Most computer users usually don’t care much about BIOS. However when problems occur, you need to tweak a setting and don’t know what to do. You will be wondering what is BIOS? Really need to know about it?
Using a computer without having to concern yourself with the BIOS is comparable to purchasing a TV without being able to access the options menu or setting up a new router without needing to navigate to the settings page. In most cases, you won’t have to think about it, but there are instances when you may need to utilize the BIOS, and having a basic understanding of it can prove to be extremely beneficial. Thankfully, the BIOS is not intricate at all; in fact, it’s quite comprehensible.
What is BIOS?
The BIOS, short for Basic Input/Output System, is the initial software that executes upon computer startup. It is stored in a dedicated section of the motherboard, enabling it to run prior to the detection of any other hardware components, such as the hard drive.
The BIOS is responsible for ensuring the functionality of all connected hardware components and can conduct diagnostic tests to assist in resolving any hardware issues. Once it confirms that there are no problems, it proceeds to load the operating system.
The majority of BIOSes are responsible for configuring the boot sequence of a computer. This sequence dictates the order in which devices will be checked by the BIOS during the search for the operating system. By modifying this sequence, it becomes possible to boot from devices other than a conventional hard drive, such as a USB boot.
A simple, albeit slightly inconvenient, method of accessing the BIOS is to restart the computer and press the designated BIOS hotkey specific to your system, which can be found in the motherboard manual.
If the BIOS access key is not found, you can try using commonly used keys like F1, F2, F10, and DEL. However, please note that the specific BIOS access hotkey can vary depending on the manufacturer and model of your computer. Therefore, you may need to try different keys until you find the correct one.
- BIOS – Basic Information for Beginners
- Instructions to enter BIOS on different computer lines
Difference between BIOS and UEFI
UEFI, short for Unified Extensible Firmware Interface, is a more recent form of firmware that is employed to replace BIOS. UEFI serves as a bridge between hardware components and the operating system. While UEFI is meant to supersede BIOS, the majority of UEFI configurations still offer support for BIOS Legacy mode.
The most significant distinction between UEFI and BIOS lies in their graphical interfaces. While BIOS relies on ASCII text screens for its operations, UEFI employs a more sophisticated, visually appealing, and user-friendly graphical interface.
In addition, the utilization of a keyboard and mouse is also possible with UEFI. Furthermore, UEFI offers several other functionalities such as advanced diagnostic and repair tools, detailed boot order setup, accelerated boot times, and improved boot security. The Secure Boot capability effectively safeguards the system against the execution of malicious code in the event of a UEFI infection.
In brief, UEFI can be seen as an enhanced and advanced version of the BIOS. Since Windows 8, computers running Windows operating systems have been equipped with UEFI instead of BIOS.
- Things to keep in mind when using UEFI instead of BIOS
5 tips when using BIOS
Find BIOS version
There are numerous methods to discover your BIOS version, but the easiest way is to open the Run window (by pressing Windows key + R) and enter “msinfo32”. This will open the System Information tool.
In the System Summary, scroll down and locate the BIOS Version/Date. Additionally, you can determine the SMBIOS version to determine if your computer is running in BIOS or UEFI mode. Knowing the BIOS version is crucial when updating it.
Occasionally, manufacturers may release updates for BIOS firmware to address software glitches, enhance performance, or introduce new functionalities. To determine if you require a BIOS upgrade, you should compare the current version of your BIOS with the most recent version provided by the manufacturer on their website. If necessary, proceed with the BIOS update.
Note: Whenever you update or flash the BIOS, it is important to strictly follow the manufacturer’s instructions without making any mistakes. This is crucial because any errors during the process can result in your system ceasing to function properly.
Hardware password setting
If security is of utmost importance to you, it is recommended to establish password protection for your BIOS. This precautionary measure will prevent unauthorized individuals from altering BIOS configurations without your consent. Furthermore, you can also set a password for your hard drive directly through the BIOS.
Note: Changing the hardware password should be done with caution as there is no simple method to recover, reset, or remove it. Ensure that you are completely certain this is what you desire before proceeding.
- Reset BIOS password or remove BIOS password with CMOS battery
Power management features
Most modern BIOSes incorporate power management features, typically achieved through CPU scaling. Each manufacturer may use different terms to refer to these features, such as “CPU Frequency Scaling” or “Demand-Based Scaling”.
No matter what it is called, this feature will adjust the CPU speed depending on the amount of processing required. For instance, when playing a game, the CPU will operate at 100% capacity. When pausing, the CPU will gradually reduce its speed. This is an effective method to conserve energy, particularly for laptops.
However, if you plan on overclocking your CPU, it is advisable to disregard this feature as it may produce unforeseen outcomes.
- CPU Overclocking Guide
Restore factory settings
In the event of the worst case scenario, you have the option to restore the default settings of the BIOS. This is commonly known as “Reset to Defaults” or “Factory Reset,” or a similar phrase depending on the terminology used by the computer manufacturer.
BIOS, which stands for Basic Input Output System, is an incredibly crucial tool. By mastering its usage and comprehending its capabilities, one can effectively optimize the performance of their computer and achieve more enhancements than originally anticipated.