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BIOS, which stands for ‘Basic Input/Output System’, is an essential firmware embedded in a computer, responsible for booting the system and managing data flow between the operating system and attached devices.

Over time, the BIOS has evolved from simple firmware to a complex component integral to computer functionality, adapting to modern hardware and software advancements. As it is constantly changing, the BIOS must be updated regularly to ensure hardware compatibility with the operating system. 

What are BIOS updates?

BIOS updates are designed to refine the firmware that controls the hardware-software interaction of a computer. Updates to the BIOS help to boost system performance, improve hardware compatibility, fix bugs, and enhance security, making them crucial for maintaining a computer’s overall health and efficiency.

BIOS updates often include security patches to protect against firmware vulnerabilities, preventing unauthorized access and ensuring the integrity of the system’s security defenses.

BIOS updates are essential to ensure PCs adapt to new technological standards. Therefore, they often include advanced features, like secure boot in modern UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) systems. In fact, UEFI has largely replaced traditional BIOS, offering a more user-friendly interface and enhanced capabilities. Updating UEFI firmware follows a similar process but includes additional functionalities, such as secure boot or network features. Nowadays, ‘BIOS’ and ‘UEFI’ are often used interchangeably.

Updating BIOS involves risks, such as potential system instability if interrupted or incorrectly applied. It is crucial to strictly follow update instructions and avoid disruptions, such as power outages, during the update process.

Now that we’ve covered what are BIOS updates and why they are important, let’s explore how to update BIOS on your PC.

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How to check your current BIOS version

Before going ahead with BIOS updates, first identify the current BIOS version on your computer. There are two ways to do this. Here’s how:

  1. Enter the Windows system information applet:
  • Press Windows key + R to open the Run dialog box.
  • Type “msinfo32” and hit Enter. A System Information window opens.
  • In the System Summary section, find ‘BIOS Version/Date.’ This includes the BIOS version, release date, and manufacturer.
  1. In the BIOS/UEFI menu:
  •  Restart your computer.
  • As the system starts to boot, repeatedly press the key to open BIOS or UEFI settings (e.g., F2, Del, Esc, F10). Consult your computer or motherboard manual if necessary.
  • Navigate using keyboard arrows. Look for a section named ‘Main’ or ‘System Information,’ which typically contains BIOS version details.
  • Note the BIOS version displayed. This information is crucial for determining if a BIOS update is needed.

Preparing for a BIOS update

Proper preparation is crucial to ensure a smooth BIOS update process. There are several essential steps, including verifying your current BIOS version, backing up important data, and ensuring a stable power supply to help you update safely and effectively. Here’s a brief overview of how to prepare for BIOS updates:

  • Backup data: Before updating, back up important data and system settings. BIOS updates typically don’t affect hard drive data, but a backup safeguards against complications.
  • Identify motherboard and BIOS model: Check your system information or computer documentation to ensure you download the correct BIOS update.
  • Find the appropriate BIOS update: Visit your motherboard manufacturer’s website for the latest BIOS update, ensuring compatibility with your model.
  • Understand manufacturer-specific update processes: Follow the manufacturer’s specific instructions for a successful update.

The quick guide to update your BIOS

When you safely and effectively update your BIOS, you are ensuring optimal performance and compatibility for your computer system. Let’s walk through the steps of running BIOS updates, from prep to troubleshooting, so you know you are doing it right.

Preparation:

  • Backup your data to an external drive or cloud storage.
  • Ensure a reliable power source. Use a UPS for desktops or fully charge laptops.

Identifying your system: 

  • Find your motherboard model and current BIOS version.

Locating the BIOS update: 

  • Visit the manufacturer’s website and select your motherboard model to find and download the latest BIOS update.

Preparing the update tool:

  • Format a USB drive to FAT32.
  • Transfer the downloaded BIOS update file to the USB drive.

Updating the BIOS: 

  • Restart and enter BIOS with the USB drive plugged in.
  • Use the BIOS update utility to select and apply the update file.
  • Do not interrupt the process until completion.

Post-update checks:

  • Verify the new BIOS version.
  • Reconfigure BIOS settings if necessary.
  • Check system stability and functionality.

Troubleshooting: 

  • Failed update recovery: If the update fails or the system doesn’t boot, refer to your motherboard manual for recovery instructions. This may involve resetting the BIOS or using a backup BIOS if available. Some motherboards feature a dual-BIOS function for easier recovery from failed updates. Check your manual or the manufacturer’s support website for details.
  • Seeking assistance: If you encounter issues you cannot resolve, contact your motherboard manufacturer’s support for help.

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Best practices for BIOS updates

Updating BIOS is not very complex, but you must follow certain guidelines to see it through smoothly. Here are our five top tips and best practices for successful BIOS updates:

  1. Make sure you have a stable power supply. 
  2. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions precisely.
  3. Avoid unnecessary updates. 
  4. Verify the new BIOS version after updating.
  5. Regularly check the manufacturer’s website for new updates. 

With regular attention paid to your BIOS, you ensure your PC remains up-to-date, secure, and stable. Embrace BIOS updates as part of your routine tech maintenance for a resilient, future-ready computing experience.

How Atera revolutionizes BIOS updates

BIOS updates are an essential part of an overall IT management workflow. Atera, the all-in-one IT management platform, offers the following features and capabilities to help you optimize your BIOS updating routine:

Remote management: 

Atera allows you to manage and update BIOS settings remotely, reducing the need for on-site visits and minimizing downtime.

Automated scripts: 

Create and deploy automated scripts to handle BIOS updates across multiple devices, ensuring consistency and saving time.

Monitoring and alerts:

Atera monitors your systems and can alert you to potential issues or required updates, allowing you to proactively manage BIOS updates.

Inventory management:

Atera’s inventory management feature keeps track of hardware details, making it easier to identify which devices need BIOS updates.

Patch management: 

While primarily used for software, patch management system from Atera can be configured to include BIOS updates, ensuring all devices are up to date with the latest firmware.

With these features and IT automation capabilities, Atera simplifies the process of managing BIOS updates, enhancing IT efficiency, and ensuring systems are running optimally.
Looking for a platform to handle your end-to-end IT management needs, including BIOS updates? Start your free trial with Atera.

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