Many people think that after powering the computer on for the first time, the job is complete. While it’s true that the hardware part of the build is indeed finished, it’s only the beginning of the configuration and software installation stages. In these stages, we configure the computer in a way so that the operating system loads efficiently and without any unnecessary overhead.
Checking the BIOS POST Screen – When powering on the computer for the first time, the very first thing to do is to take a look at the POWER ON SELF TEST (POST) results.
That’s the initial screen that appears and details the following:
- CPU clock frequency (MHz) and processor manufacturer
- BIOS version, and graphics card boot information
- Installed RAM working amounts in kilobytes
- Any boot errors such as no keyboard, etc.
- The boot priority of media devices DVD, Hard Disk etc.
- What key you need to press in order to access the BIOS / EFI configuration.
It’s important to check this initial screen to make sure that the computer has recognized everything correctly. For example if you have installed 4GB of RAM, but it only recognizes 2 GB – then it’s time to troubleshoot before you run into problems later.
If the POST screen shows everything correctly, then it’s time to take a look in the BIOS/EFI and check that the settings in there are all correct. Accessing these settings is usually done by pressing one of the function keys or sometimes Delete.
When looking at the BIOS settings, it’s critically important not to change any settings which you don’t understand. The reason is that if you change the wrong option, you can actually stop your computer from loading, or even worse, cause physical damage.
Of all the settings found inside the BIOS, the ones you want to take a look at include the following settings:
. – This is normally under the Hardware monitoring page or something similar. It will tell you both the CPU temperature and the System temperature. If these numbers are high (over 70’c) turn the system off immediately and check that fans are seated correctly.
– Check the Boot Sequence is set this to USB, CD/DVD, then hard disk, because otherwise when you put in the windows CD, the computer won’t boot from it.
– You want to change the following settings to the values listed here. APIC – Enabled, Virus Protection: enabled, Hyper-threading, enabled, CPU L1&L2 Cache: enabled, Quick POST: enabled, swap floppy drive: disabled, numlock status: on, HDD S.M.A.R.T: enabled.
– Leave this alone
– You might want to disable power on by mouse, and power on by ring or LAN.
The BIOS includes a great deal more settings that can be changed, modified and edited to tweak the way your computer runs. From overclocking your CPU to increasing the clock timings on your RAM, the BIOS is a tool that can fine-tune the running of your system.
Used inappropriately however, it can also cause irreparable damage, so please only change BIOS/EFI settings with the utmost of caution.
CPU clock frequency (MHz) and processor manufacturer
BIOS version, and graphics card boot information
Installed RAM working amounts in kilobytes
Any boot errors such as no keyboard, etc.
The boot priority of media devices DVD, Hard Disk etc.
What key you need to press in order to access the BIOS / EFI configuration.