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HP Notebook PCs - BIOS Setup Information and Menu Options

This document contains information on what the BIOS is, how to enter it, and how to use it. Specific default BIOS settings are not addressed here, as there are too many variations between computer models to include in a short document. It is good practice to keep a record of your BIOS settings for future reference. Default settings can be reloaded easily.
Updating the BIOS
If you are looking for information on updating the BIOS, go to the following document: HP Notebook PCs - How to update your BIOS or ROM
What is the BIOS Setup utility?
Basic Input/Output System (BIOS) is a program that controls communication between all the input and output devices on the system (such as, disk drives, display, keyboard, mouse, and printer). The BIOS is typically placed in a read only memory chip (ROM) on the computer's motherboard.
The system BIOS on the computer has a built-in setup utility that lets users control the special features of the computer. Configuration information stored in the BIOS includes the type of peripherals installed, the startup sequence of the computer, and the amount of system and extended memory. When the system is turned off, a battery on the motherboard maintains the BIOS Setup information.
The information stored by the BIOS Setup utility is essential. It should not be changed arbitrarily. Caution should be used when making changes in the BIOS Setup utility. A mistake could cause the PC to not perform as expected.
BIOS features differ among notebook models
The BIOS used in HP notebooks is customized for each model line. This is because each model line has its own unique hardware configuration which requires a set of BIOS features to match it. BIOS features have a direct one-to-one correspondence to a notebook's hardware. In some cases, when a model line undergoes a revision and includes updated hardware components, the revised line may use a different version of the BIOS with features not included in the earlier version.
For example, the HP ProBook 6555b has a fingerprint reader built into it, whereas the HP Pavilion dm1z does not. As such, the BIOS for the HP ProBook 6555b has settings for the fingerprint hardware, while the BIOS for the HP Pavilion dm1z does not. Similarly, the HP Pavilion dm1z has advanced audio speakers, so its BIOS has different sound-related settings than the HP ProBook 6555b.
Even though BIOS features differ among notebook models, the core functionality of the BIOS remains the same and the procedures described in this document are conceptually valid for all HP notebook PCs if the specifics are not.
Navigating through the BIOS
The following table explains how to navigate through the BIOS:
Key on keyboard
Description of function
F1 or F10
Enter Setup at the red Compaq logo or blue HP logo
Setup Help
Exit Setup
Up or Down arrow key
Selects an item (Moves the cursor up or down)
Left or Right arrow key
Selects a different menu screen (Moves the cursor left or right)
+ or -
Changes the values of the selected item
Select submenu
Load the Setup default values
Save changes and Exit
Many HP notebooks have the Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI). If your notebook has UEFI, then the key stroke that launches your notebook's BIOS may be different than described in this section. Consult the documentation that came with your notebook for information on how to launch BIOS.
Accessing the BIOS Setup menu
There are at least three different ways to access the BIOS setup menus depending on the type of CPU, the BIOS, and when the notebook was built. For most models, after you press the power button to turn On the computer, a prompt displays to specify what key to press to enter BIOS or Windows or diagnostic functions. For newer computers, it will be the F10 key or the Esc key, however, on very old computers, you may be prompted to press the Delete key to enter a Setup function. If you do not press the suggested key at the proper time and the computer continues though the boot process, you will need to shutdown the computer and try the boot process again.
  • Pre-UEFI, before 2008 for most models.
    With the computer turned Off, press the power button to turn On the computer, and repeatedly press the F10 key. Normally, the Compaq or HP splash screen will display a message to press F10 to enter the BIOS just before the BIOS menu is displayed.
  • UEFI Enabled, 2008 to mid 2011 for most models.
    If the computer has the UEFI pre-BIOS environment, when the Compaq or HP splash screen displays, you are prompted to press Escape to enter Start Up Menu. Then there is a prompt to press F10 to enter the BIOS Setup.
    Because of the different types of CPUs and BIOS configurations, it may be possible to turn On the power and press F10 for the BIOS without going through the UEFI Start Up Menu.
  • Shortened Startup without splash screen, mid-2011 or later for most models.
    To help computers start faster, on some models the Compaq or HP splash screen is not displayed during the start up process. In this case, after pressing the power button, repeatedly press the Esc key to enter the Start Up Menu, and follow the prompt to press F10 to enter the BIOS Setup.
Reloading the default settings
Complete the following steps to reload the factory installed BIOS Setup settings:
  1. In the BIOS Setup utility, select the Exit tab.
  2. Select Load Setup Defaults.
  3. Select Save Changes and Exit (pressing F5 and the Enter key will also load the Setup Defaults).
  4. Press Esc and then Enter to exit Setup.
Example BIOS menu options
In this example, the BIOS Setup screen has five different tabs. The tab headings are as follows:
Allocates resources for hardware components
Configures advanced features available through the chipset
Configures power management features
Selects boot options and power supply controls
Saves or discards changes to Setup program options
BIOS Setup initially displays the Main menu screen. In each screen, there are different options for modifying the system configuration. The menu screens and their options are listed below.
Main menu
Below is a summary of what may be contained on the Main tab of the BIOS Setup:
  • System Time
  • System Date
  • Language
  • Legacy Diskette A (floppy)
  • Primary Master (hard drive); selecting this brings up the hard drive settings, such as cylinders, sectors, and capacity
  • Primary Slave
  • Secondary Master (CD-ROM); selecting this brings up the CD-ROM settings
  • Secondary Slave
  • Installed Memory (RAM)
  • BIOS revision
Primary and secondary device submenu
  • Type
  • CHS Format
  • Cylinders
  • Heads
  • Sectors
  • Maximum Capacity
  • LBA Format
  • Total Sectors
  • Maximum Capacity
  • Multi-Sector Transfers
  • LBA Mode Control
  • 32 Bit I/O
  • Transfer Mode
  • Ultra DMA Mode
Advanced menu
Below is a summary of what may be contained on the Advanced tab of the BIOS Setup:
  • CPU type
  • CPU speed
  • Cache Ram
  • Plug and Play O/S
  • Reset Configuration Data (Clear the NVRAM)
  • PS/2 Mouse
  • Large Disk Access Mode
  • Local Bus IDE Adapter
  • PCI Configuration; selecting this brings up an additional Setup menu to configure PCI devices
  • I/O Device Configuration; selecting this brings up the Peripheral Configuration; for example, the serial port and parallel port IRQs and modes
PCI Configuration submenu
  • PCI Device, Slot number 1
  • PCI Device, Slot number 2
  • PCI Device, Slot number 3
  • PCI/PNP ISA UMB Region Exclusion
  • PCI/PNP ISA IRQ Resource Exclusion
PCI Device, Slot #n submenu
  • Option ROM Scan
  • Enable Master
  • Latency Timer
PCI/PNP ISA UMB Region Exclusion submenu
  • C800 - CBFF
  • CC00 - CFFF
  • D000 - D3FF
  • D400 - D7FF
  • D800 - DBFF
PCI/PNP ISA IRQ Region Exclusion submenu
  • IRQ 3
  • IRQ 4
  • IRQ 5
  • IRQ 7
  • IRQ 9
  • IRQ 10
  • IRQ 11
  • Serial port A
  • Base I/O Address
  • Interrupt
  • Serial port B
  • Parallel port
  • Mode
  • Base I/O Address
  • Interrupt
  • Floppy disk controller
  • Base I/O address
Power menu
Below is a summary of what may be contained on the Power tab of the BIOS Setup:
  • Power Savings
  • Auto Suspend Timeout
  • Hard Disk Timeout
  • IDE Primary Master (power saving setting)
  • IDE Primary Slave (power saving setting)
  • IDE Secondary Master (power saving setting)
  • IDE Secondary Slave (power saving setting)
  • IRQ assigned to modem
  • Power button behavior
  • Restore on AC/Power Loss
Boot menu
Below is a summary of what is contained on the Boot tab of the BIOS Setup:
  • The order for the bottom process; for example: Removable devices, CD ROM, and hard drive.
  • Boot-time Diagnostic screen
Exit menu
Below is a summary of what may be contained on the Exit tab of the BIOS Setup:
  • Exit Saving Changes
  • Exit Discarding Changes
  • Load Setup Defaults
  • Discard Changes
  • Save Changes








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