BIOS Update?

Hi Folks,

I just did a clean install of Windows 7 Pro (64) - was running Vista U64. Things are a little unstable. I downloaded and installed W764 drivers for the Chipset, the Audio, Video, and LAN. I was wondering what people thought about whether I should go ahead and update the BIOS too. I’d really rather not risk destroying my computer if it’s not necessary, but I’ve never upgraded the BIOS and I bought the system in May of 2009.

Thank you for your thoughts!

Unless there’s a specific reason to update the BIOS, don’t, unless you are familiar with the process, which you say you aren’t.

Is there a good reason for you to update the BIOS ?

If so, post back.

I don’t have any specific devices that aren’t working. I’ve just had some minor instability with Nuendo. I don’t know enough about BIOSes to know if I need to upgrade it or not. It seems like I don’t really need to.

Hi, Folks!

BIOS (Basic Input Output System) from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BIOS :

The BIOS software is built into the PC, and is the first code run by a PC when powered on (‘boot firmware’). The primary function of the BIOS is to load and start an operating system. When the PC starts up, the first job for the BIOS is to initialize and identify system devices such as the video display card, keyboard and mouse, hard disk, CD/DVD drive and other hardware. The BIOS then locates software held on a peripheral device (designated as a ‘boot device’), such as a hard disk or a CD, and loads and executes that software, giving it control of the PC.[2] This process is known as booting, or booting up, which is short for bootstrapping.

A simple description: it provides the interface “translator” between a PC’s specific hardware and the PC’s operating system (OS) software.

Now that you’ve updated your OS to Windows 7, you might want to consider updating the BIOS to streamline the interfaces with the newer OS (however, it may not make any really recognizeable differences depending on how your BIOS was generated in the first place).

The update process is not usually difficult, but must be followed exactly or the PC will no longer work at all without bringing in a specialist to bring it back up.

The usual process is to download a compressed update file from your MOBO manufacturer’s website onto your PC’s hard disk drive. This compressed file is then expanded to a memory device that is checked for data during the PC boot process used to load the PC’ s OS: floppy disk, or CD-R.

Once this file is decompressed onto a “boot device” (e.g. the floppy or CD-R), the the PC is restarted with these decompressed files present in the boot device. These files then lead you through the update process on your PC screen.

If the process then runs properly, this set of files first erases the existing internal BIOS from an internal Programmable Read Only Memory (PROM), and then completely uploads the new BIOS into this internal PROM.
Obviously as this process is designed to first erase the existing BIOS “firmware”, the process must start and be allowed to run to completion, or the BIOS files on the PC will either be gone or corrupted; meaning, your PC cannot boot up and run. If the installation or update process is followed explicitly, everything will turn out fine (I’ve done it several times for various PC’s).
The fundamental idea: start the BIOS update process with the right files for your specific model and build revision of your MOBO, and don’t interrupt it! Let the process run until the BIOS update is successfully installed; the update program will tell you when that has occurred on your PC screen.

If this explanation gives you pause, then it’s probably wiser not to attempt it! However, if you continue to have instability problems, you might consider hiring an IT pro to have a look at the machine and determine if it may be related to the BIOS, and perhaps let them update it.

Hope this helps!

You could at least check what fixes there are in the new bios version, to see if there’s any difference to be expected.
One thing Southae missed: once you decided what you want to use as a bootable device (Floppy, CD, USB etc(not all motherboards support bootable USB mind)) you need to enter the bios first and check your system’s boot order. The boot order is simply a list of all bootable devices the BIOS knows about. What the BIOS does when it launches is go down that list untill it finds something it can boot from. Normally that would be your harddrive, as that’s where Windows is. What you need to do is move your bootable device BEFORE the harddrive in the boot order, so it checks that first. This should be pretty straightforward.
(the default order I believe is floppy --> CD-Drive --> harddisk --> other stuff. Just make sure that whatever you use to update your BIOS is before the harddisk in that line. What I always do is after updating the BIOS, is move the harddrive to the first spot, as that saves some boottime. No need for the BIOS to check my CD-Drive everytime it launches just to see it’s either empty or contains a non-bootable disk.)

Thank you both! I was advised by the tech support at the company that built the computer to use a thumb drive and that the existing BIOS has a “Flash BIOS” function so boot order shouldn’t be a problem. They’ve offered to walk me through it on the phone. My main issue is if I really need it at all, so I’m going to check the notes on the updates.

Thanks again!

Ah nice, I’ve never used flash bios myself but that should make it easier. With tech support on the phone you should be fine, unless there’s a power outage while updating :frowning:

I’ve always used a UPS when flashing BIOS’s, just to be safe, as I live in the country, and you never know when the power will glitch.

I’ve flashed dozens of BIOS’s ( I build/fix computers ) and have never had a problem, plus the newer systems make it pretty easy, especially when they usually have a backup BIOS on-board if things go wrong.