How to get to the bios: How to Access BIOS Setup and Its Features on Different Computers

How to Access BIOS Setup and Its Features on Different Computers

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Last updated on
Jun 1, 2023

BIOS stands for Basic Input/Output System, and it is a firmware that controls the boot process and the communication between the hardware and the operating system of your computer. BIOS also allows you to customize various settings, such as the boot order, the system time and date, the CPU voltage and frequency, and the security options. In this article, you will learn how to access BIOS setup on different types of computers and what features and functions you can find there.

    Why access BIOS setup?

    You may need to access BIOS setup for various reasons, such as troubleshooting, upgrading, or optimizing your computer. For example, you may want to change the boot order if you want to boot from a different device, such as a USB flash drive or a DVD. You may also want to enable or disable certain features, such as virtualization, secure boot, or legacy mode. Additionally, you may want to adjust the performance and power settings of your CPU, RAM, or fan. However, you should be careful when changing BIOS settings, as some of them may affect the stability and functionality of your computer.

      How to access BIOS setup on Windows computers?

      The method of accessing BIOS setup on Windows computers may vary depending on the manufacturer, model, and version of your computer. However, a common way to enter BIOS setup is to press a specific key or a combination of keys during the startup process, before the Windows logo appears. The key or keys may differ depending on your computer, but some of the most common ones are F1, F2, F10, F12, Del, or Esc. You may also see a message on the screen that tells you which key to press to enter BIOS setup. Alternatively, you can access BIOS setup from Windows 10 by going to Settings > Update & Security > Recovery > Advanced startup > Restart now > Troubleshoot > Advanced options > UEFI Firmware Settings > Restart.

        How to access BIOS setup on Mac computers?

        Unlike Windows computers, Mac computers do not have a BIOS, but a similar firmware called EFI (Extensible Firmware Interface). To access EFI setup on Mac computers, you need to press and hold the Option key while turning on or restarting your computer. This will bring up the Startup Manager, which allows you to choose which device to boot from. You can also access other EFI settings by pressing and holding other keys during startup, such as C for booting from a CD or DVD, N for booting from a network server, or D for running diagnostics.

          How to access BIOS setup on Linux computers?

          The method of accessing BIOS setup on Linux computers is similar to that of Windows computers, as you need to press a specific key or a combination of keys during the startup process. However, the key or keys may vary depending on the distribution, the hardware, and the bootloader of your Linux computer. Some of the most common keys are F2, F10, F12, Del, or Esc, but you may also need to press other keys, such as Tab, Shift, or Ctrl. You may also see a message on the screen that tells you which key to press to enter BIOS setup. Alternatively, you can access BIOS setup from some Linux distributions by using commands or tools, such as grub-reboot, efibootmgr, or systemd-boot.

            What are the main features and functions of BIOS setup?

            The features and functions of BIOS setup may vary depending on the computer manufacturer, model, and version. The Main category typically displays basic information about the system, such as the time and date, the BIOS version, the processor type and speed, and the memory size and speed. You can also set a password to protect your BIOS settings from unauthorized changes. The Boot category allows you to change the boot order and priority of your devices, as well as enable or disable features such as fast boot, secure boot, or legacy mode. The Advanced category provides more control over the configuration and performance of your hardware components, such as the CPU, the chipset, the memory, the graphics card, the fan, and the peripherals. You can also enable or disable features such as virtualization or hyper-threading. The Security category allows you to set various security options for your computer and manage your trusted platform module (TPM). Finally, in the Exit category you can save or discard your changes and exit BIOS setup or load default settings or restore previous settings if needed.

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              How to Enter BIOS Setup on Windows PCs

              In an age where our technology gets smarter and smarter by the month, we often overlook the integral machinery that makes our computers so intuitive.

              Each and every time you press your PC’s power button, the BIOS is the first operation to load your operating system and all of the personal settings that make your computer your own.

              Whether you need to update your BIOS or sweep it clean of systematic bugs, knowing how to enter BIOS is essential for PC users. In order to access BIOS on a Windows PC, you must press your BIOS key set by your manufacturer which could be F10, F2, F12, F1, or DEL.

              If your PC goes through its power on self-test startup too quickly, you can also enter BIOS through Windows 10’s advanced start menu recovery settings.

              One thing PC users love most about Windows is how many options you can configure directly within your selected system.

              Even before your computer has completed a full startup, you can venture into your BIOS software to modify the boot order, enable hardware components, or change the system time and date.

              Depending on your computer’s age, entering BIOS may require a few more keystrokes on older PCs than newer ones.

              Before pressing any keys or modifying any settings, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about your PC’s BIOS and how to enter BIOS on your laptop or desktop PC.

              What is BIOS?

              As your PC’s most important startup program, BIOS, or Basic Input/Output System, is the built-in core processor software responsible for booting up your system.

              Typically embedded into your computer as a motherboard chip, the BIOS functions as a catalyst for PC functionality action.

              Programmed on an erasable, programmable, read-only memory (EPROM) chip, BIOS is stored on this memory chip which retains data when the power source is switched off. When the PC is powered back on, BIOS retrieves that same stored data.

              The BIOS system is also responsible for managing data flow between your computer’s operating system and any attached devices including a hard drive, keyboard, video adapter, printer, or mouse.

              Each time you power your PC on, BIOS runs through a process called Power-On Self Test, or POST, that determines whether your attached devices are operating correctly and are in their proper place.

              Once all attachments are allocated and given the OK, your computer startup continues as usual and takes you to your load screen in a matter of seconds.

              If BIOS detects any problems, an error screen will appear or a series of beep codes will sound, effectively indicating to you that something has gone wrong.

              New developments in BIOS technology

              BIOS software has existed within computers since the 1980s and has made plenty of leaps and strides when it comes to efficiency and improvement. However, with the rapid speed of technological evolution, BIOS has become outdated and presents a number of roadblocks for today’s tech.

              Newer PCs capable of handling several terabytes of storage prove to be too complex for weaker BIOS software. Limited to 16-bit processor modes and booting drives of 2.1TB or less, newer computers are usually equipped with 3TB drives or more.

              Thus, the UEFI was born out of necessity for higher-powered booting. The new standard of BIOS accommodates the limitations the old BIOS system couldn’t work around. UEFI, or Unified Extended Firmware Interface Forum, can run in 32-bit or 64-bit modes and theoretically handle drives up to 9.4 zettabytes.

              Not only is UEFI a BIOS replacement, but it also functions as a mini operating system that runs on top of your PC’s integrated firmware.

              In essence, whether your computer is powered on by BIOS or UEFI, it is this software that you count on for fast boot times and proper processing functionality. Being able to access your PC’s BIOS allows you to perform regular maintenance for healthy computer upkeep.

              What are the basic functions of BIOS?

              Now that you understand what BIOS is, let’s dive into what it really does for your desktops, laptops, and tablets. BIOS’s functionality can be broken down into four key responsibilities.

              1. POST

              As we mentioned before, POST is an acronym for the Power-On Self Test that your PC runs through the moment you turn it on. POST tests the hardware of your PC and ensures that there is nothing out of order and no errors present with your operating system.

              POST goes through everything from your keyboard and disk drive to your RAM speed in a computer and integrated ports. Should everything be in order, POST will continue as usual and allow your PC to boot normally.

              If there is a detected error, BIOS will issue an error message that may come in the form of displayed text or a series of error-indicating beeps.

              These beeps are always signals to certain messages, so if you happen to get this result, you will need to check out what it means for your computer’s hardware [1].

              2. CMOS setup

              Your PC stores all low-level settings like system time and hardware configuration within its CMOS.

              This means that every change you make to your BIOS structure is saved on this special memory chip called the Complementary Metal-Oxide Semiconductor, or CMOS. The CMOS setup is responsible for setting your password, time, and date.

              3. Bootstrap loader

              The program that lives within your computer’s EPROM or ROM, the bootstrap loader is tasked with reading your PC’s hard drive boot sector to move along the complete operating system load.

              When you restart your PC, the bootstrap loader activates the POST, then loads Windows 10 into memory. Newer PCs have replaced the bootstrap loader with an EFI, or Extensible Firmware Interface.

              4. BIOS drivers

              BIOS drivers are the many programs stored in your computer’s many memory chips. These low-level drivers are used to boot your system and prompt basic operational controls on your PC.

              How to enter BIOS in Windows 10

              When you’ve run into an annoying computer bug or need to modify CPU hardware for a newly upgraded processor, you will need access to your computer BIOS.

              Laptops with Windows 10 and PCs make accessing, checking, and updating your BIOS a breeze by offering two easy methods to achieve the results you’re aiming for. Let’s break down both methods.

              Method #1: Use hotkey during boot-up

              It may be too quick for you to have ever noticed, but your PC goes through a rapid POST process to get your startup screen loaded up as fast as it can. It is also within this tightly timed window that you can access your BIOS by clicking your PC’s designated hotkey.

              Unfortunately, different PC brands were all on different pages when designating a definitive BIOS key. HP laptops generally use F10 or the escape key.

              DEL and F2 tend to be the most popular hotkeys for PCs, but if you’re unsure of what your brand’s hotkey is, this list of common BIOS keys by brand may help.

              • 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

              Pressing your assigned BIOS hotkey while your computer boots up should retrieve the BIOS setup utility screen you’re looking for.

              For example, on an HP Pavilion, HP EliteBook, HP Stream, HP OMEN, HP ENVY and more, pressing the F10 key just as your PC status comes up will lead you to the BIOS setup screen.

              Some manufacturers require repeated hotkey presses, and some require another button to be pressed in addition to the hotkey. To best equip yourself with the most accurate information, check with your PC’s user manual or the manufacturer’s website.

              Method #2: Use Windows 10’s start menu

              As computers have become more technologically advanced than ever, they boot up in seconds before our eyes. This leaves little room for pressing any hotkeys and can leave those looking to get into their BIOS settings puzzled.

              For PC users who aren’t able to catch that tiny window to use their hotkey, this method of entering BIOS can be completed through your computer settings.

              Step 1. Access your Windows settings

              Navigate to your Windows start menu and select “Settings” located on the left panel. You can also access your Windows setting by using Windows shortcut keys Windows + I.

              Step 2. Select “Update & security”

              Within this window, you may need to scroll down to find the “Update & security” button.

              Step 3. Select “Recovery»

              Step 4. Click “Restart now”

              Under “Advanced startup” you will see a “Restart now” button that allows you to reboot your PC for configuration or restoration.

              After your PC boots back up, you will be met with a special menu that gives you the option to “Use a device,” “Continue,” “Turn off your PC,” or “Troubleshoot.

              Step 5. Select “Troubleshoot”

              Within this window, select “Advanced options” then select “UEFI Firmware Settings.” This will allow you to enter BIOS on your Windows 10 PC.

              Step 6. Confirm your restart

              If your PC is running Windows 8.1 or Windows 8, these methods will also work for your older operating system.

              How to access Windows 7, Vista, and XP BIOS

              The same method of pressing your designated hotkey during boot-up should be able to gain you access into your BIOS. Be sure to press that button as soon as you see your manufacturer’s brand logo.

              Older operating systems tend to load more slowly, so your window of time to press your designated hotkey should be wide enough for prompt BIOS access. Follow this three-step method to enter BIOS on Windows 7 or later.

              Step 1. Turn off your computer

              On older operating systems, you can only access BIOS just before the Microsoft Windows logo appears on your computer screen.

              Step 2. Power your PC on

              Step 3. Press the BIOS hotkey

              The single keystroke or combination of pressed keys will open BIOS on your PC. Oftentimes your computer will indicate on the startup screen which key or keys need to be pressed in order to enter BIOS.

              I can’t access BIOS, what do I do?

              If you’re still struggling to figure out how to enter BIOS on your Windows 10 desktop computer, you may find yourself in somewhat of a pickle.

              Whether your startup is too fast or you suspect a virus has attacked your hardware, you need access into your BIOS as soon as possible. Fortunately, we’ve got what you need. Try these two troubleshooting methods to gain access into your BIOS.

              Troubleshoot method #1: Disable fast startup

              If your PC is powering on too quickly for you to know when to press your BIOS hotkey, your timing may be keeping you from accessing your PC’s BIOS.

              To slow down your boot time and open your window for hotkey pressing, you will need to disable fast startup. To do this:

              1. Locate “Power options” in your control panel

              2. Press “Choose what the power button does” in the left panel (you’ll note that the shutdown settings are all greyed out and unavailable for modification)

              3. Press “Change settings that are currently available” located above the power button and lid settings (this will allow you to uncheck or check boxes to modify your shutdown settings)

              4. Uncheck “Turn on fast startup”

              5. Try restarting your PC and entering BIOS with your hotkey again

              Troubleshoot method #2: Use an emergency boot disk

              In the case that your PC refuses to enter BIOS or gives you the dreaded blue screen of death, you could be faced with boot failure. In order to access BIOS, you can try utilizing an emergency boot disk to bring your PC back to life via USB drive.

              Once the USB drive boots up, you should be able to select a boot device at the startup.

              1. Click “Repair your computer” instead of the centered “Install now” button

              2. Click “Troubleshoot”

              3. Click “UEFI Firmware Settings”

              4. Click “Restart”

              If nothing works, you may need to resort to finding a computer repair specialist in your area to help solve your issues.

              [1] Indiana University; If your computer beeps and fails to boot

              About the Author

              Tulie Finley-Moise is a contributing writer for HP® Tech Takes. Tulie is a digital content creation specialist based in San Diego, California with a passion for the latest tech and digital media news.

              How to enter the BIOS on laptops and desktop PCs

              June 18, 2018



              Bookmark this. This list of keys will come in handy more than once.

              Modern BIOS versions look different, but they have the same task — the initial setup and check of the computer’s performance. You can also access them in the same ways. Even if you have a UEFI interface in front of you, which often differs not only in appearance, but also in mouse and Russian language support.

              UEFI interface /

              How to enter the BIOS when turning on a stationary PC

              To go to the BIOS menu on a desktop computer, press the Del key during boot, in rare cases — F2. Usually the desired key is indicated on the screen before information about the operating system is displayed. The message looks something like this: «Press F1 to continue, DEL to enter setup», «Press DEL to run setup», or «Please press DEL or F2 to enter UEFI BIOS settings».

              The indicated key must be pressed exactly at the moment of displaying such a message. For fidelity, you can press several times. But if you still don’t make it, wait until Windows starts up and restart your PC to try again.

              Try only one key each time you boot. You may simply not have time to check several options.

              How to enter the BIOS when the laptop is turned on

              Depending on the manufacturer, year of manufacture and series of the laptop, you can enter the BIOS in different ways. Various keys or even combinations are used, and there may not be any messages on the screen indicating the ones you need.

              It is better to check only one of the possible options at a time. If it does not work, wait until Windows starts, restart your PC and try another key or combination. You should not check several options at once, as you may simply not get into the right period of time.

              Asus laptops

              Most often, the F2 key is used to enter the BIOS when the laptop is turned on. Less common options are Del and F9.

              If that doesn’t work, turn off the laptop, hold Esc, and then press the power button. Do not release Esc until the Boot menu appears on the screen. In it, you need to go to Enter Setup and press Enter.

              Acer laptops

              Acer laptops most often use the F1 and F2 keys, as well as the Ctrl+Alt+Esc combination. Acer Aspire series may require Ctrl+F2. In the TravelMate and Extensa lines, you usually need to press F2 or Del to enter the BIOS. In older models of Acer laptops, the combinations Ctrl + Alt + Del and Ctrl + Alt + Esc may occur.

              Lenovo laptops

              To enter the BIOS on Lenovo laptops, you most often need to press the F2 key. On many ultrabooks and hybrid laptops, a number of F-keys can only be activated with Fn, which means that you will need to press Fn + F2. The F8 and Del keys are much less common.


              Many of the company’s laptops have a dedicated BIOS key on the side panel or next to the power button. You can click on it only when the laptop is turned off.

              HP laptops

              To enter the BIOS on HP laptops, you usually need to press the F10 or Esc key. But on older models, Del, F1, F11, or F8 may be required.

              Samsung laptops

              In Samsung devices, the most common way to enter the BIOS is to press F2, F8, F12, or Del. If you access the F-row only through the Fn button, you will need the appropriate combination: Fn + F2, Fn + F8 or Fn + F12.

              Sony Notebooks


              Vaio series models may have a dedicated ASSIST button. If you click on it while the laptop is booting, a menu will appear with the option to select Start BIOS Setup.

              Older laptops may use the F1, F2, F3, and Del keys.

              Dell laptops

              In the case of Dell laptops, the most common way to enter the BIOS is the F2 key. Slightly less common are F1, F10, Del, Esc and Insert.

              How to enter UEFI from Windows 8, 8.1 and Windows 10

              In recent versions of Windows on laptops with UEFI, you can enter the I / O subsystem even when the system is already booted. To do this, go to «Settings» and act depending on the version of the operating system.

              For Windows 8

              Change PC Settings → General → Advanced Boot Options → Restart Now → Diagnostics → Advanced Options → UEFI Firmware Settings → Restart.

              For Windows 8.1

              «Change PC Settings» → «Update and Recovery» → «Recovery» → «Advanced Boot Options» → «Restart Now» → «Diagnostics» → «Advanced Options» → «UEFI Firmware Settings» → «Reload».

              For Windows 10

              Update & Security → Recovery → Advanced Boot Options → Restart Now → Troubleshooting → Advanced Options → UEFI Firmware Settings → Restart .

              For Windows 10, there is an alternative way to navigate to UEFI from the login screen or the Start menu. In both cases, you need to click on the «Shutdown» icon and, while holding the Shift key, start the reboot. This action will open the special boot options section of the system.

              After that, you will need to follow the same steps as in the previous method. That is, you will need to go to the «Troubleshooting» item, select «Advanced Options» and «UEFI Firmware Settings», and then click «Restart».

              Read also 🧐

              • How to reset the BIOS and revive the computer
              • What to do if the computer does not turn on
              • How to put a password on the BIOS to protect the computer

              How to enter the BIOS? — i2HARD

              Which button to use?

              To enter, you must press the appropriate button after turning on the computer until the BIOS appears, or wait for the logo of the motherboard or computer manufacturer to appear.

              Common BIOS entry keys are F1, F2, F10, Delete, Esc, and key combinations such as Ctrl + Alt + Esc or Ctrl + Alt + Delete, although these are more common on older computers. Note that the F10 key may be used to launch another menu, such as the boot menu. The exact key or key combination depends on the motherboard manufacturer or computer model.

              You can use the empirical method and find the key by pressing several different ones at the same time in the hope that the BIOS will start or check out the list below.

              Acer BIOS buttons

              The most common keys to enter the Acer BIOS are F2 and Delete.

              On older computers, try F1 or Ctrl + Alt + Esc.

              If your computer is using ACER BIOS, it is possible to restore BIOS boot settings by pressing and holding the F10 key. If two beeps are heard when pressed, the settings are restored.

              ASRock BIOS Buttons

              How can I tell if my computer is based on an ASRock motherboard? Very simple. Just see the logo that appears on the loading screen. In this case, try F2 or Delete to enter the BIOS.

              BIOS buttons Asus

              As with Acer, the most common key is F2.

              Depending on the model, there may be a Delete or Insert key, extremely rarely — F10.

              BIOS buttons Dell

              On a newer Dell computer, try pressing the F2 key while you see the Dell logo.

              Alternatively, F1, Delete, F12 or even F3 is possible.

              Older models can use Ctrl + Alt + Enter, Delete, Fn + Esc, or Fn + F1.

              HP BIOS Buttons

              The keys most commonly used on HP computers to enter BIOS are F10 or Esc.

              On some HP computers, use the F1, F2, F6, or F11 keys to enter the BIOS.

              On HP Tablet PCs, press F10 or F12 to enter the BIOS.

              Lenovo BIOS buttons

              On a Lenovo PC, the F1 key should allow you to enter the BIOS. On laptops, try F2 or Fn + F2.

              Older hardware may require Ctrl + Alt + F3, Ctrl + Alt + Insert, or Fn + F1.

              If you are using a ThinkPad, you can refer to the instructions on the manufacturer’s website: Recommended ways to enter the BIOS (boot menu) — ThinkPad, ThinkCentre, ThinkStation.

              Microsoft Surface Tablets

              Connect a keyboard to a Surface tablet, and it is also possible to enter the BIOS without it. The trick is to press and hold the volume up button while pressing and holding the power button. You can press the volume up button when you see the Windows logo. This sequence of actions will allow you to enter the UEFI BIOS.

              MSI BIOS buttons

              If the computer uses an MSI motherboard, then in most cases the key to enter the BIOS is Delete. You can pay attention to the inscription: «Press Del to enter SETUP.».

              On some models of MSI motherboards, the key to enter the BIOS is F2.

              Samsung BIOS Buttons

              Press the F2 key as soon as the Samsung logo appears.

              BIOS Buttons Sony

              On a Sony VAIO, the F2 or F3 keys will help you enter the BIOS, but you can also try F1.