032 - Basic Input Output System

The Basic Input Output System, usually referred to as BIOS, is software stored on a small memory chip on the motherboard. Bios a set of computer instructions in firmware that control input and output operations.

What Is the BIOS Used For?

BIOS instructs the computer on how to perform a number of basic functions such as booting and keyboard control. BIOS is also used to identify and configure the hardware in a computer such as the hard drive, floppy drive, optical drive, CPU, memory, etc.

How to Access BIOS

The BIOS is accessed and configured through the BIOS Setup Utility. The BIOS Setup Utility is, for all reasonable purposes, the BIOS itself. All available options in BIOS are configurable via the BIOS Setup Utility. The BIOS Setup Utility is accessed in various ways depending on your computer or motherboard make and model.

How to Use BIOS

BIOS contains a number of hardware configuration options that can be changed through the setup utility. Saving these changes and restarting the computer applies the changes to the BIOS and alters the way BIOS instructs the hardware to function.

Here are some common things you can do in most BIOS systems:

• Change the Boot Order
• Load BIOS Setup Defaults
• Remove a BIOS Password
• Create a BIOS Password
• Change the Date and Time
• Change Floppy Drive Settings
• Change Hard Drive Settings
• Change CD/DVD/BD Drive Settings
• View Amount of Memory Installed
• Change the Boot Up NumLock Status
• Enable or Disable the Computer Logo
• Enable or Disable the Quick Power On Self Test (POST)
• Enable or Disable the CPU Internal Cache
• Enable or Disable the Caching of BIOS
• Change CPU Settings
• Change Memory Settings
• Change System Voltages
• Enable or Disable RAID
• Enable or Disable Onboard USB
• Enable or Disable Onboard IEEE1394
• Enable or Disable Onboard Audio
• Enable or Disable Onboard Floppy Controller
• Enable or Disable Onboard Serial/Parallel Ports
• Enable or Disable ACPI
• Change the ACPI Suspend Type
• Change the Power Button Function
• Change Power-on Settings
• Reset Extended System Configuration Data (ESCD)
• Enable or Disable BIOS Control of System Resources
• Change Fan Speed Settings
• View CPU and System Temperatures
• View Fan Speeds
• View System Voltages
• Change Which Display is Initialized First on Multi-Display Setups
The BIOS includes instructions on how to load basic computer hardware and includes a test referred to as a POST (Power On Self Test) that helps verify the computer meets requirements to boot up properly. If the computer does not pass the POST, you will receive a combination of beeps indicating what is malfunctioning within the computer.

The four main functions of a PC BIOS

POST • Test the computer hardware and make sure no errors exist before loading the operating system. Additional information on the POST can be found on our POST and Beep Codes page.
Bootstrap Loader • Locate the operating system. If a capable operating system is located, the BIOS will pass control to it.
BIOS drivers • Low level drivers that give the computer basic operational control over your computer's hardware.
BIOS or CMOS Setup • Configuration program that allows you to configure hardware settings including system settings such as computer passwords, time, and date.

BIOS Availability

All modern computer motherboards contain BIOS software. BIOS access and configuration on PC systems is independent of any operating system because the BIOS is part of the motherboard hardware. It doesn't matter if a computer is running Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP, Linux, Unix, or no operating system at all - BIOS functions outside of the operating system environment and is no way dependent upon it.

BIOS is sometimes incorrectly referred to as the Basic Integrated Operating System.

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