Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) Firmware Settings connect your computer's hardware to its operating system, offering a modern alternative to the classic BIOS system. This low-level software controls various settings, including boot order, security, and hardware performance tuning. However, some users find these settings missing. If you're facing this issue on your Windows 11 PC, this guide provides working solutions to regain access to UEFI settings.
Why are UEFI firmware settings missing? There could be several reasons why you can't find UEFI Firmware Settings on your Windows computer:
- Computer Only Supports BIOS. Older PCs use the legacy BIOS system. If your computer doesn't support UEFI, these settings won't be available. Check your motherboard's compatibility first.
- Fast Startup Enabled. This feature can bypass the usual UEFI access screen. Disabling it might reveal the missing settings.
- Windows 11 Installed in Legacy Mode. If Windows was installed using Legacy Mode, UEFI settings might be hidden.
- Hardware Issues. Occasionally, faulty hardware like the CMOS battery or motherboard components can block access to UEFI settings.
- Windows Installed in MBR Partition Style. UEFI settings require a GPT disk. If your system uses MBR, you won't see these settings.
Verify if Your PC's Motherboard Supports UEFI
Rto open the Run dialog box. Type
msinfo32Select 'System Summary' from the left pane in the System Information window and press
Enterto open the System Information utility.
- Select 'System Summary' from the left pane in the System Information window.
- Then, scroll down the right pane to find 'BIOS Mode'. If the BIOS mode value says 'UEFI', your computer supports UEFI. If it says 'Legacy', your motherboard uses the older BIOS mode instead.
As we mentioned earlier, Fast Startup can skip the usual BIOS/UEFI screen, making it appear like the settings are missing. Try disabling Fast Startup and see if the settings reappear.
- Open Control Panel and go to 'Hardware and Sound'.
- Click on 'Power Options'.
- Select 'Choose what the power buttons do' on the left side.
- Click on 'Change settings that are currently unavailable'.
- Uncheck the box next to 'Turn on fast startup (recommended)'.
- Click 'Save changes' and restart your computer.
Creating a Boot to UEFI Firmware Shortcut
You can also force your way into the UEFI Firmware settings by creating a dedicated shortcut that instructs your system to bypass the standard boot sequence and land you directly in the UEFI menu. Here's how you do this:
- Right-click anywhere on your Desktop and choose 'New' > 'Shortcut'.
- In the 'Create Shortcut' window, paste the command
shutdown /r /fwin the location field.
- Click 'Next', name your shortcut (e.g., 'Boot to UEFI'), and click 'Finish'.
- Once the shortcut is created, right-click on it and select 'Properties'.
- In the Properties window, go over to the 'Shortcut' tab and click the 'Advanced' button below.
- Another window called Advanced Properties will appear; check the box next to 'Run as administrator' to grant administrative access. Then, click 'OK'.
- After that, click 'Apply' to save the changes.
- Now, simply click your new shortcut whenever you need to access the UEFI settings, bypassing the usual boot process.
Clearing the CMOS Settings
This is the most geekier method of all, but reportedly effective too. Try resetting your motherboard's CMOS settings as a final solution. This resets your BIOS to factory defaults, so be prepared to lose any personalized settings.
- Shut down your PC and unplug your computer from the power outlet.
- Find and remove the PC's case screws. These are usually located on the back panel. Depending on your model, you might need a Philips screwdriver to remove them.
- Now, look for the CMOS Battery on your motherboard. It's a small, coin-shaped battery typically located near the bottom edge of the motherboard. Look for markings like 'CMOS', 'RTC', or 'Battery' nearby.
- Next, find the CMOS Jumpers. These are usually three small pins grouped together, often near the CMOS battery. Look for labels like 'CLR_CMOS', 'CLEAR', or 'JCMOS' next to it.
- Check which two pins have the jumper caps connected. If they are on first and second pins, move the jumper caps from the first and second pins to the second and third pins. If you only have two pins, unplug the jumper cap and temporarily connect it to both pins. If you don’t have jumper caps, skip this step.
- Carefully remove the battery. Gently slide your fingernail or a non-conductive screwdriver under the retention clip. Give it a little push to unlock the battery, and then carefully lift the battery out of its slot.
- Wait for 10-15 seconds. This gives the CMOS settings time to clear from the battery-powered memory.
- Then, gently put the battery back into its slot and press it firmly until the retention clip clicks into place.
- After that, move the jumper caps back to their original position.
- Close the computer cover, reconnect your computer, and turn it on. Now, you should be able to enter the UEFI settings.
- Some motherboards have a physical button on the board itself or the rear I/O panel labeled ‘Clear CMOS’ or ‘CLR_CMOS’. Simply pressing and holding this button will reset the CMOS.
- Instead of individual jumper caps, some motherboards have a dedicated two-position switch labeled ‘Clear CMOS’ that simply needs to be flipped to the other side and back to clear the settings.
Change BIOS from Legacy to UEFI by Converting MBR drive to GPT drive
Your Windows PC's storage uses either a ‘Master Boot Record (MBR)’ or a ‘GUID Partition Table (GPT)’. If you have installed OS on an MBR disk, even with a UEFI-capable motherboard, you won't be able to access UEFI Firmware Settings.
If your motherboard supports both, converting your MBR disk to GPT will switch the PC from Legacy to UEFI mode.
There are two ways to do this: convert the MBR disk to GPT without losing data (not always possible) or delete all existing partitions, convert the disk to GPT, and then reinstall Windows from scratch.
Using the MBR2GPT.exe tool to Convert the MBR Disk to the GPT Disk
MBR2GPT.exe is a great tool developed by Microsoft to convert your operating system disk from MBR to GPT exclusively. It's only available in Windows 10 versions 1703 and later, including Windows 11.
To protect your data, we highly recommend backing up your system before converting your OS disk from MBR to GPT, as data loss is possible during the conversion.
Checking your PC's disk partition style. If you are not sure whether your disk uses the MBR or GPT partition type, here's how to easily find out:
- Right-click the Start menu and select 'Disk Management'.
- In the Disk Management utility, right-click on the disk that contains the Windows installation (the disk with C drive) and select 'Properties'. Also, make a note of the Disk number, you will need it later.
- Move to the 'Volumes' tab in the Properties window and check the 'Partition style' value under Disk Information.
If your partition style is already GUID Partition Table (GPT), then there is no need to convert the drive.
If your partition is 'MBR', follow these steps to convert it:
- Click the Power button in the Start menu or the Sign-in screen and click the 'Restart' option while holding the
Shiftkey. This will boot your PC in Recovery mode.
- In the Windows Recovery mode, select 'Troubleshoot' > 'Advanced options'.
- From the Advanced Options screen, select 'Command Prompt'.
- Once the Command Prompt window opens, type the following command and press
mbr2gpt /validate /disk:0 /allowfullos
0 with the disk number of the disk you want to convert. The tool will quickly check your disk to ensure it's compatible with the conversion process. If any issues are found, you'll see an error message.
- After running the compatibility test, run the following command to convert the disk:
mbr2gpt /convert /disk: 0 /allowfullos
- Once the conversion is complete, reboot your computer. Your OS disk should now be converted to GPT.
Remember, after converting your disk to GPT format, UEFI mode should be enabled in your BIOS settings. If the system fails to boot after disk conversion, switching from 'Legacy BIOS' to 'UEFI' boot mode in the BIOS setup may help.
You can also use third-party tools like "EaseUS Partition Master" or "MiniTool Partition Wizard" to convert your disk from MBR to GPT.
If the MBR2GPT tool isn't working, you don't need to wipe your entire drive. You can try creating a GPT partition on the disk and reinstalling Windows 11 with UEFI selected in the installation options, but this will still erase all your existing data.
These steps should assist you in troubleshooting and resolving issues with accessing UEFI Firmware Settings in Windows 11. Remember to backup your data before making changes to your system settings or disk partitions.