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Computer Newbies forum

General discussion

How does one determine what the bios settings should be?

by kipowen / January 6, 2006 11:38 PM PST

When I put the computer together the bios was all set up already. I'm not sure the settings are what they should do I find out what the best settings are for my setup?

my system components are:

CPU: AMD athlon 64 3200+ Newcastle (Socket 754)
HD: WD 160Gb serial ATA 150 7200rpm
Video Card: ATI Radeon X700 PRO AGP 256mb
Mem: OCZ Ultra High performance Dual Channel Kit 1Gig 3200 (2 x 512mb)
Monitor: Viewsonic VA1912b
OS: Windows XP Pro
Optical Drives: Lite-On DVD and Plextor DVD burner
Power: Antec True power 480W


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Kip, 'Default' Usually Suffices..
by Grif Thomas Forum moderator / January 7, 2006 1:41 AM PST

...unless you're trying to overclock the machine..Normally, the default settings work just fine on most machines..There are only a couple of items that I confirm or change if they aren't set as default.

1. Boot order: I make sure the boot order loads as "Floppy drive, CD-Rom drive, Hard drive". (If there is no floppy drive, then simply make sure the CD-Rom drive loads before the Hard drive) This is for system recovery purposes..When reinstalling the operating system, you'll want the Floppy drive and CD-Rom drive to load before the HD.

2. BIOS Virus Protection: This option isn't critical if you already run a good quality antivirus program and as such, I tend to disable the BIOS antivirus program IF it has the option to do so..Not all BIOS have this option. The Virus Protection ability protects the master boot record from being written to..Unfortunately, enabling this option can also work against you when formatting the hard drive so if you decide to enable this option, temporarily disable it when you do any partitioning or formatting of the drive.

3. Confirm that the BIOS time is correct.

4. Confirm that all drives are recognized correctly as well as RAM amounts and locations.

If you'd like to see some of the various options in the BIOS, the link below should help:

Hope this helps.


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Anti virus
by kipowen / January 7, 2006 9:47 PM PST

I'm just getting into the build your own pc thing and it is really interesting! It's amazing how much you can learn in such a short time. I feel better at least knowing how it all goes together. One question...if the bios anti virus is enabled, can it conflict with say norton anti virus program or the personal firewall from symantec? Or will it simply give me added protection? Thanks again.

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The anti-virus in the BIOS is only
by Ray Harinec / January 7, 2006 11:08 PM PST
In reply to: Anti virus

to detect if something tries to access the Master Boor Record. I believe that the other AV programs check that as part of their scan, thus you will keep getting dialog boxes asking if you will allow it to proceed.

My understanding is that most people disable the BIOS AV because of this.

You should double check me on this.

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If, perchance
by Ray Harinec / January 7, 2006 1:53 AM PST

your BIOS has Spread Spectrum and it is enabled [normally isn't] disable it. Other than that Grif's reply is great as usual.

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Another humble opinion
by retired / January 7, 2006 10:42 PM PST
In reply to: If, perchance

Most computers are set up so that when you first turn on your computer it will check to see if you want to boot from other drives besides your hard drive. It will automatically check to see if you have a bootable CD in your CD drive. If you computer has a floppy drive, it will check to see if your have a boot disk in the floppy drive. Then once it has checked all possible locations for a boot disk, the system will default to your hard drive and start booting Windows.

What are the benefits of changing the boot order of your system devices? If you modify the order of the boot devices so that the hard disk is placed at the top of the list, the system does not have to waste time checking other devices for boot records. Just by changing the order of the devices, you can shave anywhere from one to several seconds off of your boot time, depending on the speed of your hardware. If you ever need to use one of the other devices as first boot you can simply open settings again and change it.

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Retired, Just My Opinion..
by Grif Thomas Forum moderator / January 8, 2006 1:18 AM PST
In reply to: Another humble opinion

This thread is about "what the settings should be"..To me, the one or two seconds you save by placing the hard drive first in the boot order isn't worth the headache in an emergency. Many newer computers don't even provide a floppy disk so there's only the CD-Rom to check before moving on to the hard drive boot. It happens in a flash.

In addition, since I set up computers for a lot of different users, including new users, when I provide troubleshooting information over a phone I would rather not walk them through the process of accessing the BIOS by finding the correct F-key to press, then navigating to the boot order section, then changing the boot order. This additional process requires more time and makes the recovery process a little more complicated.

On your own personal machine, do what you want, but personally I see no real time savings by placing the hard drive first in the boot order.

Hope this helps and thanks for your ideas.


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