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Understanding the ACPI BIOS for an x86-based computer

Updated: January 21, 2005

Applies To: Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2003 with SP1, Windows Server 2003 with SP2

Understanding the ACPI BIOS for an x86-based computer

For an x86-based computer, the basic input/output system (BIOS) is a set of software through which the operating system (or Setup) communicates with the computer's hardware devices. The Advanced Configuration and Power Interface (ACPI) is the current standard for the way the BIOS works. Products in the Windows Server 2003 family support not only ACPI-compliant BIOS versions, but also some BIOS versions based on older advanced power management (APM) and Plug and Play designs.

Some ACPI-based BIOS versions are not compliant with the standard. The more recent the version of an ACPI BIOS, the more likely that it is compliant. An ACPI-based BIOS that is not compliant with the ACPI standard might not support workable communication between the operating system (or Setup) and your hardware. If workable communication is not supported, Setup stops and displays instructions for contacting your hardware manufacturer and taking other steps to solve the problem. If this happens, follow the instructions provided.

To learn more about the ACPI compliance of your BIOS:

  • For information about your BIOS version, before running Setup, restart the computer and watch the text on the screen. Pay particular attention to blocks of text containing the words "BIOS" or "ACPI BIOS."

  • For information about BIOS versions for your hardware, check your hardware documentation and contact your hardware manufacturer.

  • If you think your BIOS might be a noncompliant ACPI BIOS, see the section about ACPI BIOS in the "System Recovery and Troubleshooting" appendix of the printed Getting Started manual.

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