Why You Should Set a BIOS Password (And How)
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With security breaches and unauthorized access of computers being common today, you can never have too much security on your system. We’ve shown how to make sure your new PC is secure, and every new setup should include properly locking down the system.

One way that might not seem obvious but is a great way to protect your computer is to set a password for the BIOS. This basic firmware runs right off your PC’s motherboard before you ever get into Windows.

You might want to lock the BIOS to prevent unauthorized access (so someone can’t get in and screw with settings, such as changing the boot order), or you could even set a password so that someone can’t boot into an operating system without knowing the password.

Getting into the BIOS is different for every machine; when you first turn on your system (before you get into Windows), look for text that says Press X to enter BIOS or Press X for system configuration or something similar. Usually, the button to press is Delete, Escape, Enter, or one of the F keys.

Once in the BIOS, look for a Security or Password header and select it using the arrow keys and Enter. Typically, you’ll see two password entries — the supervisor password protects the BIOS from being edited, and the user password must be entered before booting from any device.

Some devices might only have one option that acts as both password, so check to see what your system supports. Make sure to save the settings using the corresponding on-screen key, and exit (usually with the Escape key).

Interested in going further with security? Check out our universal guide to PC security.

Image Credit: safriibrahim via Shutterstock.com

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  1. Anonymous
    July 28, 2016 at 4:02 pm

    Most modern PCs will let you boot off a DVD or USB drive - which is one easy way to access your files - with or without your BIOS password.

    If you bother to set a BIOS password at all, then I highly recommend that you also disable booting up from DVD/USB. This setting is also within the BIOS menu -- and can be reenabled at any subsequent bootup -- if needed -- by entering your BIOS password. Much safer.

    Of course, BIOS password can still be reset, but this takes work, esp. with laptops.

    • Ben Stegner
      July 28, 2016 at 11:00 pm

      Great extra advice, thank you!