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CMOS: The Chip That’s Always On

CMOS: The Chip That’s Always On

You’ve been working on your novel for hours, and it’s finally time to go to bed. You save your work and shut down your computer. But is the computer really off? How will it know all your settings the next day? Wouldn’t it be nice if there were a piece of hardware that could store your computer’s information after it’s off? Although you might not have known it existed, there is a device that does just that: the CMOS chip.

Complementary metal oxide semiconductor is the full name, and it also hints at how CMOS chips work. First, however, what exactly does the CMOS chip do? The CMOS chip in your computer controls a number of settings, including the following:

1. controls the date and time
2. saves hard drive details
3. retains language settings
4. remembers system passwords

Its main tasks seem basic, but that is why the CMOS chip is so important. The CMOS chip is unaffected by the loss of power incurred when you turn off your computer. It has its own small battery that powers it, which allows it the ability to consistently save the pivotal information needed to run the computer when it is on. The complementary metal oxide semiconductor core is the most effective and efficient design of circuitry for chips, which is why CMOS is able to perform its duties so well.

The CMOS chip works closely with the BIOS, which is the set of instructions needed to boot up the computer every time. The CMOS chips hand off its stored information to the BIOS when the user turns on the computer. BIOS then takes over and loads the operating system. CMOS chips can be edited from their default status. Without the proper CMOS settings, your computer would not run, so making sure the chips are is significant. For the most part, though, the CMOS works without you even needing to worry about the status of your novel.

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