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Among the many changes coming with Windows 8 What's Missing From Windows 8? What's Missing From Windows 8? Windows 8 has seen the removal of many features that have been key to Windows over the years, including the Start button, Start menu, and Windows Aero. We tend to focus on the new features... Read More and new computers designed for it is a change in the way we access our computers’ BIOS. No longer do we press a certain key during the boot process to reveal the BIOS – instead, an option to access the BIOS is located in Windows 8’s boot options menu.

Traditionally, computers displayed a message like “Press F2 to enter setup” at the beginning of the boot process. Pressing this key entered the computer’s BIOS. However, Windows 8 hardware uses the UEFI replacement for the traditional BIOS, like Macs do. Some solid-state drive How Do Solid-State Drives Work? [MakeUseOf Explains] How Do Solid-State Drives Work? [MakeUseOf Explains] Over the past few decades, there has been a considerable amount of work in the field of computer hardware. While computer technology is constantly improving and evolving, rarely do we experience moments where we simply... Read More -equipped Windows 8 PCs boot so fast that you’d only have a 200 millisecond (that’s 0.2 seconds) window of opportunity to press the key combination.

Windows 8 Hardware vs. Old Computers With Windows 8

Note that this new method only applies if you purchased a new computer with Windows 8 preinstalled What We Know So Far About The Windows 8 "Surface" Tablet What We Know So Far About The Windows 8 "Surface" Tablet In Los Angeles on Monday, Microsoft pulled a surprise out of the bag in their Windows 8 strategy - a Microsoft manufactured and branded tablet, called the Surface. It's a sleek device to rival the... Read More – these will use UEFI. However, if you’ve installed Windows 8 on an existing computer that uses the legacy BIOS system, you’ll access the BIOS in the same way as always by pressing the key that appears during your boot process.

This key is often F2 or Delete, but it can also be other keys. The exact key depends on your computer – if you don’t see the appropriate key displayed on your screen during the boot-up process, consult your computer’s manual.

how to access bios

Accessing Boot Options

There are several ways to access Windows 8’s boot options menu. The easiest one to find is in the PC Settings application. Press Windows key + C A Handy Keyboard Shortcuts List for the Upcoming Microsoft Windows 8 A Handy Keyboard Shortcuts List for the Upcoming Microsoft Windows 8 Not having to reach for your mouse to do the most routine task is one huge benefit I enjoy every day. That's because I've memorized my list of Windows 7 keyboard shortcuts, and I use... Read More to reveal the Charms bar, click Settings, and select Change PC settings to access it.

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access bios

In the PC Settings application, select the General category and click the Restart now button under Advanced startup. Your computer will restart and you’ll enter the Windows 8’s boot options menu, where you can access the UEFI BIOS and change other settings.

access bios

You can also hold Shift while clicking Restart in the Shut Down menu How To Shut Down Windows 8 How To Shut Down Windows 8 Windows 8 brings the biggest changes to the familiar Windows interface since Windows 95. The Shut Down option isn’t where you’d expect to find it – in fact, the entire classic Start menu and Start... Read More to restart your computer into the boot options menu.

This is a quick way to restart into the boot options menu, as you can access the Shut Down button from the Charms anywhere on your system.

access bios

Command-line geeks will be happy to know they can run a special shutdown.exe command 3 Ways To Speed Up The Windows 7 Shutdown Process 3 Ways To Speed Up The Windows 7 Shutdown Process One of the key improvements of Windows 7 is its lightning fast start-up. However, one thing which is not so fast is the shutdown process. If you also happen to be looking for ways to... Read More in a Command Prompt window to restart their computer directly into the boot options menu.

Here’s the command you need to use:

Shutdown.exe /r /o

windows 8 bios

Accessing UEFI BIOS

The boot options menu has been designed to integrate some commonly used options that people went into the BIOS for. For example, if you want to boot your computer off a USB drive, DVD or CD, or another device, you can click the Use a device tile in the boot options menu and select the device you want to boot from.

If you’re just here to access your computer’s UEFI BIOS, click the Troubleshoot tile.

windows 8 bios

This will reveal an Advanced Options screen with a variety of tools – the UEFI Firmware Settings tile will take you to your computer’s BIOS. (On UEFI, which stands for “Unified Extensible Firmware Interface”, the firmware settings menu is equivalent to a traditional PC’s BIOS.)

how to access bios

If you don’t see the UEFI Firmware Settings tile here, your computer doesn’t use UEFI. You’ll need to access the BIOS in the traditional way, by pressing a specific key during the boot-up process. See the first section above for more information.

If there’s an error booting Windows, you won’t be locked out of the BIOS — the boot options screen will appear when you start your computer. From here, you can repair Windows or enter your BIOS.

Why the Change?

While this may be slightly inconvenient, as there’s no way to access the BIOS in normal use without booting into Windows first, it’s surely necessary. Microsoft’s blog post about this on the Building Windows 8 blog describes how this new system came to be. With the increased boot speed, some systems had a less than 200 millisecond window of opportunity to press a key. Even the best key-tappers at Microsoft could only press a key once every 250ms — to access the BIOS, frantic tapping, luck, and several compuer reboots were all necessary.

This also brings some much-needed consistency to Windows 8 computers — they’ll all have a consistent way of accessing the BIOS. Currently, different computers use different keys at start-up.

While Windows 8 may have some questionable design decisions 6 Ways Microsoft Is Killing The Traditional Desktop In Windows 8 [Opinion] 6 Ways Microsoft Is Killing The Traditional Desktop In Windows 8 [Opinion] The traditional desktop is still around in Windows 8, and it’s probably the best Windows desktop yet (aside from not having a Start menu.) But Microsoft is setting it up for the kill. The writing... Read More that some people will dislike, this shouldn’t be one of them. The new method of accessing the BIOS is necessary and well-implemented.

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