On Computers, the Basic Input Output System (BIOS) is an essential low-level software that sits on one of the chips of the motherboard, and it's responsible for basic operations, such as booting and configuring hardware (mouse, keyboard, memory, processor, etc.). The Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) is a modern software designed to replace the legacy BIOS with additional benefits, such as improved security, faster boot times, large capacity hard drive support, and more.
Although these are different technologies, modern devices now use UEFI, but to avoid confusion, sometimes you'll continue to hear the term "BIOS" to refer to "UEFI."
If you use a Windows 10 device, usually, the firmware works automatically. However, sometimes you may still need to enter the motherboard BIOS to troubleshoot problems, enable or disable features (such as virtualization, RAID array, and secure boot), adjust memory and processor advanced settings, and more.
The only caveat is that the BIOS is a startup environment, which means that you can't access it when Windows 10 is running. However, if you have to change some system settings, there are multiple methods to access the motherboard firmware.
In this Windows 10 guide, we'll walk you through the steps to enter the BIOS/UEFI on your computer to change advanced system settings.
How to access UEFI (BIOS) using Settings
To enter the UEFI firmware from Windows 10, use these steps:
Warning: Changing the wrong firmware settings can prevent your computer from starting correctly. You should only access the motherboard firmware when you have an excellent reason. It's assumed that you know what you're doing.
- Open Settings.
- Click on Update & Security.
- Click on Recovery.
- Under the "Advanced startup" section, click the Restart now button.
- Click on Troubleshoot.
- Click on Advanced options.
- Click the UEFI Firmware settings option.
- Click the Restart button.
Once you complete the steps, the device will restart and boot into the UEFI firmware allowing you to change advanced settings, such as to disable or enable secure boot, change boot order, set up a hardware RAID array, enable virtualization, and other settings depending on the motherboard support.
How to access UEFI (BIOS) using boot key option
If you don't have access to the Windows 10 desktop or you're using a device with a legacy BIOS, then you can still access the firmware during boot.
To enter the UEFI or legacy BIOS during boot, use these steps:
- Press the Power button.
- See the screen splash to identify the key you must press to enter the firmware (if applicable).
- Press the required key repeatedly until you enter the setup mode. Usually, you need to press the ESC, Delete, or one of the Function keys (F1, F2, F10, etc.).
After you complete the steps, the device will access the BIOS or UEFI firmware, depending on the motherboard support. If you don't see the information on the screen or the device boots too fast, restart the device again, and as soon as the boot starts, press the required key multiple times quickly.
If you can't make the computer to access the firmware using the keyboard, you may need to check your device manufacturer to find out the key that you need to press during boot.
Here are some computer brands and their respective keys to access the motherboard firmware:
- Dell: F2 or F12.
- HP: ESC or F10.
- Acer: F2 or Delete.
- ASUS: F2 or Delete.
- Lenovo: F1 or F2.
- MSI: Delete.
- Toshiba: F2.
- Samsung: F2.
- Surface: Press and hold volume up button.
In the case that your device is using a UEFI firmware, and you can't seem to access it during startup, then it's recommended to use the Settings option from within Windows 10.
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Mauro Huculak is technical writer for WindowsCentral.com. His primary focus is to write comprehensive how-tos to help users get the most out of Windows 10 and its many related technologies. He has an IT background with professional certifications from Microsoft, Cisco, and CompTIA, and he's a recognized member of the Microsoft MVP community.
Dell: F2 or F12.
HP: ESC or F10.
Acer: F2 or Delete.
ASUS: F2 or Delete.
Lenovo: F1 or F2.
Surface: Press and hold volume up button. why don't we have still a standard???
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