The BIOS (Basic Input/Output System) is software that controls communication between the operating system and hardware components in a computer. Accessing the BIOS allows you to configure low-level settings related to booting, hardware detection, power management, and security. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to enter and access the BIOS on Windows 11 computers.
Table of Contents
- When You Need to Access the BIOS
- Methods to Enter the BIOS
- Navigating the BIOS Interface
- Common BIOS Menus and Settings
- Saving Changes and Exiting BIOS
- BIOS Updates
When You Need to Access the BIOS
There are several reasons why you may need to access your computer’s BIOS on Windows 11:
- Change the boot order of devices
- Enable or disable hardware components like Bluetooth, WiFi, webcams, etc.
- Overclock your CPU or RAM
- Update the BIOS software
- Enable or configure security features like Secure Boot or TPM
- Resolve issues with booting or hardware detection
- Reset BIOS settings to default
Methods to Enter the BIOS
There are several methods you can use to enter the BIOS setup utility on a Windows 11 computer:
1. Press the BIOS Key During Boot
This is the most common method. As your computer boots:
- Repeatedly press the BIOS key, which varies by manufacturer but is often F2, F10, Del, or Esc
- A “Enter Setup” or “BIOS Setup Utility” screen should appear
- If Windows boots instead, restart your PC and try again
2. Use Windows 11 Settings
If the BIOS key method doesn’t work, use Windows Settings:
- Open Settings > System > Recovery
- Under “Advanced startup”, click “Restart now”
- After restarting, select “Troubleshoot” > “Advanced options” > “UEFI Firmware Settings” > “Restart”
3. Through Windows Terminal
Windows Terminal provides access through the command line:
- Open Windows Terminal as administrator
shutdown /r /fw /t 0to schedule an immediate restart
- Your PC will boot directly into the firmware settings screen
Once you enter the BIOS setup utility, you’ll see various menus and options. Here are some tips:
- Use arrow keys to navigate between menus and options
- Press Enter to select an option or open a submenu
- Spacebar toggles an enable/disable option
- Plus/minus keys modify numeric values
- F1 displays help information for the current screen
- Esc goes back to the previous menu
Take care when changing BIOS options as incorrect settings can cause boot issues or system instability.
Common BIOS Menus and Settings
Here are some of the key BIOS menus and settings you may need to access:
Displays system time/date, BIOS version, CPU info, RAM info, etc. Allows changing time/date.
Houses advanced configuration options like CPU, SATA, USB, onboard devices, etc. Use caution here.
Configure boot order of storage devices. Set primary boot device to HDD, SSD, USB drive, network, etc.
Enable/disable Secure Boot, require password on boot, configure TPM settings, manage device encryption.
Save & Exit Menu
Save changes and exit BIOS setup utility. Reset to defaults or discard changes if unstable.
Saving Changes and Exiting BIOS
After making any changes in the BIOS:
- Navigate to the Save & Exit menu
- Select “Save Changes and Reset”
- Confirm saving when prompted
- Your PC will restart, applying new BIOS settings
If your changes cause issues, reset BIOS to default settings by selecting “Load Optimized Defaults” in the Save & Exit menu.
It’s important to keep your BIOS updated for stability, compatibility, and security:
- Check manufacturer website for the latest BIOS version for your motherboard
- Download the BIOS update file and save to a USB flash drive
- Reboot into BIOS and select the update utility to install the new BIOS version
- Follow on-screen prompts – do not power off during the update
Accessing and navigating the BIOS is essential for configuring hardware, troubleshooting, and security. Use the step-by-step instructions provided to easily enter the BIOS on Windows 11 using your keyboard, Settings app, or Windows Terminal. Take care when changing options and keep your BIOS updated. Feel free to refer back to this guide whenever you need to access the BIOS on your Windows 11 computer.