Windows 11 update that broke Safe Mode is now fixed

Windows 11
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Windows 11 ran into some serious trouble with Safe Mode due to a nasty bug in a recently deployed preview update, but the good news is that this problem has now been resolved – and you should have the fix already.

This bug was caused by the recent preview update for Windows 11, patch KB5012643, which was an optional update for those who wanted early access to the bunch of fixes due for May’s round of patching.

As Windows Latest reports, after installing the update, some Windows 11 users took to Microsoft’s Feedback Hub (and elsewhere online) to report problems with Safe Mode, namely that the screen flickers.

In fact, the flickering effect was so bad for those hit by the bug that it rendered Safe Mode more or less unusable, so it’s no surprise that this was a priority fix for Microsoft.

As Microsoft let us know in a support document, the issue occurred when users chose to enter ‘Safe Mode without Networking’, and the company has already rolled out the fix which fortunately is automatically applied – there’s no need to have to reinstall the update or go to any other lengths.

Analysis: Preview updates are optional for a reason

If you grab preview updates, then you can expect to run into gremlins in the works from time to time – that’s just the nature of beta software. The idea is to identify problems and troubleshoot them before full release, although admittedly, the issues which pop up are generally more minor.

Bear this in mind whenever you pick up an optional update for Windows 11 (or Windows 10), and this is why most folks will give them a swerve and wait for the fully finished version the following month – unless the patch solves a particularly irksome bug they’re already suffering at the hands of (which changes the risk-reward balance, of course).

In the case of KB5012643, not only did we see this problem, but it also had a major issue which caused massively long boot times for some systems.

The good news with this Safe Mode bug is that it was quickly fixed by Microsoft using a ‘Known Issue Rollback’, although that does take some time to filter its way through to Windows 11 machines.

You should have the fix by now, mind you, but Microsoft advises those still to benefit from the rollback that “restarting your device might help the resolution apply to your device faster” (plus further advice for business users is given in the aforementioned support document).

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).