A few questions, please answer if poss...

By Aolath
Apr 21, 2004
  1. I have a few questions that need answering regarding Windows XP, if you could answer them it would be greatly appreciated...

    1)Is all the BIOS info kept on the hard drive?
    2)When loading the Windows XP installation disk at boot up, and when it says setup is loading files, before you start reformatting or repairing Windows, are all those files coming from the disk or the hard drive, if you understand what I mean.
    3)When reformatting, is the only thing being used the hard drive? Is the motherboard being used, or any of the cables?
  2. Spike

    Spike TS Evangelist Posts: 2,168

    1, Thie bios is stored on a chip on the mainboard, in a type of memory caled 'flash memory'

    2, When loading the XP installation disk, the files that are being loaded come from the disk

    3, When formatting, partitioning, or using a computer in any otherway under the sun, you are always using a variety of parts, including hard disks, other IDE devices such as cd-roms, graphics card, CPU, etc.

    hope this helps
  3. Spike

    Spike TS Evangelist Posts: 2,168

    sorry, Just thought.

    What did you want these questions answered for? Please don't even think about putting anything (including your hands) inside your pc while it's on.

    Even when your PC is off, unless you have an old AT board which is extremely unlikely, you will find that while the power cable is still plugged in the back of your PC, there is a live 3.3V line though the motherboard. It supports 'soft-power'; a feature allowing the operating system to turn of the hardware, rather than requiring the user to do it.

    Sorry if I seem over cautious, but I'd hate to see either you or your mainboard get fried. :)
  4. Aolath

    Aolath TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 16

    Lol yes I know not to do anything while powers on, i'm not a newb, i've built computers myself before. What I mean by anything else being used during reformatting is what is actually being used to carry out the process. I know the cpu is running to power the pc, and the mobo is running to run everything, what I mean is what is being used during the reformat and reinstallation of Windows, is it only the hard drive that is actually doing something, without all the background parts. Soz if this sounds confusing lol!
    Also, another random question, when installing something like a driver, or something to update a computer part, what is actually happening. I mean, all the files in the driver or something else are all being placed, and replaced in the windows folder or somewhere else, but is anything actually happening to the computer parts you're updating, like the graphic card. Is all that's happening the computer part using the files that are created, or is some data/files actually going to the part? I know this sounds like hell to understand, I'll explain in more detail if need be.
  5. Th3M1ghtyD8

    Th3M1ghtyD8 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 664

    Apart from on some older machines (particularly COMPAQs) which make use of a hidden partition on the hard drive to store the bios and CMOS setup program.
  6. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    What do you mean by background parts? Surely there are some things that aren't running at any given time. But considering that Windows actually scans all the hardware in your computer then you can bet on most major components having to do something.
    Of course what Windows can't see, it can't use. So if you have a SCSI controller that Windows doesn't recognise then the devices attached to the controller are inactive.

    But of course there are some bits that are completely inactive such as the line driver components for unconnected peripheral ports or the devices you disabled in BIOS setup perhaps.

    When you install drivers, some files are placed in the system folders and maybe somewhere else on the hard drive and some Windows settings are changed in the registry. Some hardware devices may get reset or some of their registers changed during driver installation but nothing permanent or different from everyday use.

    If you are replacing the firmware for something e.g. a CD recorder then the normally read-only memory in the device is put in write mode and the software of the device itself is replaced.
  7. LNCPapa

    LNCPapa TS Special Forces Posts: 4,202   +422

    If I remember correctly formatting a drive is a processor intensive task.
  8. Aolath

    Aolath TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 16

    Basically all i'm asking is, is the only thing being actually used during the formatting of the drive, the hard drive? Say if formatting eventually, after loads of times, starts to wear out the hard drive, would it only be the drive that gets worn out or the cpu, and other components aswell...

    Ok basically this is what has happened. I have reformatted many, many times, and now my pc runs quite slow, the hard drive refused to start a couple of times coz of this. After many hard drive formats and windows reinstallations, it has, started wearing out the hard drive. I need to get a new hard drive anyway, as mine is getting old, so this dosn't bother me, but is it only the hard drive that will get worn out during the process, or is it any other computer parts aswell?
  9. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,689   +395

    The processor will get some wear on it from use. But way less than the wear on the Hard Drive. I'm not sure its your hard drive anyway that would cause speed problems like you discribe. Hard Drives unless they have bad sectors will not (at least as far as I know) slow down in performance much as they age. Scan your disk for bad sectors, that may be what is causing your slowdown.
  10. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    Any wear your hardware gets during format/reinstall is not bigger than the wear during running Windows normally and it is definently less strain than running Windows under heavy load.
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