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(computer science)
A computer program or instruction, such as a microprogram, used so often that it is stored in a read-only memory instead of being included in software; often used in computers that monitor production processes.


Software stored in read-only memory (ROM) or programmable ROM (PROM). Easier to change than hardware but harder than software stored on disk. Firmware is often responsible for the behaviour of a system when it is first switched on. A typical example would be a "monitor" program in a microcomputer which loads the full operating system from disk or from a network and then passes control to it.


(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.
References in periodicals archive ?
By clicking on a device element in the storage subsystem, such as a disk, a gif image of the device is displayed along with information about the vendor of the disk, the firmware level, SCSI ID, capacity and mounted partitions.
For a chipset maker, that means adding support on both hardware and firmware levels.
RLC lets administrators track library status, manage inventory, manage firmware levels, create library partitions, and update configurations.
As the telematics market continues to emerge, the ability to combine Trimble GPS location and Infineon communication technologies at the integrated circuit and firmware levels will become even more important to the automotive industry.
For example, RAIDScape collects disk drive serial numbers, as well as drive and controller firmware levels, facilitating asset management and troubleshooting.