Once you have successfully booted your computer for the first time, the next step is BIOS configuration. The BIOS (Basic Input Output System) is software that is stored on a small memory chip found in the motherboard.
The BIOS software stores important information for your computer, such as how to perform certain functions such as booting up and keyboard control. It’s also used to configure some hardware components in your PC such as the hard drive, optical drives, floppy drives, CPU, RAM, etc. The information stored inside the BIOS is called upon every time your PC boots up.
Anyway, you don’t need to know much about what the BIOS is and how it works to build your own PC. All you need to know is that you must go through the BIOS configuration once before your PC can run properly. Then you won’t have to worry about it ever again, unless you want to.
Ok, so how do you access the BIOS then? During the boot up sequence of your PC, quickly press and hold the BIOS access key. The BIOS access key is usually either the Delete, F1, F2, or F10 keys on the keyboard. Your motherboard documentation will tell you which key it is if you get stuck. If done correctly, you will be brought to the main BIOS configuration screen which generally looks like this:
There are many different settings in the BIOS software that you can change, but for most people you won’t really need to change anything. The default options tend to be fine for the majority of computer users. On the other hand, if you’re an advanced user and you know what the BIOS settings are for, then go ahead and customize your machine all you like.
One of the more popular settings to customize is the boot sequence. The boot sequence is the order in which your data storage devices boot up. The default for the boot sequence is usually the primary hard drive to boot first, then the secondary hard drive, followed by the optical drive, and finally the USB drive.
Another common setting to change is the CPU clock speed and frequency, known as computer overclocking. Of course, overclocking is only meant for those who know what they’re doing.
If you want to find out about a particular BIOS setting, then it’s a good idea to check your motherboard’s documentation. We cannot cover all the settings here as there are so many different ones.
Once you've done your customizing then you’re ready to move on. If you changed any of the settings in the BIOS configuration, then you need to press the Escape key and then select to save your changes and exit. Or if you've left all the settings to default, then just exit the BIOS without saving.
Tutorials, forums and blog articles on how to build a computer can only cover so much and are usually either incomplete, out of date, written/recorded by an expert who forgot what it's like to be a beginner (therefore confusing you further), and/or they rush or skip over important fundamentals or guidelines.
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