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BIOS stands for Basic Input/Output System. It’s a type of firmware used during the booting process (startup) of a computer. The primary function of the BIOS is to test and initialize the system hardware components, and to load a bootloader or an operating system from a mass memory device.

The BIOS provides an abstraction layer for the hardware, i.e., a consistent way for application programs and operating systems to interact with the keyboard, display, and other input/output devices. Variations in hardware are hidden by the BIOS from programs that use BIOS services instead of directly accessing the hardware.

When you turn on your computer, the BIOS does several things:

  1. POST: This stands for Power-On Self-Test. The BIOS checks the hardware connections and makes sure all components are functioning properly.
  2. Bootstrap Loader: The BIOS will locate the system’s operating system. If the BIOS finds the system, it will pass control over to it. This is why you see the BIOS screen pop up before your computer’s operating system loads.
  3. BIOS Drivers: These are basic low-level routines that allow your operating system and applications to use your computer’s hardware.
  4. BIOS Setup: This is a settings page that allows you to change hardware settings, including system settings like date and time.

In modern computer systems, the BIOS has been replaced with UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface), which offers more advanced features, better security, and compatibility.

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