American Megatrends
BIOS Introduction

This is the 1st of a 2-part series on the American Megatrends BIOS, or AMIBIOS. You are introduced to what the BIOS is, the beep codes if there is a fault, and the BIOS Setup Utility.

Part 2 looks at the AMIBIOS Update process. This is not really a straightforward process. However, Part 2 tries to present the update BIOS process in easy to follow steps.

There are several pictures in this tutorial to help your understanding of the AMIBIOS. Listed below is a link to each feature that is discussed.

This gives you the option to either read through the whole page, or hop to the feature of interest.

Step 4 gives you the opportunity to contribute your knowledge and expertise to this web page! What do you know about the American Megatrends BIOS that you think should be included on this web page?

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Step 5 enables you to jump directly to the contributions of other visitors to this web page. Take a look. You may find out something new! Become your own computer support technician!


  1. What Is BIOS ?
  2. POST: Power On Self Test
  3. BIOS Setup
  4. Final Thoughts
  5. Share Your AMI BIOS Knowledge
  6. Read Site Visitors Web Pages

What Is BIOS ?

American Megatrends BIOS, or AMIBIOS as it is commonly known, is one of the most popular BIOS' in the world.

BIOS stands for Basic Input Output System. It is a small piece of software that sits on a chip inside of your computer on its motherboard.

You often hear the BIOS be called: Firmware, System BIOS, CMOS, Flash BIOS, ROM BIOS and RAM BIOS.

AMI BIOS Motherboard Chip
(Click Image To Enlarge)

AMI BIOS Motherboard Chip

The BIOS checks that all the parts inside your computer, e.g. keyboard port, memory, graphics etc., are in working order before your operating system, e.g. Microsoft Windows 7, is loaded.

The initial check that takes place is called the Power On Self Test (POST). When you first switch your computer on, the POST is taking place when you see this screen (or similar):

American Megatrends BIOS POST Screen
(Click Image To Enlarge)


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POST: Power On Self Test

If the POST does not detect any problems, your computer, or laptop, or tablet (etc), will make a short beep noise to let you know your computer passed the POST test.

Your operating system will then start to load using the information provided by the BIOS. The 'Bootstrap Loader Program' does this automatically.

If the POST detects a problem with your hardware, it will beep to let you know. The number of beeps and the subsequent on screen message (unless it is a graphics card issue) will tell you what the problem is.

There are 11 common American Megatrends BIOS beep codes. These are given in the table below, with some suggestions as to what they mean:

Beep Code Error Message Potential Issue
1 Beep DRAM Refresh Failure Memory or Motherboard
2 Beeps Memory Parity Error Memory or Motherboard
3 Beeps Base 64k RAM Failure Memory or Motherboard
4 Beeps Motherboard System
Timer Failure
5 Beeps Processor error Processor (CPU)
6 Beeps Gate A20 Keyboard
Controller Failure
Keyboard or Motherboard
7 Beeps Process Except
Interrupt Error
Processor (CPU) or Motherboard
8 Beeps Display Memory Read
Write Error
Video (Graphics) Card
9 Beeps ROM BIOS Checksum Error BIOS Chip or Motherboard
10 Beeps CMOS Shutdown
Read/Write Error
11 Beeps Cache Memory
Test Failure


The PC Guide (Opens New Window) web site has some excellent material on how to troubleshoot AMIBIOS problems.

The information is quite technical. If you are unsure I would advise in this instance to take your machine to a local Small Business Computer Repair shop, or call your computer makers support line.

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BIOS Setup

The American Megatrends BIOS Setup Utility provides a lot of details about your computer hardware. You can change some of the settings if you want to, but in most cases you won't need to.

Some details are for information only, which you cannot change.

When you switch on your computer, press the Delete key American Megatrends BIOS Keyboard Delete Key to enter the BIOS Setup Utility.

When you switch on your computer, press the Delete key to enter the BIOS Setup Utility.

There is only a small window of opportunity to do this before your computer starts to load the operating system. Therefore, keep pressing the delete key until the BIOS Setup Utility appears.

On some computers you need to press the F1 or F2 keys on your keyboard to access the BIOS Setup Utility:

American Megatrends BIOS Setup Utility
(Click Image To Enlarge)

AMIBIOS Setup Utility

Your AMIBIOS Version may look different to the image above. However, the menu names (Main, Advanced etc.) and how you move through each option are usually consistent, as shown in the right hand side of the image (Select Screen etc.).

The options in grey are for information only, and cannot be changed e.g. Processor Speed. The options in blue can be changed.

In the image above, you could change the system time and system date if you wish, for example, if you have an AMIBIOS laptop and you moved to another time zone.

You can also setup BIOS passwords in the Security menu so only you and selected members of your family can change the BIOS settings:

AMI BIOS Password Prompt
(Click Image To Enlarge)

AMI BIOS Password Prompt

Most home computer users do not need to change any of the BIOS settings. Don't worry if some or all of this pages doesn't make too much sense to you. Treat it as information only.

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Final Thoughts

If you want to know more about how to update your BIOS to the latest version, take a look at the AMIBIOS Update page - Part 2 of this tutorial.

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La PC Menciende Pero No Responde A Ninguna Acción Not rated yet
Hola mi nombre es Carlos Torres. La pc enciende pero en el pre arranque no responde a ninguna accion. Solo queda en la pantalla una imagen con el logo …

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Thanks for all your information about AMI... Please tell me how can I reset the BIOS password on my Sony Vaio CW Series (VPCCW) ... After I updated …

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I have an American Megatrends BIOS MotherBoard. However, in the BIOS Setup there is NO OPTION for SATA Controller and other Configurations. I have a …

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