Why is Windows Safe Mode Magic?

Windows RT 8.1

Asked by: OrsonH


I help out with I.T. for my wife’s medical practice. It turns out there’s a bug in her EMR software which shows up once in a while. (All the computers run on Windows 10 currently)

The program dies and I get the popup “A problem has caused the program to stop working…”

I hook up a debugger. It looks like a heap issue in their code according to the stack trace. I turn on GFlags and it hits every time. I tell the EMR Software folks but they don’t like to claim bugs and want to prove it’s not them.

They boot the computer to Safe Mode with Networking and low and behold there’s no heap problem so they say they’re off the hook. It’s not them.

I’ve reproduced the problem on all the machines (32 and 64 bit) and in Clean Mode and logged in under the activated Administrator account but Safe Mode works every time.


  1. How can Safe Mode make a heap bug disappear?

  2. Any suggestions for reproducing the bug in Safe Mode, i.e. what’s really happening in Safe Mode Can I make it more like Normal Mode?

Thanks, Mr. H

Answered by:

BSOD'S are always a combination of things.  It may not be solely the EMR software but it may be partially their software (you never did tell us the faulting driver.

By booting into safe mode the other bits that combined with the EMR software may (probably) are not loaded in safe mode.  Their contention that it is not their software because it does not crash in safe mode does not fly.  All it says is that with only system services and drivers their software does not crash.  That does not say their software is not making bad calls, or some other incompatibility with win 10

You can modify what gets loaded in safe mode by checking or unchecking suspected items in msconfig until it does crash in safe mode.  I would start with any driver related to I/O or video.

Wanikiya & Dyami Team ZigZag
Windows Store 21/04/2016 0 Comment 251 views

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