A Brief Introduction About BIOS and its Various Uses
BIOS stand for Basic Input Output Software. It is an integral part of all computer systems. It is in charge of managing the flow of information between different devices of the PC. It also plays a crucial role while the system boots. It holds unique information, which helps in identifying the computer.
It is the first code that the computer runs when it is switched on. It is a chip that can be located on the motherboard if you open the casing of the CPU and look at it. The BIOS chip is also a Non Volatile Random Access Memory (NVRAM). This means that when the computer is switched off the chip retains its data and the content of it is not lost.
The BIOS plays a number of roles and functions on how a computer operates. Here is a look at some of its uses:-
During the process of booting
‘BIOS’ is an erasable readable memory chip that is located on your microprocessor. When the computer is turned on, during the booting stage BIOS gains control from the microprocessor and first runs a check if everything is in place and in working order. To do this, it conducts a Power On Self Test (POST) to check for all the components.
Following this it loads the Operating System software from the hard disk and loads into the RAM. As a result devices and applications do not have to worry about the address or route of employment. ‘BIOS’ takes care of all these aspects and provides the necessary instructions.
Handling other BIOS chips
This is another crucial aspect of the BIOS program. It handles and activates the BIOS chips that can be found in the micro processors of other devices that are attached to the system. Computer devices like graphic cards come with their own set of BIOS.
CMOS information retrieval
The program also retrieves data and information from CMOS. It is a semiconductor chip and is battery operated. It stores details about time, date and other such computer information. The BIOS has to work in tandem with the CMOS so that changes in valuations of time, date etc from it can be correctly retrieved.
Loads interrupt handlers
These are mini software programs that act as communication agents between the operating system and the hardware. For example, if the user presses one key from the keyboard a signal is sent to the Keyboard interrupt handler, which in turn relays the information to the CPU. The CPU then communicates the information to the Operating System.
Apart from these functions, the BIOS also display system settings and also help in power management. You can also set passwords in the BIOS User Interface (UI) to protect the data you have on your system.
Updating the BIOS can often be a risky process. If for some reason, the users system unexpectedly shuts down during the upgrade process then BIOS may end up getting corrupted. Rectifying it later on can become a tiring and expensive procedure.
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