How to Flash the BIOS
By Jerel Jacobs
The Basic Input Output System (BIOS) chip is located on the motherboard and contains the rudimentary instructions that govern how your computer communicates with its own hardware and other installed devices. If you wish to add an additional feature to your computer, such as support for certain new technologies, or to resolve stability issues, you may need to upgrade or "flash" the BIOS. Flashing the BIOS involves replacing the existing firmware contained on the BIOS chip with newer updated firmware obtained from the computer or motherboard manufacturer.
Obtain the latest BIOS for your computer. This can normally be obtained from visiting the computer manufacturers website and looking under "Support," "Drivers" and "BIOS" in reference to your particular model. If you have built your own computer you will need to visit the motherboard manufacturer's website, and know the make and model of your motherboard. Once you have found the correct BIOS version, download the file to your computer. The BIOS file also includes a Flash Utility, which guides you through the flashing process.
Create a startup disk for your computer. Place a CD-R into your computer open "My Computer" and select the CD-RW drive. From the "File" menu select "Format." Using the "Format Options" select "Create An MS-DOS Start Up Disk" and then select "Start."
Copy the BIOS and Flash Utility files that you downloaded to a second CD-R.
Enter the CMOS setup menu. To do this restart your computer and after you here the system check beep, press and hold the delete key. This will bring up the CMOS setup menu. Select "Advanced Options" and then select "StartUp Disk" or "Boot Order." This will open a menu that allows you to choose the Boot order in your computer. Change the first Boot device to "CD-Rom." Insert the MS-DOS startup disk that you created into the CD-ROM drive and press "F10" to exit CMOS setup/save your changes. The Computer will reboot using the CD-ROM that is in the disk drive.
Remove the Startup Disk once your computer has booted to MS-DOS and insert the second disk containing the flash utility and the new BIOS.
At the MS-DOS prompt type "Run" to load the disk. Once the disk loads, the Flash Utility will present you with a series of menu options specific to your make and model of computer. Follow the steps closely to complete the BIOS flashing process. The computer will reboot when the BIOS flash is completed. During the reboot you will need to hold down the "Delete" key after the you hear the system check beep, reenter CMOS setup, and following the process in Step 4, change the first boot device back to "Hard Drive" or "HDD." Press "F10" to save your settings and exit CMOS setup.
Test your computer. Make sure that your computer will boot. Additionally, open and run a few programs. Try playing some music or video. Test your computer thoroughly to ensure that the system is stable.
- Be very careful when making changes to the BIOS. Ensure that you are using the correct version and follow all instructions carefully.
- If you have any questions contact your computer manufacturers technical support line before proceeding or have the BIOS flashed by a professional computer repair technician.
- Upgrading the BIOS incorrectly can corrupt your system and render it unusable. Do not attempt to flash the BIOS unless you are sure of what you are doing.