Monday, October 12, 2009

How to Get an Optimized Match Between Windows 7 and Your PC's BIOS

Embracing Windows 7 will bring new levels of functionality as well as ease-of-use features to your current computer. But is your PC really ready to upgrade to Microsoft’s latest operating system?

At the heart of every PC is a foundation program called the basic input-output system, or BIOS, which is the base all that other software - including Windows® – must build. Your PC’s BIOS might have some compatibility issues with Windows 7 that could steal performance or even cause loss of function.

The BIOS is the first in a series of programs that the PC must execute - a process called "booting" - in order to become ready for use. Booting is not the BIOS’s only role, however. In order to get things started, the BIOS must have a detailed understanding of the PC’s specific hardware and configuration and be able to interact directly with that hardware.

Windows, on the other hand, needs to be able to run on any suitable computer regardless of such details, so it does not work directly with the hardware. The BIOS serves as Windows’ local guide, interpreter, and foreman for interacting with PC hardware, so the two must work together efficiently.

The older BIOS on your current PC, however, may not fully mesh with Win7. Some users, for instance, have reported that the brightness function keys for their laptop displays stopped working after Windows 7 was installed – the result of a BIOS-Win7 mismatch. A properly matched BIOS, on the other hand, will allow Win7 to efficiently interact with the PC’s hardware, boosting performance across nearly all applications.

Since the BIOS is slightly different on every computer, so there is no way for the Win7 installation software to know if your BIOS also needs an update. You’ll have to check that yourself, a potentially laborious process that requires finding out who made your PC’s BIOS and checking with their technical support to identify and install the upgrade.

Phoenix Technologies, the world leader in BIOS technology, offers a tool that vastly simplifies the process for almost any PC: BIOSAgentPlus™. This low cost and simple-to-use tool will scan your PC’s BIOS to determine if upgrading is needed, then automatically locate and install the new programming that ensures your PC is up-to-date and ready for Windows 7.

It’s a quick and easy first step that all should take before attempting to install the new operating system. The result will be an optimized match between Win7 and your PC’s foundation, giving you a solid boost to reaching top performance with your Win7 upgrade.

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