Lenovo was the number-one selling computer brand in the world in 2020—a rank it maintained in spite of a slight downturn from the COVID-19 pandemic. This is no surprise, as their devices are known for their performance and reliability.
But one thing that often confuses PC users is how to find and use the boot menu. Even for owners of a Lenovo ThinkCentre, the process can be somewhat muddled.
It doesn’t help that every brand and line of computers can have a slightly different way of handling the boot menu. Some devices are fairly straightforward, with a single button you can use to enter the boot menu. Others demand a more detailed and counterintuitive approach.
You may also be wondering what the boot menu is even for. Or you might have encountered problems trying to access the boot screen, and are looking for answers.
Whatever your situation, if you own a Lenovo ThinkCentre, this article will try to explain how to enter and use the boot menu. From meeting your ThinkCentre’s BIOS for the first time to trying new options, keep reading to learn how to use the boot menu.
Discovering the Lenovo ThinkCentre Boot Menu
Maybe you just bought a brand-new Lenovo ThinkCentre. Or perhaps you’ve owned your computer for a while, and just want to make some changes. Either way, the first step is to familiarize yourself with your system.
What Is a Lenovo ThinkCentre?
Just what is the Lenovo ThinkCentre?
Simply put, ThinkCentre is a line of computers made by Lenovo. They are typically marketed to busy professionals, and they’re made with mid to high-range processors for increased power.
Lenovo is a very experienced company when it comes to developing great computers and offering great deals. This should come as no surprise since Lenovo itself was created by IBM—possibly the oldest and best-known computer manufacturer in the world.
The important thing, however, is that Lenovo computers are made to be reliable and user-friendly. After all, you could have all the processing power in the world, but it won’t help you if you can’t figure out your system settings.
Whether your computer is brand-new or you’ve had it for some time, you’re about to learn exactly how to make changes using the boot menu.
What Is the Boot Menu?
The boot menu, or BIOS, is basically a complex control panel for your computer.
Unlike the Control Panel app in Windows, however, the BIOS allows you to control more basic settings. Boot menu options usually involve hardware-level settings and features that are unique to your computer system.
You might think of the BIOS as a miniature operating system. You can’t use it to write documents or check email, but it is responsible for everything you get done on your computer.
Why You Might Want to Access the Boot Menu
Most of the time, computer users will want to access their boot menu to make system changes that are foundational to their entire computer. These include settings for date and time.
You might also want to enter the BIOS to set up hotkeys or wireless functions.
The boot menu also allows you to inspect your hardware configurations. These include seeing what types of components you have, and how much memory you’re using.
You can even use the boot menu to start up your computer using a different operating system from the one your computer came with. For example, you might enter BIOS to boot a version of Linux from a USB drive, instead of booting Windows.
How to Use the Boot Menu
Once you find the boot menu, making changes to your system should be fairly straightforward. However, getting to the boot menu in the first place is a different story.
There are a few different ways to enter the boot menu on a Lenovo ThinkCentre computer. To make sure you discover the way that works on your device, we’ll explain all three of them here. Next, we’ll share some tips for getting the most out of your BIOS settings.
Finding the Boot Menu
When you turn on your computer, it automatically starts the boot sequence. The boot sequence is essentially a series of steps the machine takes automatically to power up and start (or boot) Windows.
To access the boot menu, you have to interrupt the boot sequence before Windows starts. This is most often done by pressing a certain key on the keyboard, or a sequence of keys, while your computer is starting up.
However, you have to be quick to interrupt the boot sequence in time. Modern computers tend to load very quickly compared to those from just 10 years ago. This means you have less time during the boot sequence to enter the BIOS.
The first step to entering the boot menu is to turn your computer on. If your computer is already on, you’ll need to restart or shut it down and turn it on again.
The second step is different depending on what kind of Lenovo ThinkCentre computer you have. As soon as the initial screen appears on your display, press either the “F1” or “F12” key on your keyboard.
The particular key you should use will depend on the BIOS version your computer uses, but you will have to try them both to discover which one works. If you pressed one key and nothing happened, restart your computer again and this time try the other key.
If neither of the above methods worked, your device may have a Phoenix BIOS. Try restarting again, and this time press the “Ctrl,” “Alt,” and “Ins” keys at the same time.
As long as you press the right key (or keys) as soon as the first loading screen appears, you should be taken directly to the boot menu.
Using the Boot Menu
At this point, you should have found a way to access your computer’s boot menu with one of the above methods. Now you’re ready to create some system changes and make your PC more your own.
You might find that there’s a password you have to enter to access the boot menu. However, this should only be the case if you or another user has used the boot menu before and created a password.
Once you’ve made it to your BIOS settings screen, you might feel a bit intimidated. Unlike Windows, which has a graphical user interface, most BIOS menus are text only. And instead of using your mouse to make selections and changes, you have to use your arrow keys and the “Enter” key to make changes.
Don’t let the differences scare you, however. As long as you exercise some patience, using the boot menu should be easy.
Before you do anything else, you should take a moment to observe the entire screen. Take note of the settings available on this first screen. There should be text instructions somewhere, probably along the bottom of the screen. These will tell you which keys you can use to navigate the boot menu.
Staying Safe in the BIOS Menu
Once you’ve found your bearings, whatever you do next will depend on why you accessed the boot menu in the first place. Like we mentioned earlier, you might use the boot menu to change your computer’s date and time. Or you might make deeper system changes, such as which OS to load on startup.
The most important thing to remember is never to change a setting if you aren’t sure what it does. Windows is user friendly and has warning screens to keep users from accidentally messing things up. But most BIOS menus have no such interface. Make sure you go slowly and be careful when you make changes.
Different BIOS screens will have different options, so from here, it’s just a matter of looking around for the setting you want to change.
Staying on Top of Tech
Whether you use a Lenovo ThinkCentre laptop or another brand, it’s important to stay on top of emerging technology information. This allows you to make the most of your devices.
However, with lots of confusing information online, it’s hard to know where to go for answers.
That’s what our site is for. With dozens of articles on many relevant topics, our content helps you get the most out of your life and the tech that drives it. If you found this article helpful, make sure to read more from our Technology and Business category.