A+ Certification 220-801 02 Navigating BIOS on Your Computer

Robert Ramstetter By Robert Ramstetter, 17th Apr 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/qw-0ijog/
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Technology>Computer Hardware

This is part two of my series on studying for your A+ certification exam. This article helps to explain how to work with and manipulate the setting on your computer's BIOS.

All of your computer's basic hardware settings are stored in BIOS

When you power on your computer, there has to be a way for it to know what devices are present on the machine. It has to know, for example, if a DVD drive is present, or what type of keyboard the computer is using. There are also many other hardware configuration settings that it has to know, such as the CPU speed and the amount of RAM that is installed on the computer. These settings are all stored in the BIOS.

When we use the term “BIOS”, we are usually referring to two distinct parts. One is the actual BIOS, which is stored in the computer’s RAM. These settings cannot be changed by the user, but updates can be installed using software from the manufacturer. The other section is the CMOS settings. The CMOS settings contain much of the hardware configuration, such as hard drive settings, CD or DVD drives, and any other peripheral devices that are attached. It also dictates the boot order for the computer, the time and date, and a host of other settings.

Most computers have a CMOS chip on the motherboard that stores all of this information.

Typically, most computers have a CMOS chip on the motherboard that stores all of this information. It needs a constant source of power or it will lose all of the settings. To facilitate this, a small battery is included on the board. If you look at a motherboard, you can usually find it. It resembles an over-sized watch battery. If the battery ever fails, you will have to change or accept the settings every time your computer boots up.

Before you make any changes to your BIOS, particularly if you are unfamiliar with the different options that are available, you should create some type of documentation of the original settings. This could be either notes that you jot down on a piece of paper, or a screenshot that you take with your tablet or phone. This way, if your changes do not produce the desired effects, you can easily return your system to its original state. A best practice is to make changes one at a time. If the particular change that you just made did not work, revert back to its original state before making another change. Otherwise, it is easy to get yourself deep into changes that could be compounding your problem.

Carefully making changes to your system’s bios is a prudent first step in troubleshooting your basic computer hardware problems.


Certification, Compiuter, Comtia, Hardware

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author avatar Robert Ramstetter
Robert Ramstetter is a world traveler and writer of short stories, full length novels, and a vast array of technical articles.

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