Your PC’s BIOS (Basic Input Output System) is responsible for controlling the basic functions of the computer. It holds the time and date, along with configuration settings such as the boot order and the speeds at which the processor and memory run. It also determines whether certain components are enabled or disabled, such as USB ports and the on-board audio processor.

See also: How to set up a new PC

A common reason to enter the BIOS is to change the boot order. Perhaps you’ve installed a new hard drive, or need to boot from a CD or USB flash drive. You’ll need to alter the list which determines in what order devices are tried to see if they contain bootable software.

How to enter the BIOS

1. Press your PC’s power button and wait until you see an image appear on the monitor. Press the appropriate key repeatedly. Common keys are Delete and F1, but some systems use F2, F5 or F12. Bear in mind that some wireless keyboards may not work before Windows loads, so use a wired keyboard if possible.

Delete key

2. If you don’t know which key to press, look for a message on screen during the POST (Power-on Self-Test) which tells you. If you miss the message, simply press Ctrl-Alt-Delete together to restart it, or hold the power button down until it turns off.


3. Once in the BIOS, you can use the cursor keys to navigate through the menus. There’s usually a guide somewhere on the screen showing which keys to press to make changes, save settings and exit the BIOS. Esc or F10 are commonly used keys for exiting.

BIOS boot order

4. Once you’ve made your changes, make sure you save the settings before exiting the BIOS. You should see a prompt, such as ‘Save changes before exiting: y/n?’ Hit the appropriate key and your PC should restart.

 BIOS Exit and Restart