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    Technology Manager of Test Dept.

Learn how to back up important files in safe mode when your computer encounters failures. Access alternative file backup methods if safe mode is not accessible.

backup in safe mode

I. About safe mode

1. What is safe mode?

Safe mode in Windows is a special startup mode that only loads basic files and drivers necessary to run the system. It can help fix system errors, troubleshoot issues like unstable operation or automatic restart, remove stubborn files or viruses, repair system failures, restore system settings, uninstall malware, and more.

2. How to enter safe mode?

For Windows versions prior to 10, enter safe mode by pressing F8 during startup. Windows 10 has two methods to enter safe mode.
Steps to enter Safe Mode when Windows 10 starts normally:
① When starting the computer, press and hold the Shift key first, then click the Start menu, and select Power -> Restart.
hold down shft key and click to restart
② When the computer restarts, select Troubleshooting, then Advanced Options > Startup Settings > Restart. Choose the desired safe mode by pressing either 4, 5, 6 or F4, F5, F6. For file backup in Safe Mode, select Start Safe Mode with Command Prompt.
Steps to enter Safe Mode when Windows 10 won’t start normally:
① Start the computer and press the restart or shutdown button when the Windows 10 startup logo appears. Repeat this process 3 times to enter Windows 10‘s Recovery Environment and select Troubleshoot.
select troubleshoot in windows safe mode
② Then select (Advanced Options) – (Startup Settings), click the (Restart) button in the lower right corner to restart the computer.
③ When the computer restarts, select Safe Mode with Command Prompt in the startup settings menu to back up files.
If unable to enter safe mode using the above methods, please click on the following link to see more ways to access Safe Mode: here.

II. How to backup files in safe mode?

When entering safe mode with a command prompt, use the WBadmin command to back up computer files, running it as an administrator.
Right-click (Command Prompt), and select (run as administrator). If you want to back up the files on drive C and save the backup on drive E, type the following command and press (Enter):
Wbadmin start backup -backuptarget:e: -include:c:
Command description:
Wbadmin start backup: Run a backup.
-backupTarget: Specifies where this backup is stored.
-include: Specifies a comma-separated list of items to include in the backup. Can contain multiple files, folders or volumes. Volume paths can be specified using volume drive letters, volume mount points, or GUID-based volume names.

Enter Wbadmin start backup -backuptarget:e: -include:c:
② To backup all volumes, including the operating system, enter the following command and press Enter:
Wbadmin start backup -backuptarget:e: -include:c: -allcritical
The difference between this command and the above command is that there is more ” at the end -allCritical “, this parameter can back up all critical volumes (including the operating system state). This parameter is very useful if you want to create a backup for bare metal recovery. It should be noted that only when ” -backupTarget “, this command can only be used, otherwise the command will fail. Can be used with ” -include ” option together.
For more information on Wbadmin command parameters, please visit the two official websites provided below:
Click here to access the WBADMIN START BACKUP command documentation.

III. How to backup files when safe mode is inaccessible?

When safe mode is inaccessible, use alternative tools to create a startup disk for backing up files. For example, consider using Renee Passnow.

1. Use Renee Passnow to create a boot disk

Renee Passnow is a professional system rescue software that can help Windows users with various tasks such as restoring disk/memory card data, recovering data after hard disk formatting, transferring disk files, erasing or scanning disk files to clear Windows account passwords, creating new administrator accounts, and repairing Windows system problems like MBR boot records, DBR error parameters, 0xc00000e, Windows system startup failure, black screen, or blue screen. It is compatible with multiple systems including Windows 10/8.1/8/7/XP/Vista.
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The steps for Renee Passnow to create a boot disk are as follows:
① Download and install Renee PassNow on another computer that can log in and run normally, then connect the USB disk to the PC.

Please select the (Create a Live USB) option under “Step 1: Select creation method” in the main interface.

Note: Before performing this operation, please make sure that the important files in the USB disk have been saved in other locations because the operation will delete all the data in the USB disk.

create a boot media with renee passnow
② Next, select (x64) or (x86) according to the system type, click the Download Now button to download the ISO file, click the Create USB button after the file download is complete, and click (Eject USB) after the USB boot disk is created button.
use renee passnow to create usb to reset passnword
③ Connect the boot device to the Windows 10 computer needing file backup, enter BIOS by pressing the shortcut key displayed on the screen, set USB or CD-ROM as the preferred boot item in BIOS (Boot) interface, then save and exit. Refer to computer manual for BIOS shortcut key.
Note: If creating a rescue USB disk, select (Removable Devices) as the first boot item. If creating a rescue CD, select (CD-ROM Drive) as the first boot item. Adjust BIOS interface according to brand variation.
change boot order in BIOS menu

2. Start the computer through the startup disk and back up the files

① After starting the computer from the startup U disk and entering the application program, select the data backup option. This option is equivalent to completely cloning the hard disk to other hard disks. If you only need to back up some important files, you can also choose Data Transfer option.
passnow data backup
② In the source list, select the hard disk to back up files, in the destination list, select the hard disk to save files, then click clone and wait for the cloning to complete to successfully back up computer files.
Select the original disk and destination for data backup