Most modern computers have a boot menu where you can boot between various "devices" such as the hard drive, CD drive, USB device and others. But getting to that screen on some computer is a royal pain as they do not prompt you for that options. Mostly the boot menu is available by tapping the proper Function key, typically F10, F11 or F12, but there are many manufacturers and each has their own way of doing things.
Hey manufacturers, how about a little standardization in the industry!
There, we feel some much better...
Be careful what you change! Incorrect settings in here can ruin your day, maybe even your computer...
Settings in here do not typically change all by themselves, so unless you have a specific reason and a known setting to change, maybe it's best not to enter...
The Setup hotkey is different between various manufacturers.
Typically it's the DEL, F1, F10, CTRL ESC or other keys.
If none of these work, go to the manufacturers support site and search for BIOS or SETUP.
Here are some of the popular [setup key(s)] by Computer manufacturer and/or BIOS manufacturer. As you can see below the same manufacturer may have used different keys depending on the age and model. You will just have to try these possibilities:
- [F1] Toshiba, Phoenix, IBM, Compaq, Gateway, HP, Packard Bell
- [F2] NEC, HP, Packard Bell
- [F3] Sony VAIO
- [F10] Compaq
- [Delete] AMI/Award, Dell
- [Esc] Toshiba
- [Insert] IBM PS/2. Note: IBM's require a special boot disk
- [Tab] Emachine
- [Ctrl] [Alt] [Enter] Dell
- [Ctrl] [Alt] [Esc] AST Advantage, Award, Tandon, Acer Aspire
- [Ctrl] [Alt] [Ins] Zenith, Phoenix
- [Ctrl] [Alt] [S] Phoenix, many older machines
- [Ctrl] [Ins] PS/2
- [Ctrl] [S] Phoenix
- If none of the above work try: [Ctrl] [Esc] or [Ctrl] [Alt]
If nothing seems to work, try holding a bunch of keys down during boot. This may produce a stuck keyboard error and may show the setup key information.