What is the difference between BIOS and Firmware

Difference between BIOS and Firmware

While entering into the world of computers, there is a deep vast list of words which a person needs to learn and even few of those are bit confusing too. Today, we will take two words out of those, difference between BIOS and Firmware. If you are being confused between these two words, whether they are different or similar then I am here to help you with the terminology associated with both.

BIOS is significantly a firmware for computers and as you will enter to the world of computers, you will get to know everything about BIOS and much more. The word BIOS stands for Basic Input/Output System as well as commonly known as PC BIOS, System BIOS or RAM BIOS. It is a firmware which is being used during the process of booting on computers which are being compatible to IBM PC.

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It is built within the computers and it is the principal software which automatically runs while we power on the device and the last software which shuts down with the computer. The name BIOS emerged in 1975 with the CP/M OS. We can even say that BIOS is a significant name given to the motherboard firmware featured in old PCs. Now-a-days, we have new computers featuring different kinds of firmware including EFI or UEFI. You need to know that other than BIOS or EFI or UEFI, computers also feature many other firmwares.

By now, you already have a clear idea what BIOS is but I can simply define it as a chip which is particularly located within the motherboard of PC containing instructions about how the system will boot and operate. For instance, in the picture below we can see that how BIOS look like within the PC’s motherboard. It is a picture of an early AMBIOS which is manufactured by AMI. Another manufacturer which is worth to consider is Phoenix.

difference between BIOS and Firmware

BIOS significantly holds on the instructions associated with the boosting process of the system hardware as well as a test associated with Power On Self Test (POST) which helps in verifying the basic requirements of PC in order to boot up properly. If a PC passes on well with POST, it will boot up correctly but if it does not passes well then you will receive beeps combination which particularly indicates about the malfunctioning of PC.

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difference between BIOS and Firmware

BIOS Main Features

  • POST which helps in testing the system’s hardware as well as take care about the errors while exists during the booting process. It significantly helps in ensuring about fulfilling the basic requirements of the hardware.
  • Bootstrap loader helps in locating the OS. BIOS will simply pass on the control if the capable OS is located.
  • BIOS drivers are of low level which helps the computer in basic controlling over the PC’s hardware.
  • CMOS or BIOS Setup which is a configuration program allowing the users to configure the settings of system’s hardware including the time and date as well as computer passwords.

On other hand, Firmware is perfect combination of the data stored as well as the program code and the persistent memory which features on the computer. For instance, devices which are based on firmware include computer peripherals, traffic lights, digital cameras, consumer appliances, mobile phones, computers and digital watches.

difference between BIOS and Firmware


The firmware which features on these devices significantly helps in controlling the device’s program. It is a program which is particularly written on ROM and it is significantly added at the manufacturing time when it is used in for running the user programs.

This is the major difference between BIOS and firmware.

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BIOS and Firmware both the terms are related with each other in similar as well as different manner. If you are new into the world of computers, then it is essential to have knowledge about these terms because they are actually associated with the basic terminology.

If you have something to share about BIOS and Firmware, leave your comments below.

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Priya Batra is the Content Developer of YoGadz.com. She is post-graduate in English Literature. She has been into writing since 2010 and has a good grip over most of the niches. She is a writer by day and a reader by night. She has a passion for reading novels, photography, writing poetry and quotations. You can find her on social sharing websites, sharing her daily updates.