BIOS Options – CompTIA A+ 220-1001 – 3.5

Configuring a computer’s BIOS is very similar across different systems. In this video, you’ll learn some of the more common configuration options and how to configure them in a BIOS.

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If you’ve never looked at the BIOS configuration on your computer, you may be surprised at all of the different settings. In this video, we’ll look at these BIOS options. When you start your computer, you may notice a splash screen that starts up with the BIOS, but very quickly, the operating system begins to load. In order to stop the system from loading the operating system and start the BIOS configuration, we need to know what the keystrokes are for your particular motherboard that starts up the BIOS config mode.

With some other boards, it may be the Delete. Key you may be pushing F1 or F2. It might be Control S. Or it might be Control Alt S. It will just depend on the motherboard manufacturer as to what keystroke starts up the BIOS configuration.

If you don’t want to make any changes to your computer’s BIOS, then you may want to look at the BIOS that’s inside of a virtual machine. If you’re running Windows 7, you can run Microsoft Virtual PC to provide that virtual environment, but newer versions of Windows such as Windows 8, Windows 8.1, and Windows 10 will use Microsoft Hyper-V. If you wanted to use a third-party virtualization system, you could use one from VMWare called the Workstation Player. That’s a virtualization system for Windows. There is also third-party virtualization software from Oracle called VirtualBox, but VirtualBox does not provide that BIOS configuration setting. You would need to use software from Microsoft or VMWare to have a virtual system that has access to that BIOS configuration.

Another challenge you’ll have with getting access to the BIOS is that modern systems tend to start up very quickly, especially those that are running Windows 8 or Windows 10. Those operating systems don’t actually shut down all the way, so that when you start them back up, they’re able to start very quickly. The problem, of course, is that they start so quickly that you have no way to start the BIOS configuration. You can disable this fast startup function in the Control Panel under Power Options if you have access to the operating system.

Some other boards might also provide other options to gain access to the BIOS configuration. For example, some other boards would have you hold down the F2 key and then power on the system. And then you’re able to gain access to the BIOS.

There are a number of hardware configurations that you can view, and in some cases, make changes to from inside of this BIOS configuration. One of these is the memory that you have installed, the RAM modules. You’re able to view the memory modules that you’ve installed in your system. And you can confirm that the memory modules that are physically installed are able to be seen by the BIOS.

The BIOS can also tell you if you have installed a hard drive or an SSD into this computer and allows you to make changes as to which one of these devices will be used in what order during the boot process. The BIOS will also tell you if you have an optical drive installed, such as a CD Rom or a DVD Rom, and allows you to enable or disable that hardware. And of course, it will give you information about the CPU that’s installed in that system and tell you what type of CPU settings are configured in the BIOS.

Here is a screenshot of one of the computers that I have in my lab. You can see the splash screen comes up. It tells me how much memory is in the system, if there are any USB devices connected. And it tells you right at the bottom, press F1 to run setup.

If you’re able to press F1 before the operating system starts to load, then you’ll get a BIOS Setup screen very similar to this one. This is the main screen of the BIOS Setup that shows me CPU, memory, voltage information. And I’m able to make a number of different changes to the BIOS configuration from here.

I have another computer next to me that’s starting up. If you look at the bottom right of the screen, you’ll see the key that says press F2 to start the setup. I’ll hold down the F2 key. And it starts up the BIOS configuration from there.

This is also a UE 5 BIOS. But you can see that the front end that’s been designed for this manufacturer’s motherboard is a little bit different than the front end that was designed from the other manufacturer, but the standardization is the same between them. And the information that we have inside of this BIOS is very similar to the one that was in that other system.

We can see the data and the time. We see the BIOS information and the versions. I have information about the memory and the type of modules I have in the system. And there is the information on the CPU that’s installed in this computer.

If I choose the Advanced menu at the top, I can make changes to the integrated devices that are on this motherboard. For example, if I wanted to disable the local area network controller, I can simply disable it from the BIOS. And now when the system starts up, the ethernet connection that is on the back will not be seen by any of the operating systems that are used by this computer. The BIOS has disabled that hardware. And therefore, it’s not available to any of the operating systems.

Under the Boot menu, you can change how this system boots up. We’re using the UE 5 BIOS on this particular computer. And you can see the boot process is listed here. It starts with a USB hard disk. It changes to be, in this case, CentOS Linux, which is the main operating system on this computer. If there is no operating system there, it moves to the CD or DVD drive, then a floppy drive, and then finally, the network connection.

Once I’m finished making changes, I can choose the exit option. It says that I can save the changes and reset. I can discard any changes that I’ve made. Or I can restore the defaults. We’re going to save our changes and reset the system. And then the computer will then begin the normal boot process again.

Prior to UE 5 BIOS, we didn’t have a lot of options for diagnostics inside of the BIOS itself. If you needed hardware diagnostics, you often needed to get a separate application from the manufacturer of the motherboard. But now we can integrate those diagnostics within the BIOS itself.

There may be a BIOS menu in your BIOS that provides diagnostic capability. These diagnostics usually focus on the hardware that comes with the motherboard itself. And it usually doesn’t touch any aspect of any operating systems that might be installed onto the storage devices.

You might also be able to gather statistics and performance information from the BIOS. For example, this BIOS provides a hardware monitor function that shows me temperature information and the type of voltages that are being provided to that CPU. I can see the voltage information for memory and the voltage information for the different 12-volt, 5-volt, and 3.3-volt power options inside of this motherboard.

As you can see, there are a number of different settings inside of this BIOS. And if you do happen to make the wrong decision about any of these settings, you could disable your computer. This is why you should always know what you started with so you can go back to that configuration if anything goes wrong.

Some UE 5 BIOS software will have a backup and restore process within the BIOS itself. But of course, you can take a manual backup by either writing down the information that you’re changing or take pictures with your mobile phone. If you are making changes to the BIOS, make sure you know what those changes are going to do. Making a small change to a memory configuration can have a very dramatic impact on the performance of your computer.

And as I mentioned earlier, always, always have a backup. Either take pictures or video of you making these BIOS changes. And that way you can easily go back to the original configuration.