BIOS from A to Z

Key Settings

The following BIOS tricks will show you how to change the boot priority order on your computer, start a desktop PC with a keypress or a mouse click, activate support for USB 2.0, and handle problems with fans or hardware changes.

5. Establish Boot Priority Order

Most PCs attempt to boot from the floppy disk during startup. This consumes valuable time and introduces the possibility of infection from boot sector viruses. And let’s face it : there’s rarely any need to boot from the floppy these days anyhow. Telling the BIOS to not bother with checking the floppy drive and turning off drive checks for floppies helps shorten boot time.

The BIOS has a mechanism to let you control the devices from which your PC can boot, and the order in which those devices should be checked. The following configuration lets your PC skip the floppy drive during startup, thereby speeding the boot process and beefing up system security.

Here’s how you do it : First select "Advanced BIOS Features, Boot Sequence" then switch the "1st Boot Device" from "Floppy" to "Hard Disk", as shown in Screenshot C ; this may be called "HDD-0". This instructs the BIOS to go straight to the boot sector on the hard drive without taking any unnecessary detours.

With this change made the computer no longer tried to boot from the floppy drive, but it still checks to see if a floppy drive is installed on your PC, which wastes time. To avoid this check, be sure to set the "Boot Up Floppy Seek" option to "Disabled" as well.

6. Speed PC Boot Up

The bottom line on this change is that your PC won’t go off looking for new hard disks and other drives each time it boots. Skipping this check helps speed boot up.

Here’s how you do it : Unless you change drives in your system regularly, set the drive search time to zero. From the "Main" menu, set the "Timeout" value to "0".

7. Activate USB 2.0 Support

On many motherboards, the "USB Controllers" Option is installed so that only USB 1.1 is active. The root cause of this issue is that Windows XP itself, prior to the addition of any Service Packs, does not support USB 2.0. The following BIOS manipulation lets you activate support for USB 2.0 after the fact.

To do it, simply change the value for this option to "Enabled" (as shown in Screenshot E) or to "V1.1+V2.0", as may sometimes be the case. The prerequisite for using the faster USB 2.0 interface is that Service Pack 1, at a minimum, must be installed for Windows XP.