Unformatted text preview: All-In-One / CompTIA Network+ All-in-One Exam Guide / Meyers & Jernigan / 170133-8 / Chapter 7 C HAPTER BIOS and CMOS 7 In this chapter, you will learn how to
• Explain the function of BIOS
• Distinguish among various CMOS setup utility options
• Describe option ROM and device drivers
• Troubleshoot the power-on self test (POST)
• Maintain BIOS and CMOS properly In Chapter 5, “Microprocessors,” you saw how the address bus and external data bus
connect RAM to the CPU via the memory controller chip (MCC) to run programs and
transfer data. Assuming you apply power in the right places, you don’t need anything
else to make a simple computer. The only problem with such a simple computer is that
it would bore you to death—there’s no way to do anything with it! A PC needs devices
such as keyboards and mice to provide input, and output devices such as monitors
and sound cards to communicate the current state of the running programs to you.
A computer also needs permanent storage devices, such as hard drives and optical
drives, to store programs and data when you turn off the computer. Historical/Conceptual
We Need to Talk
Simply placing a number of components into a computer is useless if the CPU can’t
communicate with them. Getting the CPU to communicate with a device starts with
some kind of interconnectiona communication bus that enables the CPU to send
commands to and from devices. To make this connection, let’s promote the MCC, giving it extra firepower to act not only as the interconnection between the CPU and
RAM, but also the interconnection between the CPU and the other devices on the PC.
The MCC isn’t just the memory controller anymore, so let’s now call it the Northbridge
because it acts as the primary bridge between the CPU and the rest of the computer
(Figure 7-1). 255 ch07.indd 255 12/9/09 1:57:38 PM All-In-One / CompTIA Network+ All-in-One Exam Guide / Meyers & Jernigan / 170133-8 / Chapter 7 CompTIA A+Certification All-in-One Exam Guide 256 Figure 7-1 Meet the Northbridge Your PC is full of devices, so the PC industry decided to delegate some of the interconnectivity work to a second chip called the Southbridge. The Northbridge only deals with
high-speed interfaces such as the connection to your video card and RAM. The Southbridge works mainly with lower-speed devices, such as the USB controller and hard
drive controllers. Chip makers design matched sets of particular models of Northbridge
and Southbridge to work together. You don’t buy a Northbridge from one company and
a Southbridge from anotherthey’re sold as a set. We call this set of Northbridge and
Southbridge the chipset.
NOTE Chipset makers rarely use the terms “Northbridge” and “Southbridge”
anymore, but because most modern chipsets consist of only two or three
chips with basically the same functions, techs continue to use the terms.
The chipset extends the data bus to every device on the PC. The CPU uses the data bus
to move data to and from all of the devices of the PC. Data constantly flows on the external data bus among the CPU, chipset, RAM, and other devices on the PC (Figure 7-2).
The first use for the address bus, as you know, is for the CPU to tell the chipset to
send or store data in memory and to tell the chipset which section of memory to access
or use. Just as with the external data bus, the chipset extends the address bus to all of
the devices (Figure 7-3). That way the CPU can use the address bus to send commands ch07.indd 256 12/9/09 1:57:39 PM All-In-One / CompTIA Network+ All-in-One Exam Guide / Meyers & Jernigan / 170133-8 / Chapter 7
All-In-One Chapter 7: BIOS and CMOS 257 Figure 7-2 The chipset extending the data bus to devices, just as it sends commands to the chipset. You’ll see this in action a lot more
in Chapter 8, “Expansion Bus,” but for now just go with the concept.
It’s not too hard to swallow the concept that the CPU uses the address bus to talk
to the devices, but how does it know what to say to them? How does it know all of the Figure 7-3 Every device in your computer connects to the address bus. ch07.indd 257 12/9/09 1:57:42 PM All-In-One / CompTIA Network+ All-in-One Exam Guide / Meyers & Jernigan / 170133-8 / Chapter 7 CompTIA A+Certification All-in-One Exam Guide 258 patterns of ones and zeroes to place on the address bus to tell the hard drive it needs
to send a file? Let’s look at the interaction between the keyboard and CPU for insight
into this process. Talking to the Keyboard
The keyboard provides a great example of how the buses and support programming
help the CPU get the job done. In early computers, the keyboard connected to the external data bus via a special chip known as the keyboard controller. Don’t bother looking
for this chip on your motherboard—the Southbridge now handles keyboard controller
functions. The way the keyboard controller—or technically, the keyboard controller
circuitry—works with the CPU, however, has changed only a small amount in the past
20+ years, making it a perfect tool to illustrate how the CPU talks to a device.
NOTE Techs commonly talk about various functions of the chipset as if those
functions were still handled by discrete chips. So you’ll hear about memory
controllers, keyboard controllers, mouse controllers, USB controllers, and so
on, even though they’re all just circuits on the Northbridge or Southbridge chips.
The keyboard controller was one of the last single-function chips to be absorbed into
the chipset. For many years—in fact, well into the Pentium III/Early Athlon era—most
motherboards had separate keyboard controller chips. Figure 7-4 shows a typical keyboard controller from those days. Electronically, it looked like Figure 7-5.
NOTE Even though the model numbers changed over the years, you’ll still
hear techs refer to the keyboard controller as the 8042, after the original
keyboard controller chip. Figure 7-4
A keyboard chip
on a Pentium
motherboard Every time you press a key on your keyboard, a scanning chip in the keyboard
notices which key you pressed. Then the scanner sends a coded pattern of ones and ch07.indd 258 12/9/09 1:57:43 PM All-In-One / CompTIA Network+ All-in-One Exam Guide / Meyers & Jernigan / 170133-8 / Chapter 7
All-In-One Chapter 7: BIOS and CMOS 259 Figure 7-5 Electronic view of the keyboard controller zeroes—called the scan code—to the keyboard controller. Every key on your keyboard
has a unique scan code. The keyboard controller stores the scan code in its own register.
Does it surprise you that the lowly keyboard controller has a register similar to a CPU?
Lots of chips have registers—not just CPUs (Figure 7-6)! I’ve got the scan
code for the letter
J in my register.
Aren’t I special? Figure 7-6 Scan code stored in keyboard controller’s register ch07.indd 259 12/9/09 1:57:47 PM All-In-One / CompTIA Network+ All-in-One Exam Guide / Meyers & Jernigan / 170133-8 / Chapter 7 CompTIA A+Certification All-in-One Exam Guide 260 How does the CPU get the scan code out of the keyboard controller (see Figure 7-7)?
While we’re at it, how does the CPU tell the keyboard to change the typematic buffer
rate (when you hold down a key and the letter repeats) or to turn the number lock LED
on and off, to mention just a few other jobs the keyboard needs to do for the system?
The point is that the keyboard controller must be able to respond to multiple commands, not just one. Figure 7-7 The CPU ponders its dilemma… The keyboard controller accepts commands exactly as you saw the CPU accept commands in Chapter 5 “Microprocessors.” Remember when you added 2 to 3 with the 8088?
You had to use specific commands from the 8088’s codebook to tell the CPU to do the
addition and then place the answer on the external data bus. The keyboard controller has
its own codebook—much simpler than any CPU’s codebook, but conceptually the same.
If the CPU wants to know what key was last pressed on the keyboard, the CPU needs to
know the command (or series of commands) that orders the keyboard controller to put
the scan code of the letter on the external data bus so the CPU can read it. Essentials
The CPU can’t magically or otherwise automatically know how to talk with any device; it needs some sort of support programming loaded into memory that teaches it
about a particular device. This programming is called basic input/output services (BIOS).
The programs dedicated to enabling the CPU to communicate with devices are called ch07.indd 260 12/9/09 1:57:50 PM All-In-One / CompTIA Network+ All-in-One Exam Guide / Meyers & Jernigan / 170133-8 / Chapter 7
All-In-One Chapter 7: BIOS and CMOS 261 services (or device drivers, as you’ll see later in the chapter). This goes well beyond the
keyboard, by the way. In fact, every device on the computer needs BIOS! But let’s continue with the keyboard for now. Bringing BIOS to the PC
A talented programmer could write BIOS for a keyboard if the programmer knew the
keyboard’s codebook; keyboards are pretty simple devices. This begs the question:
where would this support programming be stored? Well, programming could be incorporated into the operating system. Storing programming to talk to the hardware of
your PC in the operating system is greatall operating systems have built-in code that
knows how to talk to your keyboard, your mouse, and just about every piece of hardware you may put into your PC.
That’s fine once the operating system’s up and running, but what about a brand
new stack of parts you’re about to assemble into a new PC? When a new system’s being
built, it has no operating system. The CPU must have access to BIOS for the most important hardware on your PC: not only the keyboard, but also the monitor, hard drives,
optical-media drives, USB ports, and RAM. This code can’t be stored on a hard drive
or CD-ROM disc—these important devices need to be ready at any time the CPU calls
them, even before installing a mass storage device or an operating system.
The perfect place to store the support programming is on the motherboard. That
settles one issue, but another looms: What storage medium should the motherboard
use? DRAM won’t work, because all of the data would be erased every time the computer was turned off. You need some type of permanent program storage device that
does not depend on other peripherals to work. And you need that storage device to sit
on the motherboard. ROM
Motherboards store the keyboard controller support programming, among other programs, on a special type of device called a read-only memory (ROM) chip. A ROM chip
stores programs, called services, exactly like RAM: that is, like an 8-bit-wide spreadsheet.
But ROM differs from RAM in two important ways. First, ROM chips are nonvolatile,
meaning that the information stored on ROM isn’t erased when the computer is turned
off. Second, traditional ROM chips are read-only, meaning that once you store a program on one, you can’t change it. Modern motherboards use a type of ROM called flash
ROM that differs from traditional ROM in that you can update and change the contents
through a very specific process called “flashing the ROM,” covered later in this chapter.
Figure 7-8 shows a typical flash ROM chip on a motherboard. When the CPU wants
to talk to the keyboard controller, it goes to the flash ROM chip to access the proper
Every motherboard has a flash ROM, called the system ROM chip because it contains
code that enables your CPU to talk to the basic hardware of your PC (Figure 7-9). As
alluded to earlier, the system ROM holds BIOS for more than just the keyboard controller. It also stores programs for communicating with the floppy drives, hard drives, CD
and DVD drives, video, USB ports, and other basic devices on your motherboard. ch07.indd 261 12/9/09 1:57:52 PM All-In-One / CompTIA Network+ All-in-One Exam Guide / Meyers & Jernigan / 170133-8 / Chapter 7 CompTIA A+Certification All-in-One Exam Guide 262 Figure 7-8
Typical flash ROM Figure 7-9 Function of the flash ROM chip To talk to all of that hardware requires hundreds of little services (2 to 30 lines of
code each). These hundreds of little programs stored on the system ROM chip on the
motherboard are called, collectively, the system BIOS (see Figure 7-10). Techs call programs stored on ROM chips of any sort firmware. ch07.indd 262 12/9/09 1:57:53 PM All-In-One / CompTIA Network+ All-in-One Exam Guide / Meyers & Jernigan / 170133-8 / Chapter 7
All-In-One Chapter 7: BIOS and CMOS 263 What button was
the keyboard? Figure 7-10 CPU running BIOS service EXAM TIP Programs stored on ROM chips—flash or any other kind of ROM
chip—are known collectively as firmware, as opposed to programs stored on
erasable media that are collectively called software.
The system ROM chips used on modern PCs store as much as 2 MB of programs,
although only 65,536 bytes are used to store the system BIOS. This allows for backward
compatibility with earlier systems. The rest of the ROM space is put to good use doing
other jobs. System BIOS Support
Every system BIOS has two types of hardware to support. First, the system BIOS supports all of the hardware that never changes, such as the keyboard. (You can change your
keyboard, but you can’t change the keyboard controller built into the Southbridge.)
Another example of hardware that never changes is the PC speaker (the tiny one that
beeps at you, not the ones that play music). The system ROM chip stores the BIOS for
these and other devices that never change.
Second, the system BIOS supports all of the hardware that might change from time
to time. This includes RAM (you can add RAM), hard drives (you can replace your hard
drive with a larger drive or add a second hard drive), and floppy drives (you can add
another floppy drive, although that’s not common today). The system ROM chip stores
the BIOS for these devices, but the system needs another place to store information
about the specific details of a piece of hardware. This enables the system to differentiate between a Western Digital Caviar Black 1.5-TB hard drive and a Seagate Barracuda
60-GB drive, and yet still support both drives right out of the box. ch07.indd 263 12/9/09 1:57:57 PM All-In-One / CompTIA Network+ All-in-One Exam Guide / Meyers & Jernigan / 170133-8 / Chapter 7 CompTIA A+Certification All-in-One Exam Guide 264 CMOS
A separate memory chip, called the complementary metal-oxide semiconductor (CMOS)
chip, stores the information that describes specific device parameters. CMOS does
not store programs; it only stores data that is read by BIOS to complete the programs
needed to talk to changeable hardware. CMOS also acts as a clock to keep the current
date and time.
Years ago, CMOS was a separate chip on the motherboard, as shown in Figure 7-11.
Today, the CMOS is almost always built into the Southbridge.
Old-style CMOS Most CMOS chips store around 64 KB of data, but the PC usually needs only a
very small amount—about 128 bytes—to store all of the necessary information on the
changeable hardware. Don’t let the tiny size fool you. The information stored in CMOS
is absolutely necessary for the PC to function!
If the data stored on CMOS about a particular piece of hardware (or about its fancier
features) is different from the specs of the actual hardware, the computer cannot access
that piece of hardware (or use its fancier features). It is crucial that this information
be correct. If you change any of the previously mentioned hardware, you must update
CMOS to reflect those changes. You need to know, therefore, how to change the data
on CMOS. Updating CMOS: The Setup Program
Every PC ships with a program built into the system ROM called the CMOS setup program or the system setup utility that enables you to access and update CMOS data. When
you fire up your computer in the morning, the first thing you likely see is the BIOS
information. It might look like the example in Figure 7-12 or perhaps something like
NOTE The terms CMOS setup program, CMOS, and system setup utility are
functionally interchangeable today. You’ll even hear the program referred to
as the BIOS setup utility or CMOS setup utility. Most techs just call it the CMOS. ch07.indd 264 12/9/09 1:58:00 PM All-In-One / CompTIA Network+ All-in-One Exam Guide / Meyers & Jernigan / 170133-8 / Chapter 7
All-In-One Chapter 7: BIOS and CMOS 265 Figure 7-12 AMI BIOS information Figure 7-13 Award/Phoenix BIOS information NOTE Okay, I’ve thrown a whole bunch of terms at you describing various
pieces of hardware and software and what does what to whom. Here’s the
scorecard so you can sort out the various pieces of data.
1. The system ROM chip stores the system BIOS, programs needed by the
CPU to communicate with devices.
2. The system ROM chip also holds the program that accesses the information
stored on the CMOS chip to support changeable pieces of hardware. This
program is called the CMOS setup program or the system setup utility.
3. The CMOS holds a small amount of data that describes the changeable
pieces of hardware supported by the system BIOS. The CMOS today is in
the Southbridge chip of the chipset. ch07.indd 265 12/9/09 1:58:00 PM All-In-One / CompTIA Network+ All-in-One Exam Guide / Meyers & Jernigan / 170133-8 / Chapter 7 CompTIA A+Certification All-in-One Exam Guide 266 Who or what is AMIBIOS, and who or what is Phoenix Technologies? These are
brand names of BIOS companies. They write BIOS programs and sell them to computer
manufacturers. In today’s world, motherboard makers rarely write their own BIOS. Instead, they buy their BIOS from specialized third-party BIOS makers such as Award
Software and Phoenix Technologies. Although several companies write BIOS, two big
companies control 99 percent of the BIOS business: American Megatrends Incorporated
(AMI) and Phoenix Technologies. Phoenix bought Award Software a few years ago and
still sells the Award brand name as a separate product line. These three are the most
common brand names in the field.
You always access a system’s CMOS setup program at boot. The real question is how
to access the CMOS setup at boot for your particular PC. AMI, Award, and Phoenix use
different keys to access the CMOS setup program. Usually, BIOS manufacturers tell
you how to access the CMOS setup right on the screen as your computer boots up. For
example, at the bottom of the screen in Figure 7-13, you are instructed to “Press DEL to
enter SETUP.” Keep in mind that this is only one possible example. Motherboard manufacturers can change the key combinations for entering CMOS setup. You can even set
up the computer so the message does not show—a smart idea if you need to keep nosy
people out of your CMOS setup! If you don’t see an “enter setup” message, wait until
the RAM count starts and then try one of the following keys or key combinations: DEL,
ESC, F1, F2, CTRL-ALT-ESC, CTRL-ALT-INS, CTRL-ALT-ENTER, or CTRL-S. It may take a few tries, but you
will eventually find the right key or key combination. If not, check the motherboard
book or the manufacturer’s Web site for the information. A Quick Tour Through a Typical CMOS Setup Program
Every BIOS maker’s CMOS setup program looks a little different, but don’t let that confuse you. They all contain basically the same settings; you just have to be comfortable
poking around. To avoid doing something foolish, do not save anything unless you are
sure you have it set correctly.
WARNING Accessing the CMOS setup utility for a system is perfectly fine,
but do not make changes unless you fully understand that system!
As an example, let’s say your machine has Award BIOS. You boot the system and
press DEL to enter CMOS setup. The screen in Figure 7-14 appears. You are now in the
Main menu of the Award CMOS setup program. The setup program itself is stored on
the ROM chip, but it edits only the data on the CMOS chip.
If you select the Standard CMOS Features option, the Standard CMOS Features screen
appears (Figure 7-15). On this screen you can change floppy drive and hard drive settings, as well as the system’s date and time. You will learn how to set up the CMOS for
these devices in later chapters. At this point, your only goal is to understand CMOS and
know how to access the CMOS setup on your PC, so don’t try to change anything yet. ch07.indd 266 12/9/09 1:58:01 PM All-In-One / CompTIA Network+ All-in-One Exam Guide / Meyers & Jernigan / 170133-8 / Chapter 7
All-In-One Chapter 7: BIOS and CMOS 267 Figure 7-14 Typical CMOS Main screen by Award If you have a system that you are allowed to reboot, try accessing the CMOS setup now.
Does it look anything like these examples? If not, can you find the screen that enables
you to change the floppy and hard drives? Trust me, every CMOS setup has that screen
somewhere! Figure 7-16 shows the same standard CMOS setup screen on a system with
Phoenix BIOS. Note that this CMOS setup utility calls this screen “Main.”
The first BIOS was nothing more than this standard CMOS setup. Today, all computers have many extra CMOS settings. They control items such as memory management, Figure 7-15 Standard CMOS Features screen ch07.indd 267 12/9/09 1:58:02 PM All-In-One / CompTIA Network+ All-in-One Exam Guide / Meyers & Jernigan / 170133-8 / Chapter 7 CompTIA A+Certification All-in-One Exam Guide 268 Figure 7-16 Phoenix BIOS CMOS setup utility Main screen password and booting options, diagnostic and error handling, and power management.
The following section takes a quick tour of an Award CMOS setup program. Remember
that your CMOS setup almost certainly looks at least a little different from mine, unless
you happen to have the same BIOS. The chances of that happening are quite slim.
NOTE All of these screens tend to overwhelm new techs. When they first
encounter the many options, some techs feel they need to understand every
option on every screen to configure CMOS properly. Relax—every new
motherboard comes with settings that befuddle even the most experienced
techs. If I don’t talk about a particular CMOS setting somewhere in this book, it’s probably
not important, either to the CompTIA A+ certification exams or to a real tech.
Phoenix has virtually cornered the desktop PC BIOS market with its Award Modular BIOS. Motherboard makers buy a boilerplate BIOS, designed for a particular chipset, and add or remove options (Phoenix calls them modules) based on the needs of
each motherboard. This means that seemingly identical CMOS setup utilities can be
extremely different. Options that show up on one computer might be missing from
another. Compare the older Award screen in Figure 7-17 with the more modern Award
CMOS screen in Figure 7-14. Figure 7-17 looks different—and it should—as this much
older system simply doesn’t need the extra options available on the newer system.
The next section starts the walkthrough of a CMOS setup utility with the SoftMenu,
followed by some of the Advanced screens. Then you’ll go through other common
screens, such as Integrated Peripherals, Power, and more. ch07.indd 268 12/9/09 1:58:02 PM All-In-One / CompTIA Network+ All-in-One Exam Guide / Meyers & Jernigan / 170133-8 / Chapter 7
All-In-One Chapter 7: BIOS and CMOS 269 Figure 7-17 Older Award setup screen SoftMenu
You can use the SoftMenu to change the voltage and multiplier settings on the motherboard for the CPU from the defaults. Motherboards that cater to overclockers tend to
have this option. Usually you just set this to Auto or Default and stay away from this
screen (Figure 7-18). Figure 7-18 SoftMenu ch07.indd 269 12/9/09 1:58:03 PM All-In-One / CompTIA Network+ All-in-One Exam Guide / Meyers & Jernigan / 170133-8 / Chapter 7 CompTIA A+Certification All-in-One Exam Guide 270 Advanced BIOS Features
Advanced BIOS Features is the dumping ground for all of the settings that aren’t covered in the Standard menu and don’t fit nicely under any other screen. This screen varies wildly from one system to the next. You most often use this screen to select the boot
options (Figure 7-19). Figure 7-19 Advanced BIOS Features Chassis Intrusion Detection Many motherboards support the chassis intrusion
detection feature provided by the computer case, or chassis. Compatible cases contain
a switch that trips when someone opens the case. With motherboard support and a
proper connection between the motherboard and the case, the CMOS logs whether
the case has been opened and, if it has, posts an appropriate alert to the screen on the
subsequent boot. How cool is that? Advanced Chipset Features
The Advanced Chipset Features screen strikes fear into most everyone, because it deals
with extremely low-level chipset functions. Avoid this screen unless a high-level tech
(such as a motherboard maker’s support tech) explicitly tells you to do something in
here (Figure 7-20). Integrated Peripherals
You will use the Integrated Peripherals screen quite often. Here you configure, enable,
or disable the onboard devices, such as the integrated sound card (Figure 7-21). ch07.indd 270 12/9/09 1:58:04 PM All-In-One / CompTIA Network+ All-in-One Exam Guide / Meyers & Jernigan / 170133-8 / Chapter 7
All-In-One Chapter 7: BIOS and CMOS 271 Figure 7-20 Advanced Chipset Features Figure 7-21 Integrated Peripherals Power Management Setup
As the name implies, you can use the Power Management Setup screen to set up the
power management settings for the system. These settings work in concert (sometimes
in conflict) with Windows’ power management settings to control how and when devices turn off and back on to conserve power (Figure 7-22). ch07.indd 271 12/9/09 1:58:04 PM All-In-One / CompTIA Network+ All-in-One Exam Guide / Meyers & Jernigan / 170133-8 / Chapter 7 CompTIA A+Certification All-in-One Exam Guide 272 Figure 7-22 Power Management Setup PnP/PCI Configurations
All CMOS setup utilities come with menu items that are for the most part no longer
needed, but no one wants to remove them. PnP/PCI Configurations is a perfect example. Plug and play (PnP) is how devices automatically work when you snap them
into your PC. PCI is a type of slot used for cards. Odds are very good you’ll never deal
with this screen (Figure 7-23). Figure 7-23 PnP/PCI Configurations ch07.indd 272 12/9/09 1:58:05 PM All-In-One / CompTIA Network+ All-in-One Exam Guide / Meyers & Jernigan / 170133-8 / Chapter 7
All-In-One Chapter 7: BIOS and CMOS 273 And the Rest of the CMOS Settings…
The other options on the main menu of an Award CMOS do not have their own screens.
Rather, these simply have small dialog boxes that pop up, usually with “Are you sure?”
messages. The Load Fail-Safe/Optimized default options keep you from having to
memorize all of those weird settings you’ll never touch. Fail-Safe sets everything to very
simple settings—you might occasionally use this setting when very low-level problems
such as freeze-ups occur and you’ve checked more obvious areas first. Optimized sets
the CMOS to the best possible speed/stability for the system. You would use this option after you’ve tampered with the CMOS too much and you need to put it back like
Many CMOS setup programs enable you to set a password in CMOS to force the user
to enter a password every time the system boots. Don’t confuse this with the Windows
logon password. This CMOS passFigure 7-24
word shows up at boot, long beCMOS password
fore Windows even starts to load.
Figure 7-24 shows a typical CMOS
Some CMOS setup utilities enable you to create two passwords:
one for boot and another for accessing the CMOS setup program. This extra password
just for entering CMOS setup is a godsend in, for example, schools, where non-techs
tend to wreak havoc in areas (such as CMOS) that they should not access!
Drive Lock Passwords On some motherboards, the CMOS setup program enables you to control the ATA Security Mode Feature Set, also commonly referred to as
drive lock or DriveLock. ATA Security Mode is the first line of defense for protecting hard
disks from unwanted access when a system is lost or stolen. It has two passwords, a user
password and a master password; and two modes, high security mode and max security
mode. In high security mode, the drive can be accessed by both the master and user
passwords. In addition, the master can reset the user password in CMOS setup.
In max security mode, the drive is accessible only with the user password. In this
mode, the master can reset the user password, but all of the data on the drive is destroyed. Note that in either mode, if the master and user passwords are both lost, the
drive is rendered unusable; these passwords are stored in the hard disk’s control circuitry and cannot be reset by clearing CMOS.
Trusted Platform Module The Trusted Platform Module (TPM) acts as a secure
cryptoprocessor, which is to say that it is a hardware platform for the acceleration of
cryptographic functions and the secure storage of associated information. The specification for the TPM is published by the Trusted Computing Group, an organization
whose corporate members include Intel, Microsoft, AMD, IBM, Lenovo, Dell, HewlettPackard, and many others.
The TPM can be a small circuit board plugged into the motherboard, or it can be
built directly into the chipset. The CMOS setup program usually contains settings that
can turn the TPM on or off and enable or disable it. ch07.indd 273 12/9/09 1:58:06 PM All-In-One / CompTIA Network+ All-in-One Exam Guide / Meyers & Jernigan / 170133-8 / Chapter 7 CompTIA A+Certification All-in-One Exam Guide 274 TPMs can be used in a wide array of cryptographic operations, but one of the most
common uses of TPMs is hard disk encryption. For example, the BitLocker Drive Encryption feature of Microsoft’s Windows Vista can be accelerated by a TPM, which is
more secure because the encryption key is stored in the tamper-resistant TPM hardware
rather than on an external flash drive. Other possible uses of TPMs include digital rights
management (DRM), network access control, application execution control, and password protection. Exiting and Saving Settings
Of course, all CMOS setups provide some method to Save and Exit or to Exit Without
Saving. Use these as needed for your situation. Exit Without Saving is particularly nice
for those folks who want to poke around the CMOS setup utility, but don’t want to
mess anything up. Use it!
The CMOS setup utility would meet all of the needs of a modern system for BIOS
if manufacturers would just stop creating new devices. That’s not going to happen, of
course, so let’s turn now to devices that need to have BIOS loaded from elsewhere. Option ROM and Device Drivers
Every piece of hardware in your computer needs some kind of programming that tells
the CPU how to talk to that device. When IBM invented the PC more than a quarter
century ago, they couldn’t possibly have included all of the necessary BIOS routines for
every conceivable piece of hardware on the system ROM chip. How could they? Most
of the devices in use today didn’t exist on the first PCs. When programmers wrote the
first BIOS, for example, network cards, mice, and sound cards did not exist. Early PC
designers at IBM understood that they could not anticipate every new type of hardware,
so they gave us a few ways to add programming other than on the BIOS. I call this
BYOB—Bring Your Own BIOS. You can BYOB in two ways: option ROM and device
drivers. Let’s look at both. Option ROM
The first way to BYOB is to put the BIOS on the hardware device itself. Look at the card
displayed in Figure 7-25. This is a serial ATA RAID hard drive controllerbasically just
a card that lets you add more hard drives to a PC. The chip in the center with the wires
Option ROM ch07.indd 274 12/9/09 1:58:07 PM All-In-One / CompTIA Network+ All-in-One Exam Guide / Meyers & Jernigan / 170133-8 / Chapter 7
All-In-One Chapter 7: BIOS and CMOS 275 coming out the sides is a flash ROM storing BIOS for the card. The system BIOS does
not have a clue about how to talk to this card, but that’s okay, because this card brings
its own BIOS on what’s called an option ROM chip.
NOTE Not all option ROMs say “flash”! Most BIOS that come on option ROMs tell you that they exist by displaying information when you boot the system. Figure 7-26 shows a typical example of an option ROM
at boot In the early days of the PC, you could find all sorts of devices with BIOS on option
ROMs. Today, option ROMs have mostly been replaced by more flexible software methods (more on device driver software in the next section), with one major exception:
video cards. Every video card made today contains its own BIOS. Option ROMs work
well but are hard to upgrade. For this reason, most hardware in PCs relies on software
for BYOB. Device Drivers
A device driver is a file stored on the PC’s hard drive that contains all of the commands
necessary to talk to whatever device it was written to support. All operating systems
employ a method of loading these device drivers into RAM every time the system boots.
They know which device drivers to install by reading a file (or files) that lists which device drivers the system needs to load at boot time. All operating systems are designed to
look at this list early on in the boot process and copy the listed files into RAM, thereby
giving the CPU the capability to communicate with the hardware supported by the
Device drivers come with the device when you buy it. When you buy a sound card,
for example, it comes with a CD-ROM that holds all of the necessary device drivers
(and usually a bunch of extra goodies). The generic name for this type of CD-ROM is
installation disc. In most cases, you install a new device, start the computer, and wait for
Windows to prompt you for the installation disc (Figure 7-27). ch07.indd 275 12/9/09 1:58:07 PM All-In-One / CompTIA Network+ All-in-One Exam Guide / Meyers & Jernigan / 170133-8 / Chapter 7 CompTIA A+Certification All-in-One Exam Guide 276 Figure 7-27
asking for the
installation disc You might want to add or remove device drivers manually at times. Windows uses a
special database called the Registry that stores everything you want to know about your
system, including the device drivers. You shouldn’t access the Registry directly to access
these drivers, but instead use the venerable Device Manager utility (Figure 7-28).
Manager ch07.indd 276 12/9/09 1:58:08 PM All-In-One / CompTIA Network+ All-in-One Exam Guide / Meyers & Jernigan / 170133-8 / Chapter 7
All-In-One Chapter 7: BIOS and CMOS 277 By using the Device Manager, you can manually change or remove the drivers for any
particular device. You access the Device Manager by first opening the System applet in
the Control Panel; then select the Hardware tab and click the Device Manager button.
Make sure you know how to access the Device Manager. You’ll see lots more of the Device Manager as you learn about different types of devices in the rest of the book.
NOTE You can also access the Device Manager by right-clicking My
Computer or Computer and selecting Manage. When the Computer
Management dialog box comes up, click on Device Manager. BIOS, BIOS, Everywhere!
As you should now understand, every piece of hardware on a system must have an accompanying program that provides the CPU with the code necessary to communicate
with that particular device. This code may reside on the system ROM on the motherboard, on ROM on a card, or in a device driver file on the hard drive loaded into RAM
at boot. BIOS is everywhere on your system, and you need to deal with it occasionally. Practical Application
Power-On Self Test (POST)
BIOS isn’t the only program on your system ROM. When the computer is turned on
or reset, it initiates a special program, also stored on the system ROM chip, called the
power-on self test (POST). The POST program checks out the system every time the computer boots. To perform this check, the POST sends out a command that says to all of
the devices, “Check yourselves out!” All of the standard devices in the computer then
run their own internal diagnostic—the POST doesn’t specify what they must check. The
quality of the diagnostic is up to the people who made that particular device.
Let’s consider the POST for a moment. Suppose some device—let’s say it’s the keyboard controller chip—runs its diagnostic and determines that it is not working properly. What can the POST do about it? Only one thing really: tell the human in front of
the PC! So how does the computer tell the human? PCs convey POST information to
you in two ways: beep codes and text messages. Before and During the Video Test: The Beep Codes
The computer tests the most basic parts of the computer first, up to and including the
video card. In early PCs, you’d hear a series of beeps—called beep codes—if anything
went wrong. By using beep codes before and during the video test, the computer could
communicate with you. (If a POST error occurs before the video is available, obviously
the error must manifest itself as beeps, because nothing can display on the screen.) The
meaning of the beep code you’d hear varied among different BIOS manufacturers. You
could find the beep codes for a specific motherboard in its motherboard manual. ch07.indd 277 12/9/09 1:58:08 PM All-In-One / CompTIA Network+ All-in-One Exam Guide / Meyers & Jernigan / 170133-8 / Chapter 7 CompTIA A+Certification All-in-One Exam Guide 278 Most modern PCs have only a single beep code, which is for bad or missing video—
one long beep followed by two or three short beeps.
CAUTION You’ll find lots of online documentation about beep codes, but it’s
usually badly outdated.
You’ll hear three other beep sequences on most PCs (although they’re not officially
beep codes). At the end of a successful POST, the PC produces one or two short beeps,
simply to inform you that all is well. Most systems make a rather strange noise when
the RAM is missing or very seriously damaged. Unlike traditional beep codes, this code
repeats until you shut off the system. Finally, your speaker might make beeps for reasons that aren’t POST or boot related. One of the more common is a series of short
beeps after the system’s been running for a while. That’s a CPU alarm telling you the
CPU is approaching its high heat limit.
NOTE Some newer motherboards can also talk to you if there is a problem
during POST. To use this feature, all that is normally required is to plug a pair
of speakers or headphones into the onboard sound card. Text Errors
After the video has tested okay, any POST errors display on the screen as text errors. If you
get a text error, the problem is usually, but not always, self-explanatory (Figure 7-29). Text
errors are far more useful than beep codes, because you can simply read the screen to
determine the bad device.
POST text error
messages POST Cards
Beep codes, numeric codes, and text error codes, although helpful, can sometimes be
misleading. Worse than that, an inoperative device can sometimes disrupt the POST,
forcing the machine into an endless loop. This causes the PC to act dead—no beeps
and nothing on the screen. In this case, you need a device called a POST card, to monitor the POST and identify which piece of hardware is causing the trouble. ch07.indd 278 12/9/09 1:58:09 PM All-In-One / CompTIA Network+ All-in-One Exam Guide / Meyers & Jernigan / 170133-8 / Chapter 7
All-In-One Chapter 7: BIOS and CMOS 279 POST cards are simple cards that snap into expansion slots on your system. A small,
two-character light-emitting diode (LED) readout on the card indicates what device the
POST is currently testing (Figure 7-30). The documentation that comes with the POST
card tells you what the codes mean. BIOS makers also provide this information on
their Web sites. Manufacturers make POST cards for all types of desktop PCs. POST
cards work with any BIOS, but you need to know the type of BIOS you have so you can
interpret the readout properly.
in action I usually only pull out a POST card when the usual POST errors fail to appear. When
a computer provides a beep or text error code that doesn’t make sense, or your machine
keeps locking up, some device has stalled the POST. Because the POST card tells you
which device is being tested, the frozen system stays at that point in the POST, and the
error stays on the POST card’s readout.
Many companies sell POST cards today, with prices ranging from the affordable
to the outrageous. Spend the absolute least amount of money you can. The more expensive cards add bells and whistles you do not need, such as diagnostic software and
Using a POST card is straightforward. Simply power down the PC, install the POST
card in any unused slot, and turn the PC back on. As you watch the POST display, notice the hexadecimal readouts and refer to them as the POST progresses. Notice how
quickly they change. If you get an “FF” or “00,” that means the POST is over and everything passed—time to check the operating system. If a device stalls the POST, however,
the POST card displays an error code. That’s the problem device! Good technicians ch07.indd 279 12/9/09 1:58:10 PM All-In-One / CompTIA Network+ All-in-One Exam Guide / Meyers & Jernigan / 170133-8 / Chapter 7 CompTIA A+Certification All-in-One Exam Guide 280 often memorize a dozen or more POST codes because it’s much faster than looking
them up in a book.
So you got a beep code, a text error code, or a POST error. Now what do you do with
that knowledge? Remember that a POST error does not fix the computer; it only tells
you where to look. You then have to know how to deal with that bad or improperly
configured component. If you use a POST card, for example, and it hangs at the “Initializing Floppy Drive” test, you’d better know how to work on a floppy drive.
Sometimes the POST card returns a bizarre or confusing error code. What device
do you point at when you get a “CMOS shutdown register read/write error” beep code
from an older system? First of all, read the error carefully. Let’s say that on that same
system you got an “8042—gate A20 failure” beep code. What will you do? Assuming
you know (and you should!) that the “8042” refers to the keyboard, a quick peek at the
keyboard and its connection would be a good first step. Beyond that specific example,
here is a good general rule: If you don’t know what the error means or the bad part isn’t
replaceable, replace the motherboard. Clearly, you will stumble across exceptions to
this rule, but more often than not, the rule stands. The Boot Process
All PCs need a process to begin their operations. Once you feed power to the PC, the
tight interrelation of hardware, firmware, and software enables the PC to start itself, to
“pull itself up by the bootstraps” or boot itself.
When you first power on the PC, the power supply circuitry tests for proper voltage
and then sends a signal down a special wire called the power good wire to awaken the
CPU. The moment the power good wire wakes it up, every Intel and clone CPU immediately sends a built-in memory address via its address bus. This special address
is the same on every Intel and clone CPU, from the oldest 8086 to the most recent
microprocessor. This address is the first line of the POST program on the system ROM!
That’s how the system starts the POST. After the POST has finished, there must be a way
for the computer to find the programs on the hard drive to start the operating system.
The POST passes control to the last BIOS function: the bootstrap loader. The bootstrap
loader is little more than a few dozen lines of BIOS code tacked to the end of the POST
program. Its job is to find the operating system. The bootstrap loader reads CMOS information to tell it where to look first for an operating system. Your PC’s CMOS setup
utility has an option that you configure to tell the bootstrap loader which devices to
check for an operating system and in which order (Figure 7-31).
order Almost all storage devices—floppy disks, hard disks, CDs, DVDs, and even USB
thumb drives—can be configured to boot an operating system by setting aside a specific
location called the boot sector. (Later chapters show you how to do this.) If the device
is bootable, its boot sector contains special programming designed to tell the system
where to locate the operating system. Any device with a functional operating system is ch07.indd 280 12/9/09 1:58:10 PM All-In-One / CompTIA Network+ All-in-One Exam Guide / Meyers & Jernigan / 170133-8 / Chapter 7
All-In-One Chapter 7: BIOS and CMOS 281 called a bootable disk or a system disk. If the bootstrap loader locates a good boot sector,
it passes control to the operating system and removes itself from memory. If it doesn’t,
it goes to the next device in the boot order you set in the CMOS setup utility. Boot order
is an important tool for techs, because you can set it to load in special bootable devices
so you can run utilities to maintain PCs without using the primary operating system. Care and Feeding of BIOS and CMOS
BIOS and CMOS are areas in your PC that you don’t go to very often. BIOS itself is
invisible. The only real clue you have that it even exists is the POST. The CMOS setup
utility, on the other hand, is very visible if you start it. Most CMOS setup utilities today
work acceptably well without ever being touched. You’re an aspiring tech, however, and
all self-respecting techs start up the CMOS setup utility and make changes. That’s when
most CMOS setup utility problems take place.
If you mess with the CMOS setup utility, remember to make only as many changes
at one time as you can remember. Document the original settings and the changes on a
piece of paper so you can put things back if necessary. Don’t make changes unless you
know what they mean! It’s easy to screw up a computer fairly seriously by playing with
CMOS settings you don’t understand. Losing CMOS Settings
Your CMOS needs a continuous trickle charge to retain its data. Motherboards use some
type of battery, usually a coin battery like those in wrist watches, to give the CMOS the
charge it needs when the computer is turned off (Figure 7-32). This battery also keeps
track of the date and time when the PC is turned off. Figure 7-32
A CMOS battery ch07.indd 281 12/9/09 1:58:11 PM All-In-One / CompTIA Network+ All-in-One Exam Guide / Meyers & Jernigan / 170133-8 / Chapter 7 CompTIA A+Certification All-in-One Exam Guide 282 If the battery runs out of charge, you lose all of your CMOS information. If some
mishap suddenly erases the information on the CMOS chip, the computer might not
boot up or you’ll get nasty-looking errors at boot. Any PC made after 2002 will boot
to factory defaults if the CMOS clears, so the chances of not booting are slimbut
you’ll still get errors at boot. Here are a few examples of errors that point to lost CMOS
● CMOS configuration mismatch ● CMOS date/time not set ● No boot device available ● CMOS battery state low Here are some of the more common reasons for losing CMOS data:
● Pulling and inserting cards ● Touching the motherboard ● Dropping something on the motherboard ● Dirt on the motherboard ● Faulty power supplies ● Electrical surges ● Chip creep Most of these items should be fairly self-explanatory, but chip creep might be a
new term for some of you. As PCs run, the components inside get warm. When a PC
is turned off, the components cool off. This cycling of hot and cold causes the chips to
expand and contract in their mounts. Although the chip designers account for this, in
some extreme cases this thermal expansion and contraction causes a chip to work out
of its mount and causes a failure called chip creep. Chip creep was a common problem
in the earlier days of PCs, but after more than a quarter century of experience, the PC
industry has done a pretty good job of designing mounts that hold all of your chips in
If you encounter any of these errors, or if the clock in Windows resets itself to January 1st every time you reboot the system, the battery on the motherboard is losing its
charge and needs to be replaced. To replace the battery, use a screwdriver to pry the
battery’s catch gently back. The battery should pop up for easy removal. Before you
install the new battery, double-check that it has the same voltage and amperage as
the old battery. To retain your CMOS settings while replacing the battery, simply leave
your PC plugged into an AC outlet. The 5-volt soft power on all modern motherboards
provides enough electricity to keep the CMOS charged and the data secure. Of course,
I know you’re going to be extremely careful about ESD while prying up the battery from
a live system! ch07.indd 282 12/9/09 1:58:12 PM All-In-One / CompTIA Network+ All-in-One Exam Guide / Meyers & Jernigan / 170133-8 / Chapter 7
All-In-One Chapter 7: BIOS and CMOS 283 NOTE All techs invariably do things in CMOS they want to undo, but
sometimes simply making a change in CMOS prevents you from getting back to
the CMOS setup utility to undo the change. A great example is when someone
sets a CMOS password and then forgets the password. If you ever run into
a system with an unknown CMOS password, you’ll need to erase the CMOS and then reset
everything. You’ll recall from Chapter 5, “Microprocessors,” that all motherboards have
a clear CMOS jumper. Refer back to that chapter for the steps on resetting CMOS. Flashing ROM
Flash ROM chips can be reprogrammed to update their contents. With flash ROM,
when you need to update your system BIOS to add support for a new technology, you
can simply run a small command-line program, combined with an update file, and
voilà, you have a new, updated BIOS! Different BIOS makers use slightly different processes for flashing the BIOS, but in general you must boot from a floppy diskette and
then run the relevant updating command from the A:\> prompt. This example shows
how simple it can be:
A:\> aw athxpt2.bin Some motherboard makers provide Windows-based flash ROM update utilities that
check the Internet for updates and download them for you to install (Figure 7-33).
Most of these utilities also enable you to back up your current BIOS so you can return
to it if the updated version causes trouble. Without a good backup, you could end up
throwing away your motherboard if a flash BIOS update goes wrong, so you should Figure 7-33
motherboard ch07.indd 283 12/9/09 1:58:13 PM All-In-One / CompTIA Network+ All-in-One Exam Guide / Meyers & Jernigan / 170133-8 / Chapter 7 CompTIA A+Certification All-in-One Exam Guide 284 always make one. Other motherboards have drivers to read flash ROM-based USB drives
and have a flashing utility built in to ROM. You can download an update, put it on a
thumb drive, and boot to the CMOS setup utility to update the firmware. Nice!
Finally, don’t update your BIOS unless you have some compelling reason to do so.
As the old saying goes, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” Beyond A+
In modern systems, the classic roles of BIOS—start the PC, test the hardware, load
drivers for essential hardware, and boot the operating system—have diminished considerably. Yes, the BIOS still starts the PC and runs the POST, but drivers? As soon
as the operating system loads, most, if not all, of the BIOS drivers are replaced with
drivers loaded by the operating system. Plus, the whole boot sequence of a PC has
sort of grown organically over the decades of the personal computer. Even with its full
unlocked potential, the BIOS is still limited to a 16-bit environment with support for a
mere 1 megabyte of RAM. That was fine in the early DOS days, but not so much today.
At some point, it’s time to throw the whole thing out and rewrite the startup sequence
for the PC from scratch.
Realizing the limits traditional 16-bit BIOS imposes on modern systems, Intel, along
with Hewlett-Packard, created a new firmware interface they titled Extensible Firmware
Interface (EFI). EFI, which is a BIOS replacement, was first seen in 2000 with the launch
of the original Itanium systems. It ended the need for the firmware to execute in 16-bit
mode, which eliminated the 1 MB pre-boot RAM address barrier. EFI also included a
slew of new enhancements. Some of the more notable new features are the addition
of a new hard disk addressing scheme called GUID Partition Table (GPT) that facilitates
partitions of greater than 2 TB in size, the introduction of a pre-boot shell environment
for executing EFI utility programs, the addition of an enhanced device driver model
where firmware drivers can be loaded from the system partition, and the inclusion of
its own boot manager that can load a variety of operating systems.
In 2005 a consortium of companies, including Microsoft, Intel, American Megatrends Incorporated (AMI), Phoenix Technologies, AMD, Hewlett-Packard, and Apple,
came together to form the Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) Forum. The UEFI
Forum created the UEFI standard, which is based off of, and supersedes, Intel’s original
EFI specification. UEFI firmware is now being produced by such companies as AMI,
Phoenix Technologies, and Insyde Software and is supported by the latest operating
systems from both Microsoft and Apple. Most UEFI systems also have the capability
to boot operating systems that require traditional BIOS by loading what is known as
a Compatibility Support Module (CSM) before loading the legacy OS. ch07.indd 284 12/9/09 1:58:14 PM All-In-One / CompTIA Network+ All-in-One Exam Guide / Meyers & Jernigan / 170133-8 / Chapter 7
All-In-One Chapter 7: BIOS and CMOS 285 Chapter Review Questions
1. What does BIOS provide for the computer? (Choose the best answer.)
A. BIOS provides the physical interface for various devices such as USB and
B. BIOS provides the programming that enables the CPU to communicate with
C. BIOS provides memory space for applications to load into from the hard
D. BIOS provides memory space for applications to load into from the main
2. What is the correct boot sequence for a PC?
A. CPU, POST, power good, boot loader, operating system
B. POST, power good, CPU, boot loader, operating system
C. Power good, boot loader, CPU, POST, operating system
D. Power good, CPU, POST, boot loader, operating system
3. Jill decided to go retro and added a second floppy disk drive to her computer.
She thinks she has it physically installed correctly, but it doesn’t show up in
Windows. Which of the following options will most likely lead Jill where she
needs to go to resolve the issue?
A. Reboot the computer and press the F key on the keyboard twice. This signals
that the computer has two floppy disk drives.
B. Reboot the computer and watch for instructions to enter the CMOS setup
utility (for example, a message may say to press the DELETE key). Do what it
says to go into CMOS setup.
C. In Windows, press the DELETE key twice to enter the CMOS setup utility.
D. In Windows, go to Start | Run and type floppy. Click OK to open the Floppy
Disk Drive Setup Wizard.
4. Henry bought a new card for capturing television on his computer. When he
finished going through the packaging, though, he found no driver disc, only an
application disc for setting up the TV capture software. After installing the card
and software, it all works flawlessly. What’s the most likely explanation?
A. The device doesn’t need BIOS, so there’s no need for a driver disc.
B. The device has an option ROM that loads BIOS, so there’s no need for a
C. Windows supports TV capture cards out of the box, so there’s no need for a
D. The manufacturer made a mistake and didn’t include everything needed to
set up the device. ch07.indd 285 12/9/09 1:58:14 PM All-In-One / CompTIA Network+ All-in-One Exam Guide / Meyers & Jernigan / 170133-8 / Chapter 7 CompTIA A+Certification All-in-One Exam Guide 286 5. Which of the following most accurately describes the relationship between
BIOS and hardware?
A. All hardware needs BIOS.
B. All hardware that attaches to the motherboard via ribbon cables needs BIOS.
C. All hardware built into the motherboard needs BIOS.
D. Some hardware devices need BIOS.
6. After a sudden power outage, Samson’s PC rebooted, but nothing appeared on
the screen. The PC just beeps at him, over and over and over. What’s most likely
A. The power outage toasted his RAM.
B. The power outage toasted his video card.
C. The power outage toasted his hard drive.
D. The power outage toasted his CPU.
7. Davos finds that a disgruntled former employee decided to sabotage her
computer when she left by putting a password in CMOS that stops the
computer from booting. What can Davos do to solve this problem?
A. Davos should boot the computer while holding the left SHIFT key. This will
clear the CMOS information.
B. Davos should try various combinations of the former employee’s name. The
vast majority of people use their name or initials for CMOS passwords.
C. Davos should find the CMOS clear jumper on the motherboard. Then
he can boot the computer with a shunt on the jumper to clear the CMOS
D. Davos should find a replacement motherboard. Unless he knows the CMOS
password, there’s nothing he can do.
8. Richard over in the sales department went wild in CMOS and made a bunch
of changes that he thought would optimize his PC. Now most of his PC
doesn’t work. The computer powers up, but he can only get to CMOS, not into
Windows. Which of the following tech call answers would most likely get him
up and running again?
A. Reboot the computer about three times. That’ll clear the CMOS and get you
up and running.
B. Open up the computer and find the CMOS clear jumper. Remove a shunt
from somewhere on the motherboard and put it on the CMOS clear jumper.
Reboot and then put the shunt back where you got it. Reboot, and you
should be up and running in no time.
C. Boot into the CMOS setup program and then find the option to load a plug
and play operating system. Make sure it’s set to On. Save and exit CMOS;
boot normally into Windows. You should be up and running in no time. ch07.indd 286 12/9/09 1:58:14 PM All-In-One / CompTIA Network+ All-in-One Exam Guide / Meyers & Jernigan / 170133-8 / Chapter 7
All-In-One Chapter 7: BIOS and CMOS 287 D. Boot into the CMOS setup program and then find the option to load
Optimized Default settings. Save and exit CMOS; boot normally into
Windows. You should be up and running in no time.
9. Jill boots up an older Pentium III system that has been the cause of several user
complaints at the office. The system powers up and starts to run through POST,
but then stops. The screen displays a “CMOS configuration mismatch” error. Of
the following list, what is the most likely cause of this error?
A. Dying CMOS battery
B. Bad CPU
C. Bad RAM
D. Corrupt system BIOS
10. Where does Windows Vista store device drivers?
D. Drivers and Settings Answers
1. B. BIOS provides the programming that enables the CPU to communicate with
2. D. Here’s the correct boot sequence: Power good, CPU, POST, boot loader,
3. B. Jill should reboot the computer and watch for instructions to enter the
CMOS setup utility (for example, a message may say to press the DELETE key).
She should do what it says to go into CMOS setup.
4. B. Most likely the device has an option ROM, because it works.
5. A. All hardware needs BIOS!
6. A. The long repeating beep and a dead PC most likely indicate a problem with
7. C. Davos should find the CMOS clear jumper on the motherboard and then
boot the computer with a shunt on the jumper to clear the CMOS information.
8. D. Please don’t hand Richard a screwdriver! Having him load Optimized
Default settings will most likely do the trick.
9. A. The CMOS battery is likely dying.
10. C. Windows stores device drivers in the Registry. ch07.indd 287 12/9/09 1:58:15 PM ...
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This note was uploaded on 04/27/2010 for the course COMPTIA 1201 taught by Professor N/a during the Spring '10 term at Galveston College.
- Spring '10