Change the BIOS boot order

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NOTE: This page is a daughter page of: Windows

This page is about changing the boot order on Window PC machines.

What is the boot order?

When the computer boots it looks for a "boot record" on one of your drives - typically your CD/DVD drive, hard drive, USB or (back in the day) floppy drive - but it does so in a particular order (typically starting with a CD), which is specified on your computer's BIOS chip, and you can change this order.

Once Windows is installed a boot record exists on your primary hard drive, and to speed up your booting is a good idea to make it search here FIRST, instead of wasting time checking your CD or floppy drive.

HOWEVER, if you want to reinstall or repair windows, you might need to change it back so it searches the CD drive first.


On different computers the interface order might be a bit different (see here), but on my Pentium the order is as follows:

  1. Restart your computer
  2. While it's booting press [DEL] (when prompted) to edit BIOS settings.
  3. Select "Advanced Bios Features" * (and hit enter)
  4. Select "First Boot Device" *
    1. Select "CD" (i.e. now it will check the CD first)
  5. Select "Second Boot Device" *
    1. Select "HARD DRIVE" (i.e. if it can't find a Windows CD it loads Windows from your hard drive)
  6. Hit [F10] to save changes and exit

... so not too hard really - don't forget setting "HARD DRIVE" as the first boot device makes your machine boot a bit faster, but you WILL need to change it back when it's time to Reinstall Windows.