Computer Can’t Enter BIOS | How to Force It

You want to make some changes to your BIOS settings, you press the power button, and immediately begin pressing the required key hoping to see your BIOS page pop up, but instead, your PC ignores all your keystrokes and boots straight into Windows or some other black screen that is not the BIOS page.

This can be annoying on the least and frustrating at worst. This happens a lot these days especially as SSDs are fast replacing traditional mechanical hard drives. But that’s not the only reason for this problem.

Looking at it from the manufacturer’s perspective, startup times are very crucial when accessing the overall performance of any computer, for some customers, that is the first impression they get. You hear people talk about 15 seconds, 10 seconds, or even 7 seconds of boot time.

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As such manufacturers don’t want to leave as much time between the BIOS and Windows boot up since most users rarely want to make any changes in the BIOS, which makes some kind of common sense.

Instead, they have transferred some control to Windows to allow you to change your settings to give you more time to get into BIOS. That is one of the solutions we will be covering in this post along with two other suggestions that can help you fix this problem and get your PC booting into BIOS as supposed.

Before we get into the three possible ways to fix this problem, let’s get the worst scenario out of the way, i.e. Pressing the wrong key trying to get into the BIOS. If you’re are not pressing the wright BIOS key, then obviously none of the suggestions in this tutorial will work for you.

So, if you’re not sure of the right BIOS key for your computer, a simple google search might be all you need. Searching BIOS key for [your PC model] should give you a quick result of the key or combination of keys you need to press to get into your BIOS. Common BIOS keys are F2, F1, F4, F9, Esc, and Delete.

Unfortunately, there’s no common standard that works for all computers, so for each computer, you will need to look up the corresponding keystroke(s) needed. You can also check out this video if you need more help figuring out your BIOS key.

With that out of the way, below are the three possible ways to resolve this issue:

Method 1: Turn Off the Fast Startup Function from Your Power Options

I highly recommend starting off with this suggestion before trying out the other two. The fast startup utility in Windows; as the name implies, tries to accelerate your startup by eliminating any unnecessary startup processes.

Here, if you do not have a running Windows on your PC, I suggest you get a temporal disk with Running Windows for this process. With that, the following steps would turn off your fast startup function in Windows:

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  1. From the start menu, click on the gear icon to open your Windows settings
  2. On this settings page, click on System.   
  3. Next, click on Power and sleep.   
  4. Then down here under Related Settings, click on Additional power settings. You should have the power options Window pop up. 
  5. Here click on Choose what the power buttons do
  6. As you can see, the option to turn fast startup on or off is greyed out, to activate that, click on Change settings that are currently unavailable. You should see this activate immediately. 
  7. Now uncheck the box next to “Turn off fast startup”, then hit save changes to complete the process. 
  8. Afterward shut down your PC, and try to boot into the BIOS and see if that works for you.

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Method 2: Use “Force Shutdown” to Increase Startup Delay

Now, if for some reason this first suggestion didn’t work for you, then you should consider increasing your startup delay by forcing Windows to go into some kind of rescue mode before startup. To do that,

  1. While you have your Windows already running, press and hold down the power button for about 5 seconds until you observe and instant shut down of your PC.
  2. Power it on again and try pressing the required BIOS key to see if it boots into BIOS.
  3. You can try these two to three times if it fails on the first trial.

By default, Windows tend to experience some startup delay after such abrupt shutdown. This delay can add to the time you have to try to boot into BIOS, hence increasing your chances of actually getting into the BIOS during startup. Again, if this fails, try to combine it with the first suggestion, possibly that gives you even more time.

Method 3: Take Out Your CMOS Battery for Some Time

If both approaches fail, the third approach, which is kind of last resort would be to take out your CMOS battery for some time in order to allow the BIOS to reset its memory and settings.

Sometimes the problem could be with the BIOS itself being unreachable due to some misconfigurations, as such by removing the battery and waiting for a minute or two before returning it back can reset the BIOS to defaults and allow you to access it again during startup. This can be more trivial in some computers than others.

On laptops, you should find the CMOS battery somewhere on the motherboard, or attached with some tiny cables, in any case, remove the battery, wait for about 3 minutes, return the battery and try to couple back your laptop.

Same goes for desktop CPUs, for more recent CPUs you might need to check deeper to find where the CMOS battery is located. That’s part of the reasons why this is the last resort in my opinion, but in a situation where the initial two suggestions fail, then this could be the way to go.

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Share your comments, questions, and feedbacks in the comment section below. 

The following video demonstrates the solutions in this tutorial.