How to enable the Advanced Boot Options menu at start up in Windows 8

#1 – from pc settings

Best way for a tablet because you don’t need a keyboard to do so.

Bring up Charm Bar (either swipe across the right screen board, or press Win I key), and click or tap Change PC Settingsat the boot of the bar.

#2 – shift restart

Again, bring up the Charm Bar, click Power once, and press & hold Shift key before clicking on Restart icon.

#3 – from command line

The new switch /o in the shutdown command lets you restart your computer going straight to the advanced boot options.

Press Win R and type the following command, and press Enter.

shutdown /o /r

Windows 8 shutdown to advanced boot options thumb - 3 Ways to Fire Up Windows 8 Advanced Boot Options

About the “advanced boot options” menu

Advanced Boot Options is the name of a recovery menu accessible immediately after the Windows bootloader begins to load. The exact list of features and boot options included in the Advanced Boot Options menu depend on the version of Windows installed, as does the appearance of the Advanced Boot Options menu itself.

Create advanced startup shortcut

If you think you’ll need to access Advanced Startup on a regular basis, you can create a shortcut for it. Right-click on the desktop and go to New > Shortcut.

In the next screen type:shutdown.exe /r /o /f /t 00 and click Next.

Then give the shortcut a name like Advanced Startup, click Finish.

Then if you want, you can change the icon to something more appealing by right-clicking the icon and go to Properties > Change Icon. Then change it to an icon that included in Windows by default, or maybe you have something else you want to change it to in another directory.

Of course once you’ve created the shortcut, you can pin it to the Taskbar or to the Start screen for easy access.

Once you created the shortcut, you can pin it to the Taskbar or to the Start screen for easy access. Using the command line or creating a shortcut makes it much easier to get to the Advanced Startup options.

While we’re on the topic of creating shortcuts to access specific locations and Windows utilities, you might be interested in the following:

Debugging mode

This option is used by developers to attach a debugger to Windows, to monitor and catch bugs and exceptions in kernel-level code. This is usually only used by low-level system developers writing drivers or kernel modules and is discussed further in-depth here.

Directory services restore mode

While this option is listed for most versions of Windows, it only serves a purpose for Windows Server 2000, 2003, 2008, and 2022. You can read more about Directory Services Restore Mode and how to use it to roll back changes to Active Directory here.

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Disable driver signature enforcement

This option lets (certain versions of) Windows bypass driver signature checks. Hardware and driver developers that meet Microsoft’s requirements for trustworthy and well-written (well, “good enough”) drivers must cryptographically “sign” their drivers with a private key.

Disable early launch anti-malware protection

This feature is only found on Windows 8 and disables early startup of anti-malware software such as Microsoft Security Essentials and Windows Defender. Read more about early launch anti-malware protection and why you would disable this feature here.

Enable boot logging

This option tells Windows to write details about the boot-up process to a log. The log is stored in a text document with the name ntbtlog.txt in the %SystemRoot% folder (which is usually Windows). More information about boot logging is available here.

Enable low-resolution video

This option starts up Windows with advanced video options disabled. This lets you access Windows if you had previously set the graphics card to a resolution or frequency unsupported by your output device (monitor, projector, etc). It also uses basic VGA drivers from Microsoft, so if your PC problems are caused by a faulty graphics card driver, this will allow you to boot up your PC circumventing the bad driver and giving you an opportunity to replace or reinstall the graphics drivers as needed. Read more about the “Enable low-resolution video” here.

How to access the advanced startup options menu in windows 8

The Advanced startup options menu allows you to specify various options for how you would like Windows 8 to start or to provide access to repair and diagnostic tools in the event that Windows is unable to start. In previous versions of Windows you were able to access the advanced startup options menu by clicking on the F8 key when Windows started. In Windows 8, though, they removed this capability in order to offer a faster boot experience. Due to this you need to access the advanced startup options menu through a different method that is described below.

Tip: A shortcut that you can use to reboot directly into the Advanced Startup options menu is to use the shutdown /r /o /t 0 command from a Run prompt.

To restart your computer into the Advanced startup options menu please go to the Windows 8 Start Screen and type Advanced. When the search results appear click on the Settings category as shown below.

Advanced start screen search

Now click on the option labeled Advanced startup options and you will be brought to the General PC Settings screen. Scroll down to the bottom until you see an option labeled Advanced startup.

General PC Settings screen

Click on the Restart now button and Windows 8 will restart your computer and go directly into the Advanced Startup options menu.

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Advanced startup options menu

On this screen are a various options that you can click on with your mouse that changes how Windows will start. The possible options are:


If you select this option, you will leave the Advanced startup options screen and Windows 8 will start normally.


The troubleshoot button allows you to access repair tools that can help you recover or troubleshoot Windows 8. This will be discussed further in the tutorial.

Turn off your PC

This option will simply turn off your PC.

Use a device

The use a device option allows you to specify a particular device such as a USB key or DVD that you wish to boot your computer from.

Use another operating system

If you have another operating system installed and you would like to start it, you can select this option. This will then display a menu that shows the other operating systems that are installed on your computer.

When you click on the Troubleshoot menu option, you will be shown another menu screen that provides repair and troubleshooting options for Windows 8.

Troubleshoot menu

The Refresh your PC option performs a reinstall of Windows 8 so that it is a brand new install without the loss of any of your data. For a complete tutorial on how to use this option, please see this guide:

How to reinstall Windows 8 while keeping your data using Refresh your PC

The Reset your PC option performs a format of your hard drive and then an install of Windows 8. This option will delete all the data on your drive, so it should not be used unless your data is completely backed up. A guide on how to reset Windows 8, can be found here:

How to perform a clean install of Windows 8 using Reset your PC

The last option is called Advanced options, which opens the Advanced repair options, otherwise known as the Windows 8 Recovery Environment. The options in this menu provide you with a variety of tools that can help you resolve problems in Windows 8 in the event that you cannot boot your computer properly.

Advanced options menu

The options in this menu are strictly for repair, diagnostic, and recovery of Windows 8. These options are described below:

System Restore

System Restore allows you to restore your computer to a previously working restore point in the event that you are unable to start Windows.  A guide on how to use System Restore from the Recovery Environment can be found here:

How to use System Restore from the Windows 8 Recovery Environment

System Image Recovery

System Image Recovery allows you to restore your computer from a system recovery image that you previously created. A guide on how to use System Image Recover can be found here:

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Automatic Repair

Automatic Repair is a programs that performs a series of automated diagnostics and repairs that attempt to find common issues that would cause Windows not to start properly. If it finds any issues, it will automatically attempt to resolve them for you. A guide on using Automatic Repair can be found here:

How to automatically repair Windows 8 using Automatic Repair

Command Prompt

Command Prompt opens a command prompt that you can use to access your files directly. This is a very useful tool for cleaning up computer infections that may be stopping Windows from booting properly. A guide on using the Recovery Environment Command Prompt can be found here:

How to use the Windows 8 System Recovery Environment Command Prompt

Startup Settings

The Startup Settings option restarts your computer into the Start Settings menu where you can access Windows 8 Safe Mode and change a variety of startup settings. Detailed information about the various settings can be found here:

How to use the Startup Settings boot menu in Windows 8

To select one of these options simply left-click on them with your mouse.

If you have any questions about this process, please ask in the Windows 8 Forum.

How to enable / disable the legacy advanced boot manager in windows 8

The legacy advanced boot options menu in Windows 8
The legacy advanced boot options menu in Windows 8

How to enable/disable the advanced boot options menu in windows 8

The standard advanced boot options menu in Windows 8
The standard advanced boot options menu in Windows 8

Last known good configuration (advanced)

This is an important recovery option that starts your PC up using a backed-up copy of (a portion of) the Windows Registry. In case of failed Automatic Updates, an update or installation of buggy/incompatible drivers, changes in hardware configuration, and other problems, this option can be used to regain access to Windows.

Safe mode

The most common use of the Advanced Boot Options menu is to gain access to Safe Mode. Safe Mode attempts to load Windows with as few components, features, and dependencies enabled as possible to possibly circumvent whatever components are not working.

Start windows normally

As the name implies, this option is used to start Windows “normally” — in other words, with none of the above options selected/in-use.

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