HomeWinBuzzer TipsHow to Enter UEFI / BIOS on Windows 11 and Windows 10

How to Enter UEFI / BIOS on Windows 11 and Windows 10

We show you how to access BIOS in Windows 11 and Windows 10 without needing to remember its dedicated hotkey.

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Being able to access UEFI / BIOS on your Windows machine is essential if you want to change certain firmware and hardware settings. Unfortunately, however, as BIOS / UEFI are pre-boot environments, you can't access them from your regular OS interface. Not to worry, though – today we're going to show you how to enter UEFI / BIOS on and .

UEFI vs BIOS: What’s the difference?

You may have noticed that we're using the terms UEFI and BIOS almost interchangeably in this guide. So, is there any real difference between the two? The answer is yes.

UEFI and BIOS are two of the most popular motherboard firmware interfaces. They act as translators between an operating system and its hardware, initializing components and allowing users to change certain settings.

The main difference between BIOS and UEFI is their age. UEFI is a more modern solution, supporting faster boot times, better security, and larger hard drives. Unlike UEFI, BIOS can only support hard drives of up to 2.1 TB and must run in a 16-bit processor mode. Additionally, it does not support cursors and a modern graphical interface.

There are also differences between how each functions. BIOS, for example, stores its bootloader data in the MBR format on the first sector of the HDD. This can be more easily corrupted than UEFI, which uses the GUID Partition Table (GPT) and built-in redundancy checks.

As a result of all of these advantages, basically any PC or laptop you buy today will be using UEFI instead of BIOS. However, it is still referred to as “BIOS” by some manufacturers to avoid confusion, and many people use “BIOS” to refer to any pre-boot interface. As a result, we'll be using both in this guide.

With that important distinction out of the way, here's how to enter BIOS / UEFI in Windows 11 and Windows 10.

How to Enter UEFI on Windows 11 via System Recovery

While there may be a key you can press to access BIOS, this varies between OEMs. It could be Del, F1, F2, F10, F12, or even Esc. On top of this, modern PCs boot so quickly that it can be difficult to find and press the key in time.

As a result, we'll be showing you how to get to BIOS on Windows 11 using the Settings interface instead. To do this we'll make use of Windows' Advanced Startup Options:

  1. Open Settings and click the “Recovery” heading

     

    Windows 11 - Settings

  2. In the “Advanced startup” section, press “Restart now”

     

    Windows 11 - Settings - Recovery

  3. Click “Restart now”

     
    As prompted, you should save any open documents before you do so.

    Windows 11 - Settings - Recovery - Advanced Startup

  4. Wait for your PC to start

     

    Windows 11 - Reboot

  5. Press “Troubleshoot” on the “Choose an option” screen

     

    Windows 11 - Advanced Startup Options

  6. Click “Advanced options”

     

    Windows 11 - Advanced Startup Options - Troubleshoot

  7. Press “UEFI Firmware Settings”

     

    Windows 11 - Advanced Startup Options - Troubleshoot - Advanced Options

  8. Click “Restart”

     

    Windows 11 - Advanced Startup Options - Troubleshoot - Advanced Options - UEFI Firmware Settings

  9. Make your BIOS / UEFI changes as necessary

     
    Upon restart, your PC will exit Advanced Startup Options and boot as it normally does.

    UEFI Firmware

How to Boot into UEFI on Windows 10 via Update & Security

Similarly to Windows 11, you can try one of the many BIOS keys as your computer boots, but it's easier to just skip all that and get there via your Settings interface. This is how to get to BIOS in Windows 10:

  1. Open Settings and click on “Update & Security”

     

    Windows 10 Settings

  2. Select “Recovery” in the sidebar and click “Advanced options”

     

    Windows 10 Settings - Update and Security

  3. Look for the “Advanced startup” heading and click “Restart now”

     

    Windows 10 Settings - Update and Security - Recovery

  4. Wait for your PC to restart

     

    Windows 10 - Reboot

  5. Press “Troubleshoot” on the “Choose an option” screen

     

    Windows 10 - Advanced Startup

  6. Click on “Advanced options”

     

    Windows 10 - Advanced Startup - Troubleshoot

  7. Select UEFI Firmware Settings

     
    Your PC will automatically reboot into UEFI / BIOS.

    Windows 10 - Advanced Startup - Troubleshoot - Advanced Options

  8. Make any modifications to your UEFI / BIOS and save them

     
    Upon restart, your PC will exit Advanced Startup Options and boot as it normally does.

    UEFI Firmware

How to Boot to Advanced Startup Options on Windows 10

Entering Windows 10 boot options gives you access to various tools that aren't commonly available. From it, you can access command prompt, enter safe mode, perform a system restore, and uninstall updates. In our other guide, we show you all possible ways to boot into Advanced Startup Options, using settings, the shutdown menu, a recovery drive, an USB or DVD and the “Choose an Operating System” screen.
 
How to open Advanced Startup options in Windows 10

Extra: How to Boot to Safe Mode in Windows

While you're fiddling around with your Advanced Startup Options, you may want to learn how to enter Safe Mode in Windows 10 and Windows 11. This useful mode can help solve issues if your PC won't boot normally. Once you're done, be sure to follow our guide on how to get out of Safe Mode.
 
Windows 10 – Advanced Startup Options – Safe Mode

Extra: How to Disable Windows 11 or Windows 10 Fast Startup

If you'd really rather just hit a button on startup to enter BIOS / UEFI in Windows, you should consider following our guide on how to disable fast startup in your Control Panel. This will give you a bit more time without seriously slowing down the boot process.
 
Windows 10 - Control Panel - Turn on fast startup

FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions About UEFI/BIOS

Can I switch from BIOS to UEFI?

Switching from BIOS to UEFI requires entering your system's firmware settings to enable the UEFI mode and then reinstalling Windows to support the UEFI boot mode. It is important to backup all your data before making this change because the conversion process can potentially format your system drive.

Why won't my PC enter the UEFI/BIOS setup on startup?

Common reasons include Fast Startup being enabled in Windows, which restricts the time to press the required key during boot, or a very fast hardware initialization sequence. To address this, you can disable Fast Startup in Windows' power options, or repeatedly press the setup key (often F2, F10, Del, or Esc) as soon as the device is powered on.

Can UEFI firmware settings impact the performance of my PC?

UEFI settings can significantly influence PC performance, particularly in areas such as boot order, enabling or disabling hardware components, and processor clock rates. Adjustments in UEFI can enable faster boot times or enhanced security configurations like Secure Boot, which can prevent malware from hijacking the boot process.

How do I update my UEFI/BIOS?

Updating UEFI/BIOS involves several key steps: first, identify the exact firmware version from the UEFI/BIOS menu; second, visit the manufacturer's official website to download the corresponding firmware update; third, follow the manufacturer's guidelines to apply the update, often via a utility within the UEFI/BIOS setup. Always ensure the power supply is stable during the update to prevent corruption.

Can changing UEFI/BIOS settings improve my computer's boot time?

Optimizing UEFI/BIOS settings can enhance boot times. Enabling features like ‘Fast Boot‘ or setting the boot priority to prioritize the primary storage device can reduce boot times. Conversely, disabling unused ports and devices (like network boot options) can prevent unnecessary initialization during boot.

What is Fast Boot/Fast Startup and how does it affect access to UEFI/BIOS?

Fast Boot‘ in BIOS/UEFI and ‘Fast Startup‘ in Windows both aim to reduce startup time. Fast Boot skips certain initial tests during the boot process, while Fast Startup saves the system state to a hibernation file to speed up boot times. Both can be disabled: Fast Boot from the BIOS/UEFI settings, and Fast Startup from the Control Panel under Power Options.

How do I enable virtualization in UEFI/BIOS?

Virtualization can be enabled in UEFI/BIOS within the CPU-related or advanced settings section. The option may be labeled as Intel VT-x, AMD-V, SVM, or similar. Enabling this setting is essential for running virtual machines, as it allows the hardware to better support virtualization technologies.

What happens if I make a wrong configuration in UEFI/BIOS?

Incorrect configurations in UEFI/BIOS can lead to boot failures, instability, or sub-optimal performance. To rectify this, nearly all UEFI/BIOS menus provide an option to reset to factory defaults. This restores the settings to their original state, mitigating any issues caused by misconfigurations.

How can I reset my UEFI/BIOS settings to default?

To reset UEFI/BIOS to default settings, access the setup menu during boot-up and look for an option like “Reset to Default,” “Load Optimized Defaults,” or something similar, often found in the ‘Exit' or ‘Save & Exit' menu. Selecting this option resets all settings, which is useful if encountering stability issues or boot failures.

What does ‘Secure Boot' do in UEFI, and should I enable it?

Secure Boot is a security standard that ensures that your PC boots using only software that is trusted by the PC manufacturer. When enabled, it helps to prevent malicious software from loading during the system start-up process. It is highly recommended to keep Secure Boot enabled unless you need to install another operating system not recognized by Secure Boot.

Is it safe to adjust UEFI/BIOS settings?

Adjusting UEFI/BIOS settings can unlock enhanced functionality and performance but should always be approached with caution. Each change should be made individually and documented so it can be reverted if necessary. Consulting the motherboard's manual or a professional can provide guidance on the impact of each setting.

What should I do if I cannot find UEFI Firmware Settings in the Advanced Startup options?

If UEFI Firmware Settings are not visible in the Advanced Startup options, first ensure that your system indeed supports UEFI. If it does and the option still isn't available, update your system's firmware, or attempt to access the settings directly through the standard boot key approach at startup.

How do I access UEFI settings if the Windows Recovery method doesn't work?

If you're unable to enter UEFI settings through Windows Recovery, reboot your system and immediately and repeatedly press the key typical for your system (such as F2, F10, Del, Esc) to enter the UEFI settings directly. Alternatively, look for specific instructions on the manufacturer's support site.

How can I tell if my system uses UEFI or BIOS?

To determine if your system uses UEFI or BIOS, access the System Information panel by typing “msinfo32” in . Under the item “BIOS Mode,” it will state whether the mode is UEFI or Legacy (indicating BIOS).

What are the advantages of using UEFI over traditional BIOS?

UEFI offers several advantages over traditional BIOS, including support for booting from larger hard drives, a more modern graphical interface, faster boot times, and advanced security features like Secure Boot. These enhancements contribute to a more secure, efficient, and user-friendly booting experience.

Last Updated on May 6, 2024 10:23 am CEST

Ryan Maskell
Ryan Maskellhttps://ryanmaskell.co.uk
Ryan has had a passion for gaming and technology since early childhood. Fusing the skills from his Creative Writing and Publishing degree with profound technical knowledge, he enjoys covering news about Microsoft. As an avid writer, he is also working on his debut novel.
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