I'm working on dis-infecting a Windows 7 PC where the user opened a ZIP email attachment.

All the symptoms exactly match this description of the "Data Recovery" scareware, including these messages:

  • Windows detected a hard disk problem A potential disk failure may coss loss of files, applications and documents stored on the hard disk. Please try not to use this computer until the hard disk is fixed or replaced.
  • Critical Error RAM memory reliability is extremely low. This problem may cause system failure

See the end of this post for details of the machine spec.

Initial Goal

I first want to boot the computer in Safe Mode, so that I can run various tools such as TDSSKiller.

Trying to boot in Safe Mode

As the computer starts up, it offers the following options:

  • Del BIOS Setup
  • Tab Display BIOS POST Message
  • F8 Boot Menu
  • Alt+F2 Ez Flash 2

I hoped/expected that pressing F8 would get me into the Advanced Boot Options screen, as for to choose Safe Mode.

However, hitting F8 during start-up only shows the following:

Please select boot device:


  • RAID:Intel DATA


  • up-arrow and down-arrow to move menu selection

  • ENTER to select boot device

  • ESC to boot using defaults

My question: Is there something about my machine configuration (see below) that is preventing the Advanced Boot Options menu from showing?

Machine configuration

  • C: drive is SSD - Intel SSDSA2M160G2GC
  • Other partitions are of a RAID 1 pair
  • Motherboard: ASUS P6X58D-E
  • OS: Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit
  • For the record, this PC was fully patched and uptodate, and had Microsoft Security Essentials installed. Oct 15, 2011 at 13:09

2 Answers 2


I think I've found the answer: this YouTube video says that on some computers, F8 brings up the "Select boot device" menu that I described above, and if that happens, to hit Esc then keep hitting F8 until the Advanced Boot Options screen appears.

I'll give it a go.


First attempt failed: it just booted normally.

On second attempt, I tapped the F8 as rapidly as I possibly could, after hitting the Esc key, and almost immediately got the Advanced Boot Options menu.

So, I think the issue is that the SSD makes the PC boot so very fast that the standard advice of 'hit the F8 once a second is useless!

(Thankfully, TDSSKiller reported no rootkit, and Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware is now chugging away, and finding stuff to remove, so things are looking up, relatively speaking)

  • 4
    This is correct! Most new ASUS boards use F8 to select the boot device, and this happens before you get the chance to use the Windows option (this is a very lousy design choice in my opinion). Then, your SSD loads so fast you only have a very brief window to enter Safe Mode at all! You should just go ahead and mark this as the answer because, well, it is.
    – Shinrai
    Oct 13, 2011 at 20:02
  • For me it didn't work with the esc and then press f8. I had a little different problem, because when I hit f8 the first time I got to a somewhat the same thing. For me it was also an option to enter Windows boot options. When I entered there I only started the computer in a regular way, but when I hit Enter, and then f8 I could get to safe mode.
    – user167376
    Oct 24, 2012 at 13:34
  • 1
    F8 + ESC + F8 + ESC + F8 + ESC + F8 + ESC + F8 did the job... damn windows
    – mate64
    Jun 3, 2014 at 14:35

This is not for booting into safe mode - but I had a very similar problem which was trying to access the Advanced Boot menu so that I could re-install Windows 7.

I have the ASUS P7H55-M SI motherboard with Windows 64-bit and I found that F8 simply wasn't the correct key. F8 does as suggested here bring up the 'Select boot device', but for me it would never go to the Advanced Boot menu after - no matter how quickly I pressed F8. In the end after reading the manual which suggests that F5 is the magic key (which it wasn't either), I tried going through all of F2 - F9.

For me it turned out the F3 was the magic key although it didn't bring up the Advanced Boot menu, it took me direct to the 'System Recovery Options' menu that is what you get if you go to the Advanced Boot menu and select 'Repair Your Computer'.

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