What is the BIOS? | Basic Input/Output System

Most modern computers is capable of running operating systems with interfaces that are attractive and full of effects, as in the case of Windows 7 and some versions of Linux, but when it is connected always have that look that black screen rudimentary that displays the essential information of the hardware. This step of the initialization process (also called “boot”) is executed by the BIOS, and today we will know a little more about this technology.

Acronym that stands for “Basic Input/Output System” the BIOS is a chip that tiny typically located on the edges of the motherboard and is the first thing that starts working when you turn on your computer. The first step is the reading of the information contained in the CMOS (Complementary Metal-Oxide-Semiconductor) with the settings customized by the user in the SETUP.


Most of the SETUPs has this visual.

Users who have already ventured to tinker with the components of the PC must remember the whistle that the motherboard makes when you forget to put some piece, such as memory and processor, the warning issued by the POST (Power On Seft Test) when it detects any irregularity, checking if all components are working properly before starting the routines required to load the operating system.

After these two steps is that we see the hardware information on the screen, showing details of the processor, memory and hard disks and etc, where it is also checked which devices are bootable (such as CD/DVD drive, disks or even a usb stick) and then starts the boot process of the operating system itself, known as boostrap.

During the step of displaying information on the screen the BIOS displays which key should be pressed to interrupt the boot, typically ESC or DELETE key, and enter the SETUP, where it is possible to configure various details of the operation of the system, such as overclocking, boot device, primary memory configuration, power management, and many other options.

The interesting screen of SETUP is that it will always work at the same speed, regardless if your computer is equipped with an Intel Core i7 of last generation and 12 GB of memory and a Pentium 2 old, because the BIOS is a separate entity from the rest of the hardware, so any upgrade on the machine does not influence on the “performance”.

To a few manufacturers are starting to implement new ways to start the computers of the last generation because of limitations of the BIOS, a technology that is not updated – believe it – since the first generation of PCs. In addition to the natural limitations of something with decades of existence, the presence of the chip increases the boot time in more than 10 seconds, something that at the time of its creation could even pass unnoticed, but today it bothers me and a lot of the users with more powerful computers.


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