In addition to the parameters that enable to configure a system to its optimal speed, BIOS contains a set of function enabling to make the booting procedure more convenient:
- The parameter “Full Screen LOGO Show” (Full Screen LOGO) enables to use an image instead of standard messages during booting. This parameter has got two values: Enabled or Disabled. If this parameter is on (Enabled), all system information about the booting process will be kept behind an image that was previously written down in non-volatile flash-memory. This parameter can often be found in modern computers.
- The parameter “VGA BIOS Sequence” (VGA Boot From) enables to identify which of the accessible video cards should be used to display messages while booting. This parameter has got two values: AGP – a video card connected to AGP-bus, and PCI – a video card connected to PCI-bus. If you use only AGP-video cards, set the value “AGP” and if you use only PCI-video cards, set the value “PCI”. In general, if you have only one video card, the system will output a signal regardless of the value of the parameter “VGA BIOS Sequence”. Some problems may occur if you use two or more video cards, one of which is connected to AGP-bus. Wrong indication of connection method may cause a blank screen (black) while booting.
- The parameter “Boot Up Num Lock” (Boot Up Num Lock Status) enables to pre-install the status of Num Lock button. If the parameter has got the value “On”, then an additional numerical panel on a keyboard will be used to output numbers. If the parameter has got the value “Off”, then an additional numerical panel on a keyboard will be used the functional one.
The process of system loading starts after finishing the procedure of self testing and allocation of system resources. The following parameters optimize the selection of boot devices:
- The parameter “HDD Sequence SCSI/IDE First” (Onboard ATA Device First) enables to identify which of the hard disks will be checked firstly: connected via SCSI-controller or via a standard IDE-controller. This parameter has got two values: SCSI (No) – firstly the SCSI-controller is checked; IDE (Yes) – firstly the IDE-controller is checked.
- The parameter “Boot From LAN First” enables to indicate the importance of using an online resource and other devices. This parameter has got two values: Enabled and Disabled. This parameter must be switched off if you do not use system booting via a server.
- The parameter “Boot Up Floppy Seek” (Floppy Driver Seek, Floppy Seek) enables to indicate the mandatory verification of available boot record in floppy-disk drives. This parameter has got two values: Enabled and Disabled. This parameter should be switched off in modern computers. But if there is the need for booting from a floppy disk, you can switch this parameter on again.
- The parameter “Delay IDE Initial” (Delay For HDD) enables to identify the delay before initialization of the hard disks connected to IDE-controller. As its values, this parameter uses the numbers that means the number of wait seconds. There is no need in this delay in modern computers, so the value 0 may be assigned to this parameter. If you have much outdated hard disks, the value of this parameter may be equal to 10-20 seconds. The value of this parameter is individual for each system and must be experimentally chosen.
If some errors are detected at the testing stage, the system operation depends on the type of failures. In case of fatal error, an appropriate warning message may occur and the further operation will be stopped – a computer will be switched off and rebooted. In case of negligible errors, a special prompt may occur that suggest either to open the window of BIOS Settings and to change the conflict parameters or to continue the current loading without any changes.
Use the parameter “Wait for <F1> If Any Error” to control the system if some errors are found. This parameter has got two values: Enabled (Yes) – if there are some errors, stop the further operation before pressing F1 button, and Disabled (No) – continue operating regardless of any errors.
The parameter “Halt On” provides more opportunities and may have the following values:
- No Errors – continue operating regardless of any errors;
- All Errors – continue operating without any errors;
- All, But Keyboard – continue operating if there are no other errors except those connected with a keyboard;
- All, But Diskette – continue operating if there are no other errors except those connected with a diskette;
- All, But Disk/Key – continue operating if there are no other errors except those connected with a keyboard or a diskette.
The simplest way of reducing the loading time for your computer is decreasing the amount of tests carried out by default by BIOS for identification of system features and detection of potential defects.
The parameter “Quick Boot” (Quick Power On Self Test, Quick Boot Mode) controls computer testing. This parameter may have two values: Enabled and Disabled. If the value “Enabled” is on, BIOS deletes some tests during self testing, for example, testing of operating memory. This allows significantly decreasing the time spent on testing, especially with significant amounts of operating memory.
But if there are some errors that have no impact on system loading, but that affect the correctness of its functioning, the rejection of self testing may cause different problems. For example, when you use fast testing, the hard disk readiness is simply fixed without any special wait pause for its power overclocking. But the operation with the hard disk and loading of operating system are impossible with the failure of the hard disk node. As a result, your computer “hangs” without any visible reasons. That’s why enabling or disabling of the parameter of full testing depends on individual features of your computer: if your computer and all its components are stable, then its testing may be reduced. But if some errors periodically occur when requesting the memory, hard disk and other, use full testing to prevent the worsening of situation.
Like any complex tool, a computer needs setting. And it is not a question of overclocking of its separate components, but of its hardware setting. If your computer is unstable, a lot of problems may be easily solved – it is only enough to allocate correctly all resources of your computer set by default.
During computer loading, the following situation is often observed: firstly there is an energy meter in the top left corner of the screen, then there are various symbols, a table and finally the screen is dark again. After some time the process will continue – Windows boot screen occurs –but a long delay always irritates users.
It is possible to optimize the initial loading but, in most cases, this process depends on the model of your computer, your motherboard’s manufacturer, the amount of connected peripherals and other. The simpler your computer and its configuration is, the faster is loads.
In addition to the parameters that have an impact on the particular elements of video card, BIOS has a set of parameters enabling to optimize interaction with ohet system devices.
- The parameter “Assign IRQ for VGA” enables to reserve one interruption for video card. This parameter may have two values: Enable or Disable. if this parameter is off, then several devices may be on one interruption at the same time. As a rule, these are audio system, modem, video system and other. When you assign a separate interruption for your video card, this may improve your system’s performance. But if there are a lot of devices (expansion cards), the assigning of interruption may cause some negative consequences: in case of limited interruptions, your system will “hang” regardless of the processor speed, size of memory and the power of video card.
- The parameter “AGP Master 1 WS Write” (AGP Fast Write) enables to add one more wait state while data writing. It has got two values: Enable and Disable. To increase the speed, this parameter must be switched off but it allows stabilizing the computer operation during its unstable functioning, especially during games.
In general, the operation of video processor depends on the parameters of video-BIOS, the access to which is possible only from operating system using special program tools. The most popular programs are:
These utilities enable to control the main parameters of video card – to change the frequency of video processor and video memory. These utilities cover almost all video cards (from very outdated PCI-cards to modern AGP-cards), thus increasing the computer’s productivity up to 10-20%.
To increase the system’s productivity, you can place an area of the constant memory which is not engaged in video-BIOS into the “fast” operating memory.
To transfer data from the slow constant memory into the “fast” operating memory (cache operation), use the parameter “Video RAM Cacheable”. This parameter may have two values: Enabled – memory caching is enabled and Disabled – caching is disabled. To transfer data in operating memory, all memory cells are reserved at the addresses A0000h-AFFFFh.
Video system with AGP-interface enables to use operating memory for storing all necessary data, i.e. your graphic adapter can obtain access to these data and operate with them directly in the system memory. The size of allocated memory depends on sizes of operating memory and video memory and is set by the parameter “AGP Aperture Memory Size” (AGP Aperture Size, Graphics Aperture). In practice, no operating memory is reserved, for example, during data caching. In fact, only an address space is allocated. In case of necessity, the video processor may request this address space only when its own memory is not enough. Thus, the larger your video memory is, the fewer apertures you will need.
As a rule, the parameter “AGP Aperture Memory Size” uses a set of real values: 8 MB, 16 MB, 32 MB, 64 MB, 128 MB or 256 MB. This set is individual for each type of BIOS. In general, you can select two values: 32 MB or 64 MB.
To speed up your memory operation, you can switch on the prefetch mode by the parameter “AGP to DRAM Prefetch”. This parameter has got two values: Enabled or Disabled. If this mode is on, the next data will be automatically read before finishing reading of the previous data. This process significantly increases the operating speed.
The main task of video memory is to store images. The fullest resolution of video card (the maximum image size and color depth) depends on the volume of video memory on your video card.
In addition to the dynamic video memory, each video card is equipped with the static memory with video-BIOS, a set of primary screen font and the other information that enable to identify your video card. Video-BIOS does not participate in the operation of video system because all modern operating system work directly with the dynamic video memory and video processor.
Formally, the location of a constant video memory in an operating memory increases the performance, because the computer operating memory performs up to 100 times faster than the constant memory of video processor. But in fact it is not true. All modern operating systems hardly use video-BIOS. But for the compatibility with BIOS, you may use the parameter “Video BIOS Cacheable” with the value “Disabled”. Only the computers that operate with MS DOS or use DOS-games may be the exceptions. To cache video-BIOS, set the value “Enabled” for the parameter “Video BIOS Cacheable”. You should copy the memory to a special address area “F0000h-FFFFFh” which is inaccessible for other applications. Thus, if you try to launch the application that uses this memory range, there will be a failure.