Microsoft decided the Advanced Boot Options menu was no longer needed, but with the help of a command line prompt and BCDEdit, we can overrule that decision and add it back.

Image: Pavel Ignatov/Shutterstock

With the latest version of Windows 10 and Windows 11, the familiar Advanced Boot Options menu that users could activate by pressing F8 during the initial boot process on their PCs has been removed. Microsoft decided that the options listed on that boot menu were easier to access through other methods. But we don’t have to accept their decision as final and inconvertible.

By running a specific command from the command line prompt, we can bring back the Advanced Boot Options menu whether we are running Windows 10 or Windows 11. The command is another option of the useful BCDEdit function we used to add Safe Mode to Windows 11 in a previous article.

SEE: Quick glossary: Metaverse (TechRepublic Premium)

Add legacy Advanced Boot Options to Windows

There is one caveat to adding the Advanced Boot Options menu to modern PCs, and it is the likely the reason Microsoft decided to discontinue the menu’s use—pressing the F8 function key to activate the options at the right time can be extremely difficult on many modern PCs booting from SSD hard drives. The F8 key must be pressed between hardware initiation and the Windows boot loader and people, in general, are just not fast enough to hit the right mark consistently. Something to keep in mind as you apply this technique.

To add the legacy Advanced Boot Options to either of the current versions of Windows, open an administrative level command line prompt. Type “cmd” into the Windows search tool and select Command Prompt with the Run as Administrator option. You will be presented with the standard command line system screen, shown in Figure A.

Figure A

a-add-advanced-boot-options-menu-win.jpg

At the command prompt, type this BCDEdit command and press Enter:

bcdedit /set {default} bootmenupolicy legacy

If you typed (or copied and pasted) the command correctly, the system should notify you of success.

Now, the next time you boot your Windows 10 or Windows 11 PC, you’ll have the option of pressing F8 to reveal the Advanced Boot Options menu, as shown in Figure B.

Figure B

b-add-advanced-boot-options-menu-win.jpg

Courtesy of Microsoft

The Advanced Boot Options menu allows users to boot their PCs in Safe Mode, Safe Mode with networking, or Safe Mode with a command prompt. Other options include loading Windows in a lower video resolution, with the last known good configuration, and with drivers disabled.

These features and boot options can be extremely helpful when you are trying to troubleshoot your Windows PC for problems that occur during the standard boot process. In cases involving bad drivers for example, booting your PC in Safe Mode may be the only way you can get access to the bad driver to disable it.

SEE: How to add Safe Mode to the boot menu in Windows 11 (TechRepublic)

If you would like to deactivate the Advanced Boot Options menu and return to the standard Windows 10 or Windows 11 boot procedure, issue this BCDedit command from a system administrator level command prompt:

bcdedit /set {default} bootmenupolicy standard

Once again, the system will notify you if the command is successful.

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