Enter the BIOS setup utility to change BIOS settings
What to Know
- You’ll may need to get into BIOS if you install new hardware or need to enable or disable features built in to your computer.
- Just restart your computer and look for the “setup,” “configuration,” or “BIOS” message, which will tell you which key to press.
- Common keys include Esc, Tab, Del, or one of the function keys, often F2 or F10.
How to Enter BIOS
The steps below can be used to access the BIOS setup utility on your PC, no matter what operating system is installed. This is because the BIOS is part of your motherboard hardware and has nothing at all to do with what’s on your hard drive.
Getting into BIOS isn’t at all hard, but it can be tricky on some systems. Check out our extensive list of tips at the bottom of the page if you’re struggling after giving it a shot.
Restart your computer, or turn it on if it’s already off.
Watch for an “entering setup” message in the first few seconds after turning on your computer. This message varies greatly from computer to computer and also includes the key or keys you need to press to enter BIOS.
Here are some common ways you might see this BIOS access message:
- Press [key] to enter setup
- Setup: [key]
- Enter BIOS by pressing [key]
- Press [key] to enter BIOS setup
- Press [key] to access BIOS
- Press [key] to access system configuration
Quickly press the key or keys instructed by the previous message.
You may need to press the BIOS access key several times to enter BIOS. Don’t hold the key down or press it too many times or your system may error or lock up. If that happens, just restart and try again.
If you don’t catch the key sequence needed to get into BIOS, reference one of these lists or check out the tips below:
Use the BIOS setup utility as required.
That might mean managing memory settings, configuring a new hard drive, changing the boot order, resetting the BIOS password, or other tasks.
Tips & More Information About Entering BIOS
Entering BIOS can be tricky, so here’s some more help based on some common scenarios that we’ve seen:
There’s a Picture Instead of a Message
Your computer may be configured to show your computer’s logo instead of important BIOS messages. Press Esc or Tab while the logo is showing to remove it.
You Didn’t Catch Which Key to Press
Some computers start too quickly to see the BIOS access message. If this happens, press the Pause/Break key on your keyboard to freeze the screen during startup. Press any key to “unpause” your computer and continue booting.
Trouble Pausing the Startup Screen
If you’re having problems pressing that pause button in time, turn on your computer with your keyboard unplugged. You should receive a keyboard error which will pause the startup process long enough for you to see the keys necessary to enter BIOS!
Using a USB Keyboard on an Older Computer
Some PCs with both PS/2 and USB connections are configured to only allow USB input after the POST. This means that if you’re using a USB keyboard, it could be impossible to access BIOS. In that case, you’d need to connect an older PS/2 keyboard to your PC to access BIOS.
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What is BIOS?
New developments in BIOS technology
What are the basic functions of BIOS?
2. CMOS setup
3. Bootstrap loader
4. BIOS drivers
How to enter BIOS in Windows 10
Method #1: Use hotkey during boot-up
- Acer: F2 or DEL
- ASUS: F2 for all PCs, F2 or DEL for motherboards
- Dell: F2 or F12
- HP: ESC or F10
- Lenovo: F2 or Fn + F2
- Lenovo (Desktops): F1
- Lenovo (ThinkPads): Enter + F1.
- MSI: DEL for motherboards and PCs
- Microsoft Surface Tablets: Press and hold volume up button.
- Origin PC: F2
- Samsung: F2
- Sony: F1, F2, or F3
- Toshiba: F2
Method #2: Use Windows 10’s start menu
How to access Windows 7, Vista, and XP BIOS
I can’t access BIOS, what do I do?
Troubleshoot method #1: Disable fast startup
Troubleshoot method #2: Use an emergency boot disk
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By Alisa | Follow | Last Updated March 04, 2021
Guide on how to reset BIOS to default settings in Windows 10 computer. If you want to try to reset BIOS to factory settings for you laptop or PC to repair Windows 10 issues like a boot error or troubleshoot PC startup problems, you can check the 3 steps below to easily reset BIOS/CMOS Windows 10.
BIOS is short for Basic Input Output System. It exists in computer’s motherboard, and controls computer startup process. Generally you can enter BIOS in Windows 10/8/7 to change the computer boot device and order. Newer computers uses UEFI to replace BIOS.
If your laptop won’t turn on, you can create a Windows 10 repair/recovery disk or USB drive to boot your computer and access the BIOS settings window.
You can reset BIOS to fix a boot error of your computer, or boot your computer from USB flash drive to further troubleshoot Windows PC problems with Startup Repair, Reset this PC, System Restore, Command Prompt and other Windows built-in troubleshooting utilities.
This tutorial mainly introduces how to reset BIOS in Windows 10 to default factory settings. Check the detailed 3 steps below.
3 Steps to Reset BIOS Windows 10
Step 1. Open BIOS Menu
To reset BIOS to default settings, you need to access BIOS menu and find the Default Settings option first.
Windows 10 users can access advanced startup options Windows 10 and get into BIOS menu. You can click Start -> Power, press and hold Shift key, and click Restart button to reboot Windows into Windows Recovery Environment. Then click Troubleshoot -> Advanced Options -> UEFI Firmware Settings, and click Restart to enter into BIOS settings screen.
Alternatively, you can also restart your computer normally and press the required key in startup screen to boot into BIOS settings window. The hotkey is varied from different computer manufacturers, and it could be F12, Del, Esc, F8, F2, etc.
Step 2. Find the Setup Defaults Option
The name and location of “Setup Defaults” option may be different from various computers. It generally calls like: Load Default, Load Setup Defaults, Load Default Settings, Load BIOS Defaults, Load Optimal Defaults, etc.
Use the arrow keys on computer keyboard to find the BIOS setup default option in BIOS settings screen. You may find it in one of the BIOS tabs.
Detailed guide for how to update BIOS in Windows 10 ASUS, HP, Dell, Lenovo, Acer computer, and how to check BIOS version on Windows 10.
Step 3. Reset BIOS Windows 10
After you find the Load Setup Defaults option, you can select it and press Enter button to start resetting BIOS to factory default settings in Windows 10.
At last, you can press F10 to save and exit BIOS. Your computer will automatically reboot.
If you need to change BIOS settings again in future, you can follow the same instructions to access BIOS again to change it.
Tip: There are two other ways to reset BIOS/CMOS in Windows 10: one is resetting the motherboard’s jumper, another is to remove and reinsert the CMOS batter. For the detailed guide, you can visit: How to Reset Your BIOS – wikiHow.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Alisa is a professional English editor with 4-year experience. She loves writing and focuses on sharing detailed solutions and thoughts for computer problems, data recovery & backup, digital gadgets, tech news, etc. Through her articles, users can always easily get related problems solved and find what they want. In spare time, she likes basketball, badminton, tennis, cycling, running, and singing. She is very funny and energetic in life, and always brings friends lots of laughs.
Optimize Your BIOS for Top Performance
By now you know that there are tons of things you can do to make your Windows PC run faster and smoother and I’m sure your computer is now a lot more comfortable to use. But now is the time to speed up your computer even more by delving under the hood and tweaking some more advanced settings.
One of the more advanced optimization techniques is BIOS tuneup. BIOS stands for Basic Input-Output System and is the standard firmware for motherboards. It is the first software your computer loads when you power it up. It prepares everything for your operating system by detecting your computer’s hardware components and letting the operating system know it can use them, calculating the amount of available RAM and setting the CPU speed. Once everything has been taken care of, the BIOS boots the operating system and lets the OS take it over.
Just like any other piece of software, the BIOS can be fine-tuned. Optimizing the BIOS will decrease your computer’s boot time and make it run more efficiently.
Access the BIOS
On most systems, accessing the BIOS is not all that hard. When you power up your computer, a startup screen appears. That screen is usually accessible for only a few seconds, so you’ll need to act quickly. On the screen, you should see which key you need to press to enter Setup. Usually it’s either Del, F1, F2 or F12. Make sure you press the appropriate key quickly, as you might not have more than a few seconds. This will get you through to the BIOS settings.
Configure boot order
Configuring boot order is something that can significantly speed up computer startup. The BIOS manages the order of system boot items, such as floppy (yes, they still exist), CD/DVD optical drive, flash drive and hard drive. At times, you might need to boot from a CD or a flash drive, but most of the time you boot from your hard drive. However, your BIOS checks whether there are any bootable CDs or floppies, just in case. When it doesn’t detect any of these devices, it moves on to the hard drive. Since you use the hard drive to boot your OS every time you turn your computer on and almost never use bootable CDs or other drives, it only makes sense to put your hard drive first in line. This will save you a few seconds during computer startup. Here is how you can do it:
It also makes sense to disable floppy altogether because it’s highly unlikely that you will be booting from there (even if you have a floppy drive, that is). To disable FloppyDrive in BIOS, you’ll need to click on FloppyDrive A within BIOS and set it to Disabled.
Enable the Quick Boot option
In the past, computers needed to run POSTs – power-on self tests, which are no longer necessary. However, some systems still perform them and thus increase your PCs startup time. Memory check is the longest of them all and can last for several seconds. The Quick Boot option still performs all the necessary tests, but it does that quicker. This makes sense, because the complete version of POSTs is not really needed every time you power up your PC.
Turning on Quick Boot is pretty easy:
Update your BIOS
Just like any other software, BIOS needs updating. And just like any other vendor, your motherboard manufacturer should issue regular updates and bug fixes, as well as improve compatibility with new devices. BIOS updates can significantly decrease your PCs boot time and increase its overall performance.
BIOS updates are available for download through your PC/motherboard’s manufacturer website. But before downloading you’ll need to find out which BIOS version your computer is running. To do that, simply type msinfo32 in the Search box in Windows 7/Vista, or in the Run box in Windows XP and hit Enter.
Now that you know your BIOS version, go to your PC’s manufacturer’s website and check whether there is an update available. Most manufacturers sort updates by PC lines and models.
Be very careful and make sure that you download the right BIOS update file that is intended for your particular model. Installing a BIOS that is not intended for your model will most likely wreck your computer and make it unbootable. Most BIOS updates will warn you if you try to install them on hardware that doesn’t match, but it’s best to be careful in the first place.
Once you’ve found the right BIOS update, download it along with any supporting documentation and Read Me files.
IMPORTANT: it’s absolutely essential to read the update instructions in the Read Me documentation. Updating the BIOS incorrectly can ruin your computer.
Most PC manufacturers make updating BIOS fairly easy – all you need to do is download the update, quit all open applications, and run the .exe file. Let the update handle everything and then reboot your computer. Make sure you are not running off battery during the BIOS update, as you will not be able to boot up if the update gets interrupted. This doesn’t sound too hard, does it?
However, if you have an older computer, you might need to create a bootable drive and update the BIOS manually. Some systems will allow you to simply download an app that will configure a bootable USB drive or a blank CD/DVD to update your BIOS. Other systems are not that user-friendly and will require you to copy some files to your bootable drive, restart your PC, and enter the BIOS during startup. You will then need to change the boot order so that your system launches the update instead of booting your operating system from the hard drive. You’ll need to consult the BIOS update documentation for more specific instructions.
We’ve covered other important BIOS optimization techniques in our ebook “Turbo Windows – the Ultimate PC Speed Up Guide”. Download it for FREE now!
How to Configure the BIOS Using the BIOS Setup Utility
The BIOS Setup Utility contains both read-only information and settings that can be customized. Use this procedure to access the BIOS Setup Utility and customize settings.
Before You Begin
Enter the BIOS Setup Utility by pressing the F2 key while the system is performing the power-on self-test (POST).
Tip – Watch the screen for the prompt to press F2.
The main BIOS Setup menu screen appears.
Use the left and right arrow keys to select the main menu screens.
Use the up and down arrows, on the keyboard, to select an item within a screen.
Navigate to the item to be modified.
Fields that can be configured or that provide access to a sublevel appear highlighted. All other fields are read only.
Press Enter to select the item.
A sublevel or a dialog box with the available option fields appears.
For example, to save the changes that you made, highlight the Save Changes and Exit option and press Enter.
When you exit the BIOS Setup Utility, the server boots. If you’ve made changes to BIOS settings, those changes are valid with the system boot.
The BIOS is the firmware responsible for booting up your PC. Before the operating system is loaded and takes over the computer, the BIOS checks and initializes all your hardware and bootstraps the boot process.
The BIOS interface allows you to tweak your machine’s hardware outside the operating system. Overclockers spend a lot of time in the BIOS adjusting voltage and CPU frequency multipliers. Even if you’re not an overclocker, significant system fixes often require BIOS access.
Note: throughout this guide, the term “BIOS” will be used to refer to both BIOS and UEFI.
Common BIOS Settings Explained
To enter the BIOS, wait until your computer beeps during boot, then press the key required to enter the BIOS or Setup, typically displayed on the BIOS boot screen (e.g. Delete, F2, F10).
CPU Frequency Settings
If you have an unlocked processor (e.g. Intel’s “K” series), these settings can change the frequency of the CPU and adjust the voltage received by the CPU. The balance between heat, voltage, frequency, and stability often requires frequent visits to the BIOS to coax the most power out of a given chip.
Apart from the CPU base clock and clock multiplier, other CPU-specific options like SpeedStep and C-States are typically adjusted here.
Adjusting memory timings can eke out slightly more performance from RAM. Faster RAM means faster processing, though the difference is often measured in units of time that are imperceptible to most humans. Memory timings are complex, and you’ll need to read up on them before diving in.
By default, the BIOS boot order is likely disk drive, then hard drives. If your PC only has one hard drive, you likely won’t need to touch this setting. If you’re dual-booting or need to boot from a USB stick, you’ll need to manually select the device in the BIOS’ boot order section.
In this screen you can often adjust other boot options, like Fast Boot, trusted platform module (TPM) settings, and keyboard settings.
These settings control how devices that connect to your motherboard operate.
SATA connects hard drives, solid state drives, and disk drives to your motherboard. By default, SATA can detect what kind of device is connected to each SATA port and optimize the connection based on that information. Here, users can manually tweak port assignments and management systems to ensure the best results.
While most operating systems now fully support USB 3.0, that was not always the case. As such, there are a number of settings on most newer motherboards for managing USB 3.0 settings. Here, you can also adjust support for legacy BIOS USB support if older devices require it. Individual chips handling USB ports and other peripheral connection ports can also be enabled or disabled in these settings.
If you have multiple GPUs on your machine, the display settings can prioritize the correct GPU. If you have a graphics card mounted in a PCI slot, you’ll typically want the BIOS to use that graphics card for the boot process. Options typically include “IGFX” for on-processor internal graphics and “PCI” for PCI-mounted graphics cards.
The power states of your computer are handled by the motherboard, and that decides which devices get power and how much they get. Things like hibernation and suspension are handled in the power management settings, providing specific options for what happens under different circumstances. This is most important in laptops, where battery power means that detailed power management settings can be necessary.
These options adjust the behavior of the computer’s power button. Options normally include instant shut down, delayed shut down, and sleep modes.
If you want your PC to wake from sleep when it receives a packet from the local area network (LAN), Wake-on-LAN settings allow for that. On unsupported operating systems, this can also cause boot loops, so it’s often best to turn it off unless you know you need the functionality.
These options may or may not appear in your BIOS, depending on your system configuration, but they’re frequently present on higher-end consumer motherboards.
Some processors offer hardware support for virtualization. If your processor offers this feature, you’ll typically need to enable it manually before any virtualization software like VirtualBox will run properly. On Intel motherboards, virtualization settings may be called “VT-d.” The equivalent for AMD motherboards is called “AMD-V.”
If your PC has system fans with adjustable speeds, the motherboard may allow you to adjust the fan’s speed. Depending on the sophistication of the system, you may tweak fan curves in a graphical interface or select text-based presets.
The universal maxim of PC troubleshooting applies here as well: if you don’t know what something is, Google the on-screen text. You’ll often find a clear explanation at the end of that road.
Alexander Fox is a tech and science writer based in Philadelphia, PA with one cat, three Macs and more USB cables than he could ever use.
Your computer’s BIOS is the first thing that loads when you start your computer. It initializes your hardware before booting an operating system from your hard drive or another device. Many low-level system settings are only available in your BIOS.
Modern computers predominantly ship with UEFI firmware, which is the successor to the traditional BIOS. But UEFI firmware and the BIOS are fairly similar. We’ve even seen modern PCs refer to their UEFI firmware settings screen as the “BIOS”.
BIOS and UEFI Explained
BIOS stands for “Basic Input/Output System”, and is a type of firmware stored on a chip on your motherboard. When you start your computer, the computers boots the BIOS, which configures your hardware before handing off to a boot device (usually your hard drive).
UEFI stands for “Unified Extensible Firmware Interface”. It’s the successor to the traditional BIOS. UEFI offers support for boot volumes over 2 TB in size, support for more than four partitions on a drive, faster booting, and enables more modern features. For example, only systems with UEFI firmware support Secure Boot to secure the boot process against rootkits.
Whether your computer has a BIOS or UEFI firmware doesn’t matter much in most situations. Both are low-level software that starts when you boot your PC and sets things up. Both offer interfaces you can access to change a variety of system settings. For example, you can modify your boot order, tweak overclocking options, lock down your computer with a boot password, enable virtualization hardware support, and tweak other low-level features.
How to Access Your BIOS or UEFI Firmware Settings
There’s a different process for accessing the BIOS or UEFI firmware settings screen on each PC. Either way, you’ll have to restart your PC.
To access your BIOS, you’ll need to press a key during the boot-up process. This key is often displayed during the boot process with a message “Press F2 to access BIOS”, “Press to enter setup”, or something similar. Common keys you may need to press include Delete, F1, F2, and Escape.
Some PCs with UEFI firmware also require you to press one of these keys during the boot-up process to access the UEFI firmware settings screen. To find the exact key you need to press, consult your PC’s manual. If you built your own PC, consult your motherboard’s manual.
PCs that shipped with Windows 8 or 10 may require you access the UEFI settings screen via Windows 8 or 10’s boot options menu. To access it, hold down the Shift key as you click the “Restart” option to restart your computer.
The computer will reboot into a special boot options menu. Select Troubleshoot > Advanced Options > UEFI Firmware Settings to access the UEFI firmware settings screen.
How to Change BIOS or UEFI Firmware Settings
The actual BIOS or UEFI settings screen looks different on different PC models. PCs with a BIOS will have a text-mode interface you can navigate with your arrow keys, using the Enter key to select options. You’ll see the keys you can use spelled out at the bottom of the screen.
Some modern UEFI PCs have graphical interfaces you can navigate with a mouse and keyboard, but many PCs continue to use text-mode interfaces, even with UEFI.
Whatever the screen looks like, you can use your keyboard or mouse to navigate through it. But be careful in your BIOS or UEFI settings screen! You should only change settings if you know what they do. It’s possible to make your system unstable or even cause hardware damage by changing certain settings, especially ones related to overclocking.
Some settings are less dangerous than others. Changing your boot order is less risky, but you can even run into trouble there. If you change your boot order and remove your hard drive from the list of boot devices, your computer won’t boot Windows (or whatever other operating system you have installed) until you fix your boot order.
Poke around and find whatever setting your looking for. Even if you know what you’re looking for, it’ll be in a different place on different computer’s settings screens. You’ll generally see help information displayed somewhere on your screen, providing more information about what each option actually does.
For example, the option to enable Intel’s VT-x virtualization technology is often somewhere under a “Chipset” menu, but it’s on the “System Configuration” pane in the screenshot below. The option is named “Virtualization Technology” on this PC, but is often named “Intel Virtualization Technology,” “Intel VT-x,” “Virtualization Extensions,” or “Vanderpool” instead.
If you can’t find the option you’re looking for in your BIOS, consult the manual or help website for your PC. If you built the PC yourself, look at the manual or help website for your motherboard.
When you’re done, select the “Save Changes” option to save your changes and restart your computer. You can also select a “Discard Changes” option to restart your PC without saving any of the changes you made.
If you have a problem after making a change, you can return to your BIOS or UEFI firmware settings screen and use an option named something like “Reset to Default Settings” or “Load Setup Defaults”. This option reset your computer’s BIOS or UEFI settings to their defaults, undoing all your changes.
In the previous list, you saw that the BIOS checks the CMOS Setup for custom settings. Here’s what you do to change those settings.
To enter the CMOS Setup, you must press a certain key or combination of keys during the initial startup sequence. Most systems use “Esc,” “Del,” “F1,” “F2,” “Ctrl-Esc” or “Ctrl-Alt-Esc” to enter setup. There is usually a line of text at the bottom of the display that tells you “Press ___ to Enter Setup.”
Once you have entered setup, you will see a set of text screens with a number of options. Some of these are standard, while others vary according to the BIOS manufacturer. Common options include:
- System Time/Date – Set the system time and date
- Boot Sequence – The order that BIOS will try to load the operating system
- Plug and Play – A standard for auto-detecting connected devices; should be set to “Yes” if your computer and operating system both support it
- Mouse/Keyboard – “Enable Num Lock,” “Enable the Keyboard,” “Auto-Detect Mouse”.
- Drive Configuration – Configure hard drives, CD-ROM and floppy drives
- Memory – Direct the BIOS to shadow to a specific memory address
- Security – Set a password for accessing the computer
- Power Management – Select whether to use power management, as well as set the amount of time for standby and suspend
- Exit – Save your changes, discard your changes or restore default settings
Be very careful when making changes to setup. Incorrect settings may keep your computer from booting. When you are finished with your changes, you should choose “Save Changes” and exit. The BIOS will then restart your computer so that the new settings take effect.
The BIOS uses CMOS technology to save any changes made to the computer’s settings. With this technology, a small lithium or Ni-Cad battery can supply enough power to keep the data for years. In fact, some of the newer chips have a 10-year, tiny lithium battery built right into the CMOS chip!