How to update your BIOS


Knowing how to update your BIOS is perhaps one of the least used skills in PC gaming. Even so, it can be useful, especially for brand new motherboards on brand new chipsets that may not already have all the issues resolved. Updating (also called “flashing”) your BIOS can also fix some technical issues or even unlock new features that were not enabled before.

Some motherboards allow you to connect to the Internet in the BIOS to activate a built-in update tool, and some may have Quick BIOS Flash buttons that can speed up the process. But these aren’t present on all mobos, and even in the case of the latter, you still have to do the heavy lifting of finding and downloading the update yourself. This guide, therefore, will keep it simple but also explain the process as it can be applied to any motherboard – new or old, sophisticated or entry-level.

A word of warning, though: just because updating your BIOS is often worth it, that doesn’t mean you should make an effort to remove every new update as soon as it becomes available. The dangers of installing a buggy update go so far as to render your PC unusable, so it is good practice to wait a bit and make sure it is reliable. Having a previous (i.e. your current) BIOS version saved to an external drive can also help, so you have something to restore if something goes wrong with the latest version.

Note that updating your BIOS will also reset its settings to factory defaults, so any CPU or memory overclocking you performed will be rolled back, along with any changes to the boot or priority order. other system parameters.

How to update your BIOS

Step 1: Look for your motherboard – the exact model! – on the manufacturer’s website. There is usually a Support tab on the product page, so check for the latest BIOS version there.

2nd step: Download the latest version as a .ZIP file and extract it to a USB stick. Make sure the drive is using the FAT32 format; if it is NTFS, you will need to reformat it to FAT32 first.

You can just extract the files locally (i.e. to your PC’s storage), but using a USB stick is much easier. When it comes time to select update in BIOS (see step 5), you can simply select the USB drive instead of having to navigate to a much more crowded local drive.

A screenshot of the BIOS update download page for an Asus motherboard, with the downloaded files displayed in a Windows Explorer window overlaid.

Step 3: With the USB key still inserted, restart your PC and enter BIOS. To do this, quickly press the Delete, F2 or F12 key at startup; the BIOS activation window can be quite small, so spamming the key ensures that it registers.

A small USB flash drive inserted into a spare slot on the rear I / O panel of a motherboard.

Step 4: This is where things can vary, depending on the motherboard manufacturer. You should look for a BIOS update or BIOS flash utility – go to advanced mode and look for it in the Tools or System menus. On this Asus ROG card, for example, it is called “Asuz EZ Flash 3 Utility” and lives in the Tools menu in advanced mode. On Gigabyte Aorus cards, the utility is called “Q-Flash” and can be found in the System Information menu in advanced mode. Once you find it, open it with Enter or left click.

A screenshot of the 'Tool' menu in Asus' UEFI BIOS.

Step 5: In the list of storage devices, click your USB flash drive (or the drive where you saved the extracted files), and then click the .CAP file it contains. Confirm that you want to play the file and start the update, then wait.

Seriously, hold on. Even if it seems to take a while, forcing a restart or in any way interfering with the update while it’s in progress could be a disaster for your motherboard (and, by extension, for the whole). from your PC). Let it run as long as needed, including letting the PC restart several times.

A screenshot of the EZ Flash 3 utility in Asus' UEFI BIOS.

Step 6: Eventually, you will be prompted to run an installation process, just as you would if you had installed a new processor or replaced the motherboard entirely. Press F1 to continue and you must enter your newly updated BIOS. From there, you can either exit without changes to use your system’s recommended defaults, or manually reapply any overclocks or BIOS setting changes you made to the previous version.

The Asus UEFI BIOS exit screen.

One final reboot and you will restart normally on your desktop, the BIOS update is complete.

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