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Chapter 37. Upgrading Your CPU and BIOS > Understanding What Your BIOS Is and W...

Understanding What Your BIOS Is and What It Does

The next time you turn on your PC, pay close attention to the information displayed onscreen. The BIOS, which stands for Basic Input Output System, is software, or more correctly called firmware. It enables your computer to boot and your processor to access the hardware devices such as the hard disk drive, video card, system clock, and other peripherals. The BIOS also controls the POST (the Power On Self-Test), the diagnostic and initialization program that runs every time you turn on your computer.

Firmware is essentially software that has been embedded into certain chips in your computer and that runs automatically without intervention on your part. The distinction is usually made between programs that you can easily change, erase, and delete—software—and programs that you cannot easily alter—firmware.



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