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BIOS and CMOS questions

Discussion in 'Software' started by mikehende, May 10, 2006.

  1. mikehende

    mikehende Kilobyte Poster

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    I have started the chapter on BIOS and CMOS so will ask all questions in this one thread. Frist question, concerns entering both of those setups, when I start the pc I see on the screen,

    F2 Setup
    F12 Boot Menu

    1] Is this F2 only to enter the BIOS setup?

    2] If the above is true, how do I enter the CMOS?
    I tried holding down the "Delete" button but this doesn't work.

    Dell Dimension 3000
     
  2. Mr.Cheeks

    Mr.Cheeks 1st ever Gold Member! Gold Member

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    1-correct - sometimes its different, but it will say on start up which button it is

    2-BIOS / CMOS - both are sometimes refered to the same thing;

    BIOS - Basic Input/Output System which tells your computer what to do

    CMOS - Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor? - actual physical part of your motherboard that keeps track of date and time - thats why u need a little battery, thin round one, and when u install clean windows, the date/time is always correct
     
  3. mikehende

    mikehende Kilobyte Poster

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    So how would you know or be able to quickly find out if a pc has a separate BIOS and CMOS?
     
  4. Mr.Cheeks

    Mr.Cheeks 1st ever Gold Member! Gold Member

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    when i say that, i found people, who dont know much bout compter say CMOS when they mean BIOS...

    BIOS - Software - f1 to enter BIOS
    CMOS - metal thing on your motherboard - hardware+software = firmware...

    a comp will always have BIOS and CMOS, as far as my understanding is... ...like i said i aint good at explanating things - sorry...

    to summarise, you can enter the BIOS generally by pressing F1 on startup. the BIOS is all software.

    the CMOS is a chip, which is embedded on your motherboard, and is both hardware + software. far as im aware you can only "flash" it and nothing else, even then you might risk killing your mobo...

    is this any help?
     
  5. mikehende

    mikehende Kilobyte Poster

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    From what I am understanding in the book, the BIOS and CMOS are supposed to be 2 separate utilities [not sure if this is the correct word] that you can access separately, will have to go do some more research and re-read this again but feel free to comment, anyone.
     
  6. noelg24

    noelg24 Terabyte Poster

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    CMOS has a CMOS jumper setting on the motherboard itself. This is for when say for example you have overclocked your CPU or the machine wont boot up. simply clear the CMOS (normally 3 pins and the jumper is on pins 2 and 3 and to short it u put it on pins 1 and 2 for a short time then place it back on pins 2 and 3) and then all should be ok...thats what the CMOS is for mainly...

    BIOS allows you to set up any hardware configs that you want. Such as setting the PC to quick boot, putting the order of bootable devices (normally set to 1. IDE 0 (HDD) 2. Floppy 3. CDROM) so you can change that (which is handy when install Windows OS on a new PC or reinstalling it). You can also set how much memory can used for graphics if you have a mobo with onboard graphics. There is a variety of things you can do on there...just make sure you know what you are doing...to be honest I do like playing around in the BIOS its like teaching a baby to walk for the first time (if that makes sense!!) :biggrin
     
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  7. mikehende

    mikehende Kilobyte Poster

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    I am still trying to find out if there are 2 separate screens [for use of a better word] which you can access to view things in the BIOS and the CMOS? You press F2 on my pc to enter the BIOS but is there a different screen for the CMOS? If so, how do I access it?
     
  8. hbroomhall

    hbroomhall Petabyte Poster Gold Member

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    I'll try and explain.

    The BIOS is the basic startup control program for the PC and is in ROM (or rather - flash-ROM). It needs to keep info about what settings have been made, such as boot-order, and to do that it uses a small block of non-volatile memory. This memory is often refered to as the CMOS, which is somewhat confusing.

    Quite often the 'CMOS' is combined with the real-time clock. On some boards this pair is joined by the battery that keeps the non-volatile going, on others the battery is separate.

    Edit: There is only one 'Setup' system on most motherboards. This is sometimes referred to by people under a multitude of names - i.e. people talk about "going into the BIOS". All this means is that they are entering the setup routines in the BIOS.

    Your motherboard happens to have two entries into the Setup - somewhat unusual.

    Does that make it clearer?

    Harry.
     
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  9. mikehende

    mikehende Kilobyte Poster

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    Let me see if this hard-head of mine got a grip on this,

    1] The BIOS and CMOS are 2 separate chips installed on the Mobo, is this correct?

    2] BIOS, CMOS, Setup, or the System Setup are all names used for the same screen so if someone says to me, Mike, enter the CMOS and make x, y and z changes, this means I now enter the BIOS screen via the F2 button, is this correct?
     
  10. hbroomhall

    hbroomhall Petabyte Poster Gold Member

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    1) Usualy yes.
    2) Messy - but yes. Which is why I prefer 'Setup' - but don't always remember.

    Harry.
     
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  11. mikehende

    mikehende Kilobyte Poster

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    I had thought that this issue was finished but I guess not. Tried contacting Dell [don't know why?] and as usual they can't help becuase my pc is out of warranty, someone should close down that greedy-money-grabbing-company, I curse the day my wife bought me this freakin' Dell pc, can't wait to go back to Compaq :x .

    Anyways, I go into the BIOS and can't find even a "mention" of the word CMOS anywhere so I have to think again that the CMOS is a separate screen for the BIOS?
     
  12. Boycie
    Honorary Member

    Boycie Senior Beer Tester

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    Mike,

    I would think of them under the same umbrella or you are going to get yourself in a muddle. As for the A+ is concerned as long as you know that all the BIOS settings are saved to CMOS (the chip) you will be fine :thumbleft
     
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  13. hbroomhall

    hbroomhall Petabyte Poster Gold Member

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    I thought you had grasped it in post #9. There are 'correct' names for these things, and sloppy common parlance for them.

    It is rare in a real Setup screen to see it called 'CMOS'. The standard and correct name is 'Setup' (or a variation of that).

    Far too many techs use 'BIOS', 'Setup' and 'CMOS' interchangeably. This is technicaly wrong, but firmly entrenched in the business.

    Harry.
     
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  14. mikehende

    mikehende Kilobyte Poster

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    On pages 174-175 it clearly shows "CMOS Setup Utility" and I have seen this in the past while fixing older pc's so now I go into my newer Dell pc's BIOS and there is no mention of it and this is what is irritating me so if I should wish to update the CMOS then how would I do this?
     
  15. Boycie
    Honorary Member

    Boycie Senior Beer Tester

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  16. hbroomhall

    hbroomhall Petabyte Poster Gold Member

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    With the setup in the BIOS. Don't assume that people are using the terms correctly all the time. As I said - people swap 'Setup', 'BIOS' and 'CMOS' about all the time.

    Harry.
     
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  17. mikehende

    mikehende Kilobyte Poster

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    Alright, tell me if I have a better handle on this, there are 2 chips on the Mobo, one is the the System or Flash ROM chip and the other is the CMOS chip, the ROM chip stores the BIOS programs and also the CMOS setup program, the CMOS chip stores the BIOS settings but there is just 1 screen which will show the settings for BOTH Bios and Cmos and is where you can change the settings for both and this one screen can be called BIOS, CMOS, SETUP and other names, is this all corrrect?
     
  18. mikehende

    mikehende Kilobyte Poster

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    wait a minute, I am only just now noticing something, Meyers isn't referring to XP here is he? Seems to me he is referring mainly to 98, at least in the Bios section of the book? If so, no wonder why I am getting so confused.
     
  19. nugget
    Honorary Member

    nugget Junior toady

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    Here's the wiki take on bios.

    Here is a simple answer to the difference between them.

    Basically you have 2 chips. BIOS and CMOS. The BIOS stores all the settings that you can't change and the CMOS stores the ones that you can.
     
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  20. mikehende

    mikehende Kilobyte Poster

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    ok, got it, thanks and that is a GREAT link for this, the one that tells the difference between the two, thanks!
     

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