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HDG Explains: What is the BIOS?

Have you ever seen the word BIOS on the screen when you start your computer? Or have you heard people talk about changing something in the BIOS? But then you will never see or hear about it again.

So the BIOS is a thing, but we never see it because it is located on the motherboard, which is the main board inside your computer. What is BIOS and why do we need it?

What is BIOS?

BIOS is the initialization of the basic I / O system, which is why we simply call it BIOS. It is a program that is permanently stored on a computer chip. Programs that are permanently stored on a microchip are called firmware.

The BIOS is the first program to run when the computer is turned on. It works even earlier than an operating system (OS) like Windows or iOS. When we say “computer,” it includes servers, PCs, Macs, smartphones and tablets. It can be any such device.

What does BIOS do?

The overall goal of the BIOS is to get everything on the computer up and running so that the OS can run. First, it checks all of the hardware on the computer to make sure it is there, working, and having access to the driver programs they need to run. This is called the Power On Self Test (POST).

The BIOS obtains information on how to do this from Extended System Configuration Data (ESCD). ESCD is stored in non-volatile random access memory (NVRAM). Depending on the make and model of your computer, there may be some differences in how it is set up.

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The BIOS then tells the computer where to look for the OS. If the OS is up and running, then the computer stops starting and we can enjoy the magic of modern computing.

If we were working in the kitchen, BIOS would be the chef who turns on the stove, reads the daily menu, prepares the ingredients and puts them on the spot. The OS is the cook who jumps into the room, takes the ingredients, walks to the stove and works wonders.

Where is the BIOS stored?

The BIOS firmware resides on a chip called a secondary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS). CMOS is non-volatile read-only memory, so the BIOS firmware remains permanently there. However, the settings it uses can be erased.

This is why there is a clock-shaped battery on the computer motherboard. The battery supports 24/7 operation, so the settings remain unchanged.

Remember this! These batteries only last 3-5 years. It’s about a $ 5 battery. If we spend a little time figuring out how to access the BIOS and configure it, then we can save at least $ 80 by shipping it to a computer store.

How do I access BIOS?

The answer is simple: when we start the computer, we need to press a key or key combination before the main OS boots. At most, there can be a 10 second window between starting the computer and switching the OS. It’s a little tricky.

The tricky part of the answer is the key or the required key combination. It may vary depending on the brand and model of the device. There are several keys that are the same for every brand. They are:

We will not go into details on how to access BIOS on mobile devices. The variety is too great to list here. It would be best to search the Internet for each specific device.

How can I learn more about BIOS?

We have it covered. On our sites, you will find articles on how to find out the BIOS version of your computer, find out if you need to update the BIOS, and also how to access the BIOS and change the boot order

We’ll even show you how to recover your BIOS password, if any. BIOS is small but powerful!

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