Guide to access BIOS on computer models such as HP, Dell, Acer, Lenovo

Every time you press the power button on your computer, BIOS becomes the first component to start, loading the operating system and all personal computer settings.

Regardless of whether you need to update the BIOS or check for system errors, the PC user needs to know how to enter the BIOS. To access the BIOS on a Windows computer, you simply need to press the correct key set by the manufacturer. The most popular BIOS access keys today are F10, F2, F12, F1, or DEL.

However, before pressing any key or changing any settings, we will tell you everything you need to know about BIOS and how to access it on your laptop or desktop computer.

What is BIOS?

BIOS (short for Basic Input ->Output System) is a place that contains many groups of commands stored on the microchip firmware of the motherboard to help manage the basic functions of the computer.
  • BIOS is typically integrated into your computer as a motherboard. It works as a catalyst for the functional operations of the computer.

Every time you turn on your computer, the BIOS initiates a process called Power-On Self Test (POST), which determines whether the connected devices are functioning correctly and in the right position.

If all connected devices are in order, the computer boot process will continue in normal mode and will take you to the loading screen in a few seconds. If BIOS detects any problems, an error screen will appear or a series of beeps will sound, indicating that a problem has occurred.

New developments in BIOS technology

BIOS software has existed in computers since the 1980s and has made many leaps in efficiency and improvement. However, with the rapid development of technology, BIOS has become outdated and has posed certain obstacles for modern technologies.

Newer computers are capable of working with several terabytes of memory, so this becomes too complex for weak BIOS software. It is limited to a 16-bit processor mode and boot disks of 2.1 TB or less, while newer computers are often equipped with disks of 3 TB or more.

UEFI was born out of necessity, it helps make booting more powerful. The new BIOS standard eliminates limitations that the old BIOS system couldn’t solve. UEFI (or Unified Extended Firmware Interface Forum) can work in 32-bit or 64-bit modes and theoretically work with disks up to 9.4 zettabytes.

UEFI is not just a replacement for BIOS, but also functions as a mini-operating system that runs on PC firmware.
Essentially, regardless of whether your computer supports BIOS or UEFI, it is software that helps increase boot time through corresponding processing functions. Access to BIOS allows for regular technical maintenance of the computer to keep it in working condition.
Main functions of BIOS

Now that we have a basic understanding of what BIOS is, let’s delve into what BIOS actually does for a computer. The main functions of BIOS are divided into 4 main parts:

POST

As mentioned above, POST stands for Power-On Self Test – a self-check during power-on. POST checks the computer’s hardware and verifies that there are no failures or errors in the operating system.
  • POST checks everything on the computer, including the keyboard, disk drive, computer’s RAM speed, and even the built-in ports. If everything is in order, POST will continue as usual and allow the computer to boot up.
  • If an error occurs in the BIOS, it will display an error message, which can be in the form of a text display or a series of error beep codes. These beep codes always indicate a specific notification, so if you receive a notification in the form of a beep code, check its value to determine the error your computer has.

CMOS Settings

The computer will store all low-level settings, such as system time and hardware configuration, in its CMOS. This means that any changes you make to the BIOS structure are saved on this special memory chip called CMOS (complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor).

Initial loader

Bootstrap Loader is a program located in the EPROM or ROM of a computer, which is responsible for reading the computer’s hard disk boot area so that the computer operates properly during the process of booting the full operating system.

During computer reboot, Bootstrap Loader initiates POST and then loads Windows 10 into memory. Newer computers have replaced this Bootstrap loader with EFI or Extensible Firmware Interface.

BIOS Driver

BIOS drivers are multiple programs stored in various memory chips of a computer. These low-level drivers are used to start your system and provide guidance on basic control operations on the computer.

How to access BIOS on Windows 10

If you have encountered a computer error or need to change the CPU hardware for a recently updated processor, you will need to access your computer’s BIOS.
Laptops and computers with Windows 10 offer two methods through which you can easily access, check, and update your device’s BIOS. Let’s try to explore both methods!

Method 1. Use keyboard combinations.

On modern new computers, the POST process will happen very quickly, and if you don’t act fast, you will end up on the Windows loading screen. So, quickly press the shortcut to enter the BIOS immediately after turning on the device.

Different computer brands assign different key combinations for accessing the BIOS, but HP laptops often use the F10 or ESC key. DEL and F2 are common key combinations for accessing the BIOS on PCs, but if you are unsure which hotkey to use, you can refer to the following list.

  • Acer: F2 or DEL
  • ASUS: F2 for any PC, F2 or DEL for motherboards
  • Dell: F2 or F12
  • HP: ESC or F10
  • Lenovo: F2 or Fn + F2
  • Lenovo (PC): F1
  • Lenovo (ThinkPads): Enter + F1.
  • MSI: DEL for motherboards and PCs
  • Microsoft Surface Tablet: press and hold the volume up button.
  • Regular PC: F2
  • Samsung: F2
  • Sony: F1, F2 or F3
  • Toshiba: F2

Some manufacturers require repeated pressing of the hot key, while others require pressing a button different from the hot key. To obtain the most accurate information, refer to the PC user manual or the manufacturer’s website.

Method 2. Use the Windows 10 “Start” menu

As computers become more advanced, the boot process also happens faster. If you often miss the “golden time” to enter the BIOS during startup, there is a setting in Windows 10 that allows you to easily open it.

Step 1: Access Windows settings: go to the “Start” menu > “Settings” on the left panel. You can also quickly access it by using the Windows key + I shortcut.

Step 2: In the settings window, scroll and find the Update & Security button.
Step 3: Select Recovery.
Step 4: Click Restart now.
In the “Advanced startup” section, you will see the “Restart now” button, which allows you to restart your computer for configuration or recovery purposes.

After rebooting the computer, you will see a special menu that offers the options “Use device”, “Continue”, “Turn off the computer”, or “Troubleshoot”.
Step 5: select Troubleshoot.
In this window, select Additional options, and then select UEFI Firmware Settings. This will allow you to access the BIOS on your Windows 10 PC.
Step 6: Confirm the restart.
If your computer is running Windows 8/8.1, the above method will also work.
  • List of BIOS access keys by device model
  • SONY VAIO Laptop.
  • To enter BIOS when restarting the computer, press and hold the F2 key.
  • To enter Recovery when restarting the computer, press and hold the F10 key.

Laptop HP – COMPAQ.

  • On some HP models, you may need to press the ESC – Escape button to enter the BIOS.
  • To enter the BIOS when restarting the computer, on some computers you need to press and hold the F10 or F2, F6 keys.
  • To enter Recovery when restarting the computer, you need to press and hold the F11 key.
  • To enter BOOT when restarting the computer, you need to press and hold the F9 key.

On some HP models, you may need to press the ESC – Escape button to enter the BIOS.

  • To enter the BIOS when restarting the computer, you need to press and hold the F10 or F2, F6 keys on some computers.
  • To enter Recovery when restarting the computer, press and hold the F11 key.
  • To enter BOOT when restarting the computer, press and hold the F9 key.

Laptops ASUS

  • To enter BIOS when restarting the computer, you need to press and hold the ESC key. On some laptops, you need to press and hold F2, then press the power button, continue holding F2 until the BIOS screen appears.
  • To enter BOOT when restarting the computer, you need to press and hold the F2 key.

Laptop LENOVO THINKPAD.

  • To enter the BIOS when restarting the computer, you need to press and hold the F1 or F2 key.
  • To enter Recovery when restarting the computer, you need to press and hold the Think key.
  • To enter BOOT when restarting the computer, you need to press and hold the F12 key.

Notebook DELL

  • To enter BIOS when restarting the computer, you need to press and hold the F2 key.
  • To enter Recovery during computer restart, you need to press and hold the F8 key and select Repair your Computer.
  • To enter BOOT when restarting the computer, you need to press and hold the F12 key.

Laptop Alienware

  • To enter the BIOS when restarting the computer, you need to press and hold the F2 key.

Laptop Razer

  • To enter BIOS when restarting the computer, you need to press and hold the F1 or DEL key.

List of BIOS access keys by motherboard.

  • To access the motherboard settings – press the DEL key
  • Acer motherboard – press the F2 or DEL key. On older computers, you can press F1 or Ctrl + Alt + Esc
  • ACube system board – press the F2 or DEL key.
  • AMAX system board – Press the F2 or DEL key.
  • AOpen motherboard – Press the F2 or DEL key.
  • ASRock motherboard – Press the F2 key.
  • ASUS motherboard – press the DEL, Print or F10 key.
  • Biostar motherboard – press the DEL key.
  • BFG motherboard – press DEL.
  • Motherboard chassis diagrams – press the F2 or DEL key.
  • FREESCALE motherboard – press DEL.
  • DFI motherboard – press DEL.
  • ECS Elitegroup motherboard – Press the DEL or F1 key.
  • EPoX motherboard – press F2 or DEL key.
  • EVGA motherboard – press Del key.
  • First international computer motherboard – press F2 or DEL key.
  • Fujitsu motherboard – press F12 (or F11) key to enter the boot menu, then press Tab key to navigate to the program menu, and then select BIOS settings.
  • Foxconn motherboard – press Del.
  • GIGABYTE motherboard – Press the Del key.
  • Gumstix motherboard – Press F2 or DEL key.
  • Intel motherboard – press the F2 key.
  • JetWay board – press the DEL key.
  • Mainboard Lanner Inc – Press F2 or DEL key.
  • Leatek board – press F2 or DEL key.
  • Mainboard Lite-On – press F2 or DEL key.
  • Speed of Mah motherboard – Press the DEL key.
  • MSI (Micro-Star) motherboard – press the DEL key.
  • NZXT motherboard – Press the F2 or DEL key.
  • PCChip motherboard – press the DEL or F1 key.
  • PNY motherboard – Press the F2 or DEL key.
  • Powercolor motherboard – Press the F2 or DEL key.
  • SAPPHIRE motherboard – Press the DEL key.
  • Shuttle Mainboard – press the Del or Ctrl + Alt + Esc key.
  • Press the F2 or DEL key to enter the BIOS on the Simmtronics motherboard.
  • Press the DEL key to enter the BIOS on the Soyo motherboard.
  • Press the DEL key to enter the BIOS on the Super Micro motherboard.
  • Press the DEL or F4 key to enter the BIOS on the TYAN motherboard.
  • Press the F2 or DEL key to enter the BIOS on the VIA motherboard.
  • Press the F2 or DEL key to enter the BIOS on the Vigor Gaming motherboard.
  • Press the DEL key to enter the BIOS on the XFX motherboard.
  • Press the DEL key to enter the BIOS on the ZOTAC motherboard.
Unable to access BIOS, what should I do?
If you still can’t access the BIOS on your computer because the boot process is too fast or you suspect that your computer’s hardware has been attacked by a virus, you still need to access the BIOS as quickly as possible.
Try the following 2 troubleshooting methods to access the BIOS of your computer.

Turn off fast startup

If your computer starts up so quickly that you don’t know when to press the BIOS hotkey, slow down the boot time by disabling the fast startup feature. To do this, follow these steps.

Go to the “Power Options” section in the control panel.

  1. On the left side, click on the “Choose what the power button does” button.
  2. Click on “Change settings that are currently unavailable” above the “Power button and lid settings” section.
  3. Remove the checkmark in the “Turn on fast startup” section.
  4. Restart your computer and try clicking on the icon to access the BIOS again.

2. Use emergency boot disk.

If the computer refuses to enter the BIOS or displays a “blue screen of death”, you may encounter a more serious boot error. To access the BIOS in this case, use an emergency boot disk to restore the computer via a USB drive.

After booting the computer with USB Boot, perform the following actions:
  • Press Repair your computer.
  • Press Troubleshoot.
  • Press Install UEFI Firmware.
  • Select Restart.

If your computer is still not working, you may need to find a nearby computer repair expert to help you resolve issues with your computer.

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