The System Boot Sequence. Part I

The necessity to change the system boot sequence is one of the most common tasks and one should use BIOS settings to solve it. If you install these parameters correctly, you can speed up the loading and prevent from possible problems.

First Boot Device (1st Boot Device)

This parameter sets the drive for the first system booting. If it is impossible to boot from this drive, a computer refers to those which are set in the parameters “Second Boot Device” and “Third Boot Device”. Using these parameters, you can configure any desired sequence of operating system research for loading.

Depending on the version of BIOS, the following items may be used as values of the parameters “First/Second/Third Boot Device”:

  • the names of drives that may be connected to a motherboard. The following designations are the most common:
    • Floppy;
    • HDD-0/1/2/3 (IDE-0/1/2/3) – a hard disk connected to one of IDE-channels;
    • CDROM (CD/DVD);
    • USB FDD, USB CDROM, USB HDD, USB-ZIP – one of devices with USB-interface;
    • SCSI – a device with SCSI-interface;
    • LAN (Network) – loading via LAN Network;
    • Disabled (None) – no devices for loading;
  • the names of de facto detected drives. In this case the parameter value would comply with the name of the device;
  • Removable – a loading from removable drive. If there is more than one drive, use the parameter “Removable Device Priority (Removable Drives)”;
  • Hard Disk – a loading from the hard disk. If there is more than one hard disk in a system, select necessary drive by using the parameter “Hard Disk Boot Priority (Hard Disk Drives)”;
  • CDROM (CD/DVD) – a loading from CDROM. A desired device is selected by using the parameter “CDROM Boot Priority (CDROM Drives)”;
  • Disabled – no device is selected for loading.

Install the first hard disk boot for constant operation, i.e. select HDD-0 (IDE-0) or similar to it for the First Boot Device parameter. In this case you will no longer need to check if there are media in the floppy disk drives or CD/DVD drives.

Processor and Cache Memory Settings. Part V

Delay Prior to Thermal

This parameter sets the delay time to activate the overheating protection system that is necessary for false alarms avoiding during the initial loading. Possible values:  4 Min, 8 Min, 16 Min, 32 Min – the time in minutes before switching the overheating protection system on. It is recommended to install the higher time value that is necessary for the full loading of operating system.

MAX CPUID Value Limit

(Limit CPUID Max Val)

This parameter limits the CPUID value by 3 which is necessary for normal operation of outdated operating systems. Set Enabled (On) for Windows 9x/NT4, and Disabled (Off) for Windows 2000/XP/2003.

Informational Processor Parameters

A lot of modern versions of BIOS contain informational parameters which display the current processor operating modes. Here are the most frequently occurring parameters:

  • CPU Type – the type and model of a central processor;
  • CPU Speed (Frequency) – the current processor clock frequency;
  • FSB Speed (Current FSB Frequency) – the frequency of the internal processor bus;
  • Cache L1, L2, L3 (Cache RAM) – the memory capacity;
  • Ratio Actual Value – the current value of multiplying ratio;
  • Ratio Status – this parameter displays if multiplying ratio change is available for this processor model.

Processor and Cache Memory Settings. Part IV

CPU Cores Enabled

(Active Processor Cores)

This parameter allows selecting the amount of active cores in multi-core processor.

Possible values:

  • ALL – all cores are used (recommended value);
  • 1,2,3 – the amount of active cores will be limited by a set number. This value may be necessary for experiments or installation of outdated operating systems.

In some motherboards you can find such parameters as Core Multi-Processing, CPU Multi-Threading or SW Single Processor Mode, with the help of which you disconnect all cores except the first one.

Enhanced CI Control (Enhance Halt State,

C-State, C1E Function)

This parameter controls the processor operation in low-power mode following the commend “Halt”.

Possible values:

  • Auto (Enabled) – the usage of C1E mode is allowed (recommended value);
  • Disabled – C1E mode is off.

Thermal Management

This parameter sets one or two modes for overheat protection system in the Intel processors.

Possible values:

  • Thermal Monitor 1 (TM1) – in case of overheating a processor might miss several working clock cycles that will lead to its cooling;
  • Thermal Monitor 2 (TM2) – a processor decreases an internal clock frequency for cooling; this reduces pressure more smoothly than in case of missing cycles.

In some versions of BIOS there is a similar parameter – CPU Thermal Monitor 2 (TM2) that controls the TM2 mode. It sometimes has additional parameters, for example TM2 Bus Ratio and TM2 Bus VID which set the multiplying ratio and power supply voltage during overheating.

Processor and Cache Memory Settings. Part III

 Execute Disable Bit

(No-Execute Memory Protect)

This parameter enables or disables the hardware support of protection from harmful programs which gain an access to a system by running the code from data area.

Possible values:

  • Enabled (On) – the hardware protection from the code execution from data area is on. Its implementation requires the support from the processor and operating system (no less than Windows XP SP2);
  • Disabled (Off) – the hardware protection from the code execution from data area is off.

CPU EIST Function (EIST Function,

Intel SpeedStep Technology)

This parameter controls the EIST mode (Enhanced Intel SpeedStep Technology) which decreases the power consumption of modern processors by Intel. Unlike the C1E technology, EIST is based on the analysis of the system workload.

Possible values:

  • Enabled (Auto) – the power saving mode is on, but to implement this technology, the support from the processor and operating system (no less than Windows XP SP2) is required;
  • Disabled – EIST mode is off that may be necessary while overclocking.

AMD Cool’n’Quiet Control

This parameter enables or disables the Cool’n’Quiet technology which decreases the power consumption by AMD Athlon/Phenom processors.

Possible values:

  • Enabled (Auto) – the Cool’n’Quiet technology is on; to use it, the support from the operating system (no less than Windows XP SP2) is required;
  • Disabled – the Cool’n’Quiet technology is off. This value is sometimes used while overclocking.

CPU Internal Thermal Control

This parameter enables or disables an overheat protection system of Intel processors.

Possible values:

  • Enabled (Auto) – an overheat protection system is on; operating processor parameters are selected automatically (recommended value);
  • Disabled – an overheat protection system is off; the processor may be damaged if its maximum operating temperature is decreased.

Processor and Cache Memory Settings. Part II

CPU Level 3 Cache

Using this parameter, you can switch on or off the usage of cache memory of the third level (L3) which can be found only in a set of new processor models.

If there is no L3 cache memory in the processor, the value of this parameter does not influence the system productivity.

Microcode Updation

Modern processors use specific microcode to correct errors that occur during the development of the processor which is updated by BIOS.

Possible values:

  • Enabled (On) – microcode updation is allowed;
  • Disabled (Off) – microcode updation is not allowed.

In some versions of BIOS, this parameter is informational and displays the current version of processor microcode.

Virtualization Technology (Vanderpool

Technology, Secure Virtual Machine)

This parameter enables or disables the support of the hardware virtualization technology, with the help of which the greater productivity can be achieved while using virtual machines. This technology requires the compulsory support from the processor. All processors AMD Athlon/Phenom for AM2/AM3 support the hardware virtualization, but some models of Intel Core2 do not have such function. To find out if your processor supports virtualization, look through its detailed specification. Possible values:

  • Enabled (On) – the hardware virtualization is on. This value may be necessary in case of usage of modern means of virtualization, for example the components Windows Virtual PC or Windows XP Mode, operating program Windows 7, programs Sun Virtual Box, VMware Workstation and some others;
  • Disabled (Off) – set this value if you are going to operate with virtual machines.

Processor and Cache Memory Settings. Part I

Hyper-Threading Function

(Hyper-Threading Technology)

This parameter allows the processor using the Hyper-Threading Technology (HT). It is used in the processors of Intel Pentium 4 and Core i7 and allows providing two command streams by each processor cores.

Possible values:

  • Enabled (On) – the support of Hyper-Threading Technology is on;
  • Disabled (Off) – the Hyper-Threading Technology is not used.

After switching the Hyper-Threading on a quad-core Processor Core i7 will be identified by Windows as octocyclic. But actual productivity depends on the nature of computer usage and may account to several per cent. There will be no speeding at all if the applications which you use are not multi-threaded.

CPU L1&L2 Cache

(CPU Internal Cache/External Cache)

This parameter switches on or off the cache memory of first and second level which is a part of a central processor in modern computers.

Possible values:

  • Enabled (On) – integrated cache memory is on;
  • Disabled (Off) – integrated cache memory is off that will lead to a substantial decrease in productivity (in several times).

There are separate parameters L1 Cache and L2 Cache in some versions of BIOS.

CPU Level 2Cache ECC Check

This parameter switches on the correction and control of errors in the cache memory of the second level. If you switch on this function by Enabled (On), the operating stability of the system will be increased while its productivity will be a bit decreased. If you switch it off by Disabled (Off), you can increase the system speed.

Advanced BIOS Settings. Part III

Delay IDE Initial (Hard Disk Pre-Delay)

This parameter sets the temporary delay while initializing of hard disks or CD/DVD-drives. It is used to identify the outdated devices on modern motherboards as they have not always kept pace with entering the normal mode after switching the power supply on.

Possible values:

  • 0 – no delay. Use this value if the drives are determined properly;
  • from 1 to 30 seconds – set a delay only if there are difficulties with initialization of hard disks. Select a minimal value

Typematic Rate Setting

This parameter sets the Auto-Repeat Function while holding down a certain key. Its value is similar to MS-DOS and it is not necessary for modern operating systems of the Windows family.

Possible values:

  • Enabled (On) – manual setting of Auto-Repeat Function is allowed; the parameters “Typematic Rate (Chars/Sec)” (to set the speed of auto-repeat) and “Typematic Delay (Msec)” (to set a delay before the auto-repeat starting) will be available;
  • Disabled (Off) – auto-repeat parameters are set by default; their manual setting is not allowed.

Advanced BIOS Settings. Part II

BIOS Flash Protect

(Firmware Write Protect)

You can prevent from updating of BIOS code by using this parameter.

Possible values:

  • Enabled (On) – writing in a chip of flash-memory is prohibited; this may protect BIOS code from unauthorized changes or damages by a virus;
  • Disabled (Off) – BIOS code writing is allowed. This value is always set before BIOS updating.

In some versions of BIOS there is a parameter “BIOS Update” and its values will be opposite to the “BIOS Flash Protect” parameter.


IOAPIC Function)

This parameter includes Advanced Programmable Interrupt Controller (APIC). Possible values:

  • Enabled (On) – broadened interrupt controller is on (by default). This value is recommended for Windows XP/Vista/7;
  • Disabled (Off) – broadened interrupt controller is off. Select this value while operating with Windows 95/98 that do not support APIC.

There is also identical parameter – Interrupt Mode which may have PIC or APIC values.


It is recommended to change this parameter before installing of operating system. Otherwise, Windows may not boot and you will have to return previous values or reinstall your operating system.

MPS Table Version (MSP Revision)

This parameter sets Multi-Processor Specification version (MPS) which is used if there are several processors in the system.

Possible values:

  • 4 – a newer MPS version with broader opportunities, is supported by Windows XP/2000/Vista/7 (a value is set by default);
  • 1 – the initial MPS version was selected;

You can sometimes find a similar parameter – MPS 1.4 Support which has the following values:

  • Enabled – MPS 1.4 version is used;
  • Disabled – MPS 1.1 version is used.

Advanced BIOS Settings. Part I

Swap Floppy Drive

You can interchange the floppy drives A: and B: without their physical switching by using this parameter. A computer with two floppy drives is very rare, so it is meaningful to switch on this parameter.

Gate A20 Option

It is another outdated parameter which sets an operating mode of the gate A20. The value “Fast” is used by default, and a Normal mode may need to be turned on to increase operating stability only in some outdated systems.

Report No FDD for WIN 95

This parameter is used to speed up the loading of operating systems of Windows 9x without any floppy drive.

Possible values:

  • Yes – set this value if there is no floppy drive in your system;
  • No – always select this value if the floppy drive is set in your system.

HDD S.M.A.R.T. Capability

(HDD S.M.A.R.T. Monitoring)

This parameter is set by S.M.A.R.T. (Self Monitoring Analysis and Reporting Technology) which controls the hardware capacity, identifies damages and eliminates them if it is possible.

Possible values:

  • Enabled (On) – S.M.A.R.T. is on that allows detecting the damages of the drive beforehand;
  • Disabled (Off) – S.M.A.R.T. is off.


Although S.M.A.R.T. increases the storage information accuracy, it cannot always warn the forthcoming drive failure. So, while working with important data, do not forget about regular safety copying on removable media.

Connection of Hard Disks. Part III

Mode (Access MODE, LBA MODE)

This parameter sets the regime of access to the data on a disk and is relevant only for updated hard disks. Here are the following main values for this parameter:

  • Auto – a regime of access is set automatically (this value is set by default and is recommended for all modern hard disks);
  • Normal (CHS) – it is used for very outdated with a size less than 504 Mbytes;
  • LBA (Logical Block Addressing) – a regime of logical block addressing which is used in all hard disks of the volume more than 1 GB;
  • Large – another method of logical block addressing which has been used only in some models of hard disks with a size up to 1 GB.

Parameters of Hard Disk Geometry

An internal design of a hard disk is characterized by specific parameters:

  • Capacity – an informational parameter which outlines a rated capacity of the disk;
  • Cylinder – the amount of cylinders on each surface of the disk;
  • Head – the amount of magnetic heads;
  • Precomp (WPCOMP) – the number of cylinder from which the data will be properly recorded on a disk (it is not relevant for modern drives);
  • Landing Zone (LZONE) – it is an outdated parameter which indicates the number of a track on which the heads should be replaced before a hard disk had stopped (it is not relevant for modern drives too);
  • Sector – the amount of sectors on which each track is multiplied.

Geometrical parameters of the hard disk are usually detected automatically and are not available for editing. Their manual input can be used only very outdated disks with Normal regime of access.