What is the BIOS?
The Basic Input/Output System is a program which is built into a computer system motherboard and offers access to the setup and configuration of the hardware. During the initial boot phase, the BIOS is accessed and acts as the controller for processes such as booting into the operating system. All Microsoft Windows based operating systems must use the BIOS to be possible to boot standalone on the computer.
Can Users Access the BIOS?
Normally, a novice or casual computer users will have no need to access the BIOS. Although this is the case, access is still available with all appropriate motherboards which support the integrated BIOS and access via commands that are input during the boot up process of the computer.
How to Access the BIOS
The first thing to do is to turn off the computer when it is turned on. Once the computer is turned off, the user must turn it back on. Used depending on the facilities of the computer and the age of the computer and the BIOS firmware on the device, do the following after the when you turn on the user: enter the BIOS for a variety of situations and can done with the right combination of keys that allows access to the computer system that is in use. If the computer is a modern option, the first what shows the OEM (original equipment manufacturer) logo, which a small note on how you can have the system’s BIOS is. If there should be no note by pressing “ESC” it possible make the boot up information (usually moves very quickly), usually explaining how you access the BIOS. If this too quickly, the button “Pause / break” key on the keyboard should stop or slow down the information sheets.
The information to look for to learn the BIOS key combination are usually found in lines during the process which will mention something similar to the following:
- Press ___ to enter setup
- Setup: ___
- Enter BIOS by pressing ___
- Press ___ to enter BIOS setup
- Press ___ to access BIOS
- Press ___ to access system configuration
Note: Where “___” represents the key(s) which must be pressed to enter the BIOS setup.
If both of these options leave the user without information on how to load into the BIOS, then they will need to try using the following Supplier or Vendor codes to access the BIOS.
BIOS Supplier Codes
The BIOS suppliers have their own built in codes which can be used to access the BIOS setup. There are several BIOS suppliers available but the most common options are through:
Advanced Logic Research (ALR) – The BIOS access codes are “F2″ or “Ctrl+Alt+Esc”.
Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) – The BIOS access code is “F1″.
American Megatrends (AMI) – The BIOS access code is “Del”.
Award BIOS – The BIOS access codes are “Del” or “Ctrl+Alt+Esc”.
Datatech Enterprises (DTK) – The BIOS access codes are “Ctrl+Alt+Esc”.
Pheonix BIOS – The BIOS access codes are “Ctrl+Alt+Ins” or “Ctrl+Alt+S”.
These are the usual BIOS Access codes which are available on computer systems which were not built by an OEM for resale to consumers. If the computer system is made for consumers to purchase later on by a vendor then they may need to use a separate key combination.
Computer Vendor BIOS Codes
Every computer manufacturer will want to have the BIOS customized to work with the hardware and software that they provide in the system. They will usually generalize the keyboard commands with their systems as well to make it possible to provide faster telecommute based customer support. These are the most common codes used by the following vendors:
Acer - The BIOS access codes are “F1″, “F2″ or “Ctrl+Alt+Esc”.
ARI - The BIOS access codes are “Ctrl+Alt+Esc” or “Ctrl+Alt+Del”.
AST - The BIOS access codes are “Ctrl+Alt+Esc” or “Ctrl+Alt+Del”.
Compaq - The BIOS access code is “F10″.
CompUSA - The BIOS access code is “Del”
Cybermax - The BIOS access code is “Esc”
Dell - The BIOS access codes are “F1″, “F2″, “F3″, “F10″, “F12″, “Del” or “Fn+F1″ on laptops.
eMachines - The BIOS access codes are “Del” or “F2″.
Gateway - The BIOS access codes are “F1″ or “F2″.
Hewlett-Packard (HP) – The BIOS access codes are “F1″, “F2″ or “Esc”.
IBM - The BIOS access codes are “F1″, “Ctrl+Alt+Ins” or “Ctrl+Alt+Del”.
Intel - The BIOS access code is “Del”
Lenovo – The BIOS access codes are “F1″, “F2″, “Ctrl+Alt+F3″, or “Ctrl+Alt+Ins”.
Micron – The BIOS access codes are “F1″, “F2″ or “Del”.
Packard Bell – The BIOS access codes are “F1″, “F2″ or “Del”.
Seanix – The BIOS access code is “Del”.
Sony – The BIOS access codes are “F2″, “F3″ or “Del”.
Toshiba – The BIOS access codes are “F1″, “F2″ or “Esc”.
Note: Some BIOS setups will be password protected. This is due to the fact that an administrator placed a BIOS password on the system to restrict access to the BIOS through the default BIOS setup screen. Either contacting the administrator or finding a workaround to the password is necessary.
Backdoor Passwords for Protected BIOS
Sometimes the BIOS suppliers make it possible password that handle password set up by an administrator using a “backdoor”. The default passwords in the BIOS if the old password or the current user are not who you built the password. Few companies have known passwords your backdoor, while others may or may not about some that can work with their machines.
The Award BIOS vendors will have a variety of backdoor passwords which can be used. Trying the following may be useful towards gaining access to the BIOS with the passwords “AWARD_SW”, “j262 HLT”, “SER”, “SKY_FOX”, “BIOSTAR”, “ALFAROME”, “Lkwpeter”, “j256″, “AWARD?SW”, “LKWPETER”, “syxz”, “ALLy”, “589589″, “589721″, “awkward”, “CONCAT”, “d8on”, “CONDO”, “j64″ or “szyx”.
Trying all of these backdoor passwords for the Award BIOS options can be a very useful option whenever the user needs to gain access to the BIOS.
AMI also has a large list of possible backdoor passwords which may provide access to the BIOS. Trying any of these passwords may help such as “AMI”, “BIOS”, “PASSWORD”, “HEWITT RAND”, “AMI?SW”, “AMI_SW”, “LKWPETER”,”A.M.I.” or “CONDO”.
The Phoenix BIOS options may work with the backdoor password “phoenix”.
Some off brand manufacturers will use similar keys and key combination codes to gain access to the BIOS on the system. It is important to remember that access to the BIOS can be dangerous to inexperienced users who do not know what they are making changes to.
The ability to enter the BIOS setup will provide options which are normally not accessible outside of the BIOS. Making any types of changes in the BIOS may affect the system during the boot process or the loading of hardware on the system.
Warning: Changes made in the BIOS may lead to data loss on hard disks or external media connected to the computer. Only access the BIOS when necessary to prevent damages due to tampering with the system.
How to Enter the BIOS on an Apple Mac
Unfortunately, Apple Mac computers do not have a simple BIOS option available with them. Alternatively, they have an option that is similar called the Extensible Firmware Interface (EFI) which provides access to different options with the computer system. It is also called the Open Firmware on a Mac computer.
The button combination that must be pressed to enter the EFI is “Cmd(Apple Symbol)+Opt+O+F” during the startup process. Once the process is completed the user will then hear two “chimes” or “beeps” and greeted by the EFI.
The Open Firmware Prompt is simple and will display:
“0>” (where the commands/scripts are put in)
Although the functionality of the EFI is different than the BIOS, it can still function with advanced controls of hardware components in the Apple Mac. Only advanced users should change anything through the scripting capabilities of the EFI.
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