How to Access the BIOS for a Dell

By Steve McDonnell

You have a narrow opportunity to interrupt the Basic Input Output System on a Dell computer as it boots and to launch the BIOS editing utility.

Launching the BIOS

Power off the computer.

Power on the computer.

Press F2 when the Dell logo appears and you see the F2 key option appear at the bottom of the screen.

About the Bios

Access the BIOS on a Dell computer to change low-level hardware settings such as:

  • The order the computer checks devices when it's booting.
  • The configuration of floppy drives, optical drives and hard drives.
  • The configuration of the sound, ┬ánetwork, USB and cards you add to the computer.
  • Printer and serial port configuration.
  • The primary video device and the amount of memory allocated to the video card.
  • Whether to enable the computer to be woken up when it's powered off.
  • What to do when power is restored to a system that lost power.
  • Whether to halt during the boot process if the system encounters errors.
  • The power-on password for the computer.

Navigating the BIOS

The mouse does not work when you're editing the BIOS. Use the designated keys to navigate the screens and look at the bottom of each screen for a list of other function keys that are active on that screen:

  • Press the Left and right arrow keys to move between tabs.
  • Use the Up and Down arrow keys to move between options on a tab.
  • Press Enter to select an option for the feature you're editing.
  • Select Esc to take you back one screen or to exit the BIOS if on the main screen.
  • Choose F10 to save your changes and exits the BIOS editor.


Do not change BIOS options if you're unsure of the impact of the change on your computer. You can make a computer unable to boot or cause physical damage to the computer's hardware with some BIOS settings.