Just a note which I mainly jotting down for myself on how to enter BIOS on ThinkPad W540 and some stuff around this topic. So first thing you need to know in case you need to enter into BIOS on Lenovo Thinkpad W540 is a hotkey for this – F1. But in case you know it, but can’t do it anyway then it is time to know yet another thing here 🙂
Because you are running modern operating system (I mean Windows 8.1 or 10 just in case ; ) whenever you perform shutdown operation what actually happens each time is that you are using Hybrid Shutdown which is something that allows you to do a Fast Boot. Boot times in Windows 8 and newer is really faster than in any previous OS versions thanks to these optimizations, even without SSD.
Each time you select the Shut down command from Windows 8 (8.1/10) Power menu, the first thing which happens (by default) is that the user session shuts down just like in a regular shut down operation. But next, instead of closing the kernel session, Windows hibernates the kernel session. Then, the hardware session shuts down normally and this allows really faster shutdown times.
Next thing to know about is Fast Boot technology (related MSDN blog post): when you turn on the computer, first of all the system’s firmware boots up and gets the basic computer hardware ready for the operating system. On a modern Windows 8 or newer computer, the setup of the hardware session is a much quicker operation than on older systems, as the UEFI system is more efficient than the BIOS system. To complete the hardware session, the OS enumerates all available hardware and loads the appropriate drivers, thus ensuring that a solid hardware session is available.As soon as hardware session is ready, the operating system begins its resume operation. Since the resume operation consists only of restoring the kernel session, rather than restoring both the kernel session and the user session, the resume operation can occur much quicker. Additionally, the resume operation gets a boost from the fact that the operating system is now designed to take advantage of multiple CPU cores when it comes to processing the hibernation data file (the old resume process only used one), and use of SSD gives you an even more responsive resume operation.
With all that knowledge now you may understand that with this super quick startup you just unable to enter into your BIOS as you actually does not perform any real shutdown as you may think because how it all surfaced to you by Windows 8 GUI. To enter BIOS you need to perform true cold boot, and consequently need to do a real shut down first. And the way you do it in Windows 8 is bu holding Shift key on your keyboard and clicking on Shutdown option with your mouse in Windows GUI:
Afterwards you will be able to enter BIOS by pressing F1 after you switch on your W540 with power button.
Alternatively Restart option also gives you a full reboot of the system and thus a fresh kernel session. And of course you can do it old-school way using CLI:
shutdown -s -t 00
The thing is when preparing to Windows 8.1 certification I had a difficulty to wrap my head around that mock question which asked something about Windows shutdown and one of the proper/correct responses was hold Shift and click on Shut down option. Now after doing a bit reading I’m crystal clear on why it is so 🙂 Yet another question you may see in Windows 8/8.1 certification exam transitioned to the category of obvious things for me. 🙂