Entering BIOS

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Desktop

What keystroke is needed to enter BIOS ?

This depends on the system. Generally, the keys used are the function keys (F1 - F12) or ESC or DELETE. Often POST will display the proper keystroke on the screen, but you might have to have a quick eye to catch it.

Here are likely some keystrokes to try (according to various sources on the Web). (These have not been verified.)

  • ALR PCs (PCI systems) -- F2
  • ALR PCs (non PCI systems) -- CTRL-ALT-ESC
  • AMI BIOS -- DELETE during bootup
  • AST -- CTRL-ALT-ESC
  • AWARD BIOS -- DELETE or CTRL-ALT-ESC Anytime
  • Compaq -- F1 or F10
  • Dell -- DELETE or CTRL-ALT-ENTER, newer dells use F2 for BIOS and F12 for pick your boot media
  • DTK BIOS -- ESC during bootup
  • eMachines -- Tab
  • Gateway -- F1 or F2
  • HP pavilion -- Hold F1. (tapping might not work)
  • IBM PS/1 -- F1
  • IBM PS/2 BIOS -- INSERT, CTRL-ALT-?, or CTRL-ALT-INSERT after CTRL-ALT-DELETE
  • IBM -- F1, CTRL-ALT-INSERT, or reference disk
  • NEC -- F1, F2, or F10
  • Olivetti -- CTRL-ALT-Shift with DELETE (on number pad)
  • Phoenix BIOS -- F1, F2, CTRL-S, CTRL-ALT-S, or CTRL-ALT-ESC
  • Sony PC -- F3 at Logo then F1
  • Tandon -- CTRL-Shift-ESC, or CTRL-ALT-ESC
  • Toshiba -- ESC, or F1
  • Zenith PCs, Phoenix BIOS -- CTRL-ALT-INS

Other keystrokes to try for various types of computers):

  • CTRL-ALT-+
  • CTRL-ESC

When you can't figure out the keystroke

You can also google a term like "Gateway bios key" to find pages that might tell you. (It might help to include the computer's model number.) Pages from the manufacturer's web site are the most likely to be accurate.

Some computers will prompt you with the option of entering the BIOS on the first boot after a hardware change. Changing the amount of memory may do this, for example. Disconnecting the hard drive cable from the motherboard is another very useful tactic.

Occasionally you will find a password protected BIOS. In these cases, removing the battery for a minute or two may reset BIOS into a default state, bypassing the password. In the rare cases where there is a default password, these are often available via a google search.

Rare problems

In ubuntu systems, if the keyboard and mouse are switched, they will still work in the GUI, but the keyboard will not work to enter BIOS

Laptop

Enterprise

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