Tips for Updating Your BIOS

October 14, 2011, By Christian Cawley

The BIOS on a standard desktop or laptop computer enables you to alter various settings that determine how the computer works. For instance, you can use it to change the boot order of your disks, change the speed of your CPU and on a laptop you might use the BIOS to enable or disable the wireless card.

Accessed via a single keystroke as your computer first switches on, the BIOS is an extremely powerful collection of tools, but don’t think that what’s on offer by default is all there is to it. Some motherboards ship with features locked or unavailable, and these can be activated with a BIOS update, a process also known as “flashing the BIOS”.

This BIOS update can be tricky to achieve, but as long as you have the prerequisite equipment and data then you should be able to complete the task without any problems!

Tips for Updating Your BIOS

What You Will Need to Flash Your Motherboard BIOS

Several things are required for you to flash the BIOS. The most important is a secure, uninterrupted power supply. Should have experience problems with a laptop battery running out, for instance, or are expecting power cuts, then don’t attempt to flash the BIOS. If you’re flashing a laptop BIOS the device really should not be on battery power – grab the power cable and connect to the mains electric.

Each motherboard manufacturer website will have a list of files available for your particular motherboard. If you use a laptop or a pre-built computer from say Dell or Acer, then head to the computer manufacturer’s website to look for a suitable download. Once you have found this, save it to your computer, ready to copy it to…

…a USB flash drive. In the old days we would use a 3.5 inch floppy disk to flash BIOS, but as these are rare in the second decade of the 21st century we opt instead for a USB stick. 99% of computers are capable of booting from and accessing these devices from the BIOS, so you can see why this is the preferred choice.

How to Flash Your PC BIOS

With the required components collected together, it’s time for a couple of quick warnings.

First of all, there is a risk inherent in flashing your BIOS. As such, you take complete responsibility for the outcome.

Secondly, the process differs from motherboard to motherboard. As a result, what follows is a guide rather than a step by step tutorial. You should read this to gain an impression as to what is expected from the process, and then find the correct set of steps for your own motherboard.

Begin by copying your downloaded BIOS update to your USB stick, and plug it into your PC. Restart the computer, and press the key that launches the BIOS (usually Del, but it could be F2 or F10) or accesses the BIOS update utility, which will be displayed on the splash screen.

In the BIOS update tool, browse to the USB device, select he update file and press Enter to begin. The process should complete without any problem and you can then begin accessing enhanced features or enjoy improved system stability.

Note that you might also use an executable to update your BIOS. Whether or not this is possible depends on the motherboard manufacturer, but if you’re able to do it this way, then simply restart your PC in Safe Mode and run the executable to apply the changes.

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