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BIOS Setup (F10)
This document pertains to HP Notebook PCs with the HP Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) beginning in late-2008.
To access the BIOS Setup, turn on the computer and repeatedly press the esc key to enter the Startup Menu, and then press the F10 key to enter the BIOS setup utility.
Figure : Example - BIOS Setup Utility
Image of an example of a BIOS Setup Utility screen
The BIOS Setup window consists of options for Security, System Configuration, and Diagnostics.
Available options vary depending on the model of the computer and the type of Central Processing Unit (CPU) used.
If the computer is maintained by a system administrator or an IT department, some of the standard BIOS options may be locked out and may not appear on the BIOS Setup window. If the computer is an HP or Compaq business model, it may have HP Protect Tools installed. This is a utility that allows you to password protect access to the BIOS, or examine and alter the BIOS setup.
What options can be changed in the BIOS Setup?
The list below describes the benefits and limitations of the BIOS options.
  • File - You can obtain detailed information about your system, including the serial number and SKU, restore BIOS defaults, and set the system date and time from this menu.
  • Security - You can adjust some passwords and access some password utilities from this menu. As you make changes, write down important passwords and put them in a safe location away from your computer.
    If you forget certain passwords, such as the drive lock or the power-on password, they cannot be retrieved. Forgetting such passwords requires you to return your computer to HP where it can be reset, and all data on the computer will be lost in the process. This service is not covered by the warranty, and you will be charged a service fee for it.
    • HP SpareKey - A utility that can help you retrieve system-level passwords, such as the drive lock or power-on passwords. It is not available on all HP computers.
    • Drive Lock passwords - A drive lock password protects the data on the hard drive using encryption. The data on the hard drive is inaccessible without entering the drive lock password. By default, the drive lock password is turned off.
    • Power-on passwords - A power-on password prevents anyone from starting the computer until the proper password is entered. With the power-on password enabled, the screen remains black and prompts for a password as soon as the computer is turned on. The power-on password is turned off by default.
  • Diagnostics - The System Diagnostics menu contains several tests. Each test validates the hardware on the computer. Testing the hardware helps determine if the hardware is causing the operating system to fail to start, or if the operating system is failing to start due to a software-based error. If the hardware is at fault, an error message generates, and a warranty code displays for use with customer service. For more information, refer to the Testing for Hardware Failures (Windows 7 and Windows Vista) support document.
  • System Configuration - The System Configuration menu allows you to alter the BIOS settings on the computer, including language options and boot order. If you change the settings in the BIOS, and the computer no longer responds properly, select the Reset to Default option to return the BIOS to the factory configuration.
    Using the System Configuration menu, you can:
    • Set which language the BIOS displays.
    • Enable and disable boot options.
    • Revise the boot order, including the hard disk drive, optical drive, network drive, and external USB drives.
HP Recommended boot order
HP recommends setting the hard disk drive as the first device in the boot order. If you set the optical drive or network as the first device in the boot order, the startup process can slow down substantially if:
  • The computer is trying to boot off of the optical drive, but there is no disk in the drive.
  • The computer is trying to boot off of a network, but no network connection is available.
If you know that you will never boot off of a device other than the hard disk drive, it may be advantageous to you to simply move the boot options that you know you will never use to the bottom of the list in the boot order.
The danger of booting your computer from a USB key or an optical disc that did not come directly from a software manufacturer is that viruses can be contained on either storage medium.
Startup requirements in a corporate environment
The following options are primarily used in corporate environments for security purposes. In some corporate environments, the IT department may lock down these options to prevent users from accessing them.
  • Enable and disable devices options.
  • Enable and disable ports.
  • View and change security levels for the ports on the computer.
  • Restore security settings to their default levels.
Some businesses require their employees to boot their computers from the corporate network for security purposes.