In Part 1 of our mini-series, we looked at the general questions regarding a BIOS update. Now, we’ll look more closely at how to go about doing one. It is not possible, however, to provide detailed instructions for every system – different manufacturers provide very different solutions. Specific information on individual solutions can be found on the support pages of the various manufacturers’ websites. In such a short article we are only able to answer the most common questions and show you how to get the necessary tools and information to successfully update your BIOS.
- How do I find out if my BIOS is the latest version?
- Where do manufacturers make their current BIOS versions available and what does it cost?
- How do I perform a BIOS update?
How do I find out if my BIOS is the latest version?
In order to determine whether a newer BIOS version is available and then to be able to successfully update the BIOS, the following system information is required:
- Device name and identification
- Version number of the currently installed BIOS
- Mainboard manufacturer if your system has been built from individual components
Most manufacturers of complete systems provide modern support tools which automatically check the system details and the currency of the system at the click of a mouse (see “How do I perform a BIOS update?”). You can also determine the BIOS version number and the details of the mainboard from the boot screen when you start your PC. As the boot screen is only visible for a short space of time, you can view the BIOS by simply pressing a predefined key. Alternatively, you can download our homemade and free system analysis tool RAMinator and thus, easily access all necessary system information. Further assistance can be found in our blog entry on system determination.
Where do manufacturers make their current BIOS versions available and what does it cost?
If you go to the website of your system or mainboard manufacturer, you will find details about the latest version of BIOS available. The information is usually listed under the specific model number, serial number or service ID (bar-code). A higher number than yours shows that this version is newer than the one installed on your computer. The version notes give details of any new features and additionally supported hardware. Download both, the BIOS data package and its associated instructions.
In general, the manufacturers of complete systems provide new versions of BIOS free of charge on their support/help pages – as do mainboard manufacturers. You will also find detailed information and step-by-step instructions on how to perform the BIOS update on your particular system.
How do I perform a BIOS update?
This depends on the manufacturer. The majority of the manufacturers of complete systems provide modern support tools which automatically check the currency of the system and list any drivers which need updating. These tools, with their familiar look-and-feel, lead the user step-by-step through the update process – directly from the running operating system. The support pages also provide detailed assistance on how to perform a BIOS update without any support tool. These instructions though need to be followed to the letter if you want to ensure a problem-free update. There are systems where the BIOS update is prepared but not installed until the system is restarted. In this case, it is imperative that the boot process is not interrupted, even if it gives the impression of having hung.
Also take a look at our blog entry that gives video instruction on BIOS update using a Lenovo notebook. If you have any further questions regarding your BIOS, please use the comment function at the end of this article and we will answer as soon as possible.