Your computer’s BIOS or Basic Input / Output System is a computer program that allows your operating system to communicate with hardware connected to your computer. It is also the part of the computer that starts up and prepares the computer before the operating system takes over.
In other words, it detects all connected devices, verifies that they are working correctly, and informs you if something is wrong before loading your operating system of choice.
Your BIOS is written to a read-only flash memory chip that is not affected by a power outage or anything that goes wrong with your operating system. This does not mean that the BIOS itself cannot be updated. Through a process known as “flashing”, your BIOS can be updated with newer versions released by your motherboard manufacturer.
But should update the BIOS? How is this done at all?
When should you update your BIOS
Updating the BIOS is not a trivial matter. If for some reason something goes wrong, it may well turn out that the motherboard will not turn on, in which case you will have to either buy a new one or send it to replace the BIOS chip. However, some modern motherboards have a “dual” BIOS, which can use a second spare chip to restore the main one. If you want to know if you have this feature, check your motherboard documentation.
If your computer is working fine and you have no problem with it, you can probably stop worrying about updating your BIOS. That is, unless the new BIOS version adds certain features that you need.
You should also update the BIOS if there are critical security flaws that need fixing, or if you intend to upgrade to a new processor. Processors released after the BIOS was created may not work if you are not using the latest BIOS. Motherboard manufacturers usually have a list of supported CPUs for each motherboard, which also lists the BIOS version required for that CPU
If the cards lack particularly desirable features, major bugs, or hardware updates, then it’s probably best to leave the BIOS alone.
BIOS vs. UEFI
While it is still common practice to use the term “BIOS”, most modern computers have something called UEFI or Unified Extensible Firmware Interface. This is the trendy modern BIOS equivalent.
UEFI comes with a long list of improved features over the old school BIOS, but for our purposes there is no real difference here. Updating BIOS / UEFI works in much the same way.
What you’ll need to update your BIOS
There are two main ways to update the BIOS. One of these is in the native BIOS interface, even before your operating system starts up. The other is inside your operating system using the BIOS flashing utility provided by the motherboard manufacturer.
We strongly recommend that you use the operating system utility if this option is available to you. There are several reasons for this, the most important of which is that if something goes wrong with the BIOS flashing, you can still do something about it while the computer hasn’t rebooted yet.
In other words, flash the old BIOS or try flashing the new one again. It also helps that most good motherboard manufacturers have update utilities that are essentially automated, making your life easier.
If you really need to update the BIOS from the BIOS menu itself, usually because the operating system is not installed, you will also need a USB flash drive with a copy of the new firmware on it. You will need to format the drive to the FAT32 file system and use another computer to download the file and copy it to the drive. We’ll talk about a specific process below.
Is update available?
There are two ways to check for BIOS updates. If your motherboard manufacturer has an update utility, you usually just need to run it. Some will check if an update is available, others will just show you the current firmware version of your current BIOS.
In this case, you can go to the download and support page for your motherboard model and see if a firmware update file that is newer than the one currently installed is available.
Update with Utility
The computer we are working with here has a Gigabyte motherboard, so we need to download the Gigabyte update utility which is known as @BIOS Each motherboard may have a different brand and model. So look for an equivalent utility for your specific board.
After downloading the utility, all we need to do is launch it. It detects the current BIOS version and checks for updates. If he finds it, he will ask us to initiate an update. You can also manually flash the firmware file that you downloaded with this utility.
This is useful if you need to downgrade to an older BIOS version due to compatibility issues, new bugs, or decreased performance
BIOS / UEFI Update
Assuming you’ve downloaded a new firmware file and copied it to a flash drive, restart your computer and press the key to boot into BIOS. This is usually the Del or F12 key, but see your motherboard manual for the exact method. Your BIOS will probably look something like this.
Each BIOS looks different, but it should be an option that mentions updating or flashing the BIOS. If you choose this option, it should allow you to select the firmware file from the USB stick. After completing all the necessary confirmations, the flashing process should be completed.
In the case of our Gigabyte board, the utility is called â€œQ-flashâ€.
Unfortunately, the UEFI screenshot feature does not work while Q-flash is running, but the utility simply prompts you for the location of the updated firmware file and then flashes the BIOS. Just!
Make sure 200% that the firmware you are downloading is indeed intended for your motherboard. Some motherboard models have multiple hardware versions. Therefore, it is important that the update matches your board. It is also very important that the flashing process is not interrupted in any way. Whether it’s a power outage or pressing the reset button.
We’ve never experienced bricked board or failed flash, but they do happen and it can be a real challenge to fix. Therefore, follow the instructions of your motherboard manufacturer clearly and make sure you understand the process before even trying to complete it. The good news is that anyway, the flash should go out after a few seconds.