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How to upgrade / flash bios tips and guide

In computers, the basic input/output system (BIOS) , also known as the System BIOS. It is a boot firmware, designed to be the first code run by a PC when powered on. The initial function of the BIOS is to identify, test, and initialize system devices such as the video display card, hard disk, floppy disk and other hardware. The BIOS sets the machine hardware into a known state, so that software stored on compatible media can be loaded, executed, and given control of the PC. This process is known as booting.

BIOS programs are stored on a chip and are built to work with various devices that make up the complementary chipset of the system. They provide a small library of basic input/output functions that can be called to operate and control the peripherals such as the keyboard, text display functions and so forth. In computer, certain peripheral cards such as hard-drive controllers and video display adapters carried their own BIOS extension ROM, which provided additional functionality. Operating systems and executive software, designed to supersede this basic firmware functionality, will provide replacement software interfaces to applications.

There are three main reasons to update a BIOS:

1. The motherboard manufacturer might release an updated BIOS to correct bugs in the original. For example, a BIOS update might reduce the operating temperature of the computer.

2. BIOS updates sometimes allow the computer to use hardware or software that wasn't available when the original BIOS was released. Examples are a new version of Windows, a hard drive with greater storage capacity than the previous BIOS allowed for, or a processor that didn't exist at the time the BIOS was written.

3. BIOS updates can enable new features, such as Plug & Play technology or hibernation (storing the contents of the memory on the hard drive and shutting off the power so that when the user restarts the computer, the session is left as if the computer had not been shut down).

Note: If everything is working well, then in most cases you should leave the BIOS alone and not update it. Updating the BIOS for no reason other than the fact that there is a new version available could actually cause problems.

Before upgrading your bios, you should, firstly, back up, print, or write down the current settings found on the bios setup screens. This information may be lost during the upgrade. For how to use backup utility, please see the following. Secondly, make sure that the updated bios will address the issue you are trying to solve. So you really have to read the documents to see if the upgrade addresses your specific concern. Thirdly, in order to locate the correct bios upgrade for your motherboard you need to know who made it and the model number and always try to download the files needed for flashing bios from your motherboard maker.

Usually you need to download two things. One is the flash utility which is the software used to reprogram the BIOS and the other is a copy of the new BIOS firmware.

Finally, it is important to remember that during the upgrade, do not turn off your computer or power in any case because if you do it, your pc will get serious problems, that is, you may not get your computer to work.

What to Do about a Failed BIOS Update?

Unfortunately, sometimes BIOS updates are not successful. If you saved the original BIOS, you can usually run the flash utility to restore it. If this doesn't work, you will probably have to replace the chip. Some Gigabyte - brand motherboards have a backup BIOS that automatically takes over in the event of a primary BIOS failure, but this feature is not common. In other boards, if the chip is permanently attached to the motherboard, you'll either have to send the motherboard back to its manufacturer for chip replacement, or buy a new board.

If you have a replaceable BIOS chip, then you can hopefully find a replacement. You can try the motherboard or computer manufacturer for a replacement.

How to back up BIOS?

To backup your BIOS, you will need to run the BIOS upgrade software to read BIOS contents to a file. First you will need to know your BIOS company, that is, to find out if it is AMI, Award, or Phoenix by looking at your computer screen just after you turn it on. The BIOS manufacturer name will be shortly displayed.

For AMI BIOS, click here to download the software. For Award or Phoenix BIOS, click here to download the software. It will then open a list with many versions of this software, try the latest one. You should know that Phoenix has bought Award, so you have to use Phoenix software on Award BIOS.

You need to unzip the downloaded file and copy the uncompressed file to a bootable floppy disk (formated with Format a:/s). You will need to boot from this floppy, since the BIOS upgrading program does not run under Windows (you may also need to change boot sequence on setup to allow booting from the floppy disk). You can also save the files on USB stick if you can get your computer boot up from USB stick.

Some motherboard manufacturers have their own BIOS upgrade software, usually Windows-based. In this case, you can use the motherboard manufacturer software instead of the AMI, Award or Phoenix software. But you will need to know your motherboard manufacturer and go to its website to find the utility.

Just perform the BIOS upgrade procedure and tell the programming software to write your current BIOS to a file. The exact option to do that depends on the software version used and if you are using the BIOS manufacturer software or the motherboard manufacturer software. The following are the most commom steps for AMI, Award and Phoenix BIOS using the original BIOS manufacturer software to write the BIOS backup file to a floppy disk or USB stick.

Backing Up AMI BIOS

For AMI Bios software, just tell the software by using its menus to save the BIOS contents to a file.

Backing Up Award and Phoenix BIOS

For backing Up Award and Phoenix BIOS, use the following command:

awdflash a:backup.bin /sy /pn

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