode. You’ll immediately see that debugging your issues in Safe Mode works just like in Windows 10.
Did you find this guide useful? Let us know what other processes you want to run while in Safe Mode in the comment section below.
Frequently Asked Questions
It’s not recommended to do that unless you can’t start the PC normally. If so, check out this excellent guide on how to install updates in Safe Mode.
No, you can’t update drivers in Safe Mode. However, we have an expert guide on how to update drivers in Windows 10.
No, you can’t install Windows on Safe Mode. However, we have an excellent guide on how to install the latest Windows 10 update.