What is BIOS (Basic Input Output System)? All BIOS Features Explained

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The BIOS (basic input/output system) is a software that a computer’s CPU uses to start the computer once it has been turned on. It also controls data flow between the computer’s operating system (OS) and peripherals including the hard drive, visual adapter, keyboard, mouse, and printer.

Power users frequently browse the BIOS to fine-tune their systems, but it may be a daunting area to explore if you’ve never gone beyond the surface before. Poking about in strange locations, just like in real life, may be harmful if you don’t know what you’re doing or where you’re going. On the other hand, once you know how your PC’s control center works, a whole new world of overclocking and troubleshooting opens up. But what is the BIOS, exactly?

The BIOS chip, also known as the integrated Flash EEPROM module, is found on every contemporary motherboard. This is the first piece of code that runs when you turn on your computer. It stands for Basic Input Out System. The BIOS contains a wealth of information about your system, including the clockspeed of your CPU, the quantity and kind of RAM you’re using, the boot order of your discs, the presence of onboard devices, and much more. An incorrectly set BIOS can prevent Windows (or Linux) from booting, but a well adjusted BIOS can considerably increase performance over a comparably spec’d computer.

This is your go-to resource for anything you’ve ever wanted to know about the BIOS, no matter what your aim is. No matter what motherboard you have beneath the hood, we cover every parameter — even the esoteric ones — so you’ll never feel lost or out of your zone.

What is BIOS?

BIOS Features Explained
BIOS (basic input/output system) is stored on a chip that may be updated or changed. It’s the low-level program that runs when your computer boots up. It does a POST (power-on self-test), initializes your hardware, and transfers control to a connected device’s boot loader. This then starts your operating system, whether it’s Windows, Linux, or something else.

History Of BIOS

Gary Kildall, an American computer scientist, invented the name BIOS in 1975. It was included in IBM’s first personal computer in 1981, and it grew in popularity among subsequent PCs over the years, eventually becoming an essential component of computers. The popularity of BIOS has declined in favor of a newer technology known as the Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) (UEFI). In 2017, Intel revealed a plan to phase down support for older BIOS systems by 2020, in favor of UEFI.

BIOS Setup

It’s a software tool that allows us to customize hardware settings. CMOS setup is another name for BIOS setup. The BIOS or CMOS configuration comprises the following:

  • Loading of the BIOS Setup Default
  • Changing the booting order
  • Creation or deletion of the BIOS Password
  • Setting or Changing the Date and Time
  • Changing Floppy Disc, Hard Drive or CD/DVD Settings
  • Check Memory Installed status
  • Enabling or Disabling the Computer Logo
  • Enabling or Disable the Quick 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, Audio ports and serial/ parallel Ports
  • Enable or Disable Onboard Floppy Controller
  • Enable or Disable ACPI
  • Change the Boot Up NumLock Status
  • Change the Advanced Configuration and Power Interface (ACPI) Type
  • Change the Power Button Function
  • Change Power-on Settings
  • Change Which Display is Initialized First on Multi-Display Setups
  • Reset Extended System Configuration Data (ESCD)
  • Enable or Disable BIOS Control of System Resources
  • Change and view Fan Speed Settings
  • View CPU and System Temperatures
  • View System Voltages
  • Uses Of BIOS

    BIOS serves as a bridge between operating systems and the hardware they operate on. The BIOS is always the intermediate between the CPU and the I/O device control information and data flow, according to theory. Although, in some situations, BIOS can arrange for data to flow straight to memory from devices that require quicker data flow to function, such as video cards.

    How Does Bios Work?

    BIOS is a firmware on a chip on the motherboard that comes with computers. An operating system such as Windows or iOS, on the other hand, can be pre-loaded by the manufacturer or seller or installed by the user. BIOS is a software stored on an erasable programmable read-only memory (EPROM) chip that is accessible to the CPU. When a user turns on their computer, the CPU sends control to the BIOS software, which is stored in the same location on EPROM every time.

    When a computer’s BIOS starts up, it checks to see if all of the required attachments are present and functional. A boot device is any piece of hardware that contains the files that the computer need to start up. BIOS installs the operating system — or critical sections of it — into the computer’s random access memory (RAM) from a hard disk or diskette drive after testing and confirming boot devices are working (the boot device).

    The 4 Functions Of Bios

    BIOS
    After a computer is switched on, the BIOS detects, configures, tests, and links computer hardware to the operating system. The boot procedure is the culmination of these processes.

    BIOS’ four primary functions each perform one of these tasks:

    Self-assessment with a lot of power (POST) – This checks the computer’s hardware before installing the operating system.

    The loader for the Bootstrap framework – This locates the operating system.

    Software/drivers – Once the OS is up and running, this locates the applications and drivers that interact with it.

    Metal-oxide semiconductor (CMOS) – (CMOS) configuration with a complementary metal-oxide semiconductor (CMOS) setup. This is a software that allows users to change the hardware and system settings. BIOS’ non-volatile memory is known as CMOS.

    Accessing BIOS

    The BIOS frees the OS and its applications from needing to know specific information about the connected I/O devices, such as computer hardware addresses. Only the BIOS software has to be updated when device information change. This adjustment can be performed during system setup in some cases.

    BIOS Setup Utility allows users to access and customize the BIOS. The procedure for accessing the BIOS Setup Utility differs based on the machine being utilized. Users may typically access and configure BIOS using Setup Utility by following the procedures below:

    Reset Or Power Off The Computer

    Look for a notification that reads “beginning setup” or anything similar when the machine restarts. The notification will be accompanied by a key that the user should press to access system configuration. “Press [key] to enter BIOS setup,” for example, is a sample message that a user could encounter. Del, Tab, Esc, and any of the function keys are frequently used as prompts (F1-F12).

    Upon seeing the prompt, quickly press the key specified.

    Users may modify hardware settings, manage memory settings, change the boot order or boot device, and reset the BIOS password, among other setup chores, once in the BIOS Setup Utility.

    BIOS Security

    BIOS security is an often-overlooked aspect of cybersecurity, but it must be controlled to prevent hackers from running harmful code on the operating system. In 2017, the security firm Cylance demonstrated how current BIOS security weaknesses may allow ransomware programs to run inside a motherboard’s UEFI and exploit other PC BIOS issues.

    Plundervolt was a one-of-a-kind attack that included BIOS modification. Plundervolt could be used to interfere with a computer’s power supply while data was being written to memory, resulting in mistakes and security holes. To combat it, Intel published a BIOS update.

    BIOS Manufacturers

    BIOS was created by IBM and was previously owned by them. Some businesses, including Phoenix Technologies, have reverse-engineered IBM’s original version to make their own. As a result of Phoenix’s actions, other firms were able to produce clones of the IBM PC and, more significantly, non-IBM machines that could run BIOS. Compaq was one of the companies that accomplished this.

    Many manufacturers now include BIOS chips in their motherboards. The following are some examples:

  • AMI
  • Asus
  • Foxconn
  • Hewlett Packard (HP)
  • Ricoh
  • Knowing the manufacturer of the motherboard is essential because users may wish to upgrade their BIOS and chipset drivers (the drivers that allow the OS to communicate with other devices in the computer, such as a video card) to the most recent versions. Updated drivers may enhance computer speed or address recent BIOS-level security flaws. Each manufacturer has their own method for upgrading drivers.

    Timings In Memory

    Memory timings may be tweaked to get a little extra performance out of RAM. Quicker RAM means faster processing, however the difference is generally quantified in units of time that are insignificant to most people.

    The BIOS boot order is likely disk drive first, followed by hard drives. You probably won’t need to change this setting if your PC just has one hard disk. You’ll need to manually pick the device in the BIOS’ boot order section if you’re dual-booting or need to boot from a USB stick.

    Other boot parameters, including as Fast Boot, trusted platform module (TPM) settings, and keyboard settings, are frequently adjusted on this screen.

    Sata Settings

    Hard drives, solid state drives, and disk drives are all connected to your motherboard through SATA. SATA can recognize what type of device is attached to each SATA port by default and optimize the connection accordingly. Users can adjust port allocations and management systems manually to get the best results.

    USB Settings

    Despite the fact that most operating systems now support USB 3.0, this was not always the case. As a result, most modern motherboards provide a variety of options for controlling USB 3.0 settings. If older devices require it, you may also modify support for legacy BIOS USB compatibility here. In these settings, individual chips that handle USB ports and other peripheral connection ports can be activated or disabled.

    Display Settings

    The display settings can prioritize the proper GPU if your computer has several GPUs. If you have a graphics card installed in a PCI slot, you’ll usually want the BIOS to boot from that graphics card. “IGFX” stands for on-processor internal graphics, while “PCI” stands for PCI-mounted graphics devices.

    Power Management

    The motherboard controls your computer’s power states, determining which components get power and how much power they get. Power management settings handle things like hibernation and suspension, giving you precise options for what occurs under certain situations. This is especially critical in laptops, since battery life necessitates precise power management settings.

    Pwr Options

    These settings change how the computer’s power button works. Instant shut down, delayed shut down, and sleep modes are common options.

    Video Memory

    A Video Memory option may be available on computers with onboard graphics technology, such as Intel’s integrated graphics. Unlike specialized graphics cards, onboard graphics technology does not have its own memory. Instead, it commandeers a part of the computer’s RAM for use as video memory.

    A Video Memory option on some systems may allow you to modify how this memory is allocated. You may use this to allocate more video memory or to decrease it, freeing up some memory for system operations.

    Wake-on-Lan

    Wake-on-LAN settings enable your PC to wake up from sleep when it receives a packet from the local area network (LAN). This can also create boot loops on unsupported operating systems, so it’s best to turn it off unless you’re sure you need it.

    System-Specific Options

    Depending on your system setup, these choices may or may not show in your BIOS, although they’re common on higher-end consumer motherboards.

    Virtualization Settings

    Virtualization support is available on some CPUs. If your CPU has this capability, you’ll need to enable it manually before any virtualization software, such as VirtualBox, can function correctly. Virtualization settings on Intel motherboards are sometimes referred to as “VT-d.” “AMD-V” is the equivalent for AMD motherboards.

    Conclusion

    When it comes to PC troubleshooting, the old adage holds true: if you don’t know what something is, Google it. At the end of the journey, you’ll usually discover a clear answer.

    Faq

    Is Updating The BIOS a Good Thing?

    When your PC maker offers a BIOS update with enhancements, security updates, bug fixes, and new hardware support, updating the BIOS might be beneficial. However, if something goes wrong during the upgrading process, there might be irreversible damage. BIOS upgrades seldom bring significant performance or feature improvements, so if it’s not absolutely essential, it’s probably better to remove it.

    What is a BIOS Password?

    A BIOS password is an extra layer of authentication protection that can be used if desired. You may set up a Setup Password, which will need a password when a user attempts to use the BIOS Setup Utility, and a System Password, which will be required before the system can start up, using the BIOS Setup Utility. BIOS passwords are not the same as passwords for Windows accounts.

    What is a Ps2 Bios File?

    Playing old PlayStation 2 games on your Windows PC is possible thanks to a PS2 BIOS file. You’ll also need a PS2 emulator and game ROMs to complete this task. Some PS2 emulators come with a PS2 BIOS file, which simplifies the procedure. Always use reputable websites to get PS2 emulators, BIOS files, and game ROMs.

    What is a Good Bios Time?

    Under the Startup tab in Task Manager, you’ll find Last BIOS Time and a number of seconds. This is the time it takes for your computer to boot up and display the Windows logo on the screen. A typical Last BIOS time ranges from five to fifteen seconds. You may speed up your Last BIOS time by making your operating system the first boot disk and activating Fast Boot.

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