Is it safe to update BIOS?

Discussion in 'other software & services' started by ams963, Jan 13, 2014.

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  1. ams963

    ams963 Registered Member

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    Hi,

    I have downloaded an updated version of the BIOS for my netbook. Although the BIOS was released a couple of years ago, it's new to my pc as I've never updated BIOS before.

    I wonder if it's safe to update BIOS? I mean if an update messes up the system I can restore an image but what to do if BIOS is messed up? I know that if it runs okay why update but the update has some fixes.

    Please suggest or advise freely. I would really appreciate it.:)
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2014
  2. subhrobhandari

    subhrobhandari Registered Member

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    Check the changelog of the BIOS update and if you see some fix for problems you've encountered, ONLY THEN update it. If you dont have a problem with the current BIOS, dont update it. Flashing BIOS could go wrong for many reasons and in some cases will trash your computer.
     
  3. mattdocs12345

    mattdocs12345 Registered Member

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    I updated Bios on several laptops at least 4-5 times that I remember. Never had a problem. However the guy above me is right, you might want to see if the new update has any problems or so.
    Also, I used lenovo system update which automates everything on my thinkpads.
     
  4. zfactor

    zfactor Registered Member

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    bah everyone makes WAY MORE of updating a bios than is needed. you will be fine as long as you use the correct bios and you follow the directions. if its a laptop always make sure you are plugged in first. i update so many bios' every week ... i have had ONE bios update fail over the years and even then i could do crisis recovery to unbrick the laptop. i handle warranty for many brands and imo you should always use the most current bios unless there is a problem with it and then you may need to use a older one. your bios should always be the most current. if you need warranty work the bios is one of the first things they check to see if its most current usually.

    if you need further instructions send me a pm and give me the laptop info and i can walk you through with steps once i have the bios downloaded. its really not a big deal.
     
  5. TheWindBringeth

    TheWindBringeth Registered Member

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    See many brands that can be configured so that BIOS updates can only be conducted from within "BIOS Setup"?

    See many brands that are inherently immune to bricking (BIOS updater remains intact even if an update fails, alternate banks, whatever)?
     
  6. Minimalist

    Minimalist Registered Member

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    I've just updated my few weeks back. The update went fine, with no problems. But do remember that by updating all custom settings will be reverted to default. I found out this after reset, when I got "Bootmgr is missing" error. After correcting boot order, everything was OK. If you use laptop, have it plugged in while updating. If you use desktop using UPS would be wise, just in case that there is power outage.

    Regards, hqsec
     
  7. roger_m

    roger_m Registered Member

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    I do agree with you. I've only had a BIOS update fail once, and that was due to me flashing the wrong BIOS - I had the pro version of the motherboard but mistakenly used the BIOS update for the standard version, this bricked my motherboard. But, other than that I've never had any problems.

    However I usually only do a BIOS update after reading the change log and deciding it there will be a benefit in updating.
     
  8. J_L

    J_L Registered Member

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    I've done it multiple times on different machines without issues, except in one occasion where it somehow failed to flash properly in DOS and I had to flash from Windows PE. Once I had to do it for VirtualBox to use Hardware Acceleration.
     
  9. pegas

    pegas Registered Member

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    I have updated BIOS twice via VAIO update without an issue. I was offered to update BIOS so I did so. I recommend to follow maintenance updates (drivers, software etc.) which are offered by a maker of your PC.
     
  10. xxJackxx

    xxJackxx Registered Member

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    I've had a few fail over the last 20 years so it is not without risk. It has been 10 years since the last problem though, so hopefully the process is more reliable than it once was.
     
  11. new2security

    new2security Registered Member

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    If I had zero issues with my current BIOS /Hardware or have no need for support for newer processors, I wouldn't do it.
     
  12. innerpeace

    innerpeace Registered Member

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    My new computer that I built in July has the UEFI type BIOS. I have updated the BIOS twice and it was extremely easy.

    I wanted to update my 5 year old computers BIOS but warnings kept me from doing so. Bricking a motherboard that has already survived a lightning strike didn't seem wise lol.
     
  13. emmjay

    emmjay Registered Member

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    I have been flashing BIOS updates for several years and on many systems. Luckily I have never experienced any problems. It can brick your system if it gets messed up, so that is a huge risk.

    Older systems are more vulnerable to failure. Your manufacturer may insist that you create an ISO file to flash the BIOS (safer method on some systems). Check it out on their support page. This was the case with some of my older systems, however newer systems from the same manufacturer no longer recommend this.

    Check your manufacturers T+Cs. Even if the system is under warranty it may not be covered if you mess up flashing the BIOS and you brick the system. NB: Your Windows license is tied to that MB, so if you brick it and it is unrecoverable .... new MB equals new license.
     
  14. TheKid7

    TheKid7 Registered Member

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    I have updated BIOS's numerous times on different PC's and only had one issue on one PC. Luckily I saved a backup of the current BIOS before Flashing the BIOS. I do not know what went wrong with the BIOS Flash on that PC. I then Flashed the BIOS with the BIOS backup with no issues.

    On many of the recent 'Name Brand' motherboards there is usually a built in recovery method in case something goes wrong with the BIOS Flash process. I don't think that 'Store Purchased' PC's (i.e., Dell, HP, Lenovo, etc.) have such an option.
     
  15. BoerenkoolMetWorst

    BoerenkoolMetWorst Registered Member

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    Interesting questions, I hope someone has some answers.
     
  16. zfactor

    zfactor Registered Member

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    there is no brand that requires the update to be 100% done through the bios setup. if you know how you can easily do them with other tools from within windows or in true dos mode. but for the average user this is not suggested because you increase the risk you take if you as a user do something wrong and the flash fails. if your bios and almost every new one does has the ability to update from within itself i suggest using that method unless you know how to flash other ways. there are almost always ways around using the built in flash in the bios though.

    most newer bios are much easier to un-brick if that happens. years back it required much more knowledge now with most bios' if the flash fails the bios many times can just revert itself back to the previous version. this is especially true with the newer uefi ones.

    if you download the correct one and double check its the correct file for your system (though now almost always the system will not let you flash a incorrect version it will tell you it does not match so it makes that even pretty hard) i honestly do not think you will have any issues at all. i even had my mom flash her bios by herself and she is half way across the country and she was able to do it just fine. if she can i would say anyone can.
     
  17. TheWindBringeth

    TheWindBringeth Registered Member

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    Thanks for the "report from the field" zfactor :) I don't get play with a lot of new systems :( I'm disappointed to hear that "permit BIOS updates only from within BIOS setup" type options aren't common or reliable. However, it is nice to hear that anti-bricking measures have become more common.
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2014
  18. ams963

    ams963 Registered Member

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    Thank you so much for all the advises and suggestions. After considering the risks, I've decided not to update. The update only has tiny changes which wouldn't matter to me. The risk of brick is huge for me.

    Thanks again to all who have posted their valuable experience and advises to let me make a correct decision.:)
     
  19. mattdocs12345

    mattdocs12345 Registered Member

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    Well if your thinkpad is under warranty then you have nothing to worry about. They will be forced to repair that laptop. If it is not then it's risks vs benefits.
     
  20. roger_m

    roger_m Registered Member

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    That's one of things I love about ThinkPads. Not only due to automated updating, but also, unlike other computer brands, Lenovo releases BIOS updates for computers which are several years old, not just current models.
     
  21. ams963

    ams963 Registered Member

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    Mine is Acer. The model is AO532h. The warranty expired more than a couple of years ago. :(
    That's great. I would like that. Next time I'll get a laptop with updates like that. I can understand it dearly. I updated to Win 8.1 and now there's no bluetooth because driver not compatible.
     
  22. roger_m

    roger_m Registered Member

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    Try Broadcom's generic bluetooth driver, which you can download here as it supports Windows 8.1

    Also, in theory the drivers from Acer should work according to Microsoft, as they say the v6.2 of the Broadcom drivers will work under Windows 8.1. Acer have v6.2.1.800 on the driver downloads page for your netbook. See here.
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2014
  23. DoctorPC

    DoctorPC Banned

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    SAFE.

    Snowden NSA learked documents said they rely on people 'not' updating bios, and flashing firmware.. It's harder, and people are more concerned with doing it, so they skip it.. Which gives the NSA opportunities to exploit security holes, and in general easier infiltration.

    So yes, upgrade BIOS. In fact, I am flashing my firmware on my SOHO router at home this week, for that very reason. Juniper discovered NSA infiltrated their bios, and has been pushing out NSA-proofing patches.. So time to upgrade that firmware/bios.
     
  24. ams963

    ams963 Registered Member

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    Ah thank you so much. I'll try the driver. :D

    Oh I see. Okay I'll consider updating. I just need sometime to gather some courage.
     
  25. Aryeh Goretsky

    Aryeh Goretsky Security Expert

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    Hello,

    I have always updated the BIOS firmware on my computers and other devices to the latest versions as the updates became available. The last time I had a problem was with a Dell notebook in 2004 that failed to upgrade correctly. The motherboard was replaced under warranty, though.

    If you have any concerns about updating the BIOS, though, I would strongly suggest contacting the netbook manufacturer's technical support department and arranging for them to walk you through the process.

    Regards,

    Aryeh Goretsky
     
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