Thread: So...was that the BIOS doin' its' thing?

  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2004

    Lightbulb So...was that the BIOS doin' its' thing?

    Today was one o' them "Aha's!!"...or maybe. I think so. Here's what started this epiphany of found knowledge:

    Back when I was desparately de-worming my computer, (after last summer's devastation) and learning a lot (one Pyrrhic victory after another) I finally got to where I re-formatted my hard drive-probably 3 times in the course of a weekend-until I got it right.

    Anyway, it dawns on me today while I'm wandering around the jobsite with my surveyor's transit over my shoulder-'cause I'm thinkin' about attacking the computer in the trailer with similar intensity (as a last resort to clean the cobwebs outta that little puppy)-"How come, if I sand-blasted my hard-drive right down to the bare metal (and then put a primer coat-Windows-back onto it), was there a piece of intelligent soft-ware left in place to do the thinking?" Obviously, the entire hard drive wasn't rendered bare, butt-ugly nekid. Something hung around to do the work of re-formatting, etc., etc. What was that little nugget (kernel?) and where does it live? Was that the BIOS, that is somehow wedded as one with the hard-drive, never to be ripped-off and thrown aside?

    The concept this question poses somehow strikes me as a basic life form question, kinda like the origins of the universe. If someone can make sense of this, my oneness with computer mysticism will move into the wispy clouds of the great mountain that lies beyond Windows Wonderland.

  2. #2
    Registered User
    Join Date
    May 2003
    That was a rather long-winded and poetic way of asking how the hell your computer kept running while you trashed its contents.

    The basic answer is this: when a program is run, the entire thing is copied from your hard disk (or some other medium) into memory and run from there. Programs are never run directly from the hard disk.

    So while your hard disk is churning away, erasing itself bare, the format program is stored safely in a chunk of RAM. (along with any OS bits and pieces)

  3. #3
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    I do sorta tend to ease up to the nut of an issue with gathering momentum, but I appreciate your working thru the chaff to get at the wheat. Lemme take this concept one step further...

    Suppose'n I was to find a rickety old 386 at a flea market, had narry a program, OS, or anything else in its' innards; perhaps, let's say, didn't even have a hard drive. So, I buy a 30 gigabyter, slip it in, toss a RedHat CD into the drive, and...what happens next? Where is that little critter lurking who knows how to nudge this sleeping beauty awake and get the ball rolling?

  4. #4
    5|-|1+|-|34|) ober's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    wtf are you going on about? Talk in plain english. Enough with the "critter" talk.

    If you have a clean drive and try to install RedHat on it, everything to do that will be on the CD. The install will run from the CD until you copy enough system files onto the HD.

  5. #5
    PC Fixer-Upper Waldo2k2's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2002
    The BIOS is on a chip on the motherboard, not on the hard drive. The BIOS checks to make sure hardware is connected and functioning, sometimes tests ram, then launches the bootstap loader which will search for bootable media in the order you specify in CMOS (usually floppy first, then cd, then hard drive). If any of them have a sector that says "hey im bootable!" then it will pass control to the code stored there. If not, the bios will let you know. Get it?

    Use plain english next time, no one's impressed by the way you write.
    PHP and XML
    Let's talk about SAX

  6. #6
    Its not rocket science vasanth's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    I am able to understand him well. Its the Ammerican way of explaining things that i dont get most of the time...

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