When troubleshooting hardware issues with your computer, you may need to know their current BIOS version and update the BIOS if needed. Basic Input/Output System is the program built into your personal computer’s microprocessor to allow your computer to boot successfully. In simple terms, it is firmware that manages data flow and the communication between the computer’s operating system and devices.
Common BIOS settings can be viewed or changed such as:
- system time
- system date
- IDE configuration
- Num-Lock on boot
- power management (APM)
- boot devices sequence
- supervisor/user password.
Finding the current BIOS version usually involves a system reboot. If you do not want to reboot your computer you can easily find your version via the command prompt.
In the command prompt window:
- From your Windows search bar type CMD to open the command prompt.
- Then type the command wmic bios get smbiosbiosversion.
- Computer BIOS version will immediately appear, no system reboot necessary
How to Update Your BIOS
Depending on your motherboard you will find there will be a different process required to update your version of BIOS.
Your first step will be to find out your motherboards manufacturer and model number and head to the manufacturer’s website and find the updated software download.
If you purchased a pre-built computer from a leading manufacturer such as Dell, Acer or HP you can skip going to the trouble of finding your motherboards model number and o straight to their website and enter your PC’s model number. They will have a list of drivers and software that is relevant to your PC.
Most BIOS downloads will come in an archive file such as a .zip file. One of these files will be a README file that will walk you through instructions on how to update to the new BIOS.
Within this archive file will be a couple of different Bios Flashing tools available for you to use. One of these tools allows you to update the bios directly from Windows (This option will require rebooting the PC). Most manufacturers offer a more recommended option to update within their BIOS. You copy the BIOS file to a USB drive, reboot your computer, and enter the BIOS or UEFI screen. From there, you choose the BIOS-updating option, select the BIOS file you placed on the USB drive, and the BIOS updates to the new version.
You can also use more traditional DOS-based BIOS-flashing tools. To do this you will need to create a DOS boot disk which will include a copy of the BIOS-flashing utility and BIOS file. Booting up from this disk will boot to DOS where you will run a simple command. The command will often look similar to the following example – flash.bat BIOS9999.bin.
Once you have finished running the BIOS-flashing utility, you’ll need to reboot your computer. If there’s a problem with the new BIOS version, there’s a good chance you will be able to downgrade it by downloading an older version from the manufacturer’s website and repeating the flashing process.