How to Change the BIOS When Adding a PCI Sound Card


Some computers have a sound card built into the computer's motherboard--this is called an "on-board" sound card. If your computer has an on-board sound card, the BIOS of the computer may be set up to recognize that sound card as the default. When you install a new PCI sound card, you may need to change the BIOS settings to disable the default on-board sound card before your computer can recognize the new one.

  • Reboot your computer and look for a message that indicates which key to press to start the BIOS setup. "F2" or "Esc" are common, but each BIOS is different.

  • Press this key repeatedly until you enter the BIOS setup screen. You only have a little time to do this before Windows boots. If you see the Windows startup screen, reboot your computer and try again.

  • Review the on-screen instructions for navigating the BIOS menus. You won't be able to use your mouse. You will have to use arrow keys on your keyboard.

  • Navigate through the BIOS to find "Audio Options" or a similar setting. Each BIOS will be different and yours may call this by a different name.

  • Look for "Onboard Audio Options" or something similar. This will be enabled by default.

  • Follow the on-screen instructions in the BIOS screen to disable the option. This usually can be done by using the arrow keys to navigate to the option, then pressing an indicated button to switch from "enabled" to "disabled."

  • Follow the on-screen instructions to save your BIOS settings and exit. Windows will now start up with the on-board sound card disabled.

Tips & Warnings

  • Be careful not to change any settings that you are unsure of in the computer's BIOS menus.

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