How to update the BIOS?

Discussion in 'other software & services' started by bellgamin, Jul 17, 2008.

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  1. bellgamin

    bellgamin Very Frequent Poster

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    I would VERy much appreciate step-by-step instructions, links, etc, as to how to update my computer's BIOS...

    1- Where do I go to download a BIOS update?

    2- What information will I need in order to do the download?

    3- How do I install the BIOS update once I get it?
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    The reason I am concerned about this matter is based on THIS article.

    Any help or comments will be muchly appreciated.
     
  2. vnt87

    vnt87 Registered Member

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    Depends on which brand of motherboard you have. Some manufacturers offers programs that can patch the BIOS for you if necessary. Information on updating your BIOS can most definitely be found on the manufacturer's website.
     
  3. Arup

    Arup Guest

    BIOS update is quite easy now depending on the age of your motherboard, no longer relying on unreliable floppies, they usually come as an executable which you click on and select the options given to update, reboot and thats all, you are set. Usually you would have to go to the BIOS after reboot to bring back your custom settings if any. You will find the BIOS file in your motherboard manufacturer or in case like DELL etc. if your PC is a branded one. In case your PC is older, then the only solution is to find out the last BIOS update for your motherboard and flash them in good old fashioned way via DOS. You can create a DOS USB pen drive and flash it from there after booting off it.

    Good detailed explanation here at http://www.devhardware.com/c/a/Hardware-Guides/Why-and-How-to-Flash-Your-BIOS/
     
  4. Hairy Coo

    Hairy Coo Registered Member

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    The articles suggestion is regarding a BIOS update for the CPU,not for the motherboard.

    Would take the whole report with a mountain of finest grade salt!
    I certainly will be be ignoring it-sounds like sensationalism par excellence.

    If either Intel or AMD in fact find it worthwhile to consider,no doubt a suitable fix would be forthcoming.

    A normal BIOS update of course is flashed from your motherboard manufacturer,but this isnt what is being discussed .
     
  5. Rico

    Rico Registered Member

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    Hi Bellgamin,

    On my Sony Vaio desktop purchased in 2003, I fairly recently looked into updating the bios & mb. I ran one of those 'driver' scans & then proceeded to manually update. The scan found newer Intel chipset software, which was actually the same as I already had. Intel explained that although the current chipset software, had a higher version number, than what I currently have, they were the same. Very confusing explanation from several Intel techies. I guess, what it all boils down to, is an exercise in futility, unless your trying to fix something addressed, by these updates.

    Take Care
    Rico
     
  6. innerpeace

    innerpeace Registered Member

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    I'm glad I wasn't the only one who caught that ;). Would a CPU BIOS = Firmware. I had a gander at Intel, but I don't remember seeing anything about BIOS.
     
  7. wat0114

    wat0114 Guest

    I wholeheartedly agree with Hairy. Bellgamin, if your computer has been and is currently running fine, then don't bother with the BIOS update. BIOS updating carries some risk with it, anyways.
     
  8. InfinityAz

    InfinityAz Registered Member

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    Gonna also agree with Hairy and wat0114. Unless the update provides you with increased functionality or stability or performance, you don't have to do it.

    Having said that, I've upgraded my bios many times and never had a problem. Also, newer mobos are generally much easier to upgrade. I would suggest that you back up your bios before the upgrade in case you need to roll back to a previous version. I also never get rid of the bios update files (just in case).
     
  9. LocoLobo

    LocoLobo Registered Member

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    Bellgamin,

    If you decide to update your bios, here is some helpful info.

    I have flashed the BIOs on my Dell twice with no reprecussions,
    taking only a few minutes of my time.

    Like it was mentioned, if your puter is running fine, why?
    Your choice, of course.

    LL

    Agree, backing up the bios is a good move too.
     
  10. HURST

    HURST Registered Member

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    How do you backup the bios?
     
  11. nick s

    nick s Registered Member

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    PC World's article, Researcher to Demonstrate Attack Code for Intel Chips, quotes Kaspersky this way:

    "It's possible to fix most of the bugs, and Intel provides workarounds to the major BIOS vendors," Kaspersky said, referring to the code that controls the most basic functions of a PC. "However, not every vendor uses it and some bugs have no workarounds."

    I believe CPU errata are addressed, when they can be, via mobo bios updates.

    Nick
     
  12. nick s

    nick s Registered Member

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    It depends on your hardware. ASUS, for example, provides a Windows BIOS update utility for backing up and flashing BIOS. I burn my BIOS backups to CD. If a flash goes bad (a very rare event in my experience), ASUS allows you restore from a CD or, more recently, USB sticks.

    Nick
     
  13. Arup

    Arup Guest

    CPU microcodes can be updated via software but usually BIOS is the preferred way and thats why the need for new BIOS in case this errata has been rectified via microcode update.
     
  14. Hairy Coo

    Hairy Coo Registered Member

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    The point here is surely, whether Intel will consider that there may be a real threat by Kaspersky's revelations at the conference
    here


    Until then forget it-just another alarmist theory-I think we can safely leave this to the experts.

    On further reading ,Kaspersky was referring to Intel and the mobo manufacturers together, developing new BIOS firmware versions,to counteract any CPU errata.

    Generally- install the new BIOS firmware by downloading the BIOS(download) Utility which all major manufacturers seem to have available-press the update button-reboot-thats it!
     
  15. Hairy Coo

    Hairy Coo Registered Member

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    A lot of computers have Dual Bios-a main and a backup,
    If the system is damaged the backup will takeover.

    Otherwise backup to a floppy if available and use the BIOS function to restore.

    Generally not necessary.
     
  16. lodore

    lodore Registered Member

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    Hello bellgamin,
    what motherboard make and model do you have?
     
  17. bellgamin

    bellgamin Very Frequent Poster

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    Main Circuit Board: MICRO-STAR INTERNATIONAL CO., LTD MS-7104 20A
    Bus Clock: 100 megahertz
    BIOS: Phoenix Technologies, LTD 6.00 PG 02/22/2006

    Duhh -- is that what you asked about?
     
  18. wat0114

    wat0114 Guest

    Hi Bellgamin,

    MSI provides an online “Live Update” service here. But there are some rather important caveats to note...

    ...so you can see some of the inherent risks involved. I still maintain: “Do not update you BIOS if everything is working fine for you”. It does not look as though you have a backup option, though I could have missed it. In short, if something goes awry, you could hose your motherboard.

    Many people successfully update their BIOS, but the procedure can only be recommended if the update is going to provide a worthwhile return on the risk, otherwise it is best to leave it status quo.
     
  19. Dark Shadow

    Dark Shadow Registered Member

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    I concour with wat0114.Well if we do not see bellgamin for a while then.:blink:
     
  20. Arup

    Arup Guest

    For flashing BIOS UPS is a must, any slight fluctuation or power out during flash and you are kaput.
     
  21. pandlouk

    pandlouk Registered Member

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    Hi bellganin,

    MSI liveupdate makes the update procedure very easy.

    Updating the bios is easier than most people think. Only pay attention to:
    1. have deactivated the hips, firewall, antivirus,antispyware and every other security program you have installed. I have seen bioses "fried" because antiviruses interfeared with the update procedure.
    2. do not power off or hard reboot the pc during the update.
    3. After the update do not power off the pc. Only reboot it (either from the windows or with the hard reboot button of the chase).

    ps. in case something goes very wrong and you ended to "fry" the bios do not panic; you can purchase a bios chip for your mobo and replace the bad one. Some places to buy bios chips:
    http://www.badflash.com/
    http://www.biosman.com/
    http://bios-repair.co.uk/
    http://www.bioschip.com/

    Panagiotis
     
  22. ratchet

    ratchet Registered Member

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    So I bought this (not actually using it at the moment) inexpensive Acer Extensa notebook to use when I visit the children so I don't have to use theirs. I get it at Best Buy and after opening it read the BBreviews. Turns out there is some bug where the monitor (screen) just shuts off and can't be turned on without a reboot. Fortunately, I've never experienced the problem. It came with a ATI/Phoenix BIOS 1.14. One of the possible fixes was BIOS 1.16 which went fine. That was about seven months ago. Then I discovered there was a 1.17 available a few weeks ago and couldn't keep my hands off of it. Fortunately that went fine also. Both were just .exe files but I did have to unzip about five or six files to get to the .exe. The fact of the matter is, based on everything I read about this I probably should not have done the one yesterday.
     
  23. wat0114

    wat0114 Guest

    Not necessarily. It's just that BIOS flashing is a little risky, more so if the proper steps are not taken before performing the procedure. Some in this thread have mentioned backing up and restoring BIOS settings if something goes wrong. Maybe some newer mainboards have this feature, which is nice if it's available. Mine is 2002 and it definitely does not have this.

    Finally, BIOS updates should include release notes on the issues they address. If there is nothing in the notes that looks important, then it probably is not necessary to flash. An issue like the one you described where the monitor shuts off is certainly important enough to warrant an update IMO.
     
  24. Hairy Coo

    Hairy Coo Registered Member

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    Some time ago,flashing BIOS was considered an adventure,so I can understand the hesitation about doing this.

    But now-its really only a routine maintenance job,which should be performed regularly,as generally updates can contain necessary fixes.

    Usually the early BIOS versions do need considerable improving and updates are issued until these have been made.

    The methods of downloading and installing BIOS have improved greatly,to make it simple and in my experience, trouble free.

    Its usually no more complicated than downloading and installing a piece of software

    Nowadays probably the worst that is likely to happen in case of a bad flash, is that you would have to clear the BIOS/CMOS battery and start all over again-the whole system is quite stable.


    As in this case,install from the manufacturers site,or quite often,there is a BIOS Update Utility,which connects to the servers ,tells you if you have the current version,install-flashes the BIOS ,then you reboot and thats it-takes minutes!

    There really is no mystique to all this-in ten years I have never had a problem.

    Recently,I flashed three different mobos many many times over a period of three months,not even a hint of a problem.

    Unfortunately a lot of articles about this subject were written years ago,so no longer really apply,or the authors are choosing the most unlikely worst case scenarios.
     
  25. pandlouk

    pandlouk Registered Member

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    Hi Hairy Coo,

    in case of a bad flash you cannot recover with clearing the cmos or taking of the battery. You will have to replace the bios chip.

    There are of course exceptions to this rule:
    exception 1. You have ami bios. Ami allows you to recovery bad flash by loading the bios directly from the floppy.
    exception 2. You have a dual bios. In this case the bios is loading from the secondary chip to the primary.

    Panagiotis
     
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