BIOS is a Basic Input/Output System. It is firmware/code saved on a tiny ROM (Read-Only Memory) chip located on your motherboard. It is responsible for loading things properly before everything else starts on your PC. The reason for it doing that is so that it could handle all the settings where your hardware is concerned to allow everything to run smoothly. So, in short it tells your hardware what to do before your PC boots up.
More about BIOS
Little fun facto about the BIOS is that its settings are still available even after you pull the plug on your PC. In other words, your BIOS saves its own settings even when there’s no power. Isn’t that cool? You probably thought your PC needs power for everything didn’t you. (Well, technically it does but let’s not go there.) Okay, I was kidding let’s go there.
The reason why it is able to store settings without power is because it stores everything on the CMOS chip which is also located on the motherboard. The CMOS chip has volatile memory so it is considered a RAM chip as such. The word volatile comes in because the CMOS itself requires power of its own which it gets through the motherboards battery. See why I said it actually does need power?
So, if the battery is removed from the motherboard, you will see that your BIOS settings will be reset, leaving it to a default. Nothing besides its settings will change so you won’t have to worry about it changing the program itself.
Oh, another fun fact would be that the CMOS itself usually consists of about 256 bytes. (Imagine running a PC on that amount of memory alone. How would that even work?) Using that 256 bytes, your CMOS chip stores information such as date & time, your boot sequence and types of disk drives.
How to access the BIOS Setup Utility
Your BIOS is installed by its manufacturer as soon as it is birthed/created. Accessing the BIOS on your motherboard is different for every make and model. You would need to restart your PC and use the key that your system gives you. Look for the “BIOS“, “Configuration” or “Setup” which might give you a little help with the keys. For me it was the F8 key but for you it might be different. Common keys for other systems might be Esc, Tab, Del but on a lot of them you might use the so-called function keys such as the “F” keys usually at the very top of your keyboard.
If you weren’t able to press the key in time at startup press the “Pause” or “Break” keys to freeze it. If you’re unable to do even that then unplug your keyboard which would give you an error that would pause your startup. This should give you enough time to write down all the necessary keys for the mission of the BIOS.
Getting into the BIOS might also require you to press the key multiple times. It may not be necessary most of the time, just giving you a heads up. Oh, don’t hold onto the key for too long or press it too many times. The keys have feelings too. It may or may not cause your system to lock up or show an error message if you hurt its feelings. Don’t worry if that happens though. Just give it some space by restarting and its feelings will be back to normal.
Oh, as for the reason you’d need to go into the BIOS, it’s to configure some settings maybe after installing some new hardware or to change some features on your PC.
And that’s a wrap
Hopefully this post has helped you access your BIOS and understand what it is. If you have the time maybe read through a few other posts on ComputeeZA. Maybe try:
- PC Caught A Virus? Install an Antivirus.
- How to Check Your RAM Type, Speed, etc. in Windows 10
- Sleep, hibernate or shut down your PC?
And if you need more help with your keys then maybe try heading on over to these three links from the Lifewire site. Mind you that I am in no way associated with Lifewire, I just like their posts (^^)/:
- Setup Utility Access Keys for Popular Computer Systems
- BIOS Setup Utility Access Keys for Popular Motherboards
- BIOS Setup Utility Access Keys for Major BIOS Manufacturers
Thank you for reading! (^-^)/
Co-Founder of ComputeeZA