How to get into your computer's BIOS
This is part of the Reinstall and Reformat XP FAQ.
The BIOS (or basic input/output system) is system software inside your computer that helps the computer start before Windows does. It also contains key settings about the computer has on board.
In newer computers it exists on a special chip called CMOS (complementary metal oxide semiconductor).
You can get into the BIOS to edit or change the technical information about key components of the computer like disk drives, keyboards and display settings. It also keeps track of the date and time.
And it contains the boot up sequence.
Normally computers are configured to boot from a floppy disk first then the hard drive. On newer computers it's the hard drive that boots first, as floppy disks are fairly obsolete.
Sometimes you will need to boot from a CD. If so, you will have to change the boot order. This can be done by entering the BIOS settings and making the change.
Before you do anything to your BIOS, it's always a good idea to record the settings on a sheet of paper that can be kept in a safe place.
The BIOS can normally be accessed when you start your computer. You may see a reference to "setup" when you turn your computer on. That's your opportunity to get into the BIOS. It usually requires the push of a function key, such as F10, to get access to it. That "F" key varies between computers. Sometimes it's the ESC key or DEL key.
If a logo screen - like HP or DELL - is displayed during the start up process instead, then you may want to check with your computer maker for a command to turn off that screen and display the start up information, which is listed when a computer is powered on.
Here is a list of key sequences for various brand name computers. If yours is not there check with your manufacturer or watch for info flashed on-screen when your computer first starts. It may say "For setup hit ..." That's the info on how to get into the BIOS on your machine.
Acer: - Ctrl+Alt+Esc
ALR PC: (F2) or (Ctrl)(Alt)Esc)
AMI BIOS: (Del), (F1) or (F2)
AST, Advantage, Award, Tandon: - Ctrl + Alt + Esc
Award BIOS: (Del) or (Ctrl)(Alt)(Esc)
Compaq: (F10) (do this when the cursor is in the upper right corner of the screen blinking)
Dell: - F1 or Del.
Dell: - Some require pressing reset twice
Dell: - Ctrl + Alt + Enter
DTK BIOS: (Esc)
Gateway 2000: - F1
Hewlett Packard: - F1
- Older Models - In order to get into the configuration of the IBM setup screen (CMOS) screen you need to hold down both mouse buttons during bootup.
- Aptiva - Press F1
- IBM PS/2: (Ctrl)(Alt)(Ins) after (Ctrl)(Alt)(Del)
- IBM PS/2 with reference partition: - Press Ins during boot
- Some PS/2s, such as 75 and 90: - Ctrl Alt ?
- Some PS/2s when pointer at top right of screen: - Ctrl + Ins
NEC: - F2
Packard Bell: - F1 or F2
Phoenix BIOS: (F1), (F2), or (Ctrl)(Alt)(Esc)
Phoenix BIOS: - Ctrl Alt S
Phoenix BIOS: - Ctrl S
Phoenix BIOS: - Ctrl Alt Ins
Sharp Laptop 9020: - F2
Sony: (F3) while you are starting the PC, then (F2) or (F1)
Tandon computers: - Hold down the key after turning on power
Tandon: - Ctrl + Shift + Esc
Toshiba Laptops: - Toshiba Utility
Toshiba: - Press Esc during boot
Toshiba, Phoenix, late model PS/1 Value Point and 330s: - Press F1 during boot
Olivetti PC Pro: - Shift Ctrl Alt + Num Pad Del
Miscellaneous PC's: - Ctrl + Esc or Ctrl and Alt and +
Zenith: - Ctrl Alt Ins