When you are troubleshooting a PC, you may need to enter the PC’s Setup program. Sometimes it’s called the Hardware Configuration Menu or the BIOS something-or-other. No matter what it is called, as the computer is booting up, a prompt appears on the screen, indicating which key or key combination to press to enter the Setup program.

The key to press is often F1, though also common are Del (or Delete), F2, F10 or a key combination, such as Alt+F1. The only way to know for certain is to check the screen when the computer starts or refer to the manufacturer’s documentation (scant though it may be).

You use the Setup program to configure your PC’s hardware. You can do things such as set the computer’s internal clock, set the order in which storage devices are searched for an operating system, enable or disable hardware components, set security options, and perform other technical tasks.

Using the Setup program is simple: Although each program is different, most of them are easily manipulated by using the keyboard. A simple menu system is used to select things, and helpful (or useless) information is displayed to show you which keys you should use to select, choose, or set options.

When you’re done changing things, you’re given the option to either save the new settings and restart the PC or quit without saving.

  • Some PCs don’t display a message telling you which key to press to enter the Setup program. In that case, try F1.

  • If the PC has a special Support type of button on the keyboard, such as the blue ThinkVantage button on some Lenovo PCs, press that button. Though pressing it may not open the Setup program directly, it may display a menu from which you can enter the Setup program.