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BIOS Tuning Guide

By: Asher Moses | Guides | Posted: Feb 26, 2002 5:00 am

What is a BIOS?


BIOS stands for "Basic Input/Output System" and is one of the three types of software your computer needs to run properly. The first type of software is the "Operating System", which put simply, is software designed to control the hardware of a specific data-processing system in order to allow users and application programs to make use of it. The second type is applications, which are programs that give a computer instructions that provide the user with tools to accomplish a task.


The third type, the BIOS, differs from the software listed above in a few ways. One of them is the fact that instead of being installed from a disk, it is a read-only memory chip that is soldered onto the motherboard. The other main difference is the tasks it performs. A BIOS is the set of routines stored in read-only memory that enable a computer to start the operating system and to communicate with the various devices in the system, such as disk drives, keyboard, monitor, printer, and communications ports. Once your operating system starts, the BIOS sits in the background, until your next reboot.


When you turn on your computer, the BIOS performs a POST (Power On Self Test), which makes sure all of the hardware components in your system are working properly. It then activates the BIOS chips on the other components in your system and finally interfaces your hardware components with the operating system stored on your hard drive. So basically, the BIOS gives the microprocessor its first instructions and then makes sure your computer is ready to run the operating system. On top of this, the BIOS contains various customizable settings and information about your computer's components and how they run.


Now that we've established what a BIOS is, let's find out how to tweak it.


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