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First Aid

One of the useful troubleshooting tools offered in the Windows 95/98 platform is the F8 Boot Options. This gives us the ability to make choices as to how we want to boot up our computer.

To access it, start your computer. Start pressing the F8 key before the first Windows screen appears. Tap the key periodically. If the Windows screen appears, it is too late. You'll have to start over. If you get it right, it will come up looking like this:

Microsoft Windows 95/98 Startup Menu
  1. Normal
  2. Logged (\BOOTLOG.TXT)
  3. Safe Mode
  4. Step-by-step Confirmation
  5. Command Prompt Only
  6. Safe Mode Command Prompt Only

Enter a Choice: 1

As you see, there are various options. Selecting 1 will start like it usually does. 2 will create a log file of the things happening while starting in normal mode. 3 will start in Safe Mode. 4 will start normally but will make you confirm every action in the startup process, allowing you to choose to to activate, or deactivate, certain functions. 5 will take you right to the normal DOS prompt. And 6 will take you to a Safe Mode DOS prompt.

You can use whatever you need to get the job done. Try them all to see what the differences are. Get familiar with them if you aren't already.

Admittedly, you have to know something about the BOOT process and computer troubleshooting to properly utilize this feature. If you know something about these things, you will probably find this feature useful at some point or another in your computing existence.