The PC structure Bios

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The PC system structure is comprised of:
  • BIOS - Basic Input / Output System (includes recognizing basic hardware)
  • BOOT - Kicking the operation of the computer into action
  • Firmware, frontends, backends, Device-Drivers
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Operational structure
System BIOS
BIOS - The Basic Input / Output System is responsible for starting up the computer system when power is applied. The Bios is a permanent program contained inside the computer and has associated with it a battery driven memory called a cmos. If for any reason the cmos fails to get continuous power from the battery, it forgets the settings stored inside it and the system fails to start-up. The start-up process is called a boot after an old term "bootstrap loader" from back in days when an operator loaded programs manually into the computer then held onto his bootstraps (shoelaces) and prayed the system would start.
To access the cmos and set the settings, you would normally press the DEL key or CTRL+ESC or CTRL+ENTER (depending on the manufacture). The settings are categorized into 4 or more different grouping. The main group is used for setting the time, date, Harddrive defines, video adapter type, and what to do if there is a boot error. The other 3 groups of settings are advanced, peripheral, and I/O. Advanced settings cover such things as enabling/disabling onboard devices (hdd, fdd, pio, sio, usb, audio, video, modem and nic), defining pnp-os's , buss speeds, cpu voltage/timing/temp, shutdown and power management, and memory size/ speed/ refreshing/ timing. The peripherals group governs the control of legacy vs pnp for card slots and irq mapping. The I/O group handles how peripherals are mapped to the irq, dma, and addresses.
Most of the newer motherboards can automatically recognize harddrives and their types. If yours doesn't recognize your Harddrive, look at the drive and read off the sectors/track, tracks per disks, # of heads, landing zone, write pre-compensation and enter these figures as type 47 (user defined) in one of the four possible harddrive locations shown. The locations are primary_0 Slave_0 Primary_1 and slave_1. If you have a cdrom, zipdrive or cd r/w drive these drive also are assigned to one of the four locations even though the bios doesn't normally show them.

BIOS - Main group settings.

1) Press DEL key as system is starting to bring up Bios set-up screen.
2) Select Main Settings
3) Make sure your system date and time are correct (if wrong may mean battery failure, weak battery, motherboard/clock failure, tampering by a virus, or changed by user or program. Change the setting as necessary. Many programs use the system date & time and if it is not correct you may experience programs that fail to run correctly and will have improper date / time stamps on your stored files.
4) Under normal circumstances Hard drives are auto detected and set correctly. If yours is not you can select the correct one(s) from the dropdown type lists, manually define the type as type 47 and provide details as required, or in some Bios versions you can use a "detect Harddisk" option. WARNING: your Harddisk used to boot your computer must be installed as MASTER on IDE-0 cable (some newer bios's allow IDE-1). Serial ATA or SATA drives are now more prevalent in newer systems. These newer drives also follow the Master/Slave Pri/Sec
     thinking described below for IDE-x but you just substitute SATA-0 for IDE-0 etc.

Typical Harddisk connections

Cable Drive Set as (jumper) Bios drive define    
IDE-0 Master PRI-1    
  Slave SEC-1    
IDE-1 Master PRI-2    
  Slave SEC-2    

5) Once the Harddisks are established you need to define the two floppy drive settings. The first is for the a: drive and can be one of :   (none,3.5x750,3.5x1.4,5.25x360,5.25x1.2) 5.25" drives are rare now.
    The disks are next to impossible to find, and unless needed for retrieving old information you probably won't have these. So for most people the choice of none or 3.5x1.4 is correct. Ditto for the second floppy drive. Most systems only have 1 floppy drive if they have one at all.

    Floppy cables come as:
           single header to single header
           single to single + Cardedge
           single to 2xsingle + 2xcardedge
    3.5" drives use the single header, 5.25" drives use the Cardedge and the motherboard uses the single style of header. If you put the connectors on the wrong way the drive light will stay lit. The drive has to be set to the correct type in the bios for it to work and must also be connected correctly. The drives may have a master/slave/ or select jumper on them.

6) The display settings - Ideally the type set for the display settings should be ega/vga since these are the type prevalent on the market. You would only use 40col 80col B&W or CGA if your using these old types which by the way work really bad if at all on new systems.