Is this possible to start a computer without that BIOS software

  • #1
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Main Question or Discussion Point

Hi

A computer has some program written into its BIOS ROM which turns the hardware skeleton of a computer into a helpful machine. Is this possible to start a computer without that BIOS software using some circuitry. BIOS software is a firmware and I remember correctly I have read somewhere that firmware application is substituted for hardware components so as a result less components are used which wouldn't be possible without the firmware. Please guide me, and please remember I have very limited knowledge of such kind of stuff. Thanks for all the help and your time.
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
rcgldr
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If it was an old computer, a programmer could enter in the initial program via toggle switches or buttons to boot the machine. The old computers had core memory, which kept their content even when powered down, so once code was entered into the core memory, that could be used to reboot the computer. I recall one old computer (Monrobot) that used a music box like cylinder with tiny tabs on it used to "toggle" mechanical switches to automatically enter the initial boot program to read in a program from paper tape, the music box cylinder device was it's version of a boot rom. (yes, I'm that old).

On a PC, the BIOS rom is needed to read in the initial boot code from the first sector of the first bootable disk, or in some cases a network boot, then transfers control to the boot code it just read in. This is usually the first sector on a hard drive, which in turn repeats the process for the first sector of the first "bootable" partition, which may repeat the process, until eventualy multiple sectors are read to get something like IO.SYS/MSDOS.SYS or NTLDR into memory, which then boots up msdos or windows.

Since there isn't enough space in the boot sector (512 bytes) to contain all of the code required to read from a disk, the BIOS also supplies the code to do basic reads and writes for the disks attached to the computer, and reading from the keyboard, to be called by the boot sector code. The video card also has it's code to supply routines to display data on the computer screen.
 
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  • #4
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If by "computer" you mean IBM compatible PC, then no, you must have the BIOS.
 
  • #5
harborsparrow
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Any of the common OS's today have the equivalent of "the BIOS", i.e., they have some embedded code in a non-volatile memory that has to run to boot the OS. It's not just IBM compatible PC's.
 
  • #6
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Any of the common OS's today have the equivalent of "the BIOS", i.e., they have some embedded code in a non-volatile memory that has to run to boot the OS. It's not just IBM compatible PC's.
I meant that what I said only applies to IBM compatibles.
 

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