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How To Load BIOS and Change Boot Configuration

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When you start your computer it does a lot of things before you start seeing Windows 7, or whatever your primary operating system is. The first program it starts is the BIOS (Basic Input/Output System), it is located inside your computers system unit on coin shaped chip attached to the motherboard. It is responsible for testing all hardware devices using a process called Power On Self Test (POST), which checks if your memory, keyboard and mouse are working.

The BIOS helps to load Windows from the hard disk or if you are installing Windows 7, it helps to load it from the installation DVD or other medium such as a thumb drive.

How to Change Boot Order in BIOS

Depending on the brand or how your computer is configured, loading the BIOS might be different. In this article, I will show you on a standard configuration.

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First, start your computer then press F2 function key as noted on the BIOS screen above, you will have to do this quickly as the BIOS loads very fast. Some BIOS configurations might require a different key combination such as F1, Tab, F12 or F11. Consult the owners manual that came with your computer for instructions or watch the display closely when it starts.

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Now we are inside the BIOS, of course yours might look completely different as the interface is not a standard across manufacturers, but the same philosophy is there. The BIOS will list information such as your primary boot device, along with other attached storage and secondary storage devices such as your DVD drive and connected peripherals such as your keyboard and mouse. The above screenshot displays the main page of this BIOS screen.

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Navigating your BIOS requires that you use the four way navigation arrow keys, there is no support for using a pointing device such as your mouse. It’s a very simple, as you can see, I am on the Advanced screen of this BIOS, I navigated to it by using the right arrow key.

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Here we see the Boot Configuration screen. Yours might vary depending on the Brand and BIOS version. On this screen we can change the first device that is loaded. If your intention is to boot from a device, you will have to change it to be the first one. The above screenshot shows that the first boot device is removable, this can either be a DVD or a thumb drive. If you would like to edit this, look for the instructions on screen.

As you can see in the instructions provided, to move a device up or down, you use the plus and minus keys. devices that have a plus sign beside them mean they have information that can be displayed for additional configuration purposes, pressing ‘Enter’ key will reveal this information.

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Using the plus sign on my keyboard to move the CD-ROM Drive at the top to become the first boot device.

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I now have my CD-ROM as the first boot device. If you are using a laptop, use the minus key to place each device down one level until the CD-ROM is the first device.

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After you have made your changes, the next step is to save the changes you have made. This is normally the F10 function Key, press it and your changes will be confirmed. This option will also be combined with an option to also exit the BIOS.

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To  exit the BIOS, you can press the ESC (escape key) on your keyboard or use the navigation key to go to the EXIT menu if one is available and select the appropriate option and press Enter when prompted.

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You should be prompted to boot from your desired device.

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