You might have heard people saying how dangerous it can be to update BIOS. Myth? Unfortunately, it is not. But if you are careful enough and follow manufacturer’s instructions, you can save yourself from burning a hole in your pocket.
Before moving forward to the actual article let’s have a quick look at this chip called BIOS.
- BIOS stands for Basic Input/Output System
- It is a non-volatile firmware used for initializing hardware on the system during the boot up
- It comes pre-installed in the system
- Unlike other things, BIOS is not stored on hard drives but on a chip which is soldered down to the motherboard
- BIOS code is stored in ROM, making it non-volatile in nature
- Check the BIOS level before the system boots into the OS by long pressing the F1 key (F1 for Lenovo, this may vary for different vendors)
- If you are already in the OS, check BIOS by typing msinfo in search bar
Risk factors and things to make sure-
- Updating BIOS can be tricky and may lead to permanent damage of the motherboard
- Be sure of using correct update to your BIOS
- A wrong update may cause system failure
- Disconnecting power during the whole process would likely kill a good system. Make sure there is no chance of power outage or use a UPS just in case
- A small power fluctuation can corrupt the BIOS so do not unplug the power cord (keep an eye on your kitty! 🙂 )
There are a couple of different ways to update BIOS on a system but here we are going to focus on just 3-
- System Utility supported by your computer vendor
- Flash through OS
- Using the UEFI Tool…(just how engineers do it!)
*Note- I am using a Lenovo product for this article
Now without waiting any longer let’s take a deep dive in the above mentioned methods.
This undoubtedly is the easiest and probably the safest way to update your BIOS. System Utility, also known as Diagnostic Tool is a vendor software in computers. Different companies have different names for their Diagnostic Tools, example- Vantage for Lenovo, Dell System Software (DSS) for Dell, HP System Utility for HP, and so on.
System Utility prompt users about latest updates for various software/ hardware compatible to their systems. If the utility prompts an update for BIOS, install the update by checking it. Once the update is complete reboot the system. Make sure not to interrupt this process or unplug the power. Once the reboot gets through, view your system information by searching msinfo. Cross check if the BIOS has updated to the desired level.
Check out the following Lenovo tutorial of BIOS update using Vantage-
Flash Through OS
Let’s have a look at this second simplest method for updating the BIOS. It is said to be a good practice to check the current BIOS level before updating it and would remain the same for any method you choose.
Once you find the current level, get the latest BIOS from the vendor website. The easiest way to find it is to google the vendor name and bios update for xxx version, OR look up for the same on their support site. In my case, I found mine on support.lenovo.com [-> Get Drivers & Software -> Look up for your system -> Select BIOS].
- Select Flash UEFI BIOS Update and download the file
- Make sure to read the Read Me file, especially if this is your first time
- Extract the downloaded file
- Disable antivirus or security software just in case
- Run the recently extracted file as Admin
- Again, make sure you have a reliable power source and do not interrupt the process
- Reboot the system once the update gets through
Check if the system has actually updated the BIOS successfully by msinfo OR entering the BIOS Setup.
Engineers today usually like using UEFI tool for updating BIOS as it provides you a wide scope of modification. Example, options like serial number or manufacturing number cannot be modified using direct downloads. Customers are not recommended to change their serial or MTM (manufacturing) numbers. However if you do, note the original number and remember to change it back to what it was once done experimenting.
Let’s take a look, shall we?
- Download the desired BIOS level from the vendor site
- Copy it into a USB key
- Keep the USB plugged and reboot the system
- Once you get the vendor logo (Example- Lenovo, Asus etc) long press the F12 key (F12 for Lenovo, may vary for different vendors)
- Select your USB key from the boot menu and hit Enter
- This will take you into the EFI Shell displaying various devices. Select the one saying Removable HardDisk (Example- fs0:, fs1, fs2. fs1: in my case) by typing fs1: to boot into your USB key
- We will be using commands cd and ls frequently to enter and list the contents of directories.
- cd – change directory
- ls – list (contents of directory)
- fs1: (hit enter to get into the key)
- ls (to view contents of the key)
- cd directory (change to directory containing BIOS)
- Once you find flash.nsh in the folder, type flash.nsh and hit enter. The BIOS will be updated once the process is complete
- If further you wish to update the Serial/ MTM number of the system, cd to Tools directory and follow the steps below-
- Steps to update Serial/ MTM numbers-
- cd Tool
- type DMI.nsh
- DMI “DesiredMTMnumber” “DesiredSerialNumber”
- Remember, MTM and Serial numbers can be alpha-numeric and should be more than 7 digits.
This will update your BIOS as well as Serial/ MTM numbers if you desire. Again, please change the numbers back to original once done experimenting.
So which is your preferred method of updating BIOS?
Let us know if this article helped you and topics you would like to learn further!👩🏻🎓