One of the most important things that you should not mess up is updating the BIOS of your computer's motherboard. Yes, the process is not that complicated even though it is not easy either but there are so many things to you must get right, that it might seem overwhelming. We decided to help and share a list of best practices that will help you update the BIOS without problems from your very first try. Let's get started:
NOTE: If this is the first time you have heard about the BIOS or you don't know exactly what it is, read this article: Simple Questions: What is the BIOS & What Does It Do?.
Step 1. Find The BIOS Version Used By Your Computer's Motherboard
First, you will have to find if there is an update available for the BIOS of your computer's motherboard. In order to do that, you need to know the current BIOS version that is used by your computer. There are many ways of learning the BIOS version and we have shared them in this article: 6 Ways Of Learning Your Computer's Motherboard BIOS Version.
Step 2. Check If There Are Any BIOS Updates Available
Once you know the BIOS version used by your computer's motherboard, it's time to find out if there are any new updates available. To do that, you'll have to search the support page of the company that manufactured your computer (if it is a prebuilt system from HP, Dell and others) or your motherboard (if it is not a branded computer). The manual you received for your computer or your motherboard should tell you what this website is.
Once you've landed on the manufacturer's support website, look for something like Drivers or Downloads. Because every computer or motherboard model has its own specific BIOS, you'll have to identify it exactly. The manufacturer's website usually offers more ways of doing that. You'll probably be able to use a search box, a list of products and models or an application that you can download and run to automatically find the appropriate BIOS version for your computer.
Once you've correctly identified your computer or motherboard, look for a section like BIOS Download, Firmware or Utilities. On the page with BIOS updates you might find more than one version available. Also, each version might be available in different formats, depending on the method that you choose for updating the BIOS. These methods usually include updating the BIOS directly from Windows, updating it from DOS or updating the BIOS from the BIOS itself.
If an update for your BIOS is available, download the newest version, taking care to select the file corresponding to the method you plan to use to update it.
Be sure to download the BIOS update for the exact model of your computer or motherboard and not another one. If you'll manage to rewrite your BIOS with a BIOS that is written for another computer or motherboard model, you will risk bricking your motherboard.
Step 3. Prepare Your Computer For The Update
Preparing your computer is a very important step in updating your BIOS and there are a couple of things that you should do:
- Read the Readme files that are distributed with the BIOS update files you've downloaded. These might give you very important information about the updating procedure and what you should do and not do.
- If possible, try to update your BIOS while using a reliable source of electricity. If you're updating the BIOS for a laptop or another portable device, make sure that its battery is fully charged. If you're doing it on a desktop computer, use an uninterruptible power supply if you have one. These precautions are necessary because only a small power fluctuation can corrupt the BIOS while it is being updated. That can lead to an unusable computer.
- If you're updating the BIOS from Windows, it is preferable that you disable any running antivirus or security suite, so that it doesn't block anything during the update process.
Step 4. Backup The Existing BIOS Version
Most BIOS update programs include a backup option for your current BIOS version. If such a feature is available, take advantage of it and backup your existing BIOS version before the upgrade. In case something goes wrong with the update, the backup may be a lifesaver.
In case the BIOS updater provided by the manufacturer of your computer or motherboard doesn't offer a backup option, a good freeware alternative is the Universal BIOS Backup Toolkit.
Try it out and use it to backup the existing BIOS version.
Step 5. Update The BIOS Of Your Computer Or Motherboard
The steps involved depend on the method that you chose for updating the BIOS.
Step 5.1. Update the BIOS from Windows
The simplest method is to update the BIOS from Windows. If this is what you chose, you should have one or more files downloaded to your computer. Below you can see an example for what you should have in case you update an Asrock motherboard. Among these files, there should be an executable.
Double click or tap to run the executable. To begin updating the BIOS you might have to choose the new BIOS or it may be selected automatically. Then, look for a button named Update, Flash, Run or something similar and click or tap on it. Once you've done that, all that you have to do is relax and watch your BIOS getting updated.
In most cases, when the process is done, the updater will notify you that a system reboot is necessary.
If everything worked out well, the BIOS is now updated. You can now access it and tweak its settings to your liking.
Step 5.2. Update BIOS from DOS
If you choose to update the BIOS from DOS you will have to create a bootable drive (USB memory stick, CD/DVD, external HDD) and copy the BIOS file(s) on it. Then, reboot your system and boot from this drive. Depending on the instructions shared by the manufacturer of your computer/motherboard, you'll have to run a specific command. This can be simply the name of the BIOS file or it can be something similar to the command below:
Wait for the BIOS to get updated and then reboot your computer.
Step 5.3. Update BIOS from the BIOS
A third method of updating the BIOS involves using the BIOS itself. Some manufacturers include this feature. However, it bears a different name from one manufacturer to another. For example, if you have an Asrock motherboard, your BIOS will have an Instant Flash utility. If you own an Asus motherboard, its BIOS will have an utility called EZ Flash.
These kinds of utilities usually request that you save the new BIOS file on an external drive or USB memory stick. This drive doesn't need to be bootable and there is no command you must run in order to start the updating process. These utilities automatically detect the presence of the new BIOS file on the drive you selected and start updating the BIOS. When the update is finished, reboot your computer and you're done.
Updating the BIOS is not as difficult as it seems at first but it does require a bit of attention and care. If you mess up one tiny little detail, you will have lots of troubles to deal with. Also, things like a power failure during the update process can corrupt the BIOS and make your computer unusable. These problems can only be repaired by specialized personnel in computer repair shops or by the manufacturer of your computer. Hopefully our guide has helped you go through this process smoothly and without issues. If you have any questions or you would like to share more useful advice to other readers, don't hesitate to leave a comment below.