How to perform a BIOS or CMOS reset and clear NVRAM on Dell systems

Symptoms

Load BIOS to defaults

Duration: 00:24
Subtitles: English only

Information stored in the BIOS (system setup), known as ESCD (extended system setup data), can occasionally be corrupted due to various reasons such as power failure, incorrect settings, hardware incompatibility due to a specific setting, or a power-on self test (POST) or video problems. In these cases, it is sometimes necessary to reset the BIOS or CMOS (Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor) to factory default settings, or in other circumstances clear the NVRAM (Non-Volatile Random Access Memory).

Cause

WARNING: The BIOS interface is designed for advanced users. Make sure of the changes you are making in the BIOS. Accidentally changing an unknown setting can prevent the computer from turning on or starting the operating system, or it can cause possible data loss.

Resolution

How to reset the BIOS from the BIOS interface

NOTE: This process resets the BIOS to factory default settings and does not clear CMOS or NVRAM.

  1. Turn on the computer.
  2. Touch the key F2 several times until it appears Entering Setup.
  3. Reset the BIOS to factory default settings. The method of resetting the BIOS varies between different computers:
    1. Click the button Load defaults.
    2. Or press the key F9 to load the default settings.
    3. Or press the key Alt+F to load the default settings.
  4. Press Esc and select Save and exit O Exit.
  5. Press To enter to save all changes and exit the BIOS setup screen.
  6. The computer will restart.

How to clear BIOS, CMOS, or NVRAM via a jumper on a desktop computer

WARNING: Clearing CMOS or NVRAM using a jumper will reset passwords in BIOS. This includes the BIOS user password, the administrator password, and the hard disk password. This does not include other passwords, such as Windows login, online accounts, etc.

NOTE: The RTCRST / PSWD jumper is not available on all Dell laptops.

The Real Time Clock Reset (RTCRST) jumper helps reset or clear the computer’s NVRAM. ESCD information contained in NVRAM can be erased by following the steps mentioned below. NVRAM clears when the jumper is placed in the closed position and the computer is turned on for 10 seconds.

NOTE: Dell desktops can recover from a power-on self test or video failure by clearing CMOS or NVRAM.

NOTE: The location of the RTCRST and PSWD jumper will vary between different Dell desktops. For more information on the location of the jumpers, see the user manual for your Dell desktop computer.
  1. Before you begin, follow the safety precautions when working with electronic and electrical equipment.
  2. Turn off the computer and unplug the power cord from the computer.
  3. Remove the cover from the computer. For model-specific information, see the user’s manual for your Dell desktop computer.
  4. Locate the two-pin password jumper labeled PSWD on the motherboard.
  5. Remove the 2-pin jumper plug.
  6. Locate the two-pin CMOS jumper labeled RTCRST on the motherboard.
  7. Move the two-pin jumper plug from the password jumper to the pins on the CMOS jumper.
  8. Connect the power cord to the computer and wait 10 seconds for the CMOS to clear.
  9. Disconnect the power cord from the computer.
  10. Move the 2-pin jumper plug back to the password jumper.
  11. Replace the computer cover. For model-specific information, see the user’s manual for your Dell desktop computer.
  12. Connect the power cord to the computer and turn it on.

Figure 1. Illustration of the jumpers on the motherboard of a Dell desktop computer.


How to clear BIOS, CMOS, or NVRAM by resetting the CMOS battery

The BIOS can be reset to factory default settings by reinstalling the CMOS battery that is connected to the motherboard. This process applies to Dell desktops and laptops. Follow the steps below if the PSWD or RTCRST jumpers are not accessible on a Dell desktop computer or if you are using a Dell laptop.

WARNING: Clearing CMOS or NVRAM by replacing the CMOS battery will reset the passwords in BIOS. This includes the BIOS user password, the administrator password, and the hard disk password. This does not include other passwords, such as Windows login, online accounts, etc.

NOTE: The CMOS battery cannot be replaced in all Dell laptops. For model-specific information, see the user’s manual for your Dell computer.
  1. Before you begin, follow the safety precautions when working with electronic and electrical equipment.
  2. Turn off the computer and unplug the power cord from the computer.
  3. If you are using a Dell laptop, disconnect the battery from the computer. For model-specific information, see the user’s manual for your Dell computer. If your Dell laptop has a non-removable battery, refer to the Dell knowledge base article How to reset the Real Time Clock (RTC) to recover your Dell laptop.
  4. Remove the cover from the computer. For model-specific information, see the user’s manual for your Dell computer.
  5. Locate the CMOS coin cell battery (Figure 2 and 3).
  6. Carefully disconnect the coin cell battery from the motherboard.
  7. Press and hold the power button for 10-20 seconds to discharge residual power.
  8. Connect the coin cell battery from the motherboard.
  9. Close the lid of the equipment.
  10. Connect the battery and power cord to the computer.
  11. Turn on the computer.
  12. A warning message will appear stating that the date and time are not set.
  13. Press F2 to enter the BIOS screen.
  14. Set the date and time according to your time zone.
  15. Save and exit the BIOS screen

Illustration of a coin cell battery on the motherboard of a Dell desktop computer
Figure 2: Illustration of a coin cell battery on the motherboard of a Dell desktop computer

Illustration of a button cell battery on the motherboard of a Dell laptop
Figure 3: Illustration of a button cell battery on the motherboard of a Dell laptop

Additional Information


Out of warranty support Out of warranty? No problem. Visit the website Dell.com/support, enter your Dell Service Tag and review our offerings.

NOTE: Offers are only available to personal computer customers of EE. USA, Canada, United Kingdom, France, Germany Y China. It does not apply to server and storage machines.

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07 jun. 2021

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