Saturday, April 21, 2012

Updating the BIOS of your computer / Flash BIOS

This might be a new term for most of you all but believe me, updating/flashing the BIOS amazingly increases your system performance. And yeah it is not so difficult. The update helps to maximize the hardware performance thus increasing your overall system performance. But before this, we need to have a little idea about the BIOS itself. So,  BIOS is the abbreviation for Basic Input Output System. It is the inbuilt component, a small chip in the motherboard of your computer.
Before explaining it's work we need to have a little idea about the CMOS. CMOS is the abbreviation for Complementary Metal Oxide Semi-conductor.This is also an inbuilt component, a small chip in your motherboard. Both BIOS and CMOS are two different terms and play different functions in your computer.

             BIOS also known as ROM BIOS and sometimes even System BIOS serves the functions like how your computer should boot and how should it operates.It contains the information about the basic computer components so that it detects the hardware errors/problems and can load the operating system properly. It includes the Power On Self Test (POST) that helps the computer to verify the minimum hardware components to boot up properly.If the computer does not meet the minimum requirements then the BIOS will beep indicating a defect on a hardware component.

             CMOS or RTC (Real Time Clock) or NVRAM (Non Volatile RAM) and sometimes even called as CMOS RAM is the inbuilt RAM(Random Access Memory) that is powered by the battery in the motherboard and stores the information about the hardware settings and the system time and date(this is why the computer's time and date does not alter even turning off the computer for a long time). Basically CMOS is the inbuilt RAM of your motherboard that stores the hardware settings that you have done in the BIOS and the system time and date so that even with no power for a long time, your computer will still display the correct time and date. But remember the battery(see your motherboard, there should be a large circular battery) needs to be changed after a while cause your computer can not power on without it if it dies off. A normal life span of the battery is like 5-6 years or in some case higher (more more info about the hardware components, read another article "Disassembling your computer") Therefore BIOS and CMOS both work together so that your computer can boot up properly and can detect an operating system.

              Now to the title about updating the BIOS. As we learned that BIOS contains the information about basic hardware components, so that information needs to be updated regularly. Some computer might show an error known as "PCI device detect fail" when you install windows 7 or service pack 3 on that computer. Some computer might not detect the recent operating system at all. Some may show errors after installation of recent operating system like windows 7,8 etc. Some might slow down after installation of new operating system. These all problems can be fixed by updating your system BIOS.The update also helps to detect new hardware that your computer do not recognize earlier.So, here are the steps describing on how to update your system BIOS.

1.First of all, check your BIOS version of the motherboard going to the BIOS setup of your computer. If you do not know how to go there then let me explain it for you. The BIOS setup window looks like the above picture.You need to restart your computer then press delete or F8 or or F1 or F2 or F10 or Esc key while the system is booting(before the loading of the operating system is shown)depending upon the motherboard. Most of the new motherboard out there use these keys to display the BIOS setup.If neither of the mentioned keys work then try pressing all the other function keys one at a time while the system is booting so that a blue screen like the above is displayed.If neither of the mentioned method works then try to visit your motherboard official website and get the info from there.

        Now, go to the BIOS features or Advance BIOS features so that you can see the BIOS version there. Remember the BIOS version or you can write it down on a paper. It may be named as PO2 or something. Just write down whatever is written as the BIOS version.There may also be given your motherboard detailed information like its chipset,socket used etc,copy them as well.

2.Exit the BIOS setup file. Your computer will restart. Now go to the official website of your motherboard. If you do not know which motherboard you have in your computer then see the configuration book that came with your computer. If you got a desktop then open the side panel of your Casing and look for the brand name of your motherboard along with the model number. For more info about the motherboard you can check out the article "Disassembling your computer". For those using laptop visit the official site of it's brand.

  Now, in the website go to the model number of your motherboard/laptop and search for the recent drivers released for the motherboard/laptop. In there you may find the recent BIOS released for your motherboard/laptop. If the recent release on there, matches up with the version you wrote earlier then your BIOS do not have any update available but if it has a new version then download it to your computer.If you so not find any BIOS related info in there then you can visit the given link below.There you will find the latest BIOS version available for your motherboard.

3.Now that you have downloaded the latest BIOS version available for your motherboard/laptop, you need a utility software like Live Update, BIOS update etc that will update the BIOS version to the newest version you just downloaded. Most of these utility software are included  in the driver CD that came with your motherboard/computer but if you got no CD then you can download them from the official site as well. If you do not find any of those utility software in the official websites then your manufacturer do not provide such software. In this case you need a third party software to update the BIOS version. For that visit the link below and select the product with the information you will find in your motherboard official website You need to check whether your BIOS can be updated or not.I mean generally BIOS can be updated but if in the official website they do not recommend you to update the BIOS then you should not update it.
 You can go to this site below to download the BIOS version available for your motherboard if you do not find it in its official website.You can also download the BIOS update utility software in the utilities tab after you have select your product information. But Remember, you need to have the motherboard model number and the chipset,socket used in it.You can find all this in its official website.
Foxconn Support Center

4.Install the utility software or the third party software you find from Google then open it and follow the procedure mentioned there to update the BIOS. First you need to back up the old version onto a drive so that you can restore the BIOS if anything wrong happens.After backing up the file, open the update bar of the utility software and go the offline update or update(named in some software), open the downloaded file when asked to locate an update(you may need to unzip the downloaded file if it is in zip format), hit Next and wait for a moment. DO NOT TURN OFF the computer while the file is loading otherwise your computer may crash. Now your computer will restart and after a clean restart the software may show finish message.Now restart your computer and go to the BIOS setup again and then to the BIOS feature to check the version of the BIOS. If there is another BIOS version, the BIOS version you just downloaded from the website then updating of the BIOS is complete.

5.You can also update/flash your BIOS with ME function but i do not recommend to do that. The flashing can also be done using a bootable disk including the BIOS update file but this process is also not recommended. Because both these steps include the disable of onboard jumper/BIOS that serves as the BIOS flash protection component.

      And this is it. This is how you update the BIOS version of your motherboard/laptop. After the BIOS update, your hardware will be able to detect the new operating system and also new hardware components. The PCI device fail problem will be fixed and your computer will process faster and smoothly.
      If you got any problems or confusions anywhere then feel free to ask me.I am always here to help you ^_^

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