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[ The PC Guide | Troubleshooting and Repair Guide | The Troubleshooting Expert | Troubleshooting Specific Components | Troubleshooting the Motherboard and System Devices | System BIOS ]

I can't figure out how to get into the BIOS setup program

Explanation: You need to get into the BIOS setup program to change some parameters, but don't know what key or keys must be pressed.

Diagnosis: On most modern systems, the key or key combination to press to enter the BIOS program is displayed on the screen when the system boots up, at the time when the BIOS is ready to enter Setup. Older systems often didn't specify the key(s) on the screen at boot time. Very old systems don't have a built-in setup program and one must be run from the floppy disk. Note that if your PC says to try a specific key combination and you try it, and it doesn't work, this could be due to a keyboard problem as well. Look for a keyboard error to come up on the screen.

Recommendation: Assuming that your PC is from about 1985 or later, it should have an integrated setup program (original XT computers used switches on the motherboard instead of a setup program.) Try the following key combinations, which I have listed approximately in order of popularity in today's system (there may be others as well):

  • {Delete} (modern Award and AMI BIOSes)
  • {F2} (modern Phoenix BIOSes)
  • {Ctrl}+{Alt}+{Esc}
  • {Ctrl}+{Esc}
  • {Alt}+{Esc}
  • {Ctrl}+{Alt}+{S}
  • {Insert}
  • {F1}
  • Consult your system manufacturer for the key combination.

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