Solved: Prompt to press F1 each time when computer boots

A healthy operating system can is a 100% self-loading mechanism that does not require any user interaction. However, when something is wrong during the booting procedure, you will most likely see a message that will ask you to press the F1 key in order to continue. If this prompt appears each time you boot your computer or even prevents normal booting completely, you should inspect the problem and learn how to fix it.

The system might ask you to press F1 during booting for several reasons. In this article, we are going to talk about the most common scenarios and explain how to deal with each particular problem, so you won’t have to press the mentioned key each time. Before we start, there is one thing we want to point out – your operating system has nothing to do with this message as it appears even before your Windows starts.

Wrong BIOS settings

BIOS settings usually are off after an unexpected computer shutdown or after unplugging its power cord from the grid for a period. These two scenarios may seem identical, but they are caused by different factors. The easiest way in this situation would be to recover BIOS settings. Your computer might even give you the advice to do so in the text form saying: «Please enter setup to recover BIOS setting.» Here is what you need to do:

  1. Reboot your PC and when your’ motherboard manufacturer’s logo appears on screen, immediately press the F2 or DEL button (or another programmed button that activates BIOS/UEFI).
  2. When in BIOS, don’t do anything – just press the F10 button, which has a laconic description «Save and Exit.» The program will ask you to confirm your actions and press «OK.»
  1. Your computer will be rebooted, and this time you shouldn’t get the prompt to press F1.

An unexpected blackout or internal BIOS malfunction may result in various messages such as «Press F1 to Run SETUP» or «Press F1 to Resume». If the method with resetting BIOS settings didn’t help, you might want to use other ways to reset BIOS that are explained in another article on your website. Or you can continue reading to learn about other possible solutions for the problem.

Make your HDD/SSD a primary boot device

If you are using multiple disks or just added a new to your configuration, it is possible that your PC cannot understand which disk it should use for booting. So the F1 prompt appears on the screen, asking the user to specify next actions. It is very easy to select your first boot device.

When in the main BIOS/UEFI menu, look for the «Boot» tab and click it. You will see a list with all connected disks and devices your computer can use to boot from. The device on top of the list is considered the first boot device. In order to move a disk up, you need to select it using arrow keys on your keyboard and hit the «+» key. Now you must save all the changes made. Go to the «Exit» tab and click «Save Changes and Exit.» A window will appear asking you to confirm the action – select «OK» and hit Enter. Now your computer will use the HDD you selected to boot.

Alternatively, you can use «Boot Menu» for this. It allows you to select the device with the operating system that will be booted immediately. For this method to work you need to know which button is pre-programmed by the motherboard manufacturer for the «Boot Menu» (usually it is F8, F11, F12, or Esc). When Boot Menu is launched, use arrow keys to select the disk to boot from.

Hardware issues

Now let’s talk about an issue related to hardware. You can define the faulty component by reading lines before the «Press F1» message.

CMOS Checksum Error/CMOS Checksum Bad

This line informs the user that the motherboard’s battery holding BIOS settings, dates, and time is dead. If you need proof – pay attention to time/day/month/year. After each error, they are reset to factory settings. Plus, you also get a notification «CMOS Date/Time Not Set» near the «Press F1» prompt. In order to fix the problem, you will have to change the battery that died.

CPU Fan Error

Your processor needs cooling to perform well under the pressure of heavy apps and processes. If your system cannot find the installed fan, you definitely need to check its health. Take a closer look at the CPU fan and check whether it is connected properly. Perhaps, some cables are loose.

If it seems ok, then you can try to clean it from dust. Fans always gather tons of dust, and when the device becomes clogged, it might not function properly. If after cleaning your system still cannot recognize a CPU fan, it is highly likely that it is broken, which forces your computer to block booting in order to prevent microprocessor damage caused by overheating. The only solution here – is to replace the faulty CPU fan.

Keyboard Error/ No Keyboard Present/No Keyboard Detected

The error speaks for itself, while your computer ironically asks you to press F1 using the «non-existent» keyboard. It can be a bad connection, corrupted port, or the worst-case scenario – your keyboard is damaged. Check cables and ports first. If you have a wireless keyboard, examine the transmitter.

Intel CPU uCode loading error

This error appears when BIOS cannot recognize the installed CPU, which means that BIOS is not compatible with that processor. It usually happens when you are trying to install newer microprocessors into older (yet compatible) motherboard models. There are two ways to solve this:

  • Update your BIOS. You can download the newest BIOS version from the motherboard manufacturer’s official website. These updates are not rare as manufacturers always trying to improve compatibility of their products with a wide range of CPUs. You may want to look for other articles on our websites on this topic explaining how to update BIOS. However, we would recommend this procedure only to confident users with technical experience and knowledge, since wrong actions during update might cause many new problems including the unusable
  • Get a new motherboard. There is always a slight chance that the manufacturer has no recent BIOS updates for your motherboard (especially for older models). In this case, if the error prevents your PC from booting and causes various malfunctions, the optimal solution would be to buy a new motherboard with the proper socket for your new CPU.

Other possible causes of the error

Here are a few possible causes more that might provoke the «Press F1» prompt during booting:

  • Errors on the hard drive. In the best-case scenario, when the boot sector and the system are ok, after pressing F1, you just need to scan the drive for errors.
  • If pressing F1 does not allow you to boot, you will have to do a live boot, then scan your drive, and try to restore it.
  • Unstable work of power supply unit. Power surges within your power supply unit may cause the F1 error as well. If you have any suspicions that your power supply unit is not working properly, take it to a service center just to be sure and prevent possible damage.
  • Incorrect PC overclocking. Overclocked CPU can cause the problem that brought you here. In most cases, this happens after overclocking via BIOS. In order to fix the fallout of incorrect overclocking, you need to reset BIOS settings by removing the battery. We would not recommend doing that without technical knowledge, though. This procedure should be performed by professionals or experienced users.

This concludes a short list of errors that result in the «Press F1» prompt. Of course, there are others, but we decided to focus on the most common ones.