How to Access BIOS After Boot Up

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A PC's BIOS -- Basic Input Output System -- is one of it's most important but generally least-known components. It controls many of a PC's operations at the lowest hardware level, including functions such as memory timings, keyboard type and the sequence and types of hardware devices that will be checked to access the PC's boot-up instructions. Under normal circumstances, there should be no need to access the BIOS. In certain situations, however, it may become necessary.

  • Consult the user manual for your PC's motherboard for details of the BIOS which it uses. This should tell you which key to press to access the BIOS setup.

  • Switch on your PC and look on the boot-up screen, if your motherboard manual does not detail the BIOS setup key, or you cannot find the manual. This should detail both the BIOS manufacturer and the key to press to enter the BIOS. This is often shown at the top right or bottom left of the screen, and may be phrased as " Setup <key to press>," "Enter Setup <key to press>" or "Enter BIOS <key to press>."

  • Press the "Esc" key at the top left of your keyboard, if all you can see when you start-up is the PC manufacturer's, or the Windows, splash screen. You should then see a screen with details of the BIOS setup key to press.

  • Enter "BIOS setup key" and "your make and model of PC" as a search term in your preferred browser, if you still cannot find which key to use. This should provide a list of sites detailing the BIOS setup key for your PC make and model.

  • Power off your PC, leave for about 30 seconds, and then switch it back on.

  • Press the key you have identified in the foregoing steps. The BIOS setup screen will be displayed.

Tips & Warnings

  • You must press the relevant key as soon as you start the PC in step 6, since the time available to do so is very short.
  • Exercise extreme caution if you choose to alter any of the BIOS settings. Entering incorrect information into the BIOS can prevent the computer from starting up at all or make it inoperable. In these circumstances, the only remedy may be to fit a new BIOS chip or an entirely new motherboard.

References

  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images
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