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BIOS

The Basic Input Output System (BIOS) is the lowest level of software on your PC. It is also called the CMOS, after the kind of chip that stores the BIOS settings (Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor).

The BIOS is the first thing that starts when you turn on the computer. It consists of three main parts: the Power On Self Test (POST), the interrupt handlers, and the system options. The POST is run immediately when you switch on the computer, and it checks that the CPU has access to memory and that the video card, disk drive, and other components are installed correctly. It also installs some basic interrupt handlers, such as one for the keyboard. If the right key combination is pressed, the BIOS will run a program that allows you to change system options. This key combination is different for different BIOSes, such as Phoenix BIOS and AMI BIOS. On my laptop, I can get into Phoenix BIOS by pressing a special key. With AMI BIOS, hold down ....


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