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  1. complementary metal-oxide semiconductor (CMOS)
    Originally, the type of nonvolatile RAM that held information about the most basic parts of your PC, such as hard drives, floppies, and amount of DRAM. Today, actual CMOS chips have been replaced by Flash-type nonvolatile RAM. The information is the same, however, and is still called CMOS-even though it is now almost always stored on Flash RAM.
  2. basic input/output system (BIOS)
    Classically, software routines burned onto the system ROM of a PC. More commonly seen as any software that directly controls a particular piece of hardware. A set of programs encoded in read-only memory (ROM) on computers.
  3. beep codes
    Series of audible tones produced by a motherboard during the POST. These tones identify whether the POST has completed successfully or whether some piece of system hardware is not working properly. Consult the manual for your particular motherboard for a specific list of beep codes.
  4. bootable disk
    Disk that contains a functional operating system; can also be a floppy disk, USB thumb drive, or optical disc.
  5. bootstrap loader
    Segment of code in a system's BIOS that scans for an operating system, looks specifically for a valid boot sector, and, when one is found, hands control over to the boot sector; then the bootstrap loader removes itself from memory.
  6. chassis intrusion detection
    Feature offered in some chassis that trips a switch when the chassis is opened.
  7. chipset
    Electronic chips, specially designed to work together, that handle all of the low-level functions of a PC. In the original PC, the chipset consisted of close to 30 different chips; today, chipsets usually consist of one, two, or three separate chips embedded into a motherboard.
  8. CMOS setup program
    Program enabling you to access and update CMOS data.
  9. device driver
    Program used by the operating system to control communications between the computer and peripherals.
  10. Device Manager
    Utility that enables techs to examine and configure all the hardware and drivers in a Windows PC.
  11. DriveLock
    CMOS program enabling you to control the ATA security mode feature set. Also known as drive lock.
  12. Extensible Firmware Interface (EFI)
    Firmware created by Intel and HP that replaced traditional 16-bit BIOS and added several new enhancements.
  13. firmware
    Embedded programs or code stored on a ROM chip. Generally OS-independent, thus allowing devices to operate in a wide variety of circumstances without direct OS support. The system BIOS is firmware.
  14. flash ROM
    ROM technology that can be electrically reprogrammed while still in the PC. Overwhelmingly the most common storage medium of BIOS in PCs today, as it can be upgraded without a need to open the computer on most systems.
  15. installation disc
    Typically a CD-ROM or DVD that holds all the necessary device drivers.
  16. nonvolatile
    Memory that retains data even if power is removed.
  17. Northbridge
    Chip that connects a CPU to memory, the PCI bus, Level 2 cache, and AGP activities. Communicates with the CPU through the frontside bus. Newer CPUs feature an integrated Northbridge.
  18. option ROM
    Alternative way of telling the system how to talk to a piece of hardware. Option ROM stores BIOS for the card onboard a chip on the card itself.
  19. POST card
    A POST test card is a small diagnostic tool that displays error codes generated during the Power On Self Test. These errors, called POST codes, correspond directly to a test that has failed and can help determine what piece of hardware is causing an issue. Most POST test cards plug directly into expansion slots in the motherboard while a few others connect externally via a parallel or serial port.
  20. power-on self test (POST)
    Basic diagnostic routine completed by a system at the beginning of the boot process to make sure a display adapter and the system's memory are installed; it then searches for an operating system. If it finds one, it hands over control of the machine to the OS.
  21. power good
    Used to wake up the CPU after the power supply has tested for proper voltage.
  22. read-only memory (ROM)
    Generic term for nonvolatile memory that can be read from but not written to. This means that code and data stored in ROM cannot be corrupted by accidental erasure. Additionally, ROM retains its data when power is removed, which makes it the perfect medium for storing BIOS data or information such as scientific constants.
  23. Registry
    Complex binary file used to store configuration data about a particular system. To edit the Registry, users can use the applets found in the Control Panel or REGEDIT.EXE or REGEDT32.EXE.
  24. scan code
    Unique code corresponding to each key on the keyboard sent from the keyboard controller to the CPU.
  25. services
    On Microsoft Windows operating systems, a Windows service is a long-running executable that performs specific functions and which is designed not to require user intervention. Windows services can be configured to start when the operating system is booted and run in the background as long as Windows is running, or they can be started manually when required. They are similar in concept to a Unix daemon.
  26. Southbridge
    Part of a motherboard chipset; handles all the inputs and outputs to the many devices in the PC.
  27. system BIOS
    Primary set of BIOS stored on an EPROM or Flash chip on the motherboard. Defines the BIOS for all the assumed hardware on the mother-
  28. system disk
    Any device with a functional operating system.
  29. system ROM
    ROM chip that stores the system BIOS.
  30. Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI)
    Consortium of companies that established the UEFI standard that replaced the original EFI standard.
Card Set
vocab, software, hardware
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