How to Update Your Bios

By Techwalla Contributor

The Basic Input/Output System or BIOS on your computer supplies your operating system with the data it needs to interface with internal components and peripherals such as your hard disk drive. Occasionally, it might be necessary for you to update your BIOS, either to eliminate bugs in the firmware or to provide your computer with added functionality. Updating the BIOS requires using a firmware upgrade procedure known as "flashing." The procedure will vary, depending on your computer brand and model, but the basic steps are essentially the same.

Things You'll Need

  • BIOS firmware update

Step 1

Write down your existing BIOS settings so you can restore them after you've flashed the new BIOS firmware.

Step 2

Determine the correct BIOS firmware that you need for your computer. Check your computer manufacturer's website for this information. If you have a custom-built system, check the motherboard manufacturer's website for the latest BIOS firmware.

Step 3

Download the latest BIOS firmware specific to your computer. Some manufacturers provide custom software that initiates the update through your operating system; others provide a third-party application that allows you to flash the BIOS through DOS.

Step 4

Run the installer or executable file that you downloaded. Alternately, if the BIOS firmware update is handled via your operating system, simply click "Update," "Write," "Confirm" or a similarly-named button. If you are prompted for an installation CD, insert the media into your disc drive. If the CD contains an "autoexec.bat" file, the BIOS will flash automatically when you restart the computer. While the BIOS flashing procedure varies, nearly all manufacturers provide detailed instructions for completing the task.

Step 5

Turn off your computer. Wait about one minute and then reboot. On some systems, the flash update will restart your computer automatically.

Step 6

As your computer reboots, go immediately into the BIOS setup menu and look for an option to "Restore Defaults" or "Load Fail-Safe Defaults." This will be on the main page or the last page of a tabbed menu. Navigate using the arrow keys on your keyboard and follow all on-screen instructions. When finished, save your new settings and then exit BIOS. Your computer will load the operating system.

Tips & Warnings

  • You can configure your updated BIOS with custom settings if you have an understanding of the process. Custom BIOS settings are optional.
  • Do not attempt to flash your BIOS if you are not confident of your ability to do so. Follow all instructions provided by the manufacturer and make sure that your computer is connected to a reliable power supply. If the power goes out during a BIOS flash, your computer may be rendered inoperable and you will have to replace the motherboard.