BIOS (Basic Input and Output System) is one of the key components of your CPU. It is a small chip mounted on your motherboard that takes care of some big things. It is responsible for initializing some of the most important components of the computer including the processor, RAM, GPU, and other parts of the CPU.
Usually, you don’t need to update the BIOS for it works fine through the entire lifespan of your computer. However, the update may be required if you are experiencing a bug or glitch specific to the BIOS or motherboard. Also, if you are planning to buy a new processor and don’t wish to change the motherboard, you may need to update BIOS to accommodate the processor. In this article, we will learn how to update bios.
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Word of Caution
Before we jump into the update process, we will like to give you an important heads up.
BIOS update is usually safe and does not cause any harm to your computer. But, you need to be very careful. If something goes awry during the update, your computer may become unusable. For example, if the power gets disconnected, your PC will go on Fritz.
Update the BIOS only if it is absolutely necessary. And if you really have to, we would advise you to be careful.
It is not a difficult process and often gets completed without a hitch. But, it is important to be in the know of the potential risks involved.
Know The Motherboard Brand And Model
The process of updating the motherboards is similar across various makes and models. However, there are always some small differences and you need to be aware of them. One wrong move can turn your motherboard into a brick. In this article, we are offering the generic guide to update the motherboard that applies to almost all the motherboards. But, if you need exact steps, you will need to look up for the motherboard you have. Also, remember that the same make and model motherboards may have different editions. So, if there is a REV number (revision number), make a note of it too.
Identify The Existing Version Of BIOS
You are going to need the BIOS version in order to update it. You don’t have to enter the BIOS setup to find the version. Click the Start menu and type in msinfo32. Click the msinfo32.exe file from the list. If you are using Windows 8 or 10, you can type misinfo32 in the search box and press ENTER. Alternately, you can press Windows and R keys together to open the RUN dialogue box, type in msinfo32 and press Enter key.
This will open the ‘System Information’ window. ‘System Summary’ on the left must be selected by default if not, select it. On the right, locate BIOS Version/Date. Note down the BIOS version from here.
Download The BIOS Update You Wish To Install
What you need to do now is download the files pertaining to the BIOS version you wish to upgrade to. The latest BIOS files are easily available on the website of the manufacturer. Look up for the manufacturer by the name of the motherboard manufacturer. On the manufacturer’s site, locate the link or menu to download the drivers and files.
You could now compare the latest version number with the current version of your BIOS. If they are different, this means your motherboard’s BIOS has an update available. Most manufacturers also provide relevant and useful information regarding the upgrade. For instance, the details may tell you how the updated version will boost the performance of your computer or how it will fix some specific issues.
We would highly recommend you to read any documentation related to the BIOS update on the website. The update process varies across motherboards and there are the subtle differences you need to look out for. Sometimes the update processes are apparently more distinct. The manufacturer’s notes will also provide you with the correct instructions to update the BIOS for your specific model.
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UPDATING THE BIOS
Now that you have the BIOS update files, what’s next? We could get started with the update process. There are some motherboard manufacturers that let you update BIOS from within the operating system for some models. All you need to do is run the update file and the BIOS gets updated within a few minutes. But, that is very rare. In most cases, you will need to update BIOS through BIOS setup itself.
You could use a USB flash drive or a CD to update BIOS from the BIOS setup. Burning a CD could be a hassle, especially since these disks are rapidly becoming outdated. USB drives are everywhere and incredibly easy to use. So, in this guide, for the most part, we will discuss how to use the USB flash drive to update BIOS.
Make a USB Bootable: Before you can use USB to update BIOS, you will need to convert it into a bootable drive. You will also need to create the ISO image for the bootable USB drive. There are plenty of utilities out there you can use. To generate ISO image, we recommend using FreeDOS utility. It is one of the most widely used and trusted tools for this purpose. To create bootable drive, you could use Rufus. If there is any other tool you are comfortable with, continue using.
If you need step by step instructions to create a bootable file, you can look up on the internet. It is easy and takes very little time. Once you have created a bootable USB drive, copy all the update files onto it.
Set the BIOS Boot Priority: There is a good chance your motherboard is not set to prioritize boot from the USB drive. It makes sense because you are already using an OS and thus your system must give priority to boot from the hard drive. Therefore, in order to boot from the USB drive, you will need to change the BIOS boot settings.
Reboot your computer (or turn it on if it is shutdown) and on the first startup screen, press the required key to enter the BIOS setup. Now, this can get a little tricky.
You can enter the BIOS setup only from the first start-up screen. If you have a fast, high-end computer, the screen might flash only for a second. So, that’s the window of opportunity you have. If you miss it, you will need to reboot the computer again (and you might miss it again). So, you need to be very attentive.
The moment you press the power button on CPU, press the key repeatedly. You will be able to enter BIOS setup. And don’t worry; it’s not that difficult.
You also need to know which key to press as it may vary across motherboards. On the first start-up screen, your computer tells you which key you need to press. In most cases, it is the ‘Delete’ or ‘Del’ key. Some motherboards require you to press ‘F10’. Others may have a totally different key.
Once you have entered the BIOS setup, locate the boot menu or option. Again, the menu layout varies across motherboards so you will need to explore the setup a little bit. But, it is usually quite easy to find. In the boot menu, you should see the option to set the ‘boot priority’ – set it to USB Drive.
Update BIOS in DOS: Insert the bootable flash drive and reboot your computer. As you have set the boot priority, your computer will load up the USB boot in DOS.
While creating the bootable USB drive, you copied some the update files to USB. At this time, you also copied the flash tool onto the drive.
Type in the filename of the flash tool and press Enter. You should be able to see the information regarding your BIOS including the build and age. You will also see other details regarding the current BIOS and the version you wish to update to. We would recommend you to take a good look at everything to make sure everything is in the right place and that you are doing the right thing. You may also create the backup of your existing BIOS here.
Once you have checked everything and are ready for the update, select the BIOS file for the new version and press Enter for it to update the BIOS. It may take a few minutes depending on the CPU specs.
Update from BIOS setup: You don’t necessarily have to boot from USB drive to update BIOS. You can also do it from within the BIOS setup. But, you will need the bootable USB drive with all the update files.
Insert the USB drive and reboot your computer. Enter the BIOS setup. The BIOS must have already detected the flash tool. Locate the name of the flash tool. You may find it in the ‘Tools’ menu. Again, if you don’t find it there, explore a bit.
That’s it! You have successfully updated BIOS.