The Serpent

// Cursing the Internet since 1998

Interrupting Windows 8

Posted October 14, 2013 Windows

For years, those tasked with fixing any kind of Windows failure have relied on the trusty F8 short cut that interrupts boot, and gives us an all-important escape path into the inner workings of the operating system. However with the introduction of UEFI based motherboards, replacing the old clunky BIOS – and Windows 8 taking full advantage of it, you can now stuff a decent SSD into a computer and have it boot in less than seven seconds – making the task of hitting F8 right on time virtually… impossible.

So how do you get the usual Windows boot options for Windows 8? Luckily there are a few methods available to you.

Trust Windows…

If Windows detects a boot failure twice in a row – it will automatically provide you with the boot options menu. We’re assured Windows has gotten much smarter with this – and is actually more likely to accidentally ‘think’ something went wrong, as opposed to spectacularly missing your most frustrating failure. Yet even if Windows boots fine, and some stupid video driver failure prevents you from doing anything – Windows knows it, and should automatically boot you into the Windows recovery environment.

Use the GUI

Apparently the only other time you’ll need the boot options menu is when Windows has booted but you’d like to see it anyway – so you can. Using the ‘PC Settings’ charm menu, you can find a ‘Restart Now’ option under ‘Advanced Startup’ to reboot Windows into the boot menu. You can also hold the shift key down while clicking the usual ‘Restart’ link to achieve the same thing, the benefit of this being that you do not need to be logged into the PC in order to trigger the boot menu.

Good old fashioned CLI

Finally, ‘shutdown.exe’ has an extra /o switch, which when combined with /r (for restart, makes sense really!) the two will allow you to boot into the options menu from any scriptCLI you choose.

So there you have it – it remains to be seen if this is the best way to go, and so far I’ve not found myself in a reboot loop where Windows fails to detect the failure, and I can’t click the ‘Restart’ link – but if and when that does occur, I’m sure all hell will break lose.

Interrupting Windows 8
Posted October 14, 2013
Written by John Payne