The Windows 10 operating system offers login password or account password feature, but the login or account password can be easily bypassed with or without the help of third-party tools. In short, the login or account password can’t actually protect your confidential data saved on your Windows 10 PC.
There are couple of ways out there to protect your data (like encryption) on your Windows 10 PC but setting a BIOS or UEFI password is one of better ways out there to protect your data.
What’s BIOS or UEFI password?
A BIOS or UEFI password stops your PC from booting without the right password. That is, one can use a bootable USB or CD or any other method to boot in to your PC without entering the BIOS or UEFI password. The BIOS or UEFI password prompt appears right after you turn on the PC. Without entering the correct BIOS or UEFI password, a user can’t even access BIOS or UEFI settings.
For instance, when you have set a BIOS or UEFI password, one can’t use third-party login screen password unlocking tools to access your PC. In fact, when the BIOS or UEFI password is set, users can’t install another operating system as well.
Of course, if someone has access to your PC protected with BIOS/UEFI password, he/she might be able to access your data by removing the hard drive or SSD and then connecting the same to a different PC. Besides that, the BIOS or UEFI password can also be reset if someone has physical access to your PC but the process is not definitely easy, especially on notebooks and tablets. This means that, the BIOS/UEFI password adds an extra layer of security to your data and is not the ultimate solution to protect your data.
UEFI or BIOS password?
If you purchased a PC pre-loaded with Windows 8, Windows 8.1 or Windows 10, then your PC likely supports UEFI and you need to set UEFI password. And if your PC doesn’t support UEFI, then it will be BIOS for sure. You can go through our check if your PC supports UEFI for detailed directions.
The BIOS or UEFI password setting process is not exactly the same for all computers. The process varies from manufacturer to manufacture but the process is more or less the same for most PCs.
Method 1 of 2
Setting BIOS password on a Windows 10 PC
To set UEFI password, refer to instructions in Method 2 (scroll down).
Step 1: Turn on your PC and press Del, F2, Esc, F10, or F12 key to get in to the BIOS. The key to get in to BIOS varies from PC to PC but the above mentioned ones are commonly used. So try one after another and if one of them work please check your PC’s user manual or contact the manufacturer to know the right key.
Step 2: Once you are in to the BIOS, navigate to Security or Password section. You can use the arrow keys to navigate between these sections.
Step 3: Under Security or Password section, look for any entry named Set supervisor password, User password, System password, or a similar option. Select the correct option and set a strong password.
Important: If your BIOS has both supervisor password as well as user password option as seen in the picture below, it’s a good idea to set both supervisor password as well as user password.
On most PCs, the supervisor password protects users from accessing BIOS whereas the user password restricts users from booting in to your PC. That said, on some PCs, the user password acts as both supervisor and user password. So we suggest you set both passwords and make sure that you see the password prompt before accessing BIOS as well before booting in to the operating system.
NOTE: Some manufacturers include additional security options as you can see in the picture below. If additional options are available, make sure that they are configured correctly for the best security. For instance, on my Lenovo ThinkPad T450s, the system doesn’t prompt you for BIOS password when you reboot with default settings. If there is similar option, we advise you enable the same for enhanced security.
Finally, don’t forget to save the changes made to your BIOS settings. On most PCs pressing the F10 key saves the settings. Check on the BIOS screen for directions or key to save the settings.
Reboot your PC to see the BIOS password prompt. Good luck!
Set UEFI password on a Windows 10 PC
Step 1: Open UEFI firmware settings. The process to access UEFI firmware settings is completely different from accessing BIOS. Go through our how to access UEFI firmware settings in Windows 10 guide for step-by-step directions.
Step 2: When you are at the UEFI firmware settings screen, look for security or password section. On some PCs, you need to navigate to settings section to see security options.
Step 3: Look for an option to set the password. Set the password and save the changes before exiting the UEFI settings.
How to recover Windows 10 product key from BIOS guide might also be of interest to you.