How is the motherboard reset? Clear CMOS to reset BIOS

Resetting the motherboard is not something you want to do very often. It should always come as a result of troubleshooting a serious problem with your device.

In the following text, we will talk in depth about how to reset the motherboard using simple methods.

Basically, to reset your motherboard, you need to reset the BIOS. BIOS is the simplest operating system that a computer uses to configure the hardware of the computer when it is turned on.

A motherboard reset is often required when a hardware component (such as a graphics card) fails or when a newly added device fails to detect or function.

For example, if you recently overclocked your CPU and then started noticing problems, it’s best to reset the BIOS.

It may also be required when the motherboard appears to be malfunctioning. For example, a lot of times when a motherboard crashes, it doesn’t pass POST – you’ll see it flash some lights and then go off. This may go on a loop.

But besides that, they can have a myriad of issues that can call for a motherboard reset including issues with BIOS flashing.

There are some important terms that need to be understood

What is the BIOS?

BIOS stands for Basic Input/Output. This is the most minimal operating system that comes pre-installed with all motherboards.

You can think of this as the first program that talks to the hardware on your computer. Hence in the BIOS settings, you will often find countless details and settings related to your hardware that you can check and modify – such as CPU overclocking and so on.

What is POST?

POST stands for Power On Self Test. This is basically a test that the BIOS does to check if all the hardware is in good condition.

If any important hardware fails on startup, you may see the problem presented on the screen or in the form of beeps or LED flashes. These would indicate where the problem lies. For example, a 5-tone beep code indicates a problem with the CPU, and so on.

POST can be a great way to identify a motherboard/PC problem.

What is CMOS?

CMOS stands for Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor. This is the chip where the BIOS settings are installed.

If you made any changes to the BIOS, or if any changes were inadvertently made to the BIOS settings, clearing the CMOS will reset the motherboard.

How is the motherboard reset? – Reset BIOS

The BIOS can be reset in several ways.

There are 3 basic ways to reset the motherboard:

Reset BIOS internally

Reset the CMOS by removing the CMOS battery

CMOS reset through clear CMOS jumpers

Method 1: Reset from the BIOS menu

This method is non-invasive and the easiest way to try before delving into the techniques listed below.

Your computer needs to restart for this. Find the specific key you want to press to access the BIOS on your computer. Among the most famous are F2 and F12.

While your computer is restarting, repeatedly press the specific key you selected before you see the first logo. You will have a short period of time to do this.

Upon success, you will enter your computer’s BIOS.

The setting you need to find is called “Default Setup Settings” or something similar like “Load Default Configuration” etc.

Save the settings in BIOS and reboot.

If your specific problems are then resolved, there is no need to move on. If not, then you have to clear the CMOS using the methods below.

Method 2: Reset the CMOS by removing the CMOS battery

Remember from earlier that CMOS is a chip that stores user-defined settings in the BIOS. So if you make any changes to your devices, this is where they are stored.

Sometimes CMOS settings can get corrupted and this may require a reset. One common method is to disconnect the CMOS battery from the motherboard.

The CMOS battery enables the motherboard to keep settings such as the time, date, and user-defined BIOS settings intact even when the computer is turned off.

Disconnecting it will clear all CMOS settings.

Step 1: Unplug the computer’s power supply

Turn off the computer and remove the cable from the wall outlet.

Step 2: Locate the CMOS battery on the motherboard

This one is somewhat hard to miss. It is a small coin cell that needs to be disconnected.

Make a note of the negative “-” sign and the positive “+” terminal or the direction of how to place the battery. You will need to know this when returning the battery.

Step 3: Unlock the latch/lock mechanism

Most CMOS battery holders have a latch or locking mechanism to keep them in place.

Try to pry it open with a precision screwdriver without using too much force. While holding the latch, you may see the battery rise.

Step 4: Carefully remove the battery

Carefully remove the battery from its holder.

Step 5: Reconnect the battery after 1-5 minutes

Do not replace the battery immediately.

Wait a few minutes and give the CMOS time to drain all of its remaining energy.

Carefully reconnect the battery. You will hear a click from the latch once it is in place.

Be sure to take care of the negative “-” and positive “+” terminal of the battery.

Import points to note here

The time and date will be reset:

Removing CMOS will reset the system clock. You will be presented with a warning that the time is not set.

If the time and date are not reset to default, it indicates that the attempt to clear the CMOS was not successful.

CMOS battery replacement may be warranted

It is also worth replacing the CMOS battery if problems persist.

There are several issues that indicate that the CMOS battery is low. For example, if your computer shuts down without any notice or without any apparent underlying issues with the rest of your hardware, replacing the CMOS battery may help.

Method 3: Reset CMOS through Clear CMOS Jumpers

Another fairly simple way to reset your motherboard is to use Clear CMOS Jumpers.

Jumpers are basically very short terminals on the motherboard that serve a specific electrical purpose. For example, there are jumpers for powering the PC, jumpers for motherboard speakers and jumpers for powering the CPU case front LEDs.

In this case, we are interested in the Clear CMOS Jumper

Step 1: Unplug the computer’s power supply

Turn off the computer and remove the cable from the wall outlet.

Step 2: Locate the Clear CMOS Jumper

You can either refer to your motherboard to find the location or look for the labels on the motherboard itself.

The label on the motherboard reads “CLR_CMOS” indicating which jumpers you intend to clear the CMOS.

Note that different motherboards may have different types of clear CMOS jumpers. Some motherboards have clear CMOS jumpers with 3 pins, thus you may have to refer to your motherboard’s manual.

Often, the labels on the motherboard will clearly tell you how the jumper works. For example in my case it tells me:

OPEN: Normal – when the jumper is as is (open) it is operating normally

Short: Clear CMOS – When the jumper is shorted, the CMOS will be cleared.

Short meaning when a circuit is closed, i.e. when an electrical connection is established between the two terminals.

Step 3: Shorten the jumper

As mentioned earlier, Clear CMOS Jumpers indicate that defaulting them will clear the CMOS.

Simply get a precision screwdriver and position it so that it connects to both terminals at the same time. Hold it for a minute or two.

Ideally, you should use jumper blocks, but a screwdriver works just fine when you don’t have a spare jumper block.

This should clear the CMOS and thus reset the motherboard to default settings.

You will know if your motherboard has been reset to default if your system time and date when it was turned on were also reset to default.

(BONUS) Method 4: Reset using the dedicated motherboard reset button

Some motherboards have a push button dedicated to clearing the CMOS. Check if your motherboard is working too as this will make things a lot easier.


For all methods that involve working directly on the motherboard, you will need to make sure that you have clamped yourself securely to release all static electricity.

Any static charge on your body can damage the system.


Does resetting the motherboard erase data?

No, resetting CMOS or resetting BIOS to default will not erase your data on your hard drives.

It will not delete any of your files or remove your operating system.

Is it safe to reset BIOS to default?

Yes, resetting the BIOS to default settings is probably the safest thing you can do.

If you have ever messed with the default hardware settings like the voltage, clock speed, etc., resetting the BIOS is not only safe but also the recommended procedure.

Final Thoughts

Here we have comprehensively talked about different methods on how to reset the motherboard. Resetting the motherboard brings it back to the default settings as configured by the manufacturer. Resetting the motherboard basically resets the BIOS.

This will not affect any data on your hard drives. Your data will remain intact. Resetting the BIOS is different from reformatting the computer’s operating system. The first reset the hardware, while the later reset the software (OS).

When you are in doubt about the performance of your hardware or if you are facing issues due to the recent change you made to the default settings of the device, it is recommended to reset the motherboard.

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