BIOS (BASIC INPUT OUTPUT SYSTEM)
The data that is installed on a small memory chip on the motherboard is BIOS which means Basic Input Output System.
The first program to be launched when a computer starts is BIOS.
In this article, we will go through the details like What is BIOS, the function and types of BIOS, BIOS Acronym, and how it works, its application, and some more details to understand its importance.
What is the BIOS (Basic Input Output System)?
The BIOS provides instructions for loading basic computer hardware.
This also requires a test called a POST (Power-On Self-Test) to verify whether the device meets the needs of booting correctly.
If the POST is not passed by the computer, a combination of beeps is received which shows something is wrong with the machine.
The BIOS firmware is non-volatile, which means it saves and restores its settings even after power from the system is disconnected.
The OS is mid-range software because it communicates with both high-level software and hardware components directly via the drivers and BIOS.
In other words, the BIOS provides a variety of services that allow users to configure and get direct information from hardware components inside computers.
The BIOS serves as a mediator between the Input / Output devices (I / O devices) and the CPU until the booting cycle is complete.
It is not necessary to have all the hardware details attached for the Operating System or the process running on your computer.
All computer hardware specifics are known to the BIOS and are handled by it.
The information must be communicated to the BIOS, whenever the IO interface’s information changes.
Types of BIOS (Basic Input Output System)
There are two different types of BIOS –
- UEFI – UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) can accommodate 2.2 TB or larger drives by using the Master Boot Record (MBR) approach in place of the more modern GUID Partition Table (GPT) technology. Although Intel PCs migrate away from Legacy BIOS and towards UEFI firmware, BIOS has never been used by Apple’s Mac PCs.
- Legacy BIOS – Older motherboards have legacy firmware on the BIOS to turn the PC on. Although it governs how the CPU and the components communicate, like UEFI, Legacy BIOSes have other limitations. These can’t identify drives bigger than 2.1 TB, and their setup programs have text-only menus.
Which were the first BIOS?
Gary Kildall developed the first BIOS, and in 1974 it was used in the CP / M operating system.
Kildall invented the term “BIOS” to define a part of a system that loads and communicates with other machine hardware at boot-up.
Functions of BIOS (Basic Input Output System)
The BIOS is responsible for loading the OS and it contains various instructions that are required to load the hardware.
Some of the major functions of BIOS are –
- POST–The first and foremost task of BIOS is to ensure the proper functioning of the computer hardware, and there is no hardware problem. Power-On Self-Check (POST) does this task efficiently. If the POST test fails, the computer produces different forms of beeps to show the error type. If the POST test is passed then it continues to boot.
- Booting – Upon successfully running POST, the BIOS locates and recognizes the operating system. The BIOS then transfers access to Operating System when it detects one. This is called Booting.
- BIOS drivers – BIOS drivers are a set of programs that are stored in the erasable memory chips which are non-volatile. The BIOS Drivers supplies basic computer hardware information.
- BIOS Setup – Configuration software that allows you to configure hardware settings including the device settings, computer passwords, time and date. BIOS setup is also called a CMOS setup.
Advantages of updating the BIOS
Some of the reasons to update the BIOS are –
- Hardware updates – New BIOS updates would allow the motherboard to correctly recognize new hardware including processors, RAM, etc. If you have updated your processor, and the BIOS does not recognize it, the answer could be a BIOS flash.
- Security updates – The new BIOS updates come with security upgrades that help your BIOS withstand tampering and increase awareness of viruses in the boot sector (if your motherboard supports boot sector scanning).
- Increased stability – As bugs and other problems with motherboards are discovered, the manufacturer will release BIOS updates to address and rectify those bugs. This can directly affect the data transfer and processing speed.
Which BIOS is on my computer?
You will need to access the BIOS setup to decide the type of version of the BIOS on your computer.
It should display the BIOS type, such as AMI, Award, or Phoenix, and BIOS version on the main BIOS screen.
Common producers of BIOS (Basic Input Output System)
Following are some of the popular producers of BIOS –
- Phoenix Technologies
How to navigate to BIOS (Basic Input Output System)?
The BIOS is accessed via the BIOS Setup Utility and configured there.
All options available in BIOS are configurable via the BIOS Setup Utility.
Unlike an operating system such as Windows, which is often downloaded or accessed on a disk and needs to be installed by the user or manufacturer, BIOS comes installed as soon as the computer is manufactured.
Depending on the make and model of your machine or motherboard the BIOS Configuration Function is accessed in various ways.
- Start your computer.
- Monitor the first few seconds after turning on your machine for a “Setup” alert. This message varies widely from computer to computer and often contains the key or keys to access the BIOS that you need to press. Here are some of the ways you might see this message about BIOS access:
- Press [key] to enter setup
- Setup: [key]
- Enter BIOS by pressing [key]
- Press [key] to enter BIOS setup
- Press [key] to access BIOS
- Press [key] to access system configuration
- We need to quickly press the instructed key.
- BIOS setup utility can be used as required.
To enter BIOS, you would need to click several times on the BIOS access key. Do not hold the down key or press it too many times or your device can mistake or lock up. If it does, just restart and try again
How important is BIOS in a computer system?
The BIOS is the basic and essential portion of the Motherboard Firmware and is in charge of checking and booting the hardware attached to the device, thereby passing the computer control to the Operating system.
Now we can think about imagining a machine without BIOS. The answer is No. A computer cannot run without BIOS (Basic Input Output System).