If you have been using a PC long enough, you must have heard of BIOS or firmware.
The firmware with your computer or any other computer, for that matter, is basically the software that provides control of your system`s hardware.
So, when you think (or hear) of firmware, think of them as enhancers and providers for your systems operating environment that performs all controls, monitoring, and data manipulation processes.
Inside every computer, there is a BIOS (or firmware) in the motherboard that, as soon as you hit the power button, brings the computer to life. The BIOS (basic input and output system) is responsible for a lot of other functions in your computer, like initializing the CPU, GPU, and motherboard chipsets, as well as protect your computer.
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What is a motherboard?
The motherboard is in every system and is much like your spinal cord. It is the backbone of your computer, and it ties every other electronic component of the system to it. The motherboard allows seamless communication between each system, like the memory, central processing unit, and connections for other computer peripherals.
Two different types of firmware may be used on motherboards (UEFI vs BIOS)
When it comes to computers, there two firmware types that are useful to the motherboard, namely the UEFI and Legacy BIOS.
- UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface):
Not until recently did the UEFI break into the market. Literally, every new computer device that sits on the shelf has this firmware pre-installed.
The UEFI replaced the legacy BIOS and with good reason. An example of the UEFI's abilities is that it can run remote diagnostics on the system even without any operating system. Also, the UEFI has the capability of using large disk partitions of over 2TB.
Systems with the UEFI have a flexible pre-OS environment, multi-language, GUI, and network capabilities.
Despite UEFI's admirable features and abilities, like everything else, it has had its fair share of criticisms. Many have said that the UEFI doesn’t take the initial problem of requiring two different drivers away. It has also faced backlash due to taking control out of the grasp of the computer user. Either way, the UEFI remains and is constantly evolving.
- Legacy BIOS:
The other type of firmware used on the computer system is the legacy BIOS. Older motherboards use the legacy BIOS and equally serve the function of turning on the PC.
Legacy BIOS also controls the CPU and how other computer components communicate, although it has some lapses, which led to its replacement by the UEFI. The legacy BIOS fails to recognize larger than 2TB drives and has an all-text menu setup program.
Related: X370 Motherboards
How to update the motherboard Firmware BIOS/UEFI
Many folks enjoy keeping tabs on the latest updates on BIOSes. Since this is commendable, you should be aware that regular updates are capable of wreaking havoc on your PC (Yikes! You didn’t see that coming, did you?)
The truth is BIOS updates are great, but you should only consider an update if there is something that needs fixing or something that adds a facelift to how your system performs in general.
Understanding your current BIOS will help determine if you need any of the updates that motherboard manufacturers offer. This goes without saying that many of the motherboard manufacturers only make small changes in the new versions, like fixing bug issues which can be helpful.
The bottom line here is, take a long, hard look at what updates you want to make and see if you need it.
Now, how do you update your BIOS?
Know your current BIOS version:
Before you take that updated offer, check the current version of your BIOS. To do this, type in msinfo in the search bar on your Windows PC; this will automatically take you to your system's system information app.
Look to the right; your BIOS version should appear under the processor speed. Record this information and make a comparison with the updated version on your manufacturer`s site.
Enter the UEFI control panel:
You can also do the update directly from your system's control panel, and you can enter the control panel by pressing the F2 (for windows) or whatever key is on the boot screen. When you turn on the system, as soon as it comes on, a text appears and tells you what key gives you access to the system`s control panel.
Head to the download update/utility section on the manufacturer`s site and download and if not, check with a hardware provider.
Use a USB:
By far, one of the easiest ways to do a BIOS update is to use a USB. Take the downloaded update from your manufacturer`s website and upload it to a USB stick. Leave the USB plugged in the system and restart. As soon as the boot page comes on, enter the control panel (as above). Navigate to the board`s BIOS update section and follow the on-screen instruction to finish the update.
Another way to go about this is by using a bootable USB. Take the updated BIOS and copy that into the bootable USB stick. Restart the system and hold F11 to take you to the boot selection, where you will select the USB stick as your boot device. Follow the prompts and select the new BIOS update and install.
Once you have completed the installation, check using the methods we listed above for your BIOS version to affirm success.
Doing a BIOS upgrade is quite easy, but we recommend you have all your files backed up safely if you encounter any hitches.
Preferably, if any of the procedures we have given sounds daunting, get someone to do it for. Your BIOS is crucial to how your system operates; you do not want to complicate things and leave your system worse off.
Remember to consider if the update is worth it before you think about an upgrade for your BIOS.
Aiden’s the name! Just your typical comic book store and EB Games VIP. I’m a full-time God of War 4 obsessed, bagel loving, DOTA2 warrior in training, and an IT professional on the side haha. I’m always keen to connect, so hit me up if there’s anything specific question you’d like answered.