BIOS stands for Basic Input Output System.
All computer hardware has to work with
software through an interface. The BIOS gives the computer a little built-in
starter kit to run the rest of software from floppy disks (FDD) and hard disks (HDD).
The BIOS is responsible for booting the computer by providing a basic set of
instructions. It performs all the tasks that need to be done at start-up time:
POST (Power-On Self Test, booting an operating system from FDD or HDD).
Furthermore, it provides an interface to the underlying hardware for the
operating system in the form of a library of interrupt handlers. For instance,
each time a key is pressed, the CPU (Central Processing Unit) perform an
interrupt to read that key. This is similar for other input/output devices
(Serial and parallel ports, video cards, sound cards, hard disk controllers,
etc...). Some older PC's cannot co-operate with all the modern hardware because
their BIOS doesn't support that hardware. The operating system cannot call a
BIOS routine to use it; this problem can be solved by replacing your BIOS with
an newer one, that does support your new hardware, or by installing a device
driver for the hardware.
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