How To Transfer Files In Safe Mode Windows 11/10/8 Free (2024)

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Let’s face it, your computer throwing a tantrum is rarely a delightful experience. Staring at the black screen of doom, desperately hitting F8 (RIP), and booting into the austere landscape of Safe Mode can send shivers down even the most tech-savvy spines. But amidst the chaos, a critical need often arises: getting your vital files out to safety. No worries, intrepid data warriors, for this guide is your lifeline!

Safe mode is a diagnostic mode in Windows that starts your computer with a minimal set of drivers and services. It is used to troubleshoot issues with your computer, including file transfer issues. This article will discuss how to transfer files in safe mode on Windows 11/10/8.

How To Transfer Files In Safe Mode?

Safe Mode is the tech equivalent of a first-aid kit for your PC. It strips Windows to its bare bones, leaving only essential functions operational. This is crucial when your system’s acting up, as it minimizes the risk of software conflicts further hindering your data escape plan. Undoubtedly, using a system backup image is a smart strategy that eliminates the need for a Windows OS reinstallation.  However, a crucial consideration arises when important data is stored on your desktop. Opting for a system recovery may provide a serious challenge because there is a chance that data will be lost in the process.

To safeguard against potential data loss during the system restoration process, it is advisable to transfer files in safe mode proactively. In essence, this means that in the event of a system failure to boot, you can securely copy your files to an external hard drive while operating in safe mode. This precautionary measure ensures the preservation of your valuable data even when undertaking system recovery procedures.

#1: Use WBadmin Commands To Transfer Files In Windows

For the tech-savvy warriors amongst you, Safe Mode offers a hidden gem: the WBadmin command-line utility. This powerful tool lets you back up your data using simple commands, even in the limited environment of Safe Mode.

  • Initiate your computer by turning it on, then systematically press the F8 key in a repeated manner.
  • This will guide you to the Advanced Boot Options. Utilize the arrow keys to choose Safe Mode with Command Prompt.

  • Open Command Prompt, type “cmd,” in the search bar, and right-click to run as Administrator.
  • In the command prompt, type this exact command and press the Enter key: Wbadmin start backup -backuptarget:F:-include:C:
F here is the destination drive where you would copy or upload the data/folder/drive and C is the folder/drive you are backing up.

The system will next ask for your confirmation after displaying the operation’s specifics. To start the backup process in Safe Mode, just type Y.

Once complete, your data will be safely nestled in the chosen destination folder. Now you can exit Safe Mode and tackle the underlying issue with peace of mind.

#2: Transfer Data From PC To PC With Copy-Paste Method

  • Plug in your trusty external hard drive, USB stick, or network-attached storage (NAS) device. Remember, choose a destination you trust implicitly!
  • Navigate to the folder containing your prized files. Remember, Safe Mode might have a slightly different layout, but fear not, your files are still there!
  • Highlight the files you wish to transfer. Feeling ambitious? Hold down Ctrl/Shift for multi-selection, or go full Rambo with Ctrl+A to conquer them all.
  • Unleash the power of the right-click! Choose “Copy” and watch those files march into your digital clipboard.
  • Head over to your chosen destination device (external drive, NAS, etc.), open a folder, and right-click again. This time, choose “Paste” and witness your data safely land in its new home.

What Is Safe Mode?

Safe Mode can have different meanings depending on the context. However, the general aim across its various uses is to provide a basic, limited functionality mode that prioritizes stability and troubleshooting over full features. Here are some specific examples:

In computer operating systems:

Diagnostics and repair: Safe Mode loads only the essential drivers and services needed for the system to function, bypassing potentially problematic drivers or software that might hinder normal operation. This allows users to diagnose issues, remove malware, or uninstall problematic programs.

Software removal: When software is corrupt or causing issues, it can be difficult to uninstall in normal mode. Safe Mode simplifies this process by limiting the software that can run, making it easier to isolate and remove the offending program.

System recovery: If an operating system is seriously corrupted or won’t boot normally, Safe Mode can enable access to basic functionalities and recovery tools, allowing users to attempt repairs or data backups before a full reinstallation.

In software applications:

Troubleshooting: Some applications also offer a Safe Mode that disables certain features or plugins, helping diagnose crashes or compatibility issues. This lets users identify the culprit while still performing basic tasks within the program.

Basic functionality: In some cases, Safe Mode in an application focuses on providing essential features only, minimizing resource usage, and ensuring stable operation, especially on older or low-powered devices.


So, the next time your PC throws a tantrum and you find yourself in Safe Mode, remember, you’re not powerless. With these methods in your arsenal, transferring your vital files is a breeze, leaving you free to face any tech challenge head-on. Now go forth, data warriors, and conquer. So, channel your inner data warrior, pick your weapon of choice (copy-paste or command line), and embark on your glorious file transfer quest.

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