Mar 23, 2012

What is BIOS?

 A BIOS (Basic Input/Output System) is an electronic set of instructions that a computer uses to successfully start operating. The BIOS is located on a chip inside of the computer and is designed in a way that protects it from disk failure.

A main function of the BIOS is to give instructions for the power-on self test (POST). This self test ensures that the computer has all of the necessary parts and functionality needed to successfully start itself, such as use of memory, a keyboard and other parts. If errors are detected during the test, the BIOS instructs the computer to give a code that reveals the problem. Error codes are typically a series of beeps heard shortly after startup.

The BIOS also works to give the computer basic information about how to interact with some critical components, such as drives and memory, that it will need to load the Operating system (OS). Once the basic instructions have been loaded and the self-test has been passed, the computer can proceed with loading the operating system from one of the attached drives.

Computer users can often make certain adjustments to the BIOS through a configuration screen on the computer. The setup screen is typically accessed with a special key sequence during the first moments of startup. This setup screen often allows users to change the order in which drives are accessed during startup and control the functionality of a number of critical devices. Features vary among individual BIOS versions.

Many PC manufacturers today use flash-memory cards to hold BIOS information. This allows users to update the BIOS version on computers after a vendor releases an update. This system was designed to solve problems with the original BIOS or to add new functionality. Users can periodically check for updated BIOS versions, as some vendors release a dozen or more updates over the course of a product's lifetime. To check for an updated BIOS, users can check the website of the specific hardware vendor.

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