Hello Friends! Today, we are going to cover about what is BIOS with their types and uses; involving with major functions of BIOS (Basic Input/Output System) with ease. After reading this article, you will definitely understand about What is BIOS without any hindrance.
What is BIOS in Computer?
BIOS stands for ‘Basic Input/Output System’; it is a fundamental component of computer’s firmware. It is stored in a chip on the computer’s motherboard and plays a crucial role in the system’s start-up process. The BIOS performs several essential functions like as the Power-On Self-Test (POST) help to check hardware integrity, initializing system hardware, and getting to facilitate the boot process by loading the operating system into memory.
While modern computers often use UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) instead of traditional BIOS, the term “BIOS” is still commonly used to refer to the firmware responsible for initializing and controlling the computer hardware parts during the boot sequence.
BIOS Tutorial Headlines:
In this section, we will show you all headlines about this entire article; you can check them as your choice; below shown all:
- What is BIOS in Computer?
- Brief History of BIOS
- How Does BIOS Work?
- What is Availability of BIOS?
- How to Check the Version of BIOS?
- How to Navigate to BIOS?
- Is BIOS Fully Secured?
- Types of BIOS and Their Functions
- Functions of BIOS
- BIOS Manufacturers
- Advantages of Updating Computer BIOS
- FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
- What are the use cases of BIOS?
- Why would I need to update my BIOS?
- What is BIOS used for?
- Can updating the BIOS be risky?
- What is the role of the BIOS password?
- What are different types of BIOS with examples?
- What are the 5 main functions of BIOS?
Let’s Get Started!!
Brief History of BIOS
Here, we will show you brief history with timeline:
1979: IBM releases the IBM PC, powered by Intel’s 8088 processor and featuring the first rudimentary BIOS.
Early 1980s: Original PC BIOS was simple, and updates were typically done by replacing physical ROM chips.
1983: Compaq introduces the first IBM-compatible PC with a ROM BIOS that can be upgraded via software.
1986: IBM releases the PC/AT with more advanced BIOS, introducing the Extended Industry Standard Architecture
1990: Intel introduces the Advanced Programmable Interrupt Controller (APIC) as part of the BIOS for more advanced interrupt handling.
1992: Intel and Microsoft collaborate on the Plug and Play specification, influencing BIOS design for easier hardware configuration.
1996: Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) development begins as a successor to BIOS.
2005: UEFI Forum is formed to develop and promote UEFI standards.
2007: Intel introduces the first Itanium-based systems with UEFI firmware.
2011: Apple transitions Macs to UEFI with the release of Macs based on Intel processors.
2012: UEFI becomes more common, with many new motherboards and systems adopting it.
2013: Microsoft requires UEFI firmware with Secure Boot for Windows 8 certification.
2015: UEFI adoption accelerates, and it becomes the standard for new systems.
2020s: UEFI continues to evolve, with on-going development and updates to improve security, compatibility, and functionality.
2023: UEFI is the prevalent firmware standard in modern computing, supporting various operating systems and hardware architectures.
How Does BIOS Work?
Here, we will show you step-by-step overview of how the BIOS/UEFI works:
When the computer gets turned on, then register EIP is initialized to FFFF0 to execute the JMP instruction there that makes to lead the execution of the system BIOS code.
BIOS executes an initial pack of diagnostic tests is known as the Power-On Self-Test (POST) to see if there are any issues is persisted along with the hardware.
BIOS helps to identify, configures, tests, and connects computer hardware to the operating system immediately after a computer is turned on, and the combination of these steps is called the boot process.
BIOS gives the instructions to computer about how to perform basic functions like booting and keyboard control; it is also going to use for identify and configure the hardware in a computer such as the hard drive, CPU, memory, and related equipment.
BIOS firmware is non-volatile memory that means its settings are saved and recoverable even after power has been removed from the device.
BIOS support various configuration options that can be changed via the setup utility.
What is Availability of BIOS?
The availability of BIOS is important for making to ensure about hardware compatibility, keep managing system initialization, controlling data flow, facilitating firmware updates, enhancing security, and allowing customization and configuration options.
Importance of BIOS Updates: The most important is to keep the BIOS updated with the most recent iteration to make ensuring the system hardware compatibility and proper functioning while the start-up of the system.
Firmware Storage: Initially, BIOS software was saved into the computer motherboard on a ROM chip. In modern systems, the BIOS is stored on flash memory that is allowing to be rebuilt without getting to need for removing the chips from the motherboard. This enables user-friendly BIOS firmware upgrades to introduce new features or rectify issues.
Security and Functionality: BIOS is crucial for getting to protect the system from security threats and potential compromises to the computer’s functionality. It is the first software that helps to run after a computer starts and instructs the computer about how to perform basic functions like booting and keyboard control.
Customization and Configuration: BIOS supports various configuration options that can be changed via the setup utility that is allowing users to customize various settings such as the boot order, system time and date, CPU voltage and frequency, and security options.
How to Check the Version of BIOS?
To check the version of BIOS on a Windows PC, you can use several methods, but specific method is used may depend on the version of Windows and the user’s preference:
Also Read: 15 Different Types of Operating System
Command Prompt: Open your Command Prompt and type “wmic bios get smbiosbiosversion” and hit Enter key. This will show you BIOS version and manufacturer in an easy-to-understand menu format.
MSInfo32: Launch you’re the System Information panel by pressing the Windows key + S, typing “msinfo32,” and clicking on System Information in the search results.
DXDiag: Launch you’re the Direct X Diagnostic Tool by pressing the Windows key + S, typing “dxdiag,” and clicking on DxDiag. The BIOS version can be found on the System tab.
Registry Editor: You can also use the Registry Editor to finding out the BIOS version. Open the Registry Editor, navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\HARDWARE\DESCRIPTION\System, and double-click SystemBiosVersion to find your BIOS version below the manufacturer name.
System Detection Software: In Windows OS, you can use system detection software, including CPU-Z to check the BIOS version.
System Information Window: You can also find your BIOS version in the System Information window by typing “msinfo32” in a Run box. Look at the “BIOS Version/Date” field.
How to Navigate to BIOS?
Accessing the BIOS (Basic Input/Output System) setup depends on the computer’s manufacturer and the type of firmware it uses. Here are general steps that may help you navigate to the BIOS:
Reboot or Power On:
Restart your computer or power it on if it’s off.
During the start-up process, look for a prompt on the screen indicating which key to press to enter the BIOS setup. Common keys include:
Press the Key:
Quickly press the designated key before the operating system begins to load. You might need to press it multiple times.
Once successful, you’ll enter the BIOS setup menu. Navigate using arrow keys, and follow on-screen instructions. The exact layout varies by manufacturer.
Is BIOS Fully Secured?
The security of BIOS is integral to protect the critical information and making to ensure the optimal system performance. BIOS security features, including passwords, full disk encryption. Secure Boot offers the layers of protection against unauthorized access and cyber threats.
However, while these features enhance security, no system can be considered fully secure. Continuous vigilance, regular updates, and best security practices are essential to mitigate potential risks.
BIOS security is crucial in safeguarding against advanced cyber-attacks and keeps maintaining the integrity of the system across the hardware, firmware, and software layers.
Types of BIOS and Their Functions
There are different types of BIOS, but it is divided into main two categories are:
Traditional BIOS (Basic Input/Output System):
Legacy BIOS: This is the traditional BIOS that has been used for decades. It uses the Master Boot Record (MBR) partitioning scheme and the BIOS firmware interface. Legacy BIOS has limitations, such as a 2.2TB limit on disk size and the lack of support for modern security features like Secure Boot.
UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface):
UEFI BIOS: UEFI is a more modern and flexible firmware interface that has largely replaced the traditional BIOS. UEFI supports the GUID Partition Table (GPT) partitioning scheme and provides improved security features, such as Secure Boot. UEFI also allows for faster boot times and has a graphical user interface (GUI) for configuration.
UEFI with Compatibility Support Module (CSM): Some UEFI systems include a Compatibility Support Module to provide backward compatibility with legacy BIOS systems. This allows the system to boot from MBR-partitioned disks and run legacy operating systems.
UEFI 2.0 and later: UEFI specifications continue to evolve, with newer versions providing additional features and improvements. These versions enhance security, compatibility, and performance.
Functions of BIOS (Basic Input/Output System)
The BIOS performs serves various critical functions in your computer system. These functions are crucial while the boot process and system initialization. Here are some of the primary functions of BIOS, including:
Power-On Self-Test (POST):
The BIOS performs a series of diagnostic tests known as POST when the computer is powered on. POST is able to checks several hardware components, including the processor, memory, storage devices, and input/output interfaces to make ensure they are functioning perfectly.
After completing the POST, the BIOS locates and loads the bootloader. The bootloader is a small program responsible for loading the operating system into memory. The BIOS/UEFI provides the initial instructions for this process.
Initialization of Hardware:
The BIOS initializes and configures essential hardware components such as the processor, memory, storage controllers, and input/output devices. It ensures that the hardware is in a known and usable state before handing control over to the operating system.
The BIOS stores configuration information in a small amount of non-volatile memory called CMOS (Complementary Metal-Oxide-Semiconductor). Users can access the CMOS setup to configure various system settings, including date and time, boot order, and hardware parameters.
BIOS Firmware Updates:
The BIOS firmware can be updated to provide support for new hardware, fix bugs, or improve system stability. Firmware updates are usually provided by the motherboard or system manufacturer.
Boot Device Selection:
The BIOS allows users to specify the order in which devices are checked for bootable operating systems. This boot order can be configured in the BIOS setup, enabling users to prioritize different storage devices.
BIOS User Interface:
Some modern UEFI implementations include a graphical user interface (GUI) that allows users to interact with firmware settings using a mouse and keyboard. This allows users easy to make navigate and configure system settings.
UEFI, in particular, includes security features such as Secure Boot. Secure Boot helps protect the system against unauthorized firmware, boot loader, and operating system code by validating digital signatures before allowing execution.
In the event of a system failure or corruption, the BIOS/UEFI may provide options for system recovery or restoration. This can include accessing recovery partitions, restoring default settings, or loading a backup BIOS/UEFI image.
Interfacing with the Operating System:
The BIOS/UEFI provides a bridge between the hardware and the operating system, facilitating communication between the two. It hands over control to the operating system kernel once the boot loader has loaded the necessary components into memory.
Here are some prominent motherboard manufacturers that produce motherboards with integrated BIOS, as following them:
- ASUS (ASUSTeK Computer Inc.)
- Gigabyte Technology Co., Ltd.
- MSI (Micro-Star International Co., Ltd.)
- ASRock Inc.
- Biostar Microtech International Corp.
- EVGA Corporation
- Intel Corporation (for Intel-branded motherboards)
- Foxconn Technology Group
- DFI Inc. (Diamond Flower Inc.)
Advantages of Updating Computer BIOS
Updating the BIOS of the computer can offer several benefits, including:
Hardware Compatibility: BIOS updates can address hardware compatibility issues and making ensuring that the computer’s hardware components work seamlessly along with the operating system.
Enhanced Performance: BIOS updates helps to improve system performance by fixing bugs, enhancing system stability, and introducing new features.
Security: BIOS updates can improve the system security by addressing security vulnerabilities and introducing new security features.
Compatibility with New Hardware: BIOS updates can enable compatibility with new hardware components that are allowing users to upgrade their systems without compatibility issues.
Bug Fixes: BIOS updates can fix bugs that may cause system crashes, freezes, or other issues.
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
What are the use cases of BIOS?
Here are some use cases of BIOS, like as:
- System Inventory and Hardware Initialization
- System Boot Process
- Configuration and Setup
- Data Flow Management
- Firmware Updates
Why would I need to update my BIOS?
BIOS updates may include security patches, bug fixes, and improvements in hardware compatibility, and new features. It’s recommended to update the BIOS cautiously and only when necessary.
What is BIOS used for?
BIOS is firmware that is used to provide runtime services for operating systems and programs and to perform hardware initialization during the booting process.
Can updating the BIOS be risky?
Yes, updating the BIOS carries some risk. If not done correctly, it may lead to system instability or failure. It’s crucial to follow manufacturer instructions, ensure power stability, and only update when necessary.
What is the role of the BIOS password?
A BIOS password adds a layer of security by requiring a password to access the BIOS settings. It helps prevent unauthorized changes to system configurations.
What are different types of BIOS with examples?
Here are the main types with their examples, like as:
Example: Legacy BIOS found in older IBM PC-compatible systems
UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface)
Example: UEFI firmware found in modern computers
UEFI with CSM (Compatibility Support Module)
Example: UEFI with CSM option in some systems
BIOS/UEFI on Apple Macs
Example: UEFI-based firmware on Apple Mac computers
What are the 5 main functions of BIOS?
The main functions of BIOS are as follows:
- Power-On Self-Test (POST)
- Bootstrap Loader
- Hardware Initialization
- Data Flow Management
Each is explained in above in this article; you can check them.
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