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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.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


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.
This article is provided by FOLDOC - Free Online Dictionary of Computing (


(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 and application.

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. Software changes required replacing the chip, hence the "firm" moniker (see ROM, PROM and EPROM).

NOR and NAND Flash Memory
NOR is the type of flash memory typically used for software because individual instructions can be executed in place. NAND flash, which is mainly used for storage, may also be used. However, a program in NAND cannot be executed in place and must be copied to RAM for execution (see NAND flash). 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 a firmware update for the QNAP server, a network storage device (see NAS).
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References in periodicals archive ?
The company recommends users install the firmware update and toolbox and run the Trim function daily to ensure best performance.
This new service makes it possible to update the firmware of a Panasonic lens on an Olympus camera or vice versa.
These devices are made of thousands of components manufactured by different manufacturers, many of which will be running machine level firmware; this is where an effective and potentially devastating infection could occur.
(NASDAQ:PTEC) is the global market leader in system firmware that provides the most secure foundation for today's computing environments.
"With the new Scalar 100 firmware option, the library itself has become smart enough to keep track of drive and media versions and to make sure that compatibility is always maintained, no matter which versions of backup or archiving software are being used.
An OEM wishing to provide the greatest investment protection for their customers should, again, look for a vendor whose mezzanine cards can be updated with only a firmware upgrade rather than a physical replacement of the card.
This cryptographic kernel firmware securely compresses and encrypts messages with Triple DES (Data Encryption Standards).
The Y2K problem results from a major design flaw located in hardware, firmware (chip-based software), software or all three.
To achieve that immunity level, Van Dorn says it has addressed both noise protection in the "firmware" - i.e., software that is specific to microprocessor modules within the control - and grounding and shielding of the communication lines.
Firmware files have confirmed that the Mi Mix 2S does exist and it has also given fans some information on the handset's specs.
The 17-page report illustrates firmware vulnerabilities including hidden backdoor accounts, private security keys and 3rd party library vulnerabilities.