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All About Your Computer's BIOS

Are you confused by the computer BIOS? The BIOS is a fundamental component of any PC and if you really want to get into the guys of a computer, itís good through understanding what BIOS Is all about.

This article gives you a summary of what BIOS is and how you can play with the basic and advanced options in a typical BIOS configuration.


First up, letís just define what the BIOS is. The BIOS stands for the Basic Input-Output System of a PC. It is stored on a BIOS chip on the motherboard and it is the interface between your operating system and the computerís hardware. All the software actions you make, e.g. click a in Windows XP, are translated into machine instructions which pass through the BIOS and then subsequently to your monitor, graphics card and what not.

The BIOS is a crucial component of a PC If it fails, your PC isnít going to boot up. I always skip a heartbeat if I see any funny behavior with a PCís BIOS. Because it spells (almost certainly that is) doom for the computer. Make sure youíre very, very careful if you intend to fiddle around with the BIOS in anyway. Children, donít do this at home without the supervision of a technie.

Basic Options

Letís run through the basic options of a BIOS setup. Right after you power up the computer, there is usually a key you can hit (usually F8) which allows you to access the PCĎs BIOS.

In the basic menu in the BIOS, you should see settings for configuring hard drives and boot up options. You can specify which are your primary and secondary hard risk and which will boot up first. You can also specify if the floppy disk or CD Rom boot support before or after the hard disk.

Advanced Options

If you go in to the Advanced Options menu, you can delve into the advanced options for the BIOS configuration. If youíre into overclocking, you can specify a different CPU frequency than the default. But be very careful when you do this Ė you may end up burning your CPU chip if you donít know what youíre doing.

In the advanced options menu, you can also change memory frequency and timing, as well as the AGP speed for your graphics card. Again, exercise extreme care when playing around with these settings. You can damage your PC if you don't know what you're doing.

There are many other options in a computerís BIOS you can play with. Some of them include password and security options to limit access to the system, or stuff like power saving options. You can also control things like whether the Numlock key should be on or off when you first start the system.


I hope the article has helped you understand a little of what goes into a com0utperís BIOS and how you can make use of it. Remember, the BIOS is such a fundamental component of any PC that you MUST exercise extreme caution when meddling with it. If youíre not sure Ė donít change anything. Itís best to understand the BIOS properly from an expert or read a good book before changing it in any way.

Gary Hendricks runs a hobby site on building computers. Visit his website at [build-your-own-computers.com website unavailable] for tips and tricks on assembling a PC, as well as buying good computer components.

More Computer Anatomy Articles:
• History of the QWERTY Keyboard
• PC Video
• The Computers Back Connector Panel
• IEEE-1394 FireWire
• Rambus DRAM (RDRAM)
• Understanding the Software Layers of a Computer
• How a laser Printer Works
• How Hard Disks Work
• Power and Your PC
• External Serial Advanced Technology Attachment (eSATA)

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