A special "compatibility mode
" that Windows 9x
will go into if it has a problem booting or initializing important hardware (such as the video card
The default Safe Mode uses the standard Microsoft VGA drivers to display a stunning 640x480x16 desktop- still better than what you get if xwindows doesn't work. Local Area Networking is not enabled, however you can get on the internet which is handy if you need to download drivers.
Safe Mode can be annoying, but it's very handy in some cases. Say you've put a file in your startup menu that freezes the computer. By pressing F8 when you get the Starting Windows 98 text and selecting "Safe Mode", you can remove the offending program from the menu.
You can always tell that you're in safe mode (in case the huge fonts and ugly colors didn't tip you off) by the words "SAFE MODE" in all four corners of the desktop.