The Sysadmin Wiki

In IBM PC Compatible computers, the Basic Input/Output System (BIOS), also known as the System BIOS, is a de facto standard defining a firmware interface.

The BIOS has different POST codes, which can give indications to problems with a computer. Wikipedia has an article on the POST, including some of the codes it can give.

How to enter the BIOS[]

Different models of computers have different key combinations for entering the BIOS. They can be very handy to use if you need to guide a non-technical user over the phone.

The majority of computers use F2 or Del to enter the BIOS on boot-up but other keys are sometimes used, including alphanumeric keys.

Other options on boot-up include F12 to show the boot order and F8 (on Windows, after the BIOS) to open the boot menu (Safe mode can be booted from this menu).

BIOS Brands[]

Award Modular BIOS' use Del to enter setup.

IBM BIOS' ("300" series PCs) use F1 to enter setup. If you get a restricted menu, you'll have to switch off and on.


Some servers come installed with two SCSI BIOS.

IBM eSeries (P3s) Ctrl-A for Adaptec, Ctrl-I for IBM.

Dell PERC Controllers Ctrl-M up to 4 series or Ctrl-C for 5 and later


  • TravelMate 3220 - F2 for setup, F12 for boot order


Most Dell computers - F2 for setup, F12 for boot order


Some HP computers use F1 to both enter boot order and BIOS setup.

HP Proliant ML110 G5 use F10

Pavillion dv6824eo[]

  • Esc to enable startup message
  • F1 to enter system information
  • F2 to startup check
  • F9 to change boot device order
    • Which also gives the option to enter the BIOS setup
  • F10 to enter setup
  • F11 to system recovery

ProLiant ML110[]

  • Esc - Summary and boot progress
  • F2 - Setup
  • F4 - Boot menu
  • F12 - Network boot

ProLiant ML110 G4[]

  • Esc - Summary and boot progress
  • F7 - Boot menu
  • F10 - Setup
  • F12 - Network boot

ProLiant DL380 G5[]

  • F9 - Setup

ProLiant DL120 G5[]

  • F9 - Setup
  • F8 - Embedded SATA RAID Configuration Utility


Older IBM computers (P2s and P3s of the "300" series) - F1 for setup

A few may require power Off and On, otherwise you'll get a minimal BIOS menu.

On some IBM computers, press the blue ThinkVantage button to get a menu where you can select the BIOS, which device to boot from, etc. You can also press F12 for the boot menu.


RM notebooks use F2 to enter BIOS


Samsung notebooks use F2 to enter BIOS

F4 system recovery

F10 boot select option 

F12 network boot

Stone Computers[]

Stone Computers notebooks and desktop machines use F2 to enter BIOS


VMWare guests use F2 to enter setup, F12 for network boot and ESC for boot menu