So, you've heard a lot about the term “BIOS”, but your thinking “What the hell does that mean? Well, let me tell you.
First of all, BIOS stands for “Basic Input/Output System. And this is the “bones”, if you like, of your system.
Note: Improper use of the CMOS/BIOS settings can cause your machine to stop working. If you are unsure it is advisable to get professional help before you make any changes to the BIOS.
Every computer with a motherboard includes a special chip referred to as the BIOS or ROM BIOS (Read Only Memory Basic Input Output System). The BIOS includes instructions on how to load basic computer hardware. The BIOS also includes a test referred to as a POST (Power On Self Test) which will ensure that the computer meets requirements to boot up properly. If the computer does not pass the POST you will receive a combination of beeps indicating what is malfunctioning within the computer.
The BIOS usually has 4 main functions: POST - Test computer hardware insuring hardware is properly functioning before starting process of loading Operating System.
Bootstrap Loader - Process of locating the operating system. If capable Operating system located BIOS will pass the control to it. BIOS - Software / Drivers which interfaces between the operating system and your hardware. When running DOS or Windows you are using complete BIOS support.
CMOS Setup - Configuration program. Which allows you to configure hardware settings including system settings such as computer passwords, time, and date.
Most BIOS's are specifically designed for a motherboard and its chipset. You can upgrade your BIOS for a newer version but only with a bios specifically designed for your motherboard manufacturer & chipset.
When booting the computer I get a series of beeps, what are they? This could be one of the following reasons why these beeps happen. 1. The Keyboard has a stuck key 2. The Computer has a password 3. System Intruder Alarm 4. The Computer does not pass POST
The keyboard has a stuck key then try the following:
Turn off the computer and temporarily disconnect the computer keyboard and turn on the computer. If the beeping does not occur when the computer keyboard is disconnected it is likely that a key is stuck or that the keyboard is bad. Slapping the back of a keyboard to dislodge any dust dirt or hair may help ensure there are no stuck keys on the keyboard.
Some computers have the capability of having a BIOS keyboard password. This password will sometimes cause the computer to beep and the keyboard not to work. To determine if this is the case look at the keyboard LEDs (Num Lock / Caps Lock / Scroll Lock) if these are flashing continuously the computer has a password. To clear a password known or unknown then try this help section on clearing passwords.
A beeping or buzzing tone can also be caused by the system intruder alarm when the system case is removed. Verify that the beeping or buzzing noise does not also occur when the computer is off. If this is the case attempt to remove and cover of the case and then put the case back on.
The Computer does not pass POST, which is the most likely possibility then try the following:
When the computer fails this test it will sound a 'Beep Code' indicating what caused it to not pass the POST. Try the following list for details.
What is the BIOS Agent ? The BIOS Agent is a simple, easy to use program that will automatically identify your computers BIOS information. You'll quickly identify the BIOS Date, BIOS Type, BIOS ID String, Motherboard OEM data, Motherboard Chipset and Super I/O data. This information is very helpful in the event you need or want to upgrade the BIOS on your PC.
1 short beep - DRAM refresh failure 2 short beeps - Parity circuit failure 3 short beeps - Base 64K RAM failure 4 short beeps - System timer failure 5 short beeps - Process failure 6 short beeps - Keyboard controller Gate A20 error 7 short beeps - Virtual mode exception error 8 short beeps - Display memory Read/Write test failure 9 short beeps - ROM BIOS checksum failure 10 short beeps - CMOS shutdown Read/Write error 11 short beeps - Cache Memory error 1 long, 3 short beeps - Conventional/Extended memory failure 1 long, 8 short beeps - Display/Retrace test failed
1 long, 2 short beeps - Indicates a video error has occurred and the BIOS cannot initialize the video screen to display any additional information Any other beep(s) RAM problem.
Because of the wide variety of different computer manufacturers with this BIOS the beep codes may vary.