Look Up Another Term

Definition: firmware


(FIRM softWARE) Software instructions residing in non-volatile storage that holds its content without power. Firmware is found on computer motherboards to hold hardware settings and boot data (see BIOS) and on myriad consumer electronics devices to hold the operating system.

Not So Firm Today
Today's firmware chips are mostly flash memory, which can be easily updated, especially in consumer electronics products (see firmware update and flash memory). Although still used, the first firmware chips (ROMs, PROMs and EPROMs) could not be updated by the user. Changes in the software required replacing the chip, hence the "firm" moniker (see ROM, PROM and EPROM).

Instructions Are Firmware
Firmware holds software instructions. On devices such as smartphones and tablets, flash memory chips hold the data as well; however, user data are not considered firmware because they are not maintained and updated by the vendor. See non-volatile memory, flash BIOS, FOTA and wares.




The Beauty of Firmware
Firmware is easily updated and very automatic with most products. This message is from a firmware update for the QNAP server, a NAS device for network storage. See NAS and firmware update.