A. Under the registry key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\SafeBoot is the value AlternateShell, which is set to cmd.exe (the command prompt). When you press F8 during startup and select "Safe Mode with Command Prompt," the system uses this alternate shell. You shouldn't change the AlternateShell value. You can, however, create a boot option so that you don't have to press F8, then select "Safe Mode with Command Prompt."

  1. Edit the boot.ini (c:\boot.ini) file attributes to make the file nonread-only, nonsystem, and nonhidden (attrib c:\boot.ini -r -s -h).
  2. Open boot.ini.
  3. Add a line similar to the following:
                                  multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP                              Professional" /fastdetect /SAFEBOOT:MINIMAL(ALTERNATESHELL)                              
  4. Save the file.
  5. Reapply the correct permissions (attrib c:\boot.ini +r +s +h).