To access CMOS setup on a personal computer, a computer user presses a key as the computer is starting. The key to press can vary, depending on the computer manufacturer, but is often the F1, F2 or Delete key. The system documentation identifies the appropriate key.Continue Reading
Shortly after starting, some computers display a message such as "Press F2 to enter CMOS setup" so that users know which key to press and when to take action to access CMOS setup. In this case, users can press and hold the appropriate key as the computer starts and continue holding the key until the CMOS setup menu appears. If a computer starts very quickly, however, users can miss this message.
CMOS settings control basic system information such as the system date and time, the boot sequence, computer memory, installed devices, security information and power management. The boot sequence indicates the order of drives on which the computer looks for information to start the operating system. Security information includes passwords for accessing the computer. Power-management options allow users to conserve energy by letting the computer switch to a low-power state after a specified amount of time. Because incorrect CMOS settings can prevent a computer from starting correctly, they should be changed only when directed by a computer expert.Learn more about Software