How to configure and apply BIOS settings

BIOS stand for Basic Input/output System which is the first software that is loaded by the PC and prepares the PC for loading the Operating System. It finds all the hardware components of the PC and it becomes possible for the PC to load the OS.

Updating BIOS is a critical work, since it requires lots of careful implementation of steps. Before installing the upgrades for BIOS, one must first understand that when BIOS is being updates, the computer has to keep running. If due to any technical reason like voltage variation, load management or the low battery, the computer shuts down while the BIOS is being updated, the computer will shut down immediately and it won't be able to boot again. So while the update is being installed, one must check that laptop is not being run only at the battery, but it's connected at the main power as well. So if the light blacks out, the battery power can back up the machine. Or if it is a computer, one must make sure that a UPS is connected to the computer so in case of black out, the UPS's battery can be consumed and machine doesn't shut down.

The first thing is, to check the current version of BIOS. The simplest way to find so is by typing msinfo32 in the search bar of windows or the run box. By clicking at the system summary, the BIOS version would be shown and it would be under processor speed. Here the user can note the BIOS version. After doing that, second step is to check for the BIOS updates at the manufacturer's website. Mostly manufacturers create and store BIOS updates according to the models of mother board. So one should go to the website and search for the update by simply adding the mother board's model. If the user is unable to recall the mode, he can simply know it by downloading CPU-Z. After the BIOS updates are found, one should check the read me files. Because before installing updates, user might have to install some specific patches or might have to update some drivers. This is due to the reason that many BIOS upgrade can require newer versions of drivers or their patches. The BIOS's update's read me file would normally contain some list of features and fixed which are to support the hardware. After it's done, now the time comes to update the BIOS. Normally, a PC would have a simple procedure to download and install the BIOS updates. It can be as simple as just clicking at the downloadable file from the website of PC manufacturer and after it's done, quitting all programs and running the .exe file. The .exe file will handle the patch itself, and will get the PC restarted. Some old PC's might require the users to make a bootable CD or USB for the BIOS update. One should install an app for making bootable image on USB or a CD. The example of such application is ISO Power. Creating a USB bootable image is easy. One just has to install that app, and click at tools and then create a Bootable USB image. And click okay after selecting the user's USB. Also some systems might require the user to first copy a few files to PC and then open them up during the installation.

The Components of BIOS:

The BIOS have some components too, which are as follows;

RAM: RAM is not same as the hard disk storage or another storage device is. RAM basically is computer's memory and it is very vital for computers since it can perform those calculations only if it has that data in the memory. When we discuss about CPU's and processor, it mostly pints towards static RAM. It is not the memory stick RAM that we normally put into our computer, but it's a very specialized type of memory that is pretty fast. It is so amazingly fast that one would like to have the same calculation process into the processor. But problem is that this amazingly fast memory is pretty expensive so we normally see an SDRAM in computers. The new generations of SDRAM are DDR2 and DDR3. DDR is twice as faster as SDRAM and DDR3 is almost four times faster than the basic SDRAM.

Hard Drive: Hard drive is physically heavier and is pretty hard too. Its back end has a port for the cables which can be connected to mother board. Whenever a hard dish is purchased, the cable is normally included with it.

Optical Drive: Examples of optical drives are CD and DVD. Most of these optic drives have ability to play or record the data into various formats. Some popular formats include CD-R, DCD-R, DVD, CD Rom etc. The maximum space availability for a CD is now said to be 1TB.

CPU: All the CPU's are rated according to the speed they have. These days, the most modern processors contain multiple number is cores inside the chip. The old computers (atom) used to have only one chip inside so they weren't fast enough, now computers are available with multiple processors like core i3, i5 and i7. More the core a computer has more would be the chips inside and hence the processor will work lot faster.

How to configure BIOS settings?

The BIOS settings can be considered using the following ways;

Boot Sequence: In every computer, a default boot sequence is set up already by all the manufacturers. But if someone wants to change the order in which the booting takes place, one can change the boot sequence himself as well. He can modify the list according to the priorities he needs them to be booted from. This list can be modified by simply going into the PC's BIOS menu and changing the order. By default, a computer naturally looks for the removable devices, like the CD, DVD. If there some operating system in those removable devices, computer will load it although it's just a setup. But if there is nothing there, computer will simple look into the hard disk and if the operating system is found there, computer will load it. So, the user can set the arrangements and set up the priority as he feels is better for him and can keep changing it time by time.

Enabling and disabling devices: If the devices user wants to enable or disable are plug and play types, he can do some simple steps. For enabling the device, one can click at Start, and then at My Computer, click at Manage. The Computer Management window will open up. There the device manager can be found.
Once device manager is found, one can click at any device (which is being shown enabled) and can right click on it and can disable the device. Same thing is done for the devices that are disabled. User can just right click at disabled devices and can enable them, manually.

Date/time: Setting up date and time has two methods. While setting up windows, one should set up the date and time too according to the time zone they are living in. Also, one can simply adjust the time by simply clicking at the task bar. The time is shown at the right lower side of the task bar, by clicking on it, one should click at adjust time and hence the time problem can be fixed.

Clock speeds: For over clocking, one can use BIOS settings. But before that, one should have some gadgets. Firs one is an unlocked processor, Intel's K series processors are specially designed for this. Second, an over clocking friendly mother board. Third, software for monitoring the speed of clock, CPU-Z will do the trick. Fourth one is the software for the stress test. Software's like AIDA64 and LinX will serve well for this purpose. After ensuring presence of all these, one should do the following steps;

  1. Restart the computer and enter BIOS by pressing whatever key the computer askes for. Locate the 'Load Optimized Defaults' or something naming similar, and select it to restore the default settings. Now press save changes and exit. When the computer is done rebooting, start up the Stress testing software, I.e. AIDA64 and chose Stability System test. Run the test and leave computer for 2-3 hours. When test is done, close the window and reboot system again.

  2. Enter the BIOS again and locate the overclocking settings/ CPU Tweaker. Look for 'CPU Ratio", it would probably be Auto, change it to the step above the default. I.e. CPUs with 3.4 GHz clock speed will show 34, so set it to 35. After this, save settings and restart again.

  3. Check CPU-Z to see if the settings are applied already. Check for temperature and start the stress test again. The test will have one of three results, it will be successful with safe temperature, blue screen will appear or the temperature will shoot up unsafe. If test was successful, again increase the multiplayer in BIOS. If blue screen came, means voltage isn't high enough and set more voltage in BIOS. And repeat the stress test till it's successful. If temperature reached unsafe level, means the computer needs some additional cooling fans.

Virtualization support: To enable the virtualization, one can proceed to BIOS. Locate for the Advanced Tab and under CPU configuration, look for Virtualization technology. This option is usually disabled by default and one can enable it from there.

BIOS security (passwords, drive encryption, lo-jack, TPM): BIOS security can be set in the following manners;

  1. Passwords: Enter BIOS configuration by pressing the key computer asks for. Look for security Tab and by pressing enter, one can find three types of password which are set here. There would be superior password (To use BIOS with the password in future), User Password (To get security from unauthorized access) and the Hard Disk password (For security of HDD).
  2. One can use drive encryption. For doing that, simple go to control panel, under System and Security, slick at Bit Locker for Encryption. Here one can see the drives and it would be mentioned "Turn on Bit locker Drive Encryption" click on that to turn it on.
  3. Lojack, is software which acts like a tracker. One can download this software from the website and install it on the computer. In case the computer is stolen, the company can track the computer's location even if the hard disk has been wiped clean.
  4. The TPM chip has to be enabled in BIOS to get utilized. One should get to the BIOS, Under Security or TPM security; they will find the option to enable to disable the TPM. But if the TPM is already enabled and active, it's better to not to clear it unless the data stored in it is unwanted. Restart the computer saving the changes.

How to Use In Built Diagnostics?

There are many built- in diagnostics in the computer to help determine the problems. The first built in diagnose system is, the trouble shooting system. For example, whenever a device is connected to the computer and the computer is unable to detect, it shows message to trouble shoot the problem. The user can simply click it, they computer runs the command and then the possible ways to get rid of this are presented by computer. User can chose any of them to get their device detected. Also, some computer manufacturers also offer a diagnose test. Like Dell has. If someone owns a dell system, they can simply go to manufacturer's website and can run for the test, this way they can understand what's wrong with their computer and can make some corrections for that. The most easiest and recommended way is, use the windows built in system to detect the errors. If user suspects that there is some problem in memory, his can simply run the Windows Memory Diagnostics in a shirt time. User should first of all, type mdshed.exe in the run or search box and should press enter. Then should chose to restart computer immediately or can schedule the tool to restart the computer later. Then windows memory diagnosis works automatically after computers get a restart and it also performs a standard memory test. Someone can add up some more tests too by simply adding or cutting out some tests by pressing F1 and then using up and down keys. After the user has chosen the test mix, he can use F10 key to simply apply the settings and can resume the testing. The good thing about this test is that if due to any reason the test is cancelled or interrupted, the computer will schedule that test for the next time it gets started.

How to Monitor the BIOS?

Monitoring a system's temperature can be done by several ways. There are some software's available for that, like Speed Fan, which controls the speed and monitors and checks if the system is being over heated. Also by using the BIOS one can monitor the temperature. One can simply enter BIOS and go to power management. There one can check for the temperature. The temperature limit varies with every CPU but for namely the temperature should be less than 75C. Also, from BIOS one can know the heating level of other devices too like graphic card and mother board temperature etc. If computer is overheating one must do following;

  1. System will heat up if the fan vents are clocked by dust, so one should clean them.
  2. Applying a new thermal paste can help reducing the heating problem since with time, old thermal paste gets degraded.
  3. One can also use an external fan to keep the system cool.

The fan speed can be controlled by several ways. The first and easiest way is to download software which can control the Fan speed. Software's like Speed Fan doesn't only monitors, but also puts fan on auto-pilot to adjust the speed itself. One can simply go to BIOS and look for the performance, overclocking or maintenance. There one can open and search for the option "fan control". Here someone can adjust the speed according to one's needs. If there is mentioned "disabled" in front of this option, enable it to further open a list of individual settings.

Intrusion detection systems are of two types, Network Intrusion detection (NID) and Host Introduction detection system (HID). NID is normally placed at the places where the network traffic passes more frequently. The points should be from where the traffic can be monitored. Like a NID can be placed near firewall, so if some traffic tries to breach the wall, it can be detected and the notification can be sent to the administration. HID runs on the all individual devices and hosts on a certain network and whenever there is some suspicious activity seen, the report/ notification is sending to the administration so that appropriate action can be taken place. It works on simple matching rule. It takes a snapshot of the device before and matches it with latest one to identify the activity.

Monitoring Voltage is very important too, since the purpose of a power supply is to convert the Alternate Current (AC) to the direct current (DC) which helps keeping your computer on and alive. THz voltage required by each computer can be different. Every laptop and computer has specific voltage cable. For laptops, it must be noticed that high voltage cable can cause the system to burn by overflow of current. There are three typical voltage suppliers which are of 3.3,5 and 12 volts.

The clock is simply a microchip and in this chip, there is a small crystal which keeps vibrating at some specific frequency, every time it's connected to electricity. The clock speed can be increased by over clocking, which can be done both by usage of software's or going g to BIOS and adjusting the speed manually.

There is a system clock too, which helps keeping the clock of the system running perfectly. It can be adjusted when the windows are being installed, a command promotes up asking user to select the time zone user is living in. There user can chose correct time zone and the format in which time user wants to see, can be adjusted through the task bar. One can simply adjust the clock time by seeing the task bar and looking for the time displayed. When the time is clicked, the new windows are opened where one can easily select and adjust the time.

The data is travelled through bus, so if someone wants to have a faster computer, one should use bus with high data travelling speed. The speed of a bus is measured in Mega Hertz. (MHz). A MHz is the rate at which the data can travel through the bus. There are any buses which are found on the CPU. These buses contain the Front Side Bus, Back Side Bus, AGP Bus, Memory Bus, PCI bus ext.

Although there is an understood fact that faster the bus seed is, faster will be the computer but this fact shouldn't be kept aside that no matter how fast a bus is, if the processor or chipset is slow, even the fastest bus cannot make a computer fast.


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