How to Disable Secure Boot in Windows 8

Secure boot is a feature of Windows 8 that helps to prevent malicious software applications and “unauthorized” operating systems from loading during the system start-up process. While it is a great security feature, it effectively prevented you from dual booting your PC. Any other OS without the proper signing key will be deemed as “unauthorized” and won’t be able to boot up. The way to go about it is either install an OS that comes with the appropriate signing key or disable the secure boot feature altogether. In this article, we will show you the latter.

It is important to note that the secure boot is not a Windows 8 feature. It is in fact a protocol in the UEFI specification. It’s been around for a while, but hasn’t been implemented in many operating systems. Microsoft has chosen to do so for their Windows 8 OS and requires all PCs that want to have the Windows 8-certified logo to ship with the secure boot feature enabled. This has, of course, become a bit of a pain for people who want to dual-boot, either with Linux or any other OS.

The intention of Secure Boot isn’t to “lock out” other operating systems. This is just an unintended consequence of the feature. The purpose of UEFI is to check for stuff that might make a computer behave unfavorably, like low-level malware that could sit between the hardware and operating system.

Disabling secure boot requires tweaking your own computer’s BIOS. If you are not comfortable with playing with the BIOS settings, then this tutorial is not for you. Let’s walk through the process:

Directly in your Windows 8 desktop:

1. Access your Charms bar (Win+C). Click the “Settings” charm.

win8uefi-settings

2. Within the “Settings” charm, click “Change PC Settings.”

3. Select “General,” then click “Restart Now” under “Advanced Settings.” You’ll be asked to wait. This might take a minute or so, depending on your computer’s abilities.

win8uefi-generalsettings

4. Within the new menu that appears, click “Troubleshoot,” then click “Advanced Options.”

5. Click “UEFI Firmware Settings.” Notice all the twists and turns you had to take to get here. It’s not over yet!

6. Click the “Restart” button and wait for the computer to successfully restart.

7. Once the computer starts up, you’ll need to access your BIOS. To do it, you have to press “Delete,” “F1,” or “F2″, depending on your computer, on your keyboard as soon as the computer begins its power-on process again. Try each one and see if it works. Usually, the key is revealed at the startup splash screen in a message that says “Press <some key> to Enter Setup.

Note: Each BIOS configuration utility is different. You’ll have to intuitively navigate through the interface with my vague directions.

8. Try to find a menu labeled “Security” or “Security Settings.” Once you navigate to it, head straight down to “Secure boot configuration.” There’s a possibility that you might have a “Secure boot” option right when you arrive at the “Security” menu, so look out for that also. Once you see a “Secure boot” option, disable it and restart by pressing F10. This is often the magic key that saves your settings and restarts the computer. 

Note: You might not even find a secure boot option anywhere. You might not even find an option under “Security.” The below image shows the option as “UEFI Boot” under the “Boot” menu. Keep your eyes peeled for anything containing the words “Secure boot” and “UEFI.”

win8uefi-securebootsetting

Enjoy your dual-bootable system!

As can be seen, the ability to disable the secure boot is determined by the hardware (mainly the BIOS). While our hardware allowed us to disable the secure boot feature, that doesn’t means your hardware is the same. You will have to play with it and hope that it comes with the ability to unlock the secure boot.

If you have any questions, do post your question in the comments below and we will try our best to help you out.