Windows 10 tip: Change UEFI firmware settings or start in Safe Mode

Who can remember the magic keystroke combo that unlocks your PC's UEFI firmware settings screen? Use the hidden Advanced Options menu instead; it lets you choose advanced startup options for maintenance or troubleshooting.

advanced-options-startup.jpg

Hold down Shift and restart to get to these options quickly.

Click to enlarge

If you've used PCs long enough, you know the frustration of trying to get to the BIOS screen so you can adjust settings like the order of boot devices. Every PC has a different magic keystroke, which must be pressed at exactly the right time.

On modern UEFI-equipped devices running Windows 10, the task is much simpler. Open Settings > Update & security > Recovery and then, under the Advanced Startup heading, click Restart now. (You have to be signed in as an administrator, naturally.)

That restarts your PC to a special startup menu. Click Troubleshoot, then click Advanced options to get to the screen shown here, which includes the UEFI Firmware Settings option.

Other advanced options on this screen let you roll back a problem with System Restore or change startup settings. If you're looking for good old Safe Mode, you'll find it under the Startup Settings menu.

If going through Settings seems too complicated, there's an even faster shortcut. From the Windows desktop, click Start, click Power, and then hold down Shift as you click Restart.

What if you can't start up in Windows? You can reach the same advanced options using a recovery drive. Follow these instructions to turn a USB flash drive into a bootable recovery drive.

Previous tip: Squeeze hours of extra life from your laptop battery

Next week: Another Windows 10 tip from Ed Bott

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