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What is BIOS in computers & how does it work?

April 20, 2015

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What is BIOS:

BIOS is an integral part of computer system and it stands for Basic Input Output System. BIOS is a type of firmware used during the booting process (power-on startup) of PC and it is the first software they run when powered on.  While loading the operating system, the BIOS is also used to identify and configure the hardware in a computer such as the RAM, processor, keyboard, mouse, hard drive etc and after which the operating system is loaded into computer memory.

Where BIOS is located?

BIOS software is stored on a non-volatile ROM chip on the motherboard. But this ROM is EEPROM (Electrically Erasable and Programmable Read Only Memory), means that the BIOS can be re-written or updated.

Complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) refers to a chip inside your computer that saves your BIOS settings. This CMOS chip powered up via the battery on the motherboard. That’s why your remove the battery and attach again, it reset the BIOS and all settings are bring to default.

Function of BIOS:

The main function of the BIOS is to boot up an operating system on a PC.

When you turn on your computer, the BIOS does several things. This is its usual sequence:

How do I access my computer's BIOS?

To access BIOS by immediately after you trun on PC, press a key (such as F2, F12, Delete, or Esc) or a key combination. But these procedures vary depending on the BIOS manufacturer.

Configuring BIOS:

Once you have entered setup by following above procedure, you will see a set of text screens with a number of options. Some of these are standard while others vary according to the BIOS manufacturer. Common options include:

The BIOS Setup utility screen has Main, Advanced, Power, Boot, Exit tabs including different option.

But be careful while making changes in the BIOS setup. Use tab and arrow keys to navigate. Sometimes Page Up and Page Down keys are required to change values of essential items. When you are done, press F10 to save changes and exit.

How to Update BIOS:

BIOS is the most critical part of the PC. That’s why if necessary, then and then only update BIOS, because it is a complicated process and if an error occurs, this will render your computer unbootable. By updating a BIOS often resolves many of these issues. Follow the steps to update BIOS-

1) Check Your BIOS Version in Windows:

There are many ways to find out computer's motherboard BIOS version.

  1. Restart computer & enter the BIOS. Inside the BIOS, you will find the version of the BIOS used by your computer's motherboard.
  2. In Windows press Win+R – Go to Search Bar --- Enter “msinfo32” and press OK. This will open System Information Windows. Here you can find BIOS version.
  3. In the command prompt type “systeminfo | findstr /I /c:bios”

2) Check If There Are Any BIOS Updates Available:

Once you find the BIOS version used by your computer's motherboard, it's time to find out if there are any new updates available. If you have branded PC, then search the support page of the company that manufactured your computer or search for your motherboard if it is not a branded computer. Then download the correct BIOS version.

3) Read the included documentation:

Before updating BIOS, you should read the Read Me file carefully to avoid of making your pc unbootable.

4) Update your BIOS:

To update BIOS, quit all programs and run the .exe file. This will update the BIOS after installing and rebooting.

Note: Most BIOS update programs include a backup option for your current BIOS version. If such a feature is available, take backup of your existing BIOS version before the upgrade.