CMOS may refer to any of the following:
1. Alternatively referred to as a RTC (real-time clock), NVRAM (non-volatile RAM) or CMOS RAM, CMOS is short for complementary metal-oxide semiconductor. CMOS is an onboard, battery powered semiconductor chip inside computers that stores information. This information ranges from the system time and date to system hardware settings for your computer. The picture shows an example of the most common CMOS coin cell battery (Panasonic CR 2032 3V) used to power the CMOS memory.
History of CMOS
The Motorola 146818 chip was the first RTC and CMOS RAM chip to be used in early IBM computers, capable of storing a total of 64 bytes of data. Since the system clock used 14 bytes of RAM, this left an additional 50 bytes for storing system settings. Today, most computers have moved the settings from CMOS and integrated them into the southbridge or Super I/O chips.
How long does the CMOS battery last?
The standard lifetime of a CMOS battery is around 10 Years. However, this can vary depending on the use and environment where the computer resides.
Which devices use CMOS?
How would I know if my CMOS battery is failing?
If the CMOS battery is failing, the computer cannot maintain the correct time or date on the computer after it's turned off. For example, after turning your computer on, you may notice the time as been set to 12:00 P.M. and the date is reset to January 1, 1990. This error indicates the CMOS battery has failed.
Another indication the CMOS battery is failing is if any of the following messages displayed when the computer is booting.
- CMOS Read Error
- CMOS Checksum Error
- CMOS Battery Failure
- System battery voltage is low
Apple computer users
How do you pronounce CMOS?
CMOS is pronounced as one word that sounds like see-moss.
2. When referring to a camera, see our CMOS sensor definition.
3. CMOS is also an abbreviation sometimes used to describe The Chicago Manual of Style style guide.