How to Update Your Computer’s BIOS
Are you a computer aficionado? If so, you might want to update your BIOS. Updating your OS and software is critical, but updating your BIOS is only necessary if the new version contains a new improvement you need.
Proceed with caution as you follow these steps, and only update your BIOS if you really need to. If done incorrectly, a BIOS update could break your computer, causing the need for laptop repair.
Let’s look into what a BIOS actually is.
BIOS is short for basic input-output system. When you turn your computer on, the BIOS seizes control and will start the POST (power-on self-test) and pass control over to the boot loader which will start up your computer’s operating system.
The BIOS should “just work.” Unlike your OS which is kept on your hard drive, your computer’s BIOS is contained on a chip on your computer’s motherboard.
Manufacturers release updates to their computers BIOSes occasionally. These updates can replace the BIOS software your computer came with with a newer version of the BIOS.
BIOS updates don’t often add features, performance enhancements or security patches. They might fix a bug on a piece of hardware or add support for a new type of CPU.
If your computer is working just fine, reconsider updating your BIOS. You probably won’t see the difference between the new BIOS or the old one. In fact, you might even experience new bugs with a new BIOS version, as the system that came packaged with your computer may have gone through more testing.
Additionally, flashing a BIOS is more difficult than installing a regular software update. You’ll need the version of BIOS for your exact hardware. If you get the wrong BIOS, your computer could become unbootable.
What’s more, if your computer loses power while flashing the BIOS, your computer could become unable to boot.
When Should You Update Your BIOS?
- If you are experiencing bugs, you may be able to fix them by flashing your BIOS.
- Open the start menu by clicking the Windows logo on the bottom corner to the left of your screen.
- Open System Information by typing misinfo into the start window then click on System information located towards the top of the Start window.
- Next, to the “System Model” listing, you’ll see a series of numbers and letters. This is your computer’s model name. You’re going to need this info when you search for your BIOS update file.
- Find your BIOS version number. Next, to the “BIOS Version/Date” listing, you’ll see your computer’s model name, a company name, and a number after a period. The number after the period is your BIOS version.
- Head to your BIOS manufacturer’s support site.
- Find the BIOS update file.
- Make sure the file you download is newer than your BIOS version. You should see a version number in the file name. If this number is higher than your BIOS version number, your BIOS can be updated.
- Download the update file.
- Most BIOS update files will download inside of a ZIP folder.
- Make sure your computer is plugged into a reliable power source. You can permanently destroy your BIOS if your computer turns off during the update.
- Unzip the BIOS file.
- If there is a document titled “README”, open it and read it entirely before proceeding.
- Insert a flash drive into your computer. Your BIOS won’t be able to access your computer’s files, so you’ll need to put the BIOS update file on an external flash drive.
- Copy the BIOS file onto the flash drive.
- Leave the flash drive plugged into your computer for the rest of the update.
- Restart your computer to get to the BIOS page. To get to this page, you’ll need to press the key assigned to the BIOS startup – this is typically F12, but some computers use the Esc or Del key.
- If you see “backup” or “save” option on the BIOS’ screen choose it and follow any on-screen instructions – this means that you can restore your BIOS settings later if your update doesn’t work well with your computer.
- Turn on and use your BIOS update tool. You’ll want to look at your BIOS’ support site for a specific explanation on how to do this.
- A lot of the time, you’ll select the Boot menu, ensure your flash drive shows up, turn on any backup or flash options, and proceed.
- Let your computer’s BIOS update. This can take a few minutes to over an hour.
- When your BIOS is finished updating, your computer should restart itself, but you might need to confirm this.
- DON’T turn off your computer while the BIOS is updating. This will corrupt your BIOS and your computer will be unable to start.
Hopefully, this article has given you some direction if you are looking to flash your BIOS. Although you shouldn’t fix what isn’t broken, occasionally, updating your BIOS is necessary and sometimes manufacturers will advise you to do this if your computer is experiencing bugs.
Always proceed with caution, keep your computer plugged in, and make sure you are using the correct BIOS update file. Good luck!