Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.


Firmware typically refers to the software that is semi-permanently installed onto a device or computer.

Can a virus infect my computer's BIOS?

It is possible for a virus to be written that hides itself in certain BIOS's. The good news is that a BIOS virus is extremely rare.

Do I need to backup my BIOS? What about backwards compatibility?

Your computer's BIOS is not typically backed up. I'll look at why, and whether you should be concerned about backwards compatibility when upgrading it.

Do I need to regularly update my BIOS?

Your system BIOS is software, but updating it regularly may not be appropriate. Updating it to fix a bug, of course, would be.

Do green bars in the defragger mean my BIOS has a virus?

When defragging a hard disk, some files in use by Windows can't be moved; in the defragging tool, they appear as green bars. But don't worry - they're not viruses.

Does a BIOS password protect the contents of my laptop?

BIOS and boot menu passwords can help establish a certain level of security, but they're not a reliable way to protect your data.

Is there a way to test a machine that won't boot to see if the BIOS is the problem?

Testing for a BIOS problem is probably not possible on a computer with a problem this severe. It may need professional diagnosis.

My machine doesn't even beep or begin to boot - what do I do?

An old XP computer won't boot up; it looks like a hardware problem. We'll look at a few components on the motherboard.

Should I password protect my BIOS?

Many computers allow you to password protect your BIOS. It's a fine additional layer of security, but it's not absolute.

What's a BIOS?

BIOS, for Basic Input Output System, is the software already built in to you computer. It's primary job? Load other software.

Why do I get an error that my computer is protected by a password authentication system?

This looks like a BIOS password, which is going to be difficult to get past. The big question is: how did that happen?