BIOS is a computer’s most basic system. Through BIOS the motherboard controls all of the machines’ hardware. BIOS is programmed by firmware and is able to save settings that have been inputted by the user.
When you access a computer BIOS, you check this data against the main components attached to the motherboard and customize several options relating to them – which requires quite an in-depth knowledge of the subject. It is also possible to update the BIOS, which we will go over in this article but first it is necessary to review some points before we get on to updates.
Why Update your BIOS?
If your computer meets all your needs and isn’t showing any type of failure or error then you probably shouldn’t bother updating the BIOS. We say this because playing around in the BIOS can be dangerous and any error could cause serious errors, which will only bring more headaches.
On the other hand, if you have problems with hardware compatibility, performance or any situation where a BIOS update could be the answer – it’ll be worth knowing how to move forward safely – this process may be the best way out.
You should note some extremely important details when updating the BIOS. First, make sure that you use the exact BIOS template for the motherboard of your machine.
It is also important to make use of a UPS or, at least, a surge protector to avoid power fluctuations. This is important because a drop in power during the process can corrupt the BIOS, which will give you no end of grief whilst you try and fix it.
Know the BIOS Model
If you’ve decided to upgrade the BIOS, you should know the exact model you’re dealing with before you proceed. By purchasing pre-fabricated computers from well-known brands, there is a good chance you will find the links to the latest BIOS versions on their respective websites. Generally, you put your machine’s exact model and the file list appears ready to be downloaded.
Some motherboard models also include an application that automatically searches for and updates the BIOS. This program usually comes with the motherboard drivers installation CD. If you have this then use it as it is the simplest and safest way to update the BIOS.
Nothing on those sites?
If you can’t find what you need on the manufacturers’ websites, you need to complete two more steps before you can move forward: find the BIOS version and the motherboard’s manufacturer.
For finding the BIOS version, the best option is to use the msinfo32 command. In Windows 10, 7 and Vista type it into the Start Menu search gap. In Windows XP you must choose the “Run” function, also located in the Start Menu.
In the information window just look at the motherboard model and the BIOS version installed (as shown in the figure below). If the motherboard does not appear in the list and you do not have a box or CD containing the model, use a hardware diagnosis tool like Everest. When installing and running the program, access the initial summary or the “Motherboard” option to find the information.
You can now search for the correct BIOS update. When searching through the list of files in the specific site there will usually be a description of the improvements that the version will bring. If the items described are what you need, download the file and update the BIOS.
At this stage it becomes a bit complicated to explain the upgrade process, since depending on the model and year of your motherboard it may be totally different. These days, the BIOS update is usually done automatically, within the Windows interface itself.
On older motherboards, however, it may be necessary to copy the file to a USB or CD and boot the machine with the cd inserted, which requires a little more knowledge on the subject. If you feel insecure about doing this, the best option will be to ask for the help of a specialist.
Finalize the process
Once the BIOS is fully upgraded, a good tip is to turn your machine off and on again. Wait a few seconds for the machine to restart again and then check the changes in the exact same way you did to find out the BIOS version with the msinfo32 command.