Friday, March 12, 2004

How do I flash my BIOS?

Friday, March 12, 2004

The first piece of information you need to know before attempting this is the manufacturer and model number of your motherboard. Once armed with these vital statistics, surf along to your mobo's home page, visit the support area and download the latest update corresponding to the model number of your board.

In addition to this flash update data you will need a flashing utility, so make sure you grab one of those while you're there. In many cases, any old generic utility won't be sufficient, so if possible, always use the one provided by your motherboard manufacturer.

It used to be the case that flashing your BIOS required you to boot into real DOS mode - not just a command prompt window - using either a boot disk or your operating system's safe mode. You would then type, 'name-of-flash-updater-utility name-of-flash-update-data.bin' and wait for confirmation that everything has gone according to plan. Attempting to do this in Windows could sometimes be disastrous, but now the computer industry is trying to put as much distance between DOS and end-users as possible, it is the preferred means.

I cannot stress strongly enough how important it is that you carry out these instructions to the letter. If you flash your motherboard using incompatible data you will not be able to boot your computer and the BIOS will have to be either replaced or sent back to the manufacturer to be reprogrammed (usually this costs more than a new motherboard would!), so make sure you check, double and even triple check that you're using the flash update and flash utility specifically designed for use with your board.

To their credit, motherboard manufacturers in recent times, have gone to great lengths to eliminate this possibility by automating the process as much as possible. Asus, for example, produce an idiot-proof flashing utility, which works with all their boards by detecting the model number of your installed hardware, connecting to the net and automatically downloading and executing the correct update.

For more information visit Wim's BIOS.

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