Motherboard BIOS Updating

While often regarded as dangerous and not generally recommended, BIOS update can frequently resolve many system issues that you might be having. If your system is in fact experiencing stability issues, then this guide will help you flash the BIOS.
Things to know

Regarded as one of the best solutions for most system problems, BIOS updates have been generally accepted as a must-do troubleshooting step in almost every case where the system is either crashing, experiencing strange behavior or simply not working correctly. In the past, BIOS updates were frowned upon, it was not something you needed to do unless you really had serious issues with your system. Even to this day, manufacturers urge customers to avoid flashing the BIOS if everything is operating normally. However, with the technology moving forward, BIOS flashing procedures have become less and less risky. Most motherboards nowadays come with some sort of a failsafe or even a dual BIOS, that serve as backup should the flashing fail at any point.

Keep in mind however; BIOS flashing still has a certain level of risk associated with it. You must be very careful and always read manufacturer’s directions. Failure to follow them exactly step by step may result in a defective board. Manufacturers will not accept boards that have been damaged by failed BIOS update for RMA.

Requirements

In order to update the BIOS, all you need is a flash drive. Although it can be done via other media such as CDs and DVDs, flash drives are highly recommended for ease of use. You have to make sure that the flash drives you use are fully functional and that you have no problems with it such as frequent data corruption. Also, you have to make sure that the flash drive is formatted to either FAT or FAT16 or FAT32 file system. NTFS will work on some boards, but it’s best to use the standard that’s known to work everywhere. Make sure that you backup your DATA before formatting.

Most manufacturers’ BIOS updates are performed via single file. This BIOS update file can be downloaded from the manufacturer’s website from the product page of the board.

Usually BIOS update is packed in a ZIP or an EXE file. It’s important that these files are uncompressed. Most bios files will have an extension such as .ROM or .F11 (version). .ZIP files are not recognized by the BIOs. You will need to extract the file in order for it to be recognized. For simplicity reasons, make sure that the file is located on the root of the flash drive, avoid subfolders.

Procedure

Most motherboards such as Asus or Gigabyte have integrated tools within BIOS that can be run, allowing you to flash the BIOS. Refer to your motherboard manual regarding how to run these tools and how to navigate the folder tree structure.

Most boards will provide information about current BIOS, as well as updated BIOS when you allow the board to read the file on the flash drive.

Double check all the information before you begin the flashing process. It is crucial that you’re flashing correct BIOS for the correct board, otherwise the board may fail.

Once the process has started, you must make sure that it is not interrupted. System must not be shut off. It’s highly advisable that you have a working UPS unit in case of any power failures. System usually takes about 1 minute to complete the flashing process, so it’s not a very long wait.

After reboot, you may need to re-enter BIOS and re-configure your settings. Some bios will keep the profiles allowing you to easily restore your settings.

Alternatives

Many boards offer alternative flashing solutions, such as through Windows, or a dedicated startup discs. All of these solutions will work, although most recommended is using tools provided within BIOS. Using Windows tools can sometimes lead to problems, especially if your Windows OS isn’t running great. Using CD media can also be a problem if there are any integrity issues with the data.

Make sure that if you do decide to use the alternative methods that you carefully read the manufacturer instructions to make sure you’re doing the steps correctly.

Conclusion

You can usually confirm that the flashing went well by going back into the BIOS and checking the version of the system. It should show up correctly. If it doesn’t repeat the steps and make sure you have downloaded the correct bios version.

*Disclaimer: AVADirect and its Staff are not responsible for any damage to software/hardware, loss of data or personal injury by following our How-To guides. These guides are provided only as an aid to help you troubleshoot system problems. If you do not feel comfortable performing these steps its always best to send in your system to a local repair shop or contact an appropriate technical support line for additional assistance.