Update Your System BIOS – A How to Guide

In days gone by, when you wanted to change your BIOS you had two choices:

  • upgrade to a newer motherboard, or
  • if you had a replaceable ROM BIOS chip, replace it with a more recent model.

With contemporary EEPROM (Electronically Erasable Programmable Read Only Memory) technology – the successor to the original ROM BIOS – it’s possible to change the contents of the ROM BIOS electrically via software.

This tutorial will take you through the steps involved in both updating options, covering each of the following:

  • identifying and replacing your BIOS chip
  • locating and downloading the latest version of your BIOS code
  • updating your BIOS chip by means of flashing, using both the traditional MS-DOS method and from within Windows.

An acronym for Basic Input Output System, your system BIOS is often referred to as firmware because it is software that is per-programmed onto a Read Only Memory (ROM) chip.

It is responsible for initializing the motherboard hardware and other peripherals, and loading the operating system. There are a great many things that are configured and initialized “behind the scenes” before you even see the first flicker on your screen. Also, many ongoing functions, such as getting a keystroke from the keyboard, reading and writing disk sectors, and power management are handled by the BIOS.

The BIOS accomplishes its tasks via a standard library of functions, often referred to as BIOS “calls” or “functions” which the operating system and application software uses to carry out tasks or get information on system resources. The BIOS then communicates directly with the hardware to carry out the functions. It is in this way that the BIOS insulates the details of a particular hardware implementation from the operating system or application software.

The rate of technological development in the PC industry is such that motherboard manufacturers tend to release BIOS updates on a regular basis, as each new version typically offers improved performance, stability, or compatibility. Users can update their BIOS to it’s latest version, either by replacing the chip on which it’s stored or by reprogramming the chip using a process known as “flashing”.

Hardware Upgrades | PC Maintenance | PC Troubleshooting | PC Customization | PC Leisure

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This