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How to update the firmware (BIOS or UEFI) of your motherboard

Updating the firmware (BIOS or UEFI) of your motherboard makes your system more stable and more efficient. However, updating the BIOS or UEFI is not without risk like updating a driver. There is a risk that the update crashes and if this is the case, your motherboard will be out of service. I offer this tutorial which will allow you to flash your BIOS/UEFI in the best conditions !

Warning: even if the risks are low, updating your motherboard firmware can crash and render your motherboard out of service. Be aware of this risk before you start!

BIOS firmware or UEFI firmware ?

The firmware of your motherboard is either BIOS type or UEFI type. Whether you have one or the other, it doesn’t change how you update your motherboard firmware.

The benefits of a firmware update (BIOS or UEFI)

Here are the changes that a firmware update for your motherboard can bring:

  • performance improvement ;
  • improved system stability;
  • support for the latest processors;
  • better compatibility with peripherals and components;
  • adding new options and features;
  • bug fixes.

You can refer to the motherboard manufacturer’s changelog for more details on an update. If the changes you make are unnecessary to you, don’t flash your BIOS/UEFI! It would be silly to lose a motherboard for features you don’t need.

If you have decided to install the latest firmware (BIOS or UEFI) on your motherboard and take advantage of its new features, follow this guide !

Update the firmware (BIOS or UEFI) of your motherboard

There are three methods to update the firmware on your motherboard:

  1. via the update utility built into the motherboard‘s read-only memory (EEPROM);
  2. via software that is used directly on Windows;
  3. via a program that is used on DOS.

To prevent the BIOS/UEFI flash from going bad, I advise you to use the update utility built into the motherboard or else the update program used on DOS.

The method of updating via software on Windows is to be used as a last resort because it is risky: if Windows or the software crashed, the update could not succeed and your motherboard would be out of service. It is better to choose one of the other two methods which are better to avoid problems.

To update the BIOS/UEFI firmware on your motherboard, follow these 6 steps and everything will be fine.

Step 1: Identify your motherboard model

Before starting, you need to identify the model of your motherboard.

The trick to knowing the model of the motherboard is relatively simple, it requires the use of the Windows command prompt (or Powershell if the Windows command prompt is not found).

Procedure to follow to find the name of your motherboard:

Open the Windows command prompt. In Windows 10, just click Win + R, write cmd and press Enter key.

run-command-prompt

At the command prompt, type wmic and then press Enter key on your keyboard. This provides access to the tool that manages the monitoring and control of system resources.

how-to-know-motherboard-type

Then type in the command prompt baseboard get product, manufacturer, version, serialnumber and press Enter key.

cmd-baseboard-get-product-manufacturer-version-serialnumber

This command will display different information from your motherboard:

  • Product: reference of your motherboard
  • Manufacturer: motherboard manufacturer
  • Version: motherboard version number
  • Serial number: serial number of your motherboard

Have you identified the model of your motherboard ? Perfect, go to the next step.

Step 2: identify the firmware version currently installed

Before launching into the firmware flash (BIOS/UEFI), you must know which version is currently installed. There are two methods for doing this:

    • via the PC start screen: a line displays the firmware version currently installed. You do not know where this line is located? For example, look at the screenshot below taken when starting a PC with a Gigabyte motherboard:
      bios-firmware-identify

You have to be fast enough! Do not hesitate to restart your computer with the combination key CTRL + ALT + Del. Here, the Gigabyte GA-MA770T-UD3P motherboard is equipped with BIOS firmware in version F10.

  • via the System Information software (Windows): launch System Information by entering msinfo32 in the Run command.
    run-msinfo32
    Note the BIOS/UEFI version number listed on the SMBIOS Version line.
    bios-system-information

Have you made a note of your current BIOS/UEFI version? Very well ! Now let’s see if an update is available

Step 3: Check if a firmware update is available

To find out if a new firmware version (BIOS or UEFI) is available, you must go either to the website of the manufacturer of your motherboard or to that of the manufacturer of your computer:

  • if you have mounted your own desktop PC, go to the website of the manufacturer of your motherboard (Gigabyte, MSI, etc.);
    site-manufacture-motherboard
  • if you bought a branded desktop or laptop PC (HP, Asus, Lenovo …), you usually have to go to the website of the computer manufacturer.

Take the example of a desktop PC mounted and equipped with a Gigabyte GA-MA770T-UD3P motherboard:

  1. Go to the Gigabyte manufacturer’s official website > Support, then head to the motherboard page using the search form.
  2. Click on Downloads > BIOS, locate the latest BIOS version published by the manufacturer and compare it with the one currently installed on your PC. In the screenshot below, an F12 version is available while the one installed on the PC is the F10 version.
    download-bios-driver
  3. View the change log and download the archive of the latest BIOS/UEFI version. If several versions are available (F9, F10, F12, etc.), always download the latest version: this is cumulative and includes all previous updates. If an F12 update is available, this includes all previously published F10, F9, F8… updates.

Step 4: consult the firmware update procedure

By unzipping the archive of the latest BIOS/UEFI version, you get several files:

archive-bios-content

how to install this new firmware ?

In most cases, a text or PDF file is inserted into the archive, which indicates the procedure for updating the BIOS/UEFI of your motherboard. However, as in the previous screenshot, it may happen that no documentation is available! If you are facing this situation, here are the ways to know how to flash the firmware on your motherboard:

  • consult your motherboard manual (available on the official website);
  • look on the website of your motherboard manufacturer for an article detailing the firmware update procedure;
  • make a Google search for information from users who have your motherboard.

Once you’ve got your hands on the update process, it’s time to flash this new firmware to your motherboard!

Step 5: Flash the firmware

VIA THE MAIN CARD INTEGRATED UPDATE UTILITY

  1. Copy the firmware file to a USB stick.
  2. Restart your PC while keeping the USB key inserted in the USB port.
  3. When the BIOS/UEFI loads, launch the firmware update utility by pressing the appropriate keyboard key. In the screenshot below, press the End key.
    flash-firmware-bios
  4. The rest of the guide should apply to all motherboard models, only the interface should be different. Select Update BIOS From Drive.
    update-bios-from-drive
  5. Browse the folders on your USB drive and select the firmware file.
    bios-flash-utility
  6. Validate and do not touch anything during the firmware update !
    update-bios
  7. Load and save the BIOS/UEFI default settings.

VIA DOS

  1. Create a bootable USB key with FreeDOS using Rufus software.
    rufus-usb-boot
  2. Copy the necessary files for the firmware update to the root of your USB key.
  3. Restart your PC on the USB key instead of booting to the system disk as usual.
    bios-boot-menu
  4. Once FreeDOS is launched, you arrive on the console. Check the firmware files are present by displaying the contents of the USB key with the command dir.
    bios-dirHere, the files are there: autoexec.bat, flashspi.exe and ma77tud3.f12.
  5. Enter the command to install the new firmware. This must be indicated in the documentation that you found earlier. For example, to install the firmware ma77tud3.f12 on a Gigabyte GA-MA770T-UD3P motherboard, enter the following command:
    flashspi ma77tud3.f12
    cmd-ma77tud3.f12
  6. Wait while your motherboard firmware is updated.
    bios-flash-typeThe message SPI Flash BIOS Update is completed indicates that the installation of the firmware was successful!
    bios-update-completed
  7. Load and save the BIOS/UEFI default settings.
    Remember that the commands I have just mentioned are to be used only for the Gigabyte GA-MA770T-UD3P motherboard. This is a simple example! You must scrupulously follow the indications of the manufacturer of your motherboard or your computer.

VIA WINDOWS

It is the simplest method but also the most risky. Remember that if Windows or the update software crashed, your motherboard would be out of service !

Take the example of a Lenovo brand ThinkPad laptop.

  1. Launch the update utility from your motherboard or computer manufacturer, and then check for updates. Here, Lenovo’s System Update utility provides a BIOS update.
    bios-system-update-lenovo
  2. Download and launch the BIOS update utility. Here you have to select Update ThinkPad BIOS.
    thinkpad-update-bios-utility
  3. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully. Here, Lenovo lists all the precautions to take before flashing the BIOS: make sure the laptop is plugged into electricity, check that the PC’s battery is full, close all Windows applications and do not put the computer to sleep .
    thinkpad-flash-utility-update-bios
  4. Confirm the BIOS update.
    confirm-update-bios
  5. The BIOS flash starts. From now on, do not touch anything on your PC, let the update software work quietly!
    get-update-bios-thinkpad-utility
    If all goes well, the PC will restart wisely on Windows.
  6. Load and save the BIOS/UEFI default settings.

Step 6: Load the BIOS/UEFI default settings

  1. First check that the firmware installation went well. When the PC starts, locate the line which indicates the version number of the installed firmware. If it corresponds to the version you wanted to install, the firmware update went well.
    bios-default-settings
  2. Enter the BIOS/UEFI settings.
  3. Load the default BIOS/UEFI settings. This is the usual procedure after installing new firmware. To do this, select Load Fail-Safe Defauts (or a similar term).
    cmos-setup-utility
  4. Finally, select Save & Exit Setup.

It’s finish !

Flashing your BIOS/UEFI is not an easy operation, especially for beginners. If you have successfully updated your motherboard firmware, you can be proud of yourself!

Conclusion

Before updating you BIOS/UEFI, you must be sure and certain that the changes brought by a new firmware are really useful to you. If so, be careful and use the update utility built into the motherboard.

Also read the documentation for your motherboard correctly which explains step by step how to update. It is better to take a few minutes to properly prepare the BIOS/UEFI update to avoid making very big mistakes.

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