To enter the BIOS, you usually press a specific key at the right time. Learn how to enter the BIOS in Windows 10.
There are many paths to the BIOS. By pressing a simple button at the right time, you can access the BIOS when the system starts. If you have a newer Windows computer, perhaps one with a UEFI BIOS, you can enter the BIOS more easily.
To save your guesswork, we’ve compiled all the different ways you can enter BIOS in Windows 10, Windows 8, and earlier versions.
In the BIOS, you can change many basic computer settings, such as the boot sequence, system date and time, or enabled hardware components. This is why BIOS (basic input / output system) is also called “setup”.
How to Get Into the UEFI BIOS
Modern computers just start too fast. Therefore, newer versions of Windows provide an easier way to access the BIOS, but you must start Windows first.
How to Enter the BIOS on Windows 10
Go to Settings (Windows + I) > Update & Security > Recovery and under Advanced startup click Restart now. Note that this will actually restart your computer.
When you restart using advanced startup, you’ll first get to choose your boot options. On the screen that comes up, go to Troubleshoot > Advanced options > UEFI Firmware Settings and click Restart, which will boot straight into your UEFI BIOS from Windows 10.
How to Enter the BIOS on Windows 8 or 8.1
We have previously published an entire article on how to access the BIOS in Windows 8.
To summarize: Open the Charms bar by pressing the key combination Windows + C, click the Settings icon, and select Change PC settings in the bottom right. Within PC Settings, navigate to the General tab and click Restart now under the Advanced startup header.
In Windows 8.1, the steps are slightly different. Within PC Settings, navigate to the Update and Recovery tab, then go to Recovery, and finally click Restart now under Advanced startup.
Alternatively, hold the Shift key while you click Restart in the Shut Down menu.
The computer will restart into boot options, which include the UEFI BIOS. Like on Windows 10, go to Troubleshoot > Advanced options > UEFI Firmware Settings and click Restart to boot into your BIOS.
How to Access the BIOS on an Older PC
If you are still using Windows 7 or an earlier version of Windows, you have to use the traditional way of entering the BIOS, which is to wait for the right moment and press the correct key.
What Is the Right Moment to Enter the BIOS?
The correct time is some time before the computer turns on and the operating system starts. The window is so narrow because the BIOS basically initializes your hardware before handing it over to the bootloader, and the bootloader boots the operating system. Once the operating system starts, it is usually indicated by showing the corresponding sign that this moment has been missed.
You may see a message indicating the correct time. It is likely to say something like “press <DEL> to enter settings”, which means it also shows which key to press.
In the absence of such messages, the appropriate time is usually when you see the manufacturer’s logo before starting the operating system.
The easiest way is not to miss the moment when you can enter the BIOS, which is to press the right button and hold it until the BIOS appears before turning on the computer. If this does not work, you did not press the correct key or something is broken.
What Is the Right Key to Enter Setup?
As you have collected, it depends on your hardware. More specifically, it depends on the motherboard where the BIOS is located.
The commonly used keys to enter the BIOS are F1, F2, F10, Delete, Esc, and Ctrl+Alt+Esc or Ctrl+Alt+Delete, although they are more common on older machines. Also note that keys like F10 can actually launch other things, such as the boot menu. Of course, the exact key or key combination depends on the brand and model of your computer.
You can continue trial and error until you find the right key, press several different keys at the same time and get lucky, or you can refer to the list below.
Acer BIOS Keys
The most common keys to enter Setup on Acer hardware are F2 and Delete.
On older computers, try F1 or the key combination Ctrl + Alt + Esc.
If your computer features an ACER BIOS, you can restore the BIOS to bootable settings by pressing and holding the F10 key. Once you hear two beeps, settings have been restored.
ASRock BIOS Keys
Is your computer running on an ASRock motherboard? You’ll know because you can’t miss the logo popping up on your boot screen. In this case, try F2 or Delete to enter the BIOS.
Asus BIOS Keys
As with Acer, the most common key is F2.
Depending on your model, it might also be the Delete or Insert key, and less commonly, F10.
Dell BIOS Keys
On a newer Dell computer, try the F2 key while you see the Dell logo.
Alternatively, try F1, Delete, F12, or even F3.
Older models might use Ctrl + Alt + Enter or Delete or Fn + Esc or Fn + F1.
HP BIOS Keys
Keys most commonly used on HP machines to enter setup include F10 and Esc.
On some HP computers, F1, F2, F6, or F11 will open the gates to the BIOS.
On HP Tablet PCs F10 or F12 will get you into the BIOS.
HP has compiled information on its BIOS here.
Lenovo BIOS Keys
On a Lenovo desktop computer, the F1 key should get you into the BIOS. On their laptops, try F2 or Fn + F2.
Older hardware might require the key combination Ctrl + Alt + F3 or Ctrl + Alt + Insert key or Fn + F1.
If you have a ThinkPad, consult this Lenovo resource: how to access the BIOS on a ThinkPad.
Microsoft Surface Tablets
You can connect a keyboard to Surface, but you can still enter the BIOS without a keyboard. The trick is to press and hold the volume up button while pressing and releasing the power button. When you see the Windows logo, you can release the volume up button. This should enter the UEFI BIOS.
MSI BIOS Keys
If you know that your computer is using an MSI motherboard, then the key to trigger the BIOS most likely is the Delete key. You might even notice a message saying, “Press Del to enter SETUP.”
On some MSI motherboard models, the key to access the BIOS will be F2.
Samsung BIOS Key
Press the F2 key as soon as the Samsung logo appears.
Sony BIOS Keys
On a Sony VAIO, F2 or F3 will get you into the BIOS, but you can also try F1.
If your VAIO has an ASSIST key, try to press and hold it while powering on the laptop. This also works if your Sony VAIO came with Windows 8.
Toshiba BIOS Keys
Your best bet is the F2 key.
Other candidates include F1 and Esc.
On the Toshiba Equium, F12 will enter the BIOS.
Toshiba also has more detailed instructions on how to access the BIOS.
Unfortunately, there is almost no consistency.
Computer manufacturers do not always use the same motherboard manufacturer, and motherboard manufacturers do not consistently define the same key to enter BIOS. If you want to determine which key to press to enter setup, you need to find the exact model of your computer’s motherboard.
Did You Manage to Enter Your BIOS?
If none of the above keys work, the problem may be with your keyboard or the keyboard driver was missing before the computer started. Try another keyboard and/or port. For example, if you have been using a USB keyboard, but your PC also has a PS/2 port, try using a PS/2 keyboard.
Once you can access the BIOS, you may need to reset the BIOS to default settings.