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What is BIOS?


What is BIOS?

BIOS stands for Basic Input Output System. It is a very small piece of code contained on a chip on the system board. When you boot your computer, BIOS is the first software that runs. It identifies your computer's hardware, configures it, tests it, and connects it to the operating system for further instruction.


Uses of BIOS


The primary purpose of BIOS is to act as an intermediary between operating systems and the hardware on which they run. In theory, the BIOS is always the intermediary between the microprocessor and the I / O device to control the flow of information and data. In some cases, however, the BIOS can guarantee that data from devices such as B. Graphics cards that need a faster data flow to be effective flow directly into memory.


How does the BIOS work?


BIOS comes with computers as firmware on a chip on the motherboard. In contrast, an operating system such as Windows or iOS can be pre-installed by the manufacturer or vendor or it can be installed by the user. When users turn on their computers, the microprocessor transfers control to the BIOS program, which is always in the same place in the EPROM.


When the BIOS boots on a computer, it first determines if all necessary attachments are present and operational. Any piece of hardware that contains files that the computer needs to start up is called a boot device. After testing and ensuring that the boot devices are working, the BIOS loads the operating system, or important parts of it, from a hard drive or floppy drive (the boot device) into the computer's RAM.


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The 4 functions of BIOS


The BIOS identifies, configures, tests, and connects the computer hardware with the operating system immediately after the computer is turned on. This is known as the boot process.


Each of these tasks is performed by the four main BIOS functions:


Power On Self Test (POST): This tests the computer hardware before loading the operating system.


Bootstrap loader: This will locate the operating system.


Software/Driver: This will locate the software and drivers associated with the operating system after it runs.


Construction of Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductors (CMOS): This is a setup program that allows users to change hardware and system settings. CMOS is the name of non-volatile memory in BIOS.


Accessing the BIOS


With the BIOS, the operating system and its applications do not need to know precise details such as the computer hardware addresses of attached I / O devices. If the details of the device change, it is only necessary to change the BIOS program. Users can access and configure the BIOS through the BIOS setup utility.


Access to the BIOS setup utility varies slightly depending on the computer you are using. However, the following steps generally allow users to access and configure the BIOS through Setup Utility:


1. Restart or shut down the computer

2. When the computer turns on again, look for a message that says "Entering setup" or something similar. This message is accompanied by a key that the user must press to enter the system configuration. Here is a sample message that a user can see: "Press [key] to enter BIOS setup. Some commonly used keys as prompts are Del, Tab, Esc, and one of the function keys (F1F12).

3. When prompted, quickly press the indicated key. In the BIOS setup utility, users can change hardware settings, manage memory settings, change the boot sequence or boot device, and reset the BIOS password, among other things.


BIOS Security


BIOS security is an overlooked component of cyber security. In 2017, security group Cylance showed how modern BIOS vulnerabilities can trigger ransomware programs in a motherboard's UEFI and exploit other PC BIOS vulnerabilities.

Another unique exploit that altered the BIOS was Plundervolt. Plundervolt could be used to tamper with a computer's power supply while data is being written to memory and cause errors that lead to security breaches. Intel has released a BIOS patch to counter this.


BIOS Manufacturer


BIOS was originally owned by IBM. However, some companies such as Phoenix Technologies reverse-engineered the original IBM version to create their own. Therefore, Phoenix allowed other companies to create clones of IBM PCs and, more importantly, create non-IBM computers that use BIOS. Compaq was the company that did it.


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