F12 Dell Boot Menu Key. New & Older Models (2023)

Despite being one of the most prominent computer vendors in history, Dell computers can be tricky to navigate for beginners. We don’t often understand the marvelous device we’re working with, so brushing up on your knowledge of Dell computers can have many benefits. This includes knowing and understanding the Dell boot menu key option that’s incredibly useful while diagnosing and fixing problems within your computer.

What is the Dell Boot Menu Key

If you’re wondering what the Dell Boot Menu Key is and how to use it, you’re in the right place! In this article, we’ll answer all your queries about the Dell boot menu key and teach you how to use it correctly, so read on!

Table of Contents

What is a Boot Menu? 

Let’s start with the basics: what exactly is a boot menu? Put simply, the boot menu refers to the settings accessible when the computer starts. To understand what a boot menu can do, we need to understand what the word ‘booting’ even means. 

What does it mean to boot your computer?

The word ‘boot’ describes the processes taken by the computer that load the operating system and prepare it for use. This happens when the computer is first turned on. 

Many steps occur between the press of the power button and the Windows screen showing up. First, the power supply provides power for the motherboard to perform its functions. Then, the BIOS – the Basic Input Output System – takes control. The BIOS is the first software to run when the computer is turned on. Next, it instructs the computer about the booting process.

The boot process is handed to the master boot code. This is the code that will load the Operating System on your computer. The boot process is then given to the volume boot code. The volume boot code starts the boot manager. Finally, the boot manager places the operating system into memory. This allows the operating system to load. 

That was a straightforward explanation of the boot process. It should help you figure out what’s going on. Try to familiarise yourself with these terms, as they’re bound to come up when you learn more advanced concepts. 

Remember that computers can only do a little more than execute instructions in memory. The instructions they work with are cleared when a computer is switched off. The boot process provides the computer with these instructions when turned on. 

What is the Dell Boot Menu?

Now that we understand what booting a computer means, let’s discuss the Dell boot menu and what it can do. The boot menu refers to the settings you may access when you first turn on the computer. In addition, this menu provides you with options when loading the operating system on your computer.

It is important to remember that the boot sequence isn’t always the same. The operating system is usually loaded from the hard drive. However, the boot menu lets you boot your computer from other devices, such as discs or flash drivers. If more than one boot device is present, the BIOS enables you to choose what device to boot from. You may select your preferred boot device as well. You can use the boot menu to install a new operating system on a computer. 

For Windows computers, the Windows Advanced Options screen is a boot menu. In addition, the Windows Advanced Options screens allow you to access Safe Mode. This is helpful for repairs in Windows 10. Many Dell computers use Windows 10, so this is a helpful tip to remember. 

Through the boot menu, you are provided with advanced Boot options. Most software repairs will require you to navigate your way through the boot menu. Hopefully, we have helped you understand what the boot menu is. We will explain how you may access it using the boot menu key. 

What is the Dell Boot Menu Key? 

The boot menu key is the key that allows a user to access the boot menu on their computer. Unfortunately, the key that acts as the boot menu key varies from computer to computer. Therefore, to access the boot menu on your computer, you must figure out which key is the boot menu key. 

Method#1: For Newer Dell Computer Models

For most new Dell computers, the F12 key on the keyboard will be the boot menu key. The key to access the BIOS is likely to be the F2 key. Again, this is the standard for all newer Dell models. If these keys do not take you to the boot menu or BIOS, look up the key for your model.

Method#2: For Older Dell Computer Models 

For most older Dell computer models, you may try either of these keys to access the boot menu and BIOS:

  • Press the Del key.
  • Press Ctrl+Alt+Enter.
  • Press Fn+Esc
  • Press Fn+F1

If none of these keys work for you, you must look up your computer’s specific model.

Tips on How to Use the Dell Boot Menu

We’ll now discuss some of the functions of the boot menu. This section will help you when you’re working on repairs for your computer. We suggest you read this section closely so you don’t get confused! 

Tips#1: How to Access Safe Mode on Your Computer through the Dell Boot Menu 

Most Dell computers have Windows 10 as the default operating system. To work on repairs on a dell computer, you will need to access Safe Mode through Windows Advanced Options

We will explain the steps to do this:

  1. Turn off all programs and restart your computer. 
  2. Press and hold the F8 key as your computer restarts. You need to do this before the Windows logo appears on your screen. 
  3. The Windows Advanced Options screen will open. Choose the Safe Mode option that you wish to work with. 
  4. Log in to your computer using the Administer account. 

You are now in Safe Mode. This means that you have started Windows in its primary state. If the problem you were facing does not occur now, the default windows drivers and settings were not at fault. This is essential information for repairs. 

Tip#2: How to use the Dell Boot Menu to fix Start-up Issues on Windows 10

Start-up issues are a common headache for Windows users. However, did you know that solving such issues does not have to be difficult? 

Follow the steps we’ve outlined below, and you will be able to solve the problem you’re facing in no time:

  1. First, insert the Windows 10 boot media into a DVD drive, USB port, etc.
  2. Turn off your computer.
  3. Turn the computer back on and access the boot menu using the boot menu key, such as F12. 
  4. You will receive a prompt that says: Preparing one-time boot menu.
  5. Once you are in the boot menu, you will be shown device options. First, choose the option that matches the media type you’re working with. Then, select the device under UEFI BOOT.
  6. Click Next
  7. Select the option that says Repair your computer
  8. Select Troubleshoot and Advanced Options. 

Final Thoughts

The Dell boot menu key refers to the key that allows you to access the boot menu on your computer. For most dell computer models, it is the F12 key that enables you to do this. However, as we’ve discussed, the boot menu key may be different for older computer models.

This article has explained the basics of booting a computer. By reading it, you will have learned the dell boot menu and what it is used for. You will also know what the Windows Safe Mode setting means and how to fix start-up issues in Windows 10.