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Getting Into the BIOS Setup

Most generic computers I have worked with let you know how to get into setup during the boot process. Unfortunately this is not the case with all computers. I believe that some computer manufacturers may be trying to keep people from making incorrect changes to the setup. Several of the older computers I have worked on made it quite difficult to use the setup program. I decided to do some research to develop information that would help me when working on older computers. I have compiled a list of the keystrokes necessary to get into setup with some older computers. This does not cover every computer but it does create many possibilities to try on a unit if you are having difficulty getting into setup.

Most of the generic computers only require you to hit Delete during the bootup to get into setup. This is the first thing to try if you don't know how a particular computer opens setup. After this you can try the F keys. F-1 and F-2 are also popular for opening setup during the boot process. Another confusing thing is that some computer do not open setup during the boot process. Instead, they allow to go into setup anything using a combination of keystrokes. Check out the list below:

Computers with AMI BIOS Delete during bootup
Computer with AWARD BIOS Ctrl+Alt+Esc Anytime
Computer with DTK BIOS Escape during bootup
IBM PS/2 BIOS Ctrl+Alt+Insert after Ctrl+Alt+Delete
PHOENIX BIOS Ctrl+Alt+Escape or Cltrl+Alt+S
ALR PCs F-2 for PCI systems Ctrl+Alt+Escape - non PCI
Compaq PCs F-10
Gateway 2000 PC - F-1
Sony PC F-3 at Logo then F-1

These are only a few of the setup keystrokes. Some of these pertain to certain models and may not work on other models of the same brand. Obviously, it is always best to have the handbook that came with the computer or motherboard but that isn't always available. This list may help. If you run into any others, please email them to me and I will place them on the list for anyone who needs the information.

Thanks to my friend Thomas Yeomans of http://www.elearnix.com for preparing a long list of setup keystrokes for many more computers. The list appears below and should help many of you to get into the BIOS setup in your computer.

Bios Manufacturer Key Command(s)
ALR Advanced Logic Research, Inc. ® PC / PCI F2
ALR PC non / PCI CTRL+ALT+ESC
AMD® (Advanced Micro Devices, Inc.) BIOS F1
AMI (American Megatrends, Inc.) BIOS DEL
Award™ BIOS CTRL+ALT+ESC
Award BIOS DEL
DTK® (Datatech Enterprises Co.) BIOS ESC
Phoenix™ BIOS CTRL+ALT+ESC
Phoenix BIOS CTRL+ALT+S
Phoenix BIOS CTRL+ALT+INS
Computer Key Command(s)
Acer® F1, F2, CTRL+ALT+ESC
AST® CTRL+ALT+ESC, CTRL+ALT+DEL
Compaq® 8700 F10
CompUSA® DEL
Cybermax® ESC
Dell® 400 F3
Dell 400 F1
Dell Dimension® F2 or DEL
Dell Inspiron® F2
Dell Latitude Fn+F1 (while booted)
Dell Latitude F2 (on boot)
Dell Optiplex DEL
Dell Optiplex F2
Dell Precision™ F2
eMachine™ DEL
Gateway® 2000 1440 F1
Gateway 2000 Solo™ F2
HP® (Hewlett-Packard) F1, F2
IBM® F1
IBM E-pro Laptop F2
IBM PS/2® CTRL+ALT+INS after CTRL+ALT+DEL
IBM Thinkpad® (newer) Windows: Programs-Thinkpad CFG.
Intel® Tangent DEL
Micron™ F1, F2, or DEL
Packard Bell® F1, F2, DEL
Sony® VIAO F2
Sony VIAO F3
Tiger DEL
Toshiba® 335 CDS ESC
Toshiba Protege ESC
Toshiba Satellite 205 CDS F1
Toshiba Tecra F1 or ESC

This is a very extensive list. Notice that there may be more than one keystroke(s) for one particular computer. This is because the keystroke(s) may vary depending on the year it was manufacturered. You may have to try more than one to get into setup.

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