Reasons the BIOS Fails

By John Grossman

The BIOS, or Basic Input/Output System, is an essential part of your computer. When booting up, your PC uses this program to identify the different parts of your machine in order to allow them to communicate with each other. The BIOS can sometimes become corrupt, creating a situation where your computer refuses to boot. You have a number of solutions that can fix this problem.

Significance

The BIOS is a program that your computer uses during the boot process. The role of this program is to identify the installed hardware and tell your computer how to communicate with each component. Since it is an essential part of your computer, you must have the BIOS correctly configured in order for your machine to work.

Symptoms

Typically, a computer with a corrupt or missing BIOS does not load Windows. Instead, it may display an error message directly after start-up. In some cases, you might not even see an error message. Instead, your motherboard may emit a series of beeps, which are part of a code that is specific to each BIOS manufacturer. In order to find out the meaning of that code, you should consult documentation from your BIOS manufacturer or navigate to your BIOS manufacturer's website for information.

Causes

You can have three main causes for a BIOS error: a corrupt BIOS, a missing BIOS or a badly configured BIOS. A computer virus or failed attempt to flash the BIOS could make your BIOS corrupt or delete it completely. For this reason, it is best not to attempt to flash your computer's BIOS or, in other words, update it, unless you experience serious issues with your computer. In addition, changing the BIOS parameters to incorrect values may cause your BIOS to stop working. It is, therefore, important to only change BIOS parameters if you know their exact significance and the correct values for the parameters.

Solutions

If a badly configured BIOS causes the error, you can still usually enter the BIOS. If you can do so, you should select the option that resets all parameters to their default settings. On the other hand, if a missing or corrupt BIOS causes the error, you typically won't be able to enter the BIOS. While some motherboards give you the option to reinstall the BIOS from a copy stored on a separate chip, most motherboards will simply be unusable without a working BIOS. Your only option will be to call the customer support center of your motherboard's manufacturer and ask them to fix the problem for you. Motherboard manufacturers can usually replace the BIOS chip at a fraction of the cost of a new motherboard.