Inside the BIOS you can change basic computer settings, like the boot order, system time and date, or which hardware components are enabled; that’s why the BIOS is also referred to as ‘Setup’. Entering the BIOS just takes a simple key stroke at the right moment while the system is booting. To save you the guesswork, we have compiled the different ways you can enter the BIOS.
As mentioned above, entering the BIOS is pretty simple. Unless your computer came with UEFI, e.g. on a new Windows 8 laptop, you just need to boot your computer, wait for the right moment, and hit the right key. Easy. These instructions, however, raise two questions: What exactly is the right moment and how can you find out the right key?
If you have a Windows 8 device with UEFI, scroll down for instructions.
What Is the Right Moment to Enter the BIOS?
The right moment is sometime between powering on the computer and before the operating system is launching. The window is so narrow because the BIOS essentially only initializes your hardware, before handing over to the boot loader, which boots the operating system. Once the operating system is starting up, often indicated by the display of the respective logo, you missed the moment.
You might see a message that indicates the right moment. It most likely says something like “Press <DEL> to Enter Setup“, meaning it also reveals which key to press.
In the absence of such a message, the right moment generally is when manufacturer logos are displayed, prior to the booting of the operating system. And the easiest way to not miss the time when you can enter the BIOS, is to press the right key even before you power on the computer and hold it until the BIOS comes up. If that doesn’t work, you’re not pressing the right key or something is broken.
This leaves you with the second question:
What Is the Right Key to Enter Setup?
As you already gathered, it depends on your hardware. More specifically, it depends on the motherboard, as this is where the BIOS is located.
Common keys to enter the BIOS are F1, F2, F10, DEL, ESC, as well as key combinations like CTRL + ALT + ESC or CTRL + ALT + DEL, although those are more common on older machines. Also note that a key like F10 might actually launch something else, like the boot menu. The exact key or key combination depends on your computer manufacturer and model.
You can proceed with trial and error until you find the right key, press multiple different keys at once and get lucky or consult the list below.
The most common keys to enter Setup on Acer hardware are F2 and Delete.
On older computers, try F1 or the key combination CTRL+ALT+ESC.
If your computer features an ACER BIOS, you can restore the BIOS to bootable settings by pressing and holding the F10 key. Once you hear two beeps, settings have been restored.
As with Acer, the most common key is F2.
Depending on your model, it might also be the Delete or Insert key, and less commonly F10.
On a newer Dell computer, try the F2 key while you see the Dell logo.
Alternatively, try F1, Delete, F12, or even F3.
Older models might use CTRL+ALT+ENTER or Delete or Fn+ESC or Fn+F1.
Keys most commonly used on HP machines to enter setup include F10 and ESC.
On some HP computers F1, F2, F6, or F11 will open the gates to the BIOS.
On HP Tablet PCs F10 or F12 will get you into the Setup.
HP has compiled information on its BIOS here.
The F1 or F2 key should get you into the BIOS.
Older hardware might require the key combination CTRL+ALT+F3 or CTRL+ALT+INS or Fn+F1.
If you have a ThinkPad, consult this Lenovo resource: how to access the BIOS on a ThinkPad.
On a Sony VAIO, F2 or F3 will get you into the Setup, but you can also try F1.
If your VAIO has an ASSIST key, try to press and hold it while you power on the laptop. This also works if your Sony VAIO came with Windows 8.
Your best bet is the F2 key.
Other candidates include F1 and ESC.
On the Toshiba Equium F12 will enter the BIOS.
Toshiba also has more detailed instructions on how to access the BIOS.
Unfortunately, there is very little consistency. Neither do computer manufacturers always use the same motherboard manufacturer, nor do motherboard manufacturers consistently define the same key for entering the BIOS. If you want a definite answer on which keys to press to enter Setup, you have to search for the exact model of your computer’s motherboard.
How Do I Enter Setup If My Windows 8 Computer Came With UEFI?
We have previously dedicated an entire article on how to access the BIOS in Windows 8, which provides some. Briefly, open the Charms bar, for example by pressing the key combination Win+C, click the Settings icon, and select Change PC settings in the bottom right. Within PC Settings, navigate to the General tab and and click Restart now under the Advanced startup header.
In Windows 8.1, the steps are slightly different. Within PC Settings navigate to the Update and Recovery tab, then go to Recovery, and finally click Restart now under Advanced startup.
Alternatively, hold the Shift key while you click Restart in the Shut Down menu.
The computer will restart into boot options, which include the UEFI BIOS. From the Choose an option screen select Troubleshoot and from Advanced options screen select UEFI Firmware Settings.
How Do You Enter Your BIOS?
Can you enter the BIOS using a standard key or did you identify a weird key combination or method to enter Setup? Have you ever reset your BIOS?