How to enter the BIOS on each computer

PC BIOS access The BIOS (Basic Input / Output System) is the first program that is started when a PC is turned on and, among other things, contains instructions for recognizing the computer’s hardware peripherals and instructions for starting or booting the computer ( such as hard disk, floppy and optical disk drive).

The BIOS may also contain some advanced settings to allow the user to optimize the performance of the computer, such as CPU clock speedsalthough it is absolutely not advisable to touch this type of parameter if you are not really an expert.

The BIOS has evolved to the point that it can integrate some operating system boot files and offer additional security when installing new hardware: the evolution is called UEFIwhich we will discuss later in order to grasp all the differences.

In this guide we will show you how to get into the BIOS of all major motherboard brands and laptop manufacturersso you can immediately tinker with this special menu.

READ ALSO -> What is the BIOS for and what does it do in a computer?

1) Differences between BIOS and UEFI

BIOS and UEFI work in a very similar way, but with UEFI we have some innovations that allow you to optimally manage the PC boot functions: we can get a faster start, overclock more precisely (on gaming motherboards for example) and also obtain a higher level of security, thanks to Secure Boot (which protect some drivers and Windows startup files directly at the hardware level).

In addition to these innovations, UEFI also integrates support for the mouse and cursor, so that it can be managed in a more practical way than the old BIOS (which only required the use of the keyboard). All motherboards manufactured after 2015 should have UEFI or a variant of it installed, while older PCs or notebooks may still have BIOS as a boot system. The access commands are identical, so we can use them whatever the system in use.

2) Commonly used commands to enter BIOS or UEFI

Enter the BIOS of a machine is not always a trivial operation for the simple fact that each brand of PC uses a different key combination to start that mode. Generally speaking, to access the BIOS setup screen, the user must press one or a combination of keys quickly and consecutively after pressing the power key on the computer, until the BIOS or UEFI screen appears.

There is no need to hold down the keys, we just have to press them continuously in order to obtain the desired effect. The key most used to enter the BIOS or UEFI is the Delete key o OF (on some PCs); so let’s try to press this key repeatedly during start-up, before the Windows logo appears.

On other PCs or notebooks the key used to enter the BIOS or UEFI is F2present in the upper part of the keyboard: let’s try to press it repeatedly immediately after starting to access the required screen.

3) Log in to UEFI from the Windows console

If our computer has Windows 10 or Windows 11 as an operating system we can start the PC and immediately enter the BIOS without going through the pressure of a key at startup (which is sometimes too fast to read the key press correctly).

To access the UEFI we can use the advanced boot console in Windows 11 taking us on the path Settings -> System -> Reset (on Windows 10 the path is Settings -> Update & Security -> Reset) and pressing on Advanced startup; in this way we will access the Windows advanced menu and we will be able to access the UEFI by taking us to the path Troubleshooting -> Advanced Options -> UEFI Firmware Settings.
Firmware UEFI We will then be able to access UEFI firmware without pressing any keys or any strange combination at startup. This item is not present on all PCs and on all Windows Advanced Consoles.

4) Complete list of commands to enter BIOS or UEFI

Since there are numerous manufacturers of notebooks, motherboards and desktop computers, we have decided to give you a hand by collecting list all methods and keys to press to enter BIOS or UEFI.

  • AMI, Award BIOS: to press [Del o Canc] during startup;
  • Acer: Press F2 or Del or on Aspire, press the Fn + F2 keys together;
  • ASUS: Press F2 or Del or DEL, rarely also F10;
  • AST Advantage, AwardBIOS: To press [Ctrl] + [Alt] + [Esc] during startup;
  • Compaq: to press [F10] when the cursor flashes at the top right of the screen or when the Compaq logo appears;
  • Dell: Press F2 or F12; alternatively Canc or Del;
  • HP : Press F2 or F10;
  • Lenovo ThinkPad: press and hold [F1] or press Enter first and then F1;
  • Lenovo: press the F1 key;
  • Lenovo laptops: F2 o Fn + F2;
  • Phoenix: To press [Ctrl] + [Alt] + [S] during startup;
  • Sony VAIO: To press [F2] during startup;
  • Samsung: press the F2 key;
  • Toshiba: Press the button [Esc] during startup or the F2 key;
  • Toshiba, Phoenix: to press [F1] during startup;
  • Zenith, Phoenix: To press [Ctrl] + [Alt] + [Ins] during startup;
  • HUAWEI: on laptops the key to press is F2;
  • Chromebook: sui Chromebook the key combination to press at startup is CTRL + ALT + F2.

Other possible key combinations to access the BIOS or UEFI can be:

  • [Ctrl] + [Esc]
  • [Ctrl] + [Alt]
  • [Ctrl] + [Alt ]+[+]
  • [Ctrl] + [Alt] + [S]
  • [Ctrl] + [Alt] + [Invio]
  • [Ctrl] + [Alt] + [Ins]
  • [Ctrl] + [Alt] + [Esc]

If we have created a custom PC with a new generation motherboard, the commands to try are as follows:

  • ASRock (motherboards): to press [F2]
  • ASUS (motherboards): press F2 or Del
  • EVGA (motherboards): to press [Canc]
  • GIGABYTE (motherboards): Press the button [Canc]
  • Intel (motherboards): to press [F2]
  • MSI (motherboards): to press [Canc]
  • SAPPHIRE (motherboards): to press [Canc]
  • Zotac: to press [Canc]

Let’s go through this list and use the right key to enter the BIOS or UEFI.

Conclusions

Most of the time we will need to enter the BIOS or UEFI for change the boot order of the computer, so as to be able to set the USB key or optical disc as a peripheral to start a new installation of Windows or Linux. We will hardly ever have to get our hands on the BIOS, unless we want to unlock some special functions (such as the virtualization) or do overclock of the PC.

We remind you that it is possible protect your computer with BIOS or UEFI passwordto add extra protection to formatting or switching boot resources.

To learn more we can read our guides on how access UEFI and how it changes from the BIOS and how boot the computer from USB.

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