The basic input/output system (BIOS) is a program utilized by a computer’s microprocessor to initiate the computer system once it is turned on. It plays a crucial role in managing the data transfer between the operating system (OS) and various peripherals attached to the computer, including the hard disk, video adapter, keyboard, mouse, and printer.
Functions of BIOS
After a computer is powered on, BIOS performs several critical functions that identify, configure, test, and establish connections with the computer hardware and the operating system (OS). This process is commonly referred to as the boot process.
BIOS accomplishes these tasks through its four primary functions, which include:
- Power-on self-test (POST): This function tests the computer’s hardware components before the OS is loaded.
- Bootstrap loader: The bootstrap loader locates and loads the OS into the computer’s memory.
- Software/drivers: Once the OS is running, this function locates and interfaces the software and drivers with the OS.
- Complementary metal-oxide semiconductor (CMOS) setup: CMOS setup is a configuration program that enables users to modify hardware and system settings. It is stored in BIOS’ non-volatile memory, also known as CMOS.