Safe Mode is apparently the most preferred tool for solving potential hardware and driver issues, but a cumulative update to Windows 11 inadvertently disabled the feature and Microsoft has finally acknowledged that the reports are circulating on social media and the Feedback Hub.
For those who don’t know, Windows Safe Mode disables some drivers and files, and it’s essentially a cracked version of Windows to help you troubleshoot operating system issues easily. Safe Mode still comes with a functional file explorer, start menu, and taskbar.
However, Windows 11 KB5012643 (an optional update with notable improvements and fixes) broke Safe Mode and introduced a bug that causes the screen to flicker when you boot into Safe Mode, making it unstable. According to reports, Windows 11’s safe mode flickered when users opened the file explorer, start menu, taskbar, and other screens.
The issue was noticed immediately after the cumulative update was released and users flagged it in the Feedback Hub. Users on Twitter also noticed the issue and Microsoft is now rolling out an emergency update to fix the broken safe mode.
If you are affected, you will also see a log in the Windows event log. The error “The shell has stopped unexpectedly and explorer.exe has restarted” appears in the “Winlogon” section.
In a support document, Microsoft says that the safe mode does not work when launched with the option “Safe mode without network”. Although the company has released a server-side emergency update, if Safe Mode still doesn’t work, try launching it with Networking enabled.
In theory, it can take up to 24 hours to roll back the error code and automatically propagate the fix to consumer devices. If Windows Update is managed with the business-friendly Group Policy Editor, you can configure the following special policies:
- Open Group Policy Editor > Local Computer Policy or Domain Policy.
- Go to Administrative Templates and find KIR Group Policy and then select the version of Windows you want to use.
- Set it to “Disabled”.
- Restart the affected device.
Microsoft’s screenshot tool crashes on Windows 10
In addition to Windows 11, Microsoft has also confirmed an issue in Windows 10.
Earlier this month, Microsoft quietly supporting documents to acknowledge a critical bug that prevents the screenshot tool ‘Snip & Sketch’ from starting on Windows 10.
Microsoft says it has received reports stating that the Snip & Sketch app may not be able to take a screenshot. It doesn’t even open when using the keyboard shortcut (Windows key + Shift + S).
Microsoft is investigating the reports and more details will be provided in the future, but the company is not aware of a fix at this time.