How to Enter BIOS

Enter the BIOS setup utility to change BIOS settings

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What to Know

  • You may need to enter BIOS to install new hardware or enable or disable features built in to your computer.
  • To do this, restart your computer and look for the "setup" or "BIOS" message telling 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.

Person using BIOS on their computer
Derek Abella / Lifewire
  1. Restart your computer, or turn it on if it's already off.

  2. 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
  3. 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:

  4. 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.

  • How do I reset the BIOS?

    The easiest way to reset the BIOS is to reset it to factory default. The wording may be different depending on your BIOS manufacturer but should be worded something similar to factory default, reset BIOS, clear BIOS, and more.

  • How do I flash my BIOS?

    The process to update will vary depending on your motherboard's manufacturer. After you've backed up your data, go to the manufacturer's website and download the installer. Follow the instructions they have provided.

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