Windows 8 may be a few years old now, but it’s still commonly used. And one change you may not notice on newer Windows machines is a different method of accessing the computer’s BIOS. You no longer press certain keys during the boot process to open the BIOS instead, the option to access the BIOS is located in the Windows 8 boot options menu.
How to Access BIOS on Windows 8
Traditionally, computers display messages such as “Press F2 to enter setup” at the beginning of the boot process. Pressing this key enters the computer’s BIOS.
However, machines that come with Windows 8 pre-installed use a modern update to the BIOS called UEFI.
On some machines, especially those with solid state hard drives, the boot process can be so fast that you may not have time to see the message about entering the BIOS. In this case, you can choose to enter the BIOS from Windows itself.
Microsoft’s blog post about this on the Building Windows 8 blog explains how this new system came to be. With increased boot speeds, some systems have less than 200 milliseconds of chance to press a key. Even the best key eavesdroppers at Microsoft can only press a key once every 250ms.
That means to access the BIOS, panic knocks, luck, and a few computer reboots are all needed.
The new system eliminates this problem. It also brings much needed consistency to Windows 8 computers – they all have a consistent way of accessing the BIOS.
Windows 8 Hardware vs. Old Computer with Windows 8
Note that this new method only applies if you purchased a new computer with Windows 8 pre-installed. If, on the other hand, you have installed Windows 8 on an existing computer that uses an old BIOS system, you will access the BIOS in the same way as usual by pressing the button that appears during your boot process.
This key is often F2 or Delete, but it can also be another button.
The exact key depends on your computer. If you do not see the appropriate key displayed on your screen during the boot-up process, refer to your computer manual.
How to Enter Windows 8 BIOS
To access the BIOS on Windows 8, you need to restart your computer to the boot options menu. There are several ways to do this.
The easiest to find is in the PC Settings app. Press the button Windows + C to open the Charms bar, click Settings, and select Change PC settings to access it.
In the PC Settings app, select a category General and click the button Restart now under Advanced startup. Your computer will restart and you will enter the Windows 8 boot options menu. From here you can access the UEFI BIOS and change other settings.
You can also hold Shift while clicking Restart in the Shut Down menu to restart your computer to the boot options menu. This is a quick way to restart to the boot options menu, as you can access the key Shut Down from Charms anywhere on your system.
Here is the command you need to use:
Shutdown.exe /r /o
Accessing UEFI BIOS
After you restart and access the boot options menu, you can enter the UEFI BIOS. To do this, click Troubleshoot.
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This will reveal the screen Advanced Options with various tools. Tile UEFI Firmware Settings will take you to your computer’s BIOS.
If you don’t see the UEFI Firmware Settings tile here, your computer is not using UEFI. That means you have to access the BIOS the traditional way, by pressing certain keys during the boot-up process. See the previous section above for more information.
If there is an error while booting Windows, you will not be locked out of the BIOS. The boot options screen will appear when you start your computer. From here, you can repair Windows or enter your BIOS.
Once you enter the BIOS, you can perform the tasks you want. This can include tasks like changing the boot device order, adjusting fan curves, overclocking your processor, or performing troubleshooting by detecting what hardware your system is taking up.
How to Access BIOS in Windows 10
If you have updated your operating system recently, you may be wondering how to access the BIOS from Windows 10. Again, if you have installed Windows 10 to an older hardware device, then you will access the BIOS by pressing the same key. specified during the boot process. It’s the same with old hardware running Windows 8.
However, if you purchased a computer with Windows 10 pre-installed, you will need a different method to access the BIOS. To do this, start by going to Windows settings. You can access this by pressing the button Windows + I.
From the settings menu, select Updates & Security, then select Recovery from the menu on the left. You’ll see a list of options on the right, including a title that says Advanced startup. Below this header is a button that says Restart now.
When you press this button, your computer will restart. During startup, you will see a menu of boot options. As Windows 8 instructions, open Troubleshooting and then to UEFI Firmware Settings, then click Restart. This will restart your computer once again, and it will boot into the UEFI BIOS.
UEFI vs. BIOS
UEFI is somewhat different from traditional BIOS, although they perform similar functions. BIOS tends to be in a limited color scheme and doesn’t support using a mouse, so you’ll need to navigate using your keyboard. Its functions are somewhat limited as well, with the ability to perform tasks such as changing the boot device order or changing the system time and date.
UEFI is a more up-to-date version of the BIOS. It’s in full color, and you can navigate using a keyboard and mouse. It’s more like Windows, so it’s less scary for new users. You can also do a lot more with UEFI. For example, you can set the fan curve to match how fast the fans in your system spin at a given temperature. Or you can overclock your processor, using the automatic overclocking wizard that manages everything for you based on your cooling solution.
Technically UEFI is a BIOS replacement. But in practice, people use the terms interchangeably.
It shows you how to access the BIOS from Windows 8, in case you need to make any changes to your system.
Spend some time on the screen and understand how the BIOS works and how it can help you optimize your computer.
If you want to know more about entering BIOS see our article on How to Enter BIOS on All Brands of Your Computer.