Every computer contains a small chip known as BIOS that resides on the motherboard and enables the system to start functioning when the power button is pressed. Besides powering the PC, the BIOS chip also plays a crucial role in safeguarding it. For instance, after the release of the new Ryzen 7000 X3D chips that occasionally caused burning out, AMD collaborated with its partners to issue vital BIOS updates for AM5 motherboards. The BIOS, an acronym for basic input and output system, initializes all the other devices such as the CPU, GPU, and motherboard chipset. However, the traditional BIOS chip was recently replaced by UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) in partnership with Intel and Microsoft. Almost all modern motherboards come with a UEFI chip, which is a Windows 11 system requirement, and both UEFI and BIOS chips serve the same purpose of preparing the system to boot into the operating system. Despite this, many people still refer to the UEFI chip as BIOS due to the familiarity of the term.
Why you should (or shouldn’t) update your BIOS
It is crucial to comprehend your UEFI to determine whether and how to benefit from the feature updates and bug fixes available through the BIOS updates provided by motherboard manufacturers.
The firmware revision used in your motherboard is likely the one installed during its production. However, motherboard manufacturers regularly release new firmware packages or BIOS updates that offer support for new processors and memory, or fix commonly reported issues. Previously, the only reason to update the firmware was to resolve a UEFI bug or install a newer CPU than the motherboard supported.
Although some people prefer to regularly check and update their UEFI firmware packages, this was once deemed risky since the updating process could potentially brick the motherboard, much like flashing a custom ROM on an Android device. It’s best not to update the UEFI firmware unless there’s a specific feature in the updated firmware that you require.
On the other hand, if you’re using a new chip or motherboard platform, such as AMD’s fresh AM5 motherboard platform with its critical BIOS updates, it’s advisable to stay on top of the BIOS updates. Living on the cutting edge requires attention and vigilance.
How to update your PC BIOS
It’s essential to create backups of your crucial data before attempting a BIOS update. Since these updates change fundamental elements of your computer, having backups is crucial if something goes wrong.
- Find your current BIOS version: Before updating your BIOS, make sure you are actually installing a new version. The easiest way to find your BIOS version is to open the System Information app by typing msinfo in the Windows search bar. In the window that opens, your BIOS version should appear to the right, below your processor speed. Write down your version number and date, and compare it to the latest version available on your motherboard’s support page on the manufacturer’s website.
- Enter UEFI BIOS: When you start your PC, you will see text telling you which button to press to enter UEFI BIOS. Press it! (The exact button required and each motherboard’s actual UEFI control panel design differ, so these instructions will be more guidance than step-by-step.)
- Boot into UEFI Control Panel (if possible): Although not all motherboards offer this feature, some models allow you to boot into UEFI Control Panel and use a built-in update utility for you connect to the internet and get the latest firmware flash from the manufacturer. server. This extremely neat feature makes updating to newer firmware revisions as easy as possible. The process is a bit more complicated for motherboards that don’t support this feature.
- Check your motherboard’s support page for the latest BIOS update: Go to your motherboard’s support page on the manufacturer’s website. The latest BIOS update should be in the Support and Downloads section.
- Download and unzip the BIOS update file
- Transfer the update file to a USB stick
- Restart your computer into the UEFI Control Panel
- Run the UEFI Firmware Update Tool or Flash Tool and back up your PC’s existing firmware to the flash drive: this will protect you in case something goes wrong.
- Use the same UEFI utility to select the new firmware image you saved to the flash drive: Running the firmware update utility should only take a few minutes, but be sure to shut down your PC while do not disable this process.
- After the flash is complete, restart your computer: your updated PC BIOS is ready to go.
Some manufacturers offer utilities to update your UEFI chip directly in Windows by running an EXE file. However, we strongly recommend that you use one of the above two methods to avoid any issues.
Again, updating your PC’s BIOS can provide many benefits, but it’s important to understand the risks. Don’t touch it unless there is a clear and compelling reason to update your UEFI firmware. However, if you’re looking to fit a newer processor into an older motherboard, clearly a BIOS update is in your future.