You probably have seen the term “BIOS” a good number of times. BIOS is an acronym for Basic Input Output System. Every computer is equipped with a BIOS chip or a similar component at least.
When you press the power button on your PC to put it on, the BIOS is the part of your device that comes to life first, and subsequently, this particular chip moves to power on your system. In other words, the BIOS initializes almost every component that makes up your computer. Here, we are referring to parts of your PC like its processor, graphics card, motherboard chipset, and so on.
Some years ago, manufacturers of motherboards for computers—in conjunction with stakeholders in the production of PC hardware components and software like Intel and Microsoft—introduced UEFI, which is supposed to be a replacement for the standard BIOS chip. UEFI is an acronym for Unified Extensible Firmware Interface.
If your device was manufactured not so long ago, then it probably got shipped with a UEFI chip rather than a BIOS one. Generally, the vast majority of new computers these days are equipped with UEFI. Nevertheless, UEFI and BIOS chips are placed in machines for the same reasons. They more or less prepare the system to boot into the operating system.
Even with UEFI components being the new standard or technology, the term “BIOS” remains incredibly popular. Most people still refer to the UEFI chips in their computer as BIOS because they are familiar with the latter.
In this guide, except stated otherwise, the term “BIOS” represents both the UEFI and actual BIOS chips or technology.
How to check my BIOS version?
In theory, your computer’s BIOS version should be displayed in the BIOS setup menu. A reboot to check this version number is hardly necessary nonetheless. We know of some means by which you get to find out your BIOS version even when you are within the Windows operating system environment.
The operations we propose work effectively on devices with the traditional BIOS chips and even on the newer PCs equipped with UEFI components.
How to check your BIOS version through Command Prompt:
You can quickly check your BIOS by running a simple code in a Command Prompt window. An elevated Command Prompt window is surprisingly overkill for this operation. The standard Command Prompt window with the regular privileges will do just fine. Follow these instructions:
- First, you must open the Command Prompt app. On any version or iteration of Windows, this path works fine: Click on the Windows Start icon you always see on your desktop screen to see the Start User menu.
In the text box available, you must search for “cmd” (without the quotes, of course). From the results that show up, you have to select Command Prompt.
- Once the Command Prompt window is up and running, you must input the following code and hit the Enter key to run it: wmic bios get smbiosbiosversion
(Tip: To avoid mistakes, you are better off copying and pasting the code. Only the latest version of Windows 10 supports the copy-and-paste functionality on Command Prompt, though).
- If you did everything correctly, you will see the version number of the BIOS or UEFI firmware present in your current PC. You will do well to take note of it. You should write it down somewhere.
How to check BIOS through System Information Panel:
If the operations carried out through the Command Prompt program window seem like too much work for you, then you might be disappointed to find out the procedure here involves roughly the same number of steps or moves. This alternative way of doing the same thing might come in handy, though. Go through these instructions:
- First, you must open the Run app by pressing (and holding) the Windows button on your keyboard, then following up this move with a tap of the letter R key. In the text field available on the small Run program window, you must input the following keyword: msinfo32
- Tap the Enter key. Once Windows runs the code, the System Information window will come up. There, you will see a couple of system parameters and their values or corresponding information.
- Go through the list (for the System Summary pane) and locate the BIOS Version/Date field. There, you should find the information you seek. Copy it if you need to.
Do I need to update the BIOS on my Windows PC?
No, you do not have to update your BIOS. We do not recommend you carry out such an operation unless it is necessary. The complications and risks are simply not worth it—they hardly justify the outlay or effort required to get the job done.
For one, if your computer freezes or loses power while you are trying to update its BIOS, then there is a good chance of you ending up with a corrupted BIOS or UEFI firmware. In other words, your PC will end up in a state where you cannot boot it up. Such a situation is likely to be worse than any problem or issue that got you to update your BIOS.
Nevertheless, you might still be interested in knowing the benefits you get to enjoy from your system running a newer BIOS version. The most important of the lot is related to the fixes that might be provided to known bugs or patches that might go a long way in eliminating security vulnerabilities or loopholes.
Therefore, the best reason users have got to update their BIOS is the one coming from scenarios where they have to fix an issue that exists due to a bug in their current BIOS version. Then again, if you plan to upgrade a component of your PC likes its RAM, then a newer BIOS version might do you some good. After all, manufacturers often improve support for various devices in BIOS updates.
Furthermore, if your system is running a recently introduced BIOS version, form or type, then BIOS updates might be more useful to you than they are to the average PC user. BIOS upgrades in your case are expected to provide improvements in your computer’s performance and stability.
How to update the BIOS on a Windows 10 device?
If you got to this point, then we can safely assume you came here just to find out how to free update your BIOS for free, but before you move on to the primary operation, we want you to do a couple of things. We also want you to take note of some guidelines and tips that are integral to the activities you are about to engage in soon enough.
- First, you must ensure that a newer BIOS version is available. You want to avoid installing the same BIOS version your PC is already running or one that is older. We believe you know how to check your current BIOS version.
Compare it with the latest version available on your motherboard’s support page (usually accessible from your PC’s manufacturer website) or the version you can obtain from a reputable source.
- You have to understand that different motherboards employ different utilities and setups, so the procedure of updating the BIOS differs widely from computer to computer. No specific set of instructions will do well for a large number of machines or PC models.
Fortunately, the process or principle remains mostly the same. Therefore, if you know your way around, you might be able to tweak general operations or procedures to make them applicable for the BIOS update process for your device.
- Some BIOS flashing tools are DOS-based. With such utilities, you can create a DOS live USB flash drive, and apparently, you can move to copy the BIOS-flashing utility and BIOS file to that flash drive. In that case, a restart of your PC is required to allow you to boot from the inserted drive.
- After you reboot your computer, you should end up on the minimal DOS environment. There, you get to run the appropriate command that forces the tool to flash the new version of the BIOS onto your PC’s firmware.
- We expect you to find the BIOS flashing tool in the BIOS archive you downloaded from your PC manufacturer webpage or download center. In the rare cases where the needed utility is missing from the package, users have to search for it and do a separate download. The required file is usually one with a .bat or .exe extension. At least, this should give you an idea of the utility you need to find.
Fortunately, thanks to advances in technology, you can employ a USB flash to get the job done unlike in the past where bootable floppy disks and CDs always had to be involved.
- A good number of manufacturers provide Windows-based flashing tools. You can quickly run such utilities on your Windows desktop screen to allow them to flash your BIOS with a new version and then force a reboot once the task is completed.
You might be tempted to go with a Windows-based flashing tool, but at the same time, you must consider the risks and complications associated with this approach of flashing your BIOS. Even the PC manufacturers who provide such utilities often caution users against using them, and they do so for good reasons.
- In general, the BIOS-based menu approach of flashing the BIOS is the best method if all factors and conditions were to be considered. Unsurprisingly, most PC manufacturers endorse or recommend this approach instead of the process involving their Windows-based tool.
- When we mention the risks and complications associated with you flashing your BIOS within Windows, we are referring to potential problems in the very sense of it. For one, numerous programs or processes are always running in your computer at any given time, and any one of them could interfere with the writing operations to your BIOS while the Windows-based BIOS tool is doing its work.
Security programs are the most common culprits in such scenarios. The interference or disturbance from other applications can cause the update process to fail, and this failure might corrupt your BIOS. Furthermore, if your system crashes or freezes while the process is ongoing, your BIOS becomes prone to corruption.
- We prefer you carried out the required operation safely and conveniently. Therefore, we recommend you use the BIOS-based flashing tool (or employ the procedure which involves booting to a minimal DOS environment) to flash your BIOS.
- After you run the BIOS-flashing utility and finish carrying out the required operations, you will have to reboot your PC to let the new BIOS or UEFI version load up and become operational. This way, if you encounter a problem or discover an issue that has to do with the latest BIOS version, you will be able to downgrade to an older version without much trouble.
In that case, you must revisit your PC manufacturer’s website or the place where you obtained the initial package, check for an older version of your BIOS, download the necessary files and repeat the flashing process.
Once you are ready to work, follow these instructions to begin:
- Launch your web browser app. Go to your PC manufacturer’s website. Navigate through the needed menus or options to enter the Download page or center there. Input your motherboard details or keywords into the required field to see the exact Download or Support page for your motherboard model.
You can also arrive at the required download page by performing searches, using your computer model details.
You will know you are on the right page if you see a good number of BIOS versions with changes, patches, or bug fixes that have been made since their release attached to them.
- Click on the BIOS version you want to see more information about. Once you have confirmed that it is the real deal, you have to download it. In general, we advise you go with the newest BIOS version you can obtain.
Otherwise (if you need an older or specific BIOS for reasons known to you), you can ignore this advice.
- Most BIOS downloads from PC manufacturer’s pages are usually archived files (ZIP files being the preferred format). Well, you should know what to do with such files—extract the contents within them.
Typically, you should see a BIOS file with an extension you are most likely not familiar with at all. You should also find a README text file (a format you should know). Open the text file and carefully go through the details.
The instructions provided will guide you through the BIOS update process. To be fair, some of the steps you see there might be specific to your PC’s hardware, but regardless of this, we will do our best to provide guidelines for the basics that should apply to just about any computer.
- At this stage, you have to choose what kind of BIOS-flashing tool you want to employ to get the job done. Mind you, there are numerous utilities or program types available for the same task. Their mode of operation differs, though. In any case, you will have to go with one that is capable of working with your motherboard.
We believe you should have one in mind as the README file you went through must have recommended a useful tool or the ideal option for your hardware. If you are lucky, then your manufacturer might have included the needed tool in the BIOS, or you might be able to use a unique key as an option when you boot your computer.
- In that case, you have to copy the BIOS file to a USB flash drive, reboot your PC, then enter the UEFI or BIOS boot screen. There, you will get to choose the option for updating your BIOS. Subsequently, you must move to select the BIOS file you placed on the inserted flash drive and load it up.
Here are the instructions needed:
- Access your BIOS screen. You can do this by pressing the appropriate key while your computer boots up. Most PCs display it on their monitors early enough during the boot process. If you are in doubt, you can check your PC’s manual; you can also do some research online to find out the key you must press.
The Delete button and the F12 are the most common BIOS keys around, so you might want to try them.
However, most PCs running Windows 10 boot too fast, so you have to do things differently. If your computer is running the latest version of Windows, then you must use this method instead.
- Press the Windows button on your keyboard. Click on the Power icon to access its options. Hold the SHIFT button, then click on Restart. Your System will reboot, and you will end up on the Choose an option screen.
There, you will get to access the UEFI firmware settings (more or less the equivalent of the typical BIOS setup screen). Continue with the instructions below:
- Click on the Troubleshoot tile. Now, you must click on Advanced options. From the list available, you should see the UEFI Firmware Settings, which you must click on to continue.
- At this point, you should see the Restart option, and you must click on it. With this final move, your PC will reboot into its UEFI Firmware Settings screen.
Some tips for specific devices
How to update the BIOS on computers manufactured by Dell:
The general approach of updating BIOS is applicable here. A bootable USB Flash Drive can be used. The required archive should be the Dell Diagnostic Deployment Package. The F12 button is the most commonly used key in the update process.
How to update the BIOS on computers manufactured by HP:
We believe HP provides a Windows-based flashing tool for its customers to employ. You will have to go to their download page, select the correct parameters that define your PC, then download the available package.
We recommend you disable or uninstall your antivirus and firewall app. You must get rid of every security program because such applications are likely to cause problems for you. In general, you must do away with any app, process or service that is capable of disturbing or interfering with the process.
How to update the BIOS on computers manufactured by Lenovo:
People using Lenovo PCs should be able to access Lenovo System Update. If you cannot access this utility even though Lenovo made your computer, then you must download the BIOS package directly from the Lenovo support webpage and install all the required tools.
Given the mode of the BIOS update process employed, you will do well to turn off your antivirus or any other security program you have running on your system.
How to update the BIOS on computers manufactured by ASUS:
As far as we know, users with ASUS PCs can use the WinFlash utility to get the job done. If you do not know how to use the stated tool, you must check for detailed instructions that correspond to your system type or PC model on ASUS’ support page.
If you ended on this page to find out how to update your BIOS, then we would like to assume you are looking to improve the overall performance or stability of your computer. An upgrade of your current BIOS version is hardly going to be enough, though. You might not get the result you are expecting even if you do everything correctly.
We know of a good number of software optimization procedures that are more likely to bring about the improvements you desire. Auslogics BoostSpeed is a unique program that will help you execute the most effective operations of the lot, and you will do well to download and run it.