How to Update Your Computer BIOS
All computers use a piece of basic software to get the computer started. In the case of personal computers this is called the Basic Input Output System (BIOS), which ensures the computer starts and boots your operating system.
As with any software, the BIOS software has a version and can be updated to fix bugs, improve performance or enable additional motherboard features. Not all BIOS updates are always required, so updating the bios is not required in all cases. It is best to follow the recommendations of the PC or motherboard manufacturer on the BIOS updates.
The BIOS software is not residing in regular computer memory (RAM), but is a piece of memory that is permanent, even when no power is present. Typically EEPROMS are used, which are read-only memory, but can be changed by the right steps.
Before You Update the BIOS
As you can imagine, updating the BIOS is a risky procedure. If something goes wrong, your computer might not be able to start anymore. So please be careful and take the necessary precautions.
- Make a backup of your files before you update the BIOS.
- Find out your computer brand or motherboard brand. This is required to find the manufacturer’s website for the BIOS update.
- Check your current BIOS version and then compare it with the new BIOS version on the manufacturer’s website.
- Read the change history or release notes on the newer version to determine if the BIOS update is required or useful.
In Windows you can easily check the current BIOS version number using the msinfo32.exe program.
- Read the instructions on the manufacturer’s website on how to update the BIOS. There are procedures to update the BIOS that require a floppy boot, but there are also a lot of manufacturer’s that have Windows based BIOS update procedures.
- Make a backup of the current BIOS version. If the BIOS update software does not allow for this option, try to at least download a copy of your current BIOS from the manufacturer’s website, so you can revert back to that version if the new BIOS does not work.
- Download the new BIOS version from the manufacturer’s website. Don’t download it from anywhere else, unless you can be absolutely sure it is a reliable source!
Updating the BIOS
The process to update the BIOS is specific to the PC brand or motherboard brand. Rather than trying to cover each and every possibility here, we refer to the websites of the manufacturer’s for the BIOS update. In case your PC brand or motherboard brand is not covered, leave a comment and we’ll try to add it.
Do keep in mind that not all computer manufacturers offer BIOS updates, as they simply rely on the manufacturer of the motherboards used in their computers.
After You Update the BIOS
Once the BIOS update is complete, you need to check if everything went well and if the computer works as expected.
- In some cases the BIOS update process will automatically restart your computer, but in case it does not, manually shut down the computer. Leave it turned off for a minute and then restart.
- First see if everything boots and works normal as expected.
- If you updated your BIOS to solve a problem, check if the problem is gone or not.
- Shut down and reboot your system again, and now go into the BIOS (mostly by pressing F2 or Delete). Configure the BIOS to match the new version. This might not be required, but if the new BIOS version contains new settings, you want to make sure they are set right. If in doubt, it is best to use the Load Default Settings option.
- Depending on the BIOS update, it is possible that you need to update the system drivers for your computer. It is best to scan your system for any driver updates required after the update.