Main Menu

In order to call the setup you must press Del key during memory counting. In some computers (like those from IBM) the key may be another one, and you must pay attention to the instructions displayed on screen during the memory counting in order to have access to the setup.

Once inside setup, browsing is normally done using the keyboard arrows to moving around the options, the Enter key to select a menu, the Esc key to return to previous menu, and the Page Up and Page Down keys to modify an existing option.

It is very important to note that the changes done when you’re inside setup are not automatically saved in CMOS configuration memory. Therefore you save the changes before leaving setup, choosing the Save and Exit option.

When entering setup you’ll see the main menu displaying options for calling other setup menus. Those options are basically the ones listed below (don’t worry, we’ll discuss all of them in detail).

  • CPU Setup: In computers where the motherboard doesn’t have setup jumpers, you’ll find out this menu that is used to configure the processor: clock multiplying, external clock, etc.

  • Standard CMOS Setup: Basic setup. This menu allows the basic computer configuration, like floppy unit type, date and time, and the hard disk parameters (hard disk parameters may be configured automatically by means of an option called HDD Auto Detection).

  • Advanced CMOS Setup (or BIOS Features Setup): Advanced setup. Here you can find some advanced configuration options that mostly refers to the computer customization and that can be changed according to your personal preferences. There are also some options that can increase the computer performance. 

  • Advanced Chipset Setup: These are options to set up the motherboard chipset. These options include configurations that usually refers to the computer RAM access, as the wait states. If some wrong configuration is done in this menu, the computer may freeze. Therefore, do not change the options in this menu unless you are certain of what you’re doing.

  • PCI/Plug and Play Setup: Configures the allocated resources for the installed devices in the computer, such as sound boards and fax/modems.

  • Power Management Setup: In this menu you can do all the power management setup, in order to save some power.

  • Peripheral Setup (or Integrated Peripherals): Configures all devices embedded in the motherboard (on-board)

  • Auto Configuration With BIOS Defaults: Sets manufacturer values for all setup options.

  • Auto Configuration With Power-on Defaults: Sets values saved in CMOS for all setup options. In other words, it sets up all options as they were before you called.

  • Change Password: Sets up a password that will be asked when you turn the computer on (or if you try to call setup depending on what was set in the advanced setup).

  • Auto Detect Hard Disk (or HDD Auto Detect or IDE Setup): Reads computer installed IDE hard disks parameters and automatically sets up advanced setup according to read values.

  • Hard Disk Utility (or HDD Low Level Format): Formats the hard disk in low level (physical formatting). This option must never be used as you can damage your hard disk permanently.

  • Write to CMOS and Exit: Saves done changes in CMOS configuration memory e exits setup.

  • Do Not Write to CMOS and Exit: Exits setup without saving the changes.


Gabriel Torres is a Brazilian best-selling ICT expert, with 24 books published. He started his online career in 1996, when he launched Clube do Hardware, which is one of the oldest and largest websites about technology in Brazil. He created Hardware Secrets in 1999 to expand his knowledge outside his home country.