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BIOS (Basic Input Output System)

Everything You Need to Know About BIOS

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BIOS Setup Utility Main Menu Example

BIOS Setup Utility Main Menu (Example)

What is the BIOS?

The Basic Input Output System, usually referred to as BIOS, is software stored on a small memory chip on the motherboard.

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

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. See How To Access the BIOS Setup Utility for help.

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
  • 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 Fan Speed Settings
  • View CPU and System Temperatures
  • View Fan Speeds
  • View System Voltages

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 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.

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