How to change the boot order of the computer

How to change the boot order of the computer Most of the time we need to enter a computer's BIOS or UEFI is to change the computer boot order option in order to force the computer to load a program, another system from a USB pen or an external drive or from a CD or DVD player, so as to avoid loading the actual operating system present on the computer disk.
Often in the guides we talk about changing the boot order of the computer to, for example, install another system, to load a portable operating system other than the current one which can be Linux or a backup system or an antivirus.
In this guide we will show you all the steps to take for change the boot order on our desktop or laptop, so as to start the secondary unit that we have already connected to it.

Change the boot order on the PC

This process may look different on each computer, because the version of BIOS found depends on the motherboard and the model of the computer, but the options are the same, although sometimes they are written differently.

Change boot order quickly at boot

On the vast majority of computers it is not necessary to enter the BIOS / UEFI to change the boot order, since just press the right button to immediately open the boot device selection screen.
How to change the boot order of the computer

As soon as the PC starts, we pay attention to the messages that appear in the sufficient part of the monitor or screen (usually for a few seconds, so better be ready), we find the indication where it is written "Press the key (usually it is F8, F11 or F12) to enter the boot menu "(Press F11 key for boot menu).", Then press the corresponding key. The most used key is F8, but it changes according to the motherboard manufacturer (on fixed PCs) or To avoid missing the screen, we recommend that you quickly press the corresponding key until a screen similar to the one shown above comes out.
This procedure allows you to choose which device to use for starting the computer only on that occasion, without changing the boot order permanently.

Change boot order from BIOS

If, on the other hand, we need to permanently change the boot order, even for future changes, we will necessarily have to access the BIOS or UEFI (on more recent computers).

To enter the BIOS / UEFI it is necessary to restart the computer and press a specific key on the keyboard at the beginning of the boot process, when a black screen with text appears.
On the screen, during boot, you can see a message saying "Press DEL to enter setup" or "Press F2 to access the BIOS". This message is always written in English so it is important to know that DEL, in the english keyboard is the Canc key and that Setup is the Bios.
In some cases it may also require another key, such as F1, Esc, or Ctrl + Alt + Esc, depending on the computer model and brand or motherboard in the case of assembled PCs. We can find out the keys for the BIOS or UEFI by reading our guide How to access the BIOS on computers of all brands.

Once inside the BIOS we will have an advanced settings menu, in which we can move using the arrows on the keyboard and pressing the key Submit for selection.
How to change the boot order of the computer

In each BIOS one of the sections is that of the Boot which can be a separate card or an option under another card that, in this case, must be found. As you navigate through the various options, you will generally see instructions on the right side of the screen on which keys to press to make changes. After finding the Boot options, you should see an order with the first, second and third choices. Select the first one, press Enter to change it and choose the media with which you want to start your computer. In some types of BIOS you have to use the + and - keys to move between devices in the list of who to start first. For USB sticks and external hard drives, make sure that the device is connected to the PC port before entering the BIOS otherwise some options will not appear. An option like "USB Drive" never appears in the list; usually the device name appears. The main hard drive is also called by its name and brand which, therefore, is important to recognize.

Finally, after changing the boot order of the computer, press the key indicated for save the settings and exit the BIOS. Pressing ESC takes you back to the main menu and then goes to the Exit tab to save. Be sure to always select the option Save Changes and Exit otherwise the changes are not saved and everything remains as before.
Depending on the chosen boot order, when the PC restarts, it first looks for a system to boot on the CD player or USB stick, then, if nothing is found, the operating system is loaded from the hard disk as normal. If there is nothing on the CD or USB stick, the PC may show a black screen.

Change boot order from UEFI

On new computers, the BIOS has been replaced with a different option system called UEFI, which is much easier to use, especially for changing the boot order. We access it as already seen for BIOS, open the advanced settings screen and go to the menu Boot.
How to change the boot order of the computer

Although the keys to press and the graphics may change depending on the computer model, the process is similar on all computers that use the traditional BIOS. Once the boot order has been changed, press on the top right Exit and confirm to exit saving the changes.


By changing the boot order we will be able to boot Live CD, Live DVD or Live USB systems to install a Linux distribution, to restore the correct functioning of Windows, to format the operating system or to clean it from viruses. Permanently changing the boot order will keep the system ready to boot any peripheral that we connect via USB or CD drive in the future, without having to change the boot order each time.

To restore the boot order in case of access problems or in case of emergency, we can cancel all the changes as seen in our guide How to reset the BIOS.
In another article we explained how boot the computer from USB even if the option does not exist in the BIOS.

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