Michael Maardt: PC since 1984 • on the net since 1990.

Get the most out of your PCCMOS and setup

(A) A safeguard, which manuals seldom describe, notes the information from what is called the CMOS (pronounced seemos) ? the memory that holds information about a PC?s configuration, including the hard disk. The information is kept "alive" by a battery that is usually rechargeable. If an accident happens and your hard disk doesn?t function, and the reason may be that the CMOS has been changed or reset, you have to know the values for CMOS to get it to work again.

Fortunately, it seldom happens, and the newer your hard disk, the lower the risk. My hard disk crashed once when I was forced to press the Reset button while I was in Windows. I had no option, and crunch went my hard disk. None of my emergency Help programs could fix it. FAT, Boot Records and so on were all gone. My only course was to start again, format the hard disk, install the programs and copy my data (which I had on diskette) back to the hard disk.

With your PC, you should have received a little leaflet from the hard-disk manufacturer. If you know the type specification of your hard disk, you will find the values here. If you don?t have this leaflet, ask your dealer.

You can also look into your hardware SETUP but only do this if you feel confident about what you are doing: Boot with the Reset button. Usually, it will say on screen that you can press one or more buttons to get into SETUP, where you?ll find CMOS. Esc, Del or maybe Ctrl+Alt+Esc are the most common keys. If nothing appears when starting, then look up the details, which should be in your PC?s manual.

You have to find CMOS setup or, if you have a menu, something about Hard disk. Write down the values for your hard-disk: type (usually user-defined no. 46 or 47) and the number of cylinders, heads and sectors. Write this information on a label and stick it on the cabinet. My hard disk has the following values: type 47, 1024 cylinders, 10 heads and 17 sectors. Usually, you need to use F10 or Esc to get out of SETUP. Occasionally you will be asked if you want to save changes. Answer NO.

If you are forced to say yes then do it, but be sure that you haven?t changed any of the values. If you have or have done something and don?t know the consequences, press the Reset button again. If you know that something isn?t saved, then it is always safest to get out and return to the "old" state: Reset the PC!

Some setups have both standard and advanced setup. You must know what you are doing. Never change values just for fun, or to see what might happen. Your dealer really won?t be very pleased with you if you do something users aren?t meant to do. I know, I?ve tried! But generally: be careful with setup, especially advanced setup, something I am not going to deal with in this general text.

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You are on michaelmaardt.com • © Michael Maardt 21. Jul. 2018