What is Firmware
Firmware is a combination of software and hardware. It cannot be termed as hardware or software. It is the mixture of both. Firmware is stored on Read Only Memory that means the contents stored in firmware are usually permanent. We cannot change the contents of a firmware. It is stored on ROM a chip that is why it boots up with each and every time your computer boots up. One of the most commonly used firmware is BIOS chip in the motherboard of your system. The BIOS chip is a very important chip in your system, which when boots up checks if each and every device connected with your system is working properly or not. It also loads the essential hardware in the system. Earlier it was not possible to change the contents of the system, but now as the technology has become more advanced, so it has become possible for the computer experts to rewrite the contents of the firmware. Now the contents of the firmware can also be erased. This feature of firmware has extended the life of the system in which this is used. Firmware is used in almost each and every product in electronics field. So that is why it was essential for the experts to invent such facility. Earlier, if you need to change the contents of the firmware or BIOS chip, we had to change the entire motherboard. But now you can just change the BIOS chip or you can even erase the contents of the chip and can rewrite it. Now firmware is of 3 types:
ROMs (Read Only Memory) PROMs (Programmable Read Only Memory) EPOMs (Erasable Programmable Read Only Memory)
The contents of PROMs and EPROMs can be changed through deleting the contents or simply updating them. While the contents of ROM as mentioned earlier are permanent and cannot be changed. Operating system installed in your system like and version of Windows, MAC or Linux are the examples of firmware. If you want to install a new firmware in your system, then you can directly download it in your system or if the updated version is not available with you then you will have to ask it from the manufacturer of the firmware. Firmware has made the life of people quite easy as now you can install information on it on a larger scale. As the technology is developing, new feature are being added into the firmware. Keep an eye on it. It might bring or add something new in some days, weeks or months.