What Is That “American Megatrends” Screen When You Turn on Your PC?

The American Megatrends (AMI) splash screen that appears when you turn on your computer is part of your system’s BIOS (Basic Input/Output System).

What is the BIOS?

The BIOS is a rather small piece of software stored on a chip in your motherboard that plays a critical role in booting your computer.

When you hit the power button, the BIOS runs a series of checks called the POST (Power On Self Test) to make sure essential hardware (memory, hard drives) is connected and functioning.

After this, the BIOS finds your operating system (Windows, Linux) and loads it. Macs and other Apple computers don’t have the same BIOS system as x86 based PCs.

What’s the American Megatrends Splash Screen?

The AMI splash screen is the visual representation of the BIOS startup process.

It displays your motherboard manufacturer and American Megatrends is a major BIOS maker that’s why it used (and still does) to show up on a majority of computers in the past. Basic system information and usually a key to press to access BIOS settings also show up on the same screen. The reason it’s not as prominent these days is because certain motherboard makers replaced it with their own splash screens.

Why You Might See the American Megatrends Screen for Longer Than Normal

Normally the splash screen shows up for a couple of seconds before Windows takes over.

New Hardware: If you’ve changed hardware the BIOS might pause to reconfigure settings.

BIOS Settings Changes: Incorrect BIOS settings (wrong boot order for example) can cause the system to hang.

Hardware Problem: Failing hardware can cause POST errors, resulting in a longer stay at the splash screen.

Accessing Your BIOS Settings

The screen usually tells you which key to press to enter the setup (F2, F10 or Del). This is where you can:

Change boot order: Tell your computer which drive to boot from. This is useful if you’re installing a new OS or booting from a USB drive.

Adjust hardware settings: Tweak overclocking, memory timings and others for advanced users.

View system information: Get details about your CPU, RAM and more.

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