BIOS and Security
The BIOS on the M1710 contains a lot of options for you to adjust. Most users won’t need to fiddle with these settings, but expert users may want to tweak things t their liking. By hitting F2 during the boot sequence you will get a nice menu of all the items available in the BIOS.
The first section consists of 8 screens of system information giving you in-depth details about the current system. Specifically you can find information about your BIOS and Dell Service numbers; CPU and memory information; a list of all the onboard devices like graphics, audio, and modem; battery charge and health states, system date and time (user adjustable), and the boot sequence (user adjustable) .
For each onboard device, there is also a BIOS screen to go with it, Specifically there are screens that control things like the WiFi and Bluetooth adapters, network adapter, USB hub, and legacy ports. More interestingly are 5 screens that let you adjust the colors of the LEDs and how bright they all shine.
Unlike other laptops, the M1710 has some detailed video options that give you finer control on how the LCD display behaves. You can adjust how bright the display is when plugged in or running on batteries, and adjust how images at lower resolutions are displayed (stretched to fit, or at native resolution with a dark border).
There are a few security features available in the BIOS which we will discuss shortly.
Under the Performance menu you can enabled/disable multi core support, adjust how quiet/fast the HD will spin, and enable/disable frequency throttling using SpeedStep. You can also wake up the laptop using USB and on a schedule by using the Power Management screens. There are a few more options available such as settings for POST behavior and options for Docking.
Security is an increasingly important feature on PCs these days and the M1710 comes with a few security measures in place to help.
In the BIOS you there are three levels of passwords you can set to lock down the laptop and components inside. First is the System Password which is required to boot the M1710 or resume it from standby. Second is the Hard Drive password which denies access to the drive even if it’s moved to another system. Finally is the Administrator password which controls access to the BIOS.
Also in the BIOS you can enabled/disable the Wireless Hotkey, and CPU Execute-Disable Bit that prevent buffer overflows.
Probably the most unique security feature of the M1710 is support for Computrace Service offered by Absolute Software. If your laptop is lost or stolen Computrace will contact the Absolute Service Monitoring Server to inform it of its location. This service is purchased separately and works only in the US, UK, Canada, and Australia.
On the software front, the factory installation of the M1710 comes with McAfee Security software to protect you from Virus’, unauthorized network access, and spam.