BIOS is short for basic input-output system. It is a set of electronic instructions stored on a chip inside your desktop or laptop. These instructions tell the computer how to perform the POST (power on self test) and allow rudimentary management of certain hardware components. The most popular method used to reflash the BIOS used to be a floppy disk. Because of the slow demise of the floppy disk drive, the current method is to either use a bootable CD or a self-contained BIOS flashing executable such as WinFlash.
Download the BIOS
Download the BIOS update executable from the manufacturer website.
Read any instructions that come with the executable. Most executables will run fine whether they are loaded onto a floppy or a CD. The instructions will let you know if a floppy isn’t the recommended method.
- If you don’t know the manufacturer of your motherboard, you can use the online BIOS ID manufacturer database to determine the exact make/model. If you can’t find the website of your manufacturer then take a look at this list of 222 motherboard manufacturers.
Reflash the BIOS using a floppy disk
Insert a blank floppy disk into your computer’s floppy drive.
Format it by right-clicking on the drive in My Computer and selecting the Format. Check the box that will make the newly formatted disk bootable.
Copy the BIOS update executable onto the newly formatted floppy drive.
Reboot your computer and boot to the floppy drive.
Run the BIOS update executable.
It should reflash the BIOS automatically, with very little interaction required from the user.
Reflash the BIOS with a bootable CD
Create a bootable CD with an ISO.
Some computer manufacturers will provide a bootable BIOS update ISO that can simply be burned onto a CD. Download the ISO from the manufacturer website.
- Use a CD burning program that is compatible with ISO files to burn the bootable ISO to a CD.
- Boot to this CD, and allow the BIOS update to proceed automatically. Usually there is minimal user input required.
Create your own bootable CD image.
Some computer manufactures will provide a BIOS update executable file, and leave it up to you to create a bootable CD image that includes this file. There are many CD burning programs that support creating a bootable CD.
- Download the BIOS update file from the manufacturers’ website.
- Use the CD burning program of your choice to create a bootable CD. Make sure that you add the BIOS update file to the image that you are creating.
- You can find the files required to make a bootable CD with a simple search engine query like “create bootable CD”.Once you have created and burned your image, boot to the CD.
- Run the executable file, and allow the BIOS flashing process to complete.
Reflash the BIOS using WinFlash
Use the self-contained WinFlash program to flash your BIOS.
- This method is gaining popularity with computer manufacturers, because it reduces the possibility of user error. You can find out if this option is available to you by logging onto the manufacturers’ website and searching for a BIOS update using the exact model of your computer. It is the fastest and easiest way to update your BIOS.
Download the WinFlash executable from the manufacturers’ website.
Make sure that you are downloading the executable for your precise computer model. Save the executable somewhere easily to find, like your desktop.
Double-click on the executable to run the WinFlash program.
Follow the on-screen instructions.
Do not reboot your computer until requested by the utility. It may simply reboot the computer itself.
- BIOS updates can be found on the manufacturer website. The description of the update on the manufacturers’ website will explain the benefits of the BIOS update, or any problems the update may cause. You can also find manufacturer-specific BIOS flashing instructions.
- You can access the BIOS by pressing a certain key prior to the Windows flash screen, usually F2, DEL or ESC.
- Once the computer has been rebooted, your BIOS update is complete. Most computers will flash the BIOS version during the computer boot process. If you missed it, you can always enter the BIOS and check the BIOS version there.
- Make sure that you reflash the BIOS with the exact BIOS needed for your computer model. Flashing with an incorrect BIOS update can make your desktop or laptop a completely useless machine.
- Unless you have a specific problem with the BIOS, don’t reflash it.