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What key do I press to enter the BIOS at startup?

Answer: Most Windows PCs allow you access the BIOS settings before the boot sequence completes. The good news is all you have to do is press and hold down a specific key on your keyboard. The bad news is that there is no standard key and it differs depending on the manufacturer of your computer.

While there is no universal key used to access the BIOS, below are some of the most common ones:

  1. F2
  2. F1
  3. Esc
  4. Delete

Immediately after starting or restarting your computer, you can try holding down one of the above keys to bring up the BIOS screen during the startup process. If you prefer to avoid the trial and error method, look closely at the startup screen for a message that says, "Press the [key] to enter Setup." Some systems will display the specific key you need to hold down. You also can check your computer's manual or the manufacturer's website for the specific key used to access the BIOS.

If holding the key does not work, you can try rapidly tapping the key while the startup screen is displayed. You can also hold down the space bar during the startup process. This should halt the boot sequence and display the "Enter BIOS" key.

Important: Computers that ship with Windows 8 may not use a traditional BIOS. Instead, newer machines used something called UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface), which replaces the BIOS. You can access the UEFI settings by going to Settings → PC Settings → General, then select Restart now under the Advanced startup option. When the computer restarts, the Advanced startup screen will appear. Click "Troubleshoot," then click the "UEFI Firmware Settings" option on the next screen to view and edit the UEFI settings.

Published: March 13, 2013 — by Per Christensson

Answer from the PC Help Center