The BIOS – Basic Input Output System

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What is the BIOS?

BIOS stands for basic input/output system. The BIOS is the first software program that runs when you start up your system. Yes the first time you press the “Power ” button on your computer the BIOS goes into action.


What does the BIOS Do?

The BIOS is basically a program that tells your operating system, such as Windows 7 or even Linux based operating systems what to do.  It also sets up all of the parameters for the hardware that is installed inside your computer.

For instance, the BIOS allows you to:

  • Tweak (change or configure) hardware devices
  • Turn a device on or off (enable/disable)
  • Create a password which would prevent the computer from being turned on by a stranger

After the BIOS loads and has done what it needs to do, it then passes control to your operating system (e.g. Windows 7, XP or Vista).


Where is the BIOS Located?

The BIOS software is stored on what’s called a ROM or Read-Only Memory chip on the motherboard. The motherboard is inside of your computer. All Traditional Computers have a BIOS, Desktops and Laptops both have them.  A BIOS is also present on tablet PC’s like the iPad or Asus Transformer as well, however, the tablet makers do not make that information readily available to the common everyday person.


Under What Circumstances Would I Need to Make a Change?

The BIOS can be modified if you choose to do so. Sometimes you may want to tweak your BIOS settings. Often PC enthusiasts will change the BIOS to maximize the performance and speed of their computer. However, the average everyday person will want to stay clear of the BIOS (Don’t Touch) unless there is a problem.

There are times when you don’t have any other choice and you are forced to make a change to the BIOS, such as when your system is not running right.  A good example of when you may have to change or tweak your BIOS is when you install a new piece of hardware inside your computer.  Sometimes you will receive a message from the computer saying that the BIOS needs to be changed.


How Do I Access My BIOS if I Need to Make a Change?

This can sometimes be tricky. Depending on the make and model of your computer, accessing the BIOS will be different.  For most custom-built generic computers, something you would build yourself from scratch, the BIOS can be accessed by just pressing the “Delete” key on the keyboard of your computer.

For most big brand computers, such as Dell, HP, IBM-Lenovo, etc., it may be different.  An example of this is my HP laptop, to get to the BIOS I have to press the “ESC” key. However on my IBM-Lenovo laptop that I use in the office, I have to press the “F1” key after powering on the computer. I’m sure you get the point.


Where Can I Find out More Info on the BIOS?