In computing, firmware is a specific class of computer software that provides the low-level control for a device’s specific hardware. Firmware, such as the BIOS of a personal computer, may contain basic functions of a device, and may provide hardware abstraction services to higher-level software such as operating systems. For less complex devices, firmware may act as the device’s complete operating system, performing all control, monitoring and data manipulation functions. Typical examples of devices containing firmware are embedded systems (running embedded software), home and personal-use appliances, computers, and computer peripherals.
Firmware is held in non-volatile memory devices such as ROM, EPROM, EEPROM, and Flash memory. Updating firmware requires ROM integrated circuits to be physically replaced, or EPROM or flash memory to be reprogrammed through a special procedure. Some firmware memory devices are permanently installed and cannot be changed after manufacture. Common reasons for updating firmware include fixing bugs or adding features to the device.