How to Change BIOS Settings in Vista

By C.D. Crowder

Updated February 10, 2017

Changing your BIOS settings in Windows Vista allows you to further customize how your Vista system operates. Typical changes include rearranging the boot order, setting a system or BIOS password, changing hard drive settings and setting the system time. The BIOS controls the way your system boots and how Vista communicates with installed hardware. Without your BIOS, Windows Vista would be unable to boot properly, if at all. Changing BIOS settings isn't difficult, but you should take caution when changing any system settings.

Restart your Windows Vista computer by pressing the small arrow near the bottom of the "Start" menu. Select "Restart Computer."

Press the correct key to access your BIOS. This will vary depending on your computer manufacturer. Typically, Dell systems use "F2" and HP systems use "Esc." Other possible keys include "F12" and "Del." Press the correct key before the Windows Vista loading screen appears.

Use your arrow and function keys to navigate and change BIOS settings. The exact function keys to save settings and move between pages in the BIOS vary based on the manufacturer.

Read the description of each BIOS setting by looking to the right side of the screen when an option is selected. For instance, when you select the "Boot Order" option, a description will appear telling exactly what the setting does and how to change it.

Press the correct key to save your changes and exit. F10 or Esc are typically used to do this. Read the description of what each function key is for at the bottom of the BIOS settings screen. If you made changes that don't work as you planned, you can re-enter the BIOS and restore the BIOS back to default settings. The key to do so varies based on manufacturer.


If you change any password information in your BIOS, write down the password in a secure location to prevent losing or forgetting the password.


Never change a BIOS setting unless you know exactly what you're changing. You could prevent your Vista system from booting or running correctly.