Quick BIOS Optimizations
You can make some simple changes to your BIOS (the
initialization program of your computer that runs every time you start up) that
will drastically increase the speed of your system. To enter your BIOS, press
the designated key during the power-on self-test. If your computer doesn't
appear to have a power-on self-test, and instead you have a splash screen with
the name of the system builder, check the computer's manual for information on
how to enter the BIOS (or, worst case, you could always call the
Once you are in the BIOS, several very simple modifications can be performed to optimize your BIOS. The first thing to do is to use the Auto-Detect IDE drives utility. Once you have used the utility to detect all of your IDE hard drives, enter the standard BIOS setup menu and disable all of the other IDE channels. Don't worry if you have a CD-ROM or other device attached to those channels - the computer has another way of detecting those pieces of hardware separate from these settings.
After you've performed that simple tweak, enter the advanced BIOS setup menu and modify the following entries:
- QuickPOST - This stands for Quick Power-On Self-Test. Enabling this setting will speed up system startup.
- Turbo Frequency - This setting slightly raises the clock speed of the computer. Caution should be shown when using this feature because it is a form of overclocking. Because of this, it can be particularly dangerous to use if you already overclock your system.
- Floppy Seek at Boot-Up - This tells the computer to search for new floppy drives every time it boots up. Disabling this will significantly speed up the boot process.
- Shadow System BIOS - This setting
tells the computer to copy the BIOS program to main memory for faster
execution. Most people see a small increase in speed from enabling this
You may also wish to flash your BIOS, which is the process of upgrading your BIOS to a newer version. To do this, first you will need to download the newest BIOS archive from your motherboard manufacturer's website. Make sure you download the proper version, because many manufacturers will include several older version of their BIOS software on the website in case someone has a need for them. Once you've downloaded the proper BIOS archive, extract the files included in the archive to a directory on the hard drive.
Look at the included readme file for specific instructions as to how to use the flashing program. Once you are sure you know how to operate the program (it may be helpful to print out the readme), restart the computer and boot it up using an emergency disk. From DOS, run the flashing utility. Be careful not to reboot the system during the flashing process, because doing so could ruin your BIOS chip, in which case you would need to return the board to the manufacturer for repair.