Flashing BIOS Tech Guide

Discussion in 'Motherboards' started by linkin, May 6, 2010.

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  1. linkin

    linkin VIP Member

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    BIOS Flashing 101

    A guide for those who have never done a BIOS flash before.

    Before we begin, you need to know some jargon:

    BIOS - Basic Input/Output System - Used to control various features or functionality of the CMOS.

    POST - Power On Self Test - Pretty self explanatory. When powered on, the machine begins to test hardware to make sure it is usable. Faulty hardware may result in a failed POST, freezing or no boot at all.

    CMOS - Complementary Metal-Oxide Seminconductor - The actual computer chip that stores the BIOS, its settings, and code needed to run your hardware.

    Flashing a BIOS is useful for adding support of new hardware, such as CPUs, and solving issues such as the motherboard being picky with what RAM it will and won't take, regardless of whether the kit is on the supported/recommended list.

    Let's Begin

    Before you do anything, you will need to know what BIOS version you are running. You can do this two ways ways.

    One: reboot/startup your machine and locate the version during POST. For example:

    [​IMG]

    Two: Use the CPU-Z mainboard tab. Example:

    [​IMG]

    Many OEM motherboards will not display this. You will need to find it manually.

    These methods, while generally safe, may cause permanent damage to the motherboard if performed incorrectly. Flash at your own risk.

    The newer BIOS could add support for newer CPUs, new memory, or fix issues such as issues with certain graphics cards, security issues and settings not working correctly.

    Issues and fixes will be displayed on the changelog or in the readme file and you may judge whether it is worth flashing or not.

    Method 1: Using the BIOS Flash Utility (varies by manufacturer)

    Step One

    Download the latest bios file(s) from your manufacturer's site. You will have to search for your model number. (See above to learn how to find it)

    Manufacturer links:

    Asus: http://support.asus.com/download/download.aspx

    Gigabyte: http://www.gigabyte.com.au/

    MSi: http://www.msi.com/index.php?func=downloadindex

    ASRock: http://www.asrock.com/index.asp

    Foxconn: http://www.foxconnchannel.com/support/downloads.aspx

    DFI: http://www.dfi.com/

    EVGA: http://www.evga.com/support/drivers/

    XFX: http://xfxforce.com/en-us/Help/Support.aspx

    Step Two

    Burn the file(s) to a CD, floppy disk, or store the, on a flash drive or other removable media. Make sure it is the only file on the meida. Insert said media into computer and reboot.

    Enter the bios by pressing a key (in most cases it is DEL, but it can range from ENTER, any of the F1-F12 keys and maybe a custom button for many laptops) and locating the flashing tool. It may be difficult to find. It could be under "Advanced" or something similar.

    If you cannot find it, browse through all menus and tabs until you find it.

    The following screenshots are of ASRock Instant Flash Utility

    You first enter the utility itself:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    This utility should find the new BIOS file automatically. Others may not, so you might have to browse through the media to find it.

    [​IMG]

    The utility will not work if you have the wrong file. When you have the right file, confirm to begin the flashing process.

    The utility will begin overwriting the old BIOS with the new one. It is very important not to turn off the computer during this period

    Do NOT remove the media the BIOS file is on during this process. The utility will tell you when the flash has been completed, and may automatically reboot.

    Flashing will reset any settings and overclocks to factory settings, so you will have to re-do these. Some motherboards allow you to save profiles to your hard drive or removable media, so all you have to do is load the profile to get your settings back

    Method 2, Flashing inside windows:

    Step One

    Note: This should always be done in safe mode. tapping F8 during boot will allow you to select how you would like to boot windows. Select "SAFE MODE"

    Download the latest BIOS file beforehand from your manufacturers website, as well as the WinFlash utility found here:

    http://www.techpowerup.com/downloads/1122/Winflash_2.0.1.2.html

    Step Two

    Open WinFlash, and then select File > Update BIOS or press the icon, like so:

    [​IMG]

    The program will then proceed to update Your BIOS:

    [​IMG]

    And will ask you to reboot when finished, the changes won't take effect until you reboot:

    [​IMG]

    I would recommend rebooting as soon as you are prompted.

    Other methods:

    Some manufacturers require a BIOS flash to be done a certain way, such as through command prompt. An example for the EVGA X58 SLI can be seen here: http://www.evga.com/forumsarchive/tm.asp?m=671353

    It's very important to make sure you have the right BIOS file, with ANY method. If you have the wrong file and the utility/program flashes anyway, you will end up with a large doorstop. (Unless you have a motherboard with a dual bios/bios backup feature. For example, most high end motherboards have this feature)

    After a successful flash, the first thing you should do is reboot. Then you may test against the problems/issues you were having, or test a newly supported CPU model. If the flash was successful you should not have any issues.

    However, if you use a BIOS other than the newest one, you may introduce other problems. This is why it is important to get the most up-to-date file.
     
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2010
    Deadpool likes this.
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