Is there a way to issue a remote Restart Computer in "Safe Mode with Networking"

Posted on 2005-05-08
Last Modified: 2008-01-09
Q. Periodically on a remote site I'll need to access a machine in Safe Mode(Strip out a virus or program). This is frustrating as you have to talk the user through steps.

I was wondering if there is a way to restart a remote windows 2000 computer to start in "Safe Mode with Networking", then I would VNC/Dameware into this machine to continue my work. (I also don't know if this would be possible? - the remote access piece via VNC I mean). Any of these answered would be great!
Question by:kevinmwells
    LVL 8

    Accepted Solution

    Right-click My Computer, and choose Properties (or press Windows Key & Break together). On the Advanced tab, click the Settings button, which brings up the Startup and Recovery window. Click the Edit button, which will open the boot.ini file in Notepad. Look under the [Operating Systems] for your default OS. Copy the entire line, and paste it on the line below. Change the description in the quotations to say "Safe Mode" or whatever description you want. Then add the following to the end of the line you just copied:
    /safeboot:minimal /sos /bootlog

    If you want networking support, then change "minimal" to "network" without the quotes. You may want to make a copy of the c:\boot.ini file (which is hidden and read only) before you begin this process.

    So you could probably make up a script to boot up the second option in the list, instead of booting the first, which would be the OS in normal mode.

    I'll keep on researching, but perhaps you have more info on scripting and would know how to do this.

    Meanwhile I'll keep on looking...

    LVL 4

    Expert Comment

    A bit off topic but just incase you're interested too, there are KVM-over-IP products, that allow you to VNC into a computer remotely and control it as though you were sitting at it.. i.e. You can start in 'Safe Mode' instead of 'Safe Mode with Network Support' and it also allows access to the BIOS screen etc.  This helps to fix problems when you can't boot properly into Windows, the computer has a stuck key or has hung on the bios screen, or if you're trying to combat viruses..

    Bit expensive, but an awesome solution.  When I have the money i'm definately going to invest in one..
    LVL 1

    Author Comment


    You pointed me in the right direction, I had to make a few adjustments, but got to where I wanted to. I will add this into future builds!!

    As this was to be run on Windows 2000 I did the following - edited the c:\boot.ini (Removed Hidden and Read Only Flag) with the following
    (NOTE: save your original boot.ini as bootold.ini before starting this)

    [boot loader]

    [operating systems]
    multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINNT="1.Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional" /fastdetect
    multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINNT="2.Microsoft W2K - Safe Mode" /safeboot:minimal /sos /bootlog
    multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINNT="3.Microsoft W2K - Safe Mode With Networking" /safeboot:network /sos /bootlog
    C:\CMDCONS\BOOTSECT.DAT="4.Microsoft Windows 2000 Recovery Console" /cmdcons

    Saved the boot.ini Then re-applied the read only and hidden flag.
    This gave me the ability to tell the user to select which option, unfortunately Dameware cannot start in the Safe Mode environment so I had to add the following Key in the registry to make it work

    Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00


    For those doing it manually, add the DWMRCS Key first to
    and then modify the Default REG_SZ to  Service

    After adding the reg file, no reboot was required in safe mode. I was able to CHKDSK remotely and remove programs !

    LVL 8

    Expert Comment

    by:Leandro Iacono

    I am glad my little info could help you out. I knew you were going to have to add a bit more things, and I am sure you had an hour or 2 ofmore reading.

    But I am glad my little info could help you out. I have saved your response just in case I might need it in the future!

    Thanks for the reply. We are all network administrators down here, and just like you we all run into problems... having info like this at hand is very handy ...


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