BIOS Built-in Diagnostics and Monitoring
The built-in diagnostic feature of BIOS is used to collect information regarding the various problems of the hardware that are connected with the motherboard of the system. So, if any kind of problem is found with any device connected with the motherboard, such as fan, temperature, or voltage, the BIOS built-in diagnostics can be used to determine where the problem actually occurred. The BIOS built-in diagnostics program gives a detailed description of the problem or error code so that the troubleshooting can be handled easily. Apart from that, the detailed logs of the problems that are encountered are maintained in the built-in diagnostic program. User can also use this log to find out the issues and error codes. This is particularly useful when the computer device is under warranty period because in such cases this information can be conveyed to the product support. Apart from that, BIOS also has some common built-in diagnostic which are as follows:
Start test: This type of test is used to check the main component to ensure that they are functioning in proper manner. This type of test can be used when the computer system is not booting properly.
Hard drive test: In this type of test the hard drive is checked to make sure that there is no damaged area in the hard drive. If any damaged area is found in the hard drive, it retrieves the data from that damaged area and transfers the data to a good area. It also marks that damaged area of the hard drive as bad sector so that the damaged area cannot be used in future. This type of test is performed when the hardware does not function properly, computer does not boot appropriately, or the hard drive is making some unusual sound.
Memory test: This type of test is used to check the memory modules to make sure that all the modules of the memory are working properly. This type of test is used when the computer system fails to boot or is showing some unpredictable behaviour. If this test gives an error report the user should replace the memory as soon as possible.
Battery test: This type of test is used to check the battery of the computer to make sure that the battery is functioning in proper manner. This type of test is used when the battery of the computer system does not function properly, does not hold charge, or if incorrect charge level is reported. In case this test fails the battery should be changed immediately
The activities of the hardware that are connected to the motherboard are monitored by the BIOS built-in hardware monitoring features. However, the model of the motherboard determines the type and number of monitoring features of the BIOS. The hardware monitoring page of the BIOS is used to view the following:
Temperature: There is a heat sensor in the motherboard. This heat sensor is responsible for monitoring any rise in temperature in the hardware component. There exists a common heat sensor in every CPU. This heat sensor is responsible for monitoring the temperature of the CPU. If the temperature is high then it increases the speed of the fan of the CPU to cool it. In such a case, some BIOS setups also slow the speed of the CPU to reduce the temperature of the CPU. If the temperature is very hot, the BIOS may shut down the computer system in order to prevent the CPU from getting damaged.
There are some other heat sensors in the motherboard, which are used to monitor the temperature inside the case of the CPU or power supply. Apart from that, there are some heat sensors that can monitor the temperature of the RAM, processor, chip sets, and some other specific hardware components. To prevent the overheating, the BIOS generally shutdown the computer system or increases the speed of the fan.
Fan speed: The BIOS is also responsible for monitoring the speed of the fan. In some BIOS setup, the user is allowed to set the speed of the fan manually to get the specific result. The following are some common types of fan that are available in the CPU:
Standard fan: In this type of fan, the speed is adjusted automatically on the basis of the temperature of the CPU, power supply, CPU case, or any other hardware components.
Turbo fan: In this type of fan, the speed is very high. No other fan can have so much speed as turbo fan. Silent fan: In this type of fan, the speed is minimized so that no sound or noise of fan can be heard.
Manual fan: In this type of fan, the user gets the opportunity to control the speed of the fan. There is a fan speed control setting in this type of fan and with the help of this setting user can easily adjust the speed.
Voltage: The voltage of the CPU can also be monitored with the help of the voltage regulator that exists in the CPU. It is very essential to monitor the voltage of the CPU because the components of computer can get damaged because of very high or low voltage. The amount of the voltage in the CPU should be always proper. So, it is necessary to make sure that the power supply is operating properly. The voltage regulator of the motherboard may get damaged if the power supply is unable to provide the correct voltage to the CPU. In such case, the user will have to either repair or replace the motherboard.
Clock and speed bus: Some BIOS setup can also monitor the CPU clock and buses. This is necessary to determine whether the CPU settings have been determined correctly by the BIOS entered manually by the client or the manufacturer of the computer. This is very essential as incorrect bus speed can cause increased heat inside the CPU, which in turn can cause RAM or other specific hardware components to malfunction.
Intrusion detection: Now-a-days computer cases have a switch connected to the motherboard which triggers in case someone tries to open it. BIOS can be set in such a way that it can record if the switch is triggered. This setup helps the owner to find out if computer case has been tampered by someone.