How to access the Boot Options Menu in Windows 10

The Boot Options Menu is meant to be a single location for all the boot related options available in Windows. It has been available since Windows 8. The new Boot Options Menu gives you access to features like System Restore, System Image Recovery, Startup Repair, etc. If you are using UEFI, you also get access to many features which were previously available only through a boot manager or by sending interrupts to BIOS. For example, you can access UEFI firmware settings or boot to a different device or OS, from inside the Boot Options Menu. There is one major catch though, the new Boot Options Menu is no longer accessible by pressing the F8 key during boot. Let us look at some of the ways of accessing the boot options menu.

1. Automatically, when Windows fails to load

As mentioned before, it no longer possible to access the Boot Options Menu using the F8 key, at least not by default. Microsoft claims that the support for F8 was removed since the boot process in new Windows versions is too fast to reliably catch keyboard interrupts. The alternative provided by Microsoft is to load the Boot Options Menu automatically whenever Windows fails to load; at least that is what they claim Windows would do. Users who have trouble starting windows should see the boot options menu when they try to start Windows; it is a screen titled “Choose an option”.

Windows is certainly not capable of detecting all types of load failures. It might detect a failure only when something unusual happens multiple times. If your Windows is not loading and automatic detection is not working out, take a look at option 2 and 3; they may be relevant to your situation.

2. Using Windows Installation media

This is the best option if Windows is neither loading nor giving you the Boot Options Menu. Boot the computer with a DVD or USB stick containing Windows installation files. In the windows setup program choose the Repair your computer option. It will take you straight to the Boot Options Menu.
Windows Setup ProgramYou can use any Windows DVD or USB stick to repair your computer. If your computer/laptop did not come with installation media, a Windows ISO downloaded from Microsoft’s website would work. You don’t need the product key of the disc to repair your Windows installation using it.

3. Using a Recovery Drive

If you have access to a Windows recovery drive, you can use it to access the Boot Options Menu. Just boot from the recovery drive and select your keyboard layout on the first screen. The next screen will be the Boot Options Menu. My personal experience with Recovery Drives has not been very good. I have often had trouble creating them and when I use it, I often end up with missing options. However, a lot of people swear by it.

4. Using the Settings App

If you are able to login to a Windows account you can use the Settings App to access the Boot Options Menu.

Open the settings App from the Start Menu and choose Update and Security.
Click on recovery option in the left pane; then click the Restart Now button.
Settings App with recovery section active

5. By shift-clicking on Restart

A faster method is to SHIFT+CLICK on Restart from the Shutdown Menu. The Shutdown Menu appears in multiple places in Windows. Significantly, it appears on the login screen,  this allows someone who is not logged into an account to access the boot options.
Shift-click on Shutdown Menu

6. From the Command Line

Some new command line switches have been added to the good old shutdown.exe. You can use one of them: the /o switch, to access the Boot Options Menu. Open the command prompt and type.

shutdown.exe /r /o

The /o switch works only in conjunction with /r which stands for Restart.