How to Enable an Onboard VGA Chip in BIOS

by C. Taylor

Many motherboards integrate a video adapter that connects a VGA monitor to your computer without requiring a dedicated video card. Although onboard VGA does not typically offer the video-processing power required for high-end gaming, it is suitable for most tasks and provides an excellent backup if your video card fails. If you previously installed a dedicated video card, the onboard VGA is likely to be disabled, but you can enable it in your computer's basic input/output system, or BIOS.

Boot your computer and repeatedly press the key combination required to enter BIOS. If your computer requires a boot password, enter this password before pressing the BIOS key combination. This key combination differs between computers, but common keys are "F2," "F1," "Del" or "Esc." Your computer may also require holding "Shift," "Ctrl" or "Alt" along with one of those keys. Your computer manual will tell you the exact combination, but that information is frequently displayed on the initial boot screen and is labeled as "Press XX to Enter BIOS" or "Press XX to Enter Setup."

Press your arrow keys to highlight the "Advanced," "Advanced Features" or "System Devices" tab. On some motherboards, you need to highlight the "Onboard Devices" sub-section and press "Enter."

Highlight the "Primary Video Adapter" or "Onboard Video" and press "Enter." On some motherboards, this acts as a toggle-switch to enable or disable the onboard VGA. On others, pressing "Enter" opens a sub-menu in which you should highlight "Enable" and press "Enter," or press "+" or "-" until the appropriate selection appears. Some motherboards also allow you to simultaneously enable the onboard video and a dedicated video card by selecting the appropriate card connection type, such as PCI or PCI Express. Doing so allows you to use your onboard VGA to connect a second monitor.

Choose to save your settings and exit BIOS. On most motherboards, press "F10" to save and exit, but you can confirm this key by looking on the bottom or right-hand of the screen where most BIOS versions display navigational controls. If you see a confirmation window after choosing to save and exit, select "Yes."

Tips

  • Some onboard VGA is disabled through Windows' Device Manager. If the onboard VGA still does not work, log in to a Windows administrative account, click "Start," type "device manger" and press "Enter." Right-click the onboard VGA under Display Adapters and select "Properties." Click the "Driver" tab and click "Enable."
  • Some motherboards automatically default to a dedicated video card. If the onboard video does not work after enabling it in BIOS, remove the video card and try again.

Warning

  • Use care when altering BIOS settings. Incorrect configuration can disable important features of your computer.

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