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How to access your computers set up screen...

by Matt Lee Contributions Published on Oct 15, 2010 04:25 PM
Typical PC computers, like the ones that often ship with Microsoft Windows, have a set up screen called the BIOS that allows you to tell your computer to look for a Live CD when it starts up.

If you have an Apple computer, you can just hold down the C key when your computer is starting up.

When you first turn your computer on, look out for something similar to: "F12 Boot Menu" — if you find this, press F12 and skip the rest of this guide.

Finding the magic key...

Unfortunately, there is not one key that all computers use to enter the setup screen, but look out for phrases like this when you turn your computer on:

  • Press F2 to enter setup
  • Enter BIOS by pressing F2
  • Press F2 to access system configuration
  • Press F2 to enter BIOS setup
  • Press F2 to access BIOS

The key can be F2, F1, F12 or sometimes the TAB key. Other variations are also likely, so keep an eye out for it. If you cannot find the key, try looking into your computer's manual.

Changing the boot order

The BIOS set up screen on your computer is not the most intuitive user interface ever, but most of them are fairly simple to navigate. A mixture of arrow/cursor keys, +, - and Enter are typically used. With this in mind, try and find a 'boot order' or 'boot sequence' setting, this may be under an 'Advanced' or 'Boot' section.

If you managed to find the option, the key is to move the CD ROM drive to the top of whatever list is presented, and then exit, saving your changes.

BIOS screeshot

The dreaded BIOS screen... proceed with caution!

Photo by CaneHappy at Flickr.

A note of caution...

Due to the archaic nature of BIOS set up screens, this is a potentially tricky task, and where possible, we recommend you contact your local LibrePlanet group, friendly local computer store, or perhaps a friend or relative who is good with computers to help you.

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