Windows 8 has radically redesigned the boot menu to not only look more modern, but also much easier to use. I have to say that they did a good job. All older versions of Windows used the basic DOS text-based interface to select options such as Safe Mode or Advanced Boot Options.
Most people don’t even bother to look at anything below safe mode because it’s pretty technical for the average user.
Now when you enter the Windows 8 boot menu, you get a beautiful modern GUI. It is also called Windows RE (Recovery Environment) or System Recovery Options.
You have three options: boot Windows normally (Continue), Troubleshoot, or Turn off your computer. There are many fewer options to start with, making it easier for people to use the tool.
I know a lot of people who have had problems with Windows 7 but couldn’t figure out how to load Startup Repair or go to Safe Mode. In this article, I will walk you through the steps and different methods of entering the boot menu.
It’s worth noting that the menu in Windows 10 is almost the same, but the procedure for accessing it is slightly different. Read my other post on how to boot Windows 10 into system recovery options
The first method – SHIFT + Restart
One way to start Windows 8 in Windows Recovery Environment is to simply press SHIFT and then click Restart. What’s great about this method is that you can do it from Windows or even if no one is logged in.
Therefore, if you need to troubleshoot your Windows 8 computer or boot from an additional device and you are unable to log in, you can still restart Windows RE by clicking the power button icon at the top of the Start screen or on the bottom right when you are not log in.
The second method – computer settings
The second way to do this is to go to PC Settings in Windows 8. You can do this by opening the charms bar and clicking Settings.
Then click on “Change PC settings” at the bottom of the settings panel:
At the bottom, click “Update & Restore”. If you are using an older version of Windows 8, you may have to click General instead. Click on “Recovery” in the left menu and you will see an “Advanced Startup” section at the bottom. Click Restart Now and you’re done.
The third method – automatic drive or recovery
Finally, if Windows 8 detects any boot problems on the system, it will automatically load Windows RE boot options. If your motherboard supports the new UEFI firmware, this will happen automatically.
If not, you will still have to press the F8 key, but you won’t have much time as Windows 8 boots much faster.
Instead, it is best to use methods 1 or 2. However, if you cannot boot into Windows 8 at all and the boot options do not appear automatically, you will have to hope that you have created a Windows 8 USB drive.
The recovery disc in Windows 8 allows you to create a bootable USB flash drive that will boot Windows RE if it does not boot automatically and you cannot enter Windows.
Note that you can also create a recovery USB drive on another Windows 8 computer and then use it on the one that does not boot properly. If you have questions about recovery options, please leave a comment. Enjoy!