Term:BIOS [Basic Input/Output System]

BIOS is an acronym for Basic Input/Output System. A BIOS is PC software that:

  • Performs the Power On Self Test (POST)
  • Loads the operating system from bootable media, such as the installed hard drive, an inserted bootable CD or DVD, or a bootable USB device
  • Acts as a standard interface layer between operating systems and the installed hardware

In addition, a BIOS typically has a user interface of some sort that is accessible (only) at power-on; this allows many of the configuration options for the computer to be selected before any operating system is loaded.

The BIOS is typically stored in re-programmable ROM, allowing it to be updated using special reprogramming or “flashing” software (this is unrelated to so-called “flash memory” as used in USB memory sticks and other devices).

BIOS (Wikipedia)

A pair of AMD BIOS chips for a Dell 310 computer from the 1980s

In computing, BIOS (/ˈbɒs, -s/, BY-oss, -⁠ohss; an acronym for Basic Input/Output System and also known as the System BIOS, ROM BIOS, BIOS ROM or PC BIOS) is firmware used to perform hardware initialization during the booting process (power-on startup), and to provide runtime services for operating systems and programs. The BIOS firmware comes pre-installed on a personal computer's system board, and it is the first software to run when powered on. The name originates from the Basic Input/Output System used in the CP/M operating system in 1975. The BIOS originally proprietary to the IBM PC has been reverse engineered by some companies (such as Phoenix Technologies) looking to create compatible systems. The interface of that original system serves as a de facto standard.

The BIOS in modern PCs initializes and tests the system hardware components, and loads a boot loader from a mass storage device which then initializes an operating system. In the era of DOS, the BIOS provided BIOS interrupt calls for the keyboard, display, storage, and other input/output (I/O) devices that standardized an interface to application programs and the operating system. More recent operating systems do not use the BIOS interrupt calls after startup.

Most BIOS implementations are specifically designed to work with a particular computer or motherboard model, by interfacing with various devices especially system chipset. Originally, BIOS firmware was stored in a ROM chip on the PC motherboard. In modern computer systems, the BIOS contents are stored on flash memory so it can be rewritten without removing the chip from the motherboard. This allows easy, end-user updates to the BIOS firmware so new features can be added or bugs can be fixed, but it also creates a possibility for the computer to become infected with BIOS rootkits. Furthermore, a BIOS upgrade that fails may brick the motherboard.

Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) is a successor to the legacy PC BIOS, aiming to address its technical limitations.

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