What is the work of the BIOS

Apps / software BIOS update - this is how it works

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The BIOS / UEFI ensures that your operating system can access the processor, the main memory and the other hardware at all. And since this firmware runs under Windows, for example, an update is a little more time-consuming than, for example, with driver or program updates.

How does the BIOS update work?

First of all, it must be clear to you what a BIOS / UEFI is and why both are constantly being mentioned. BIOS stands for Basic input output system and UEFI for Unified Extensible Firmware Interface. These are in each case the Firmware of the computer, that is, the most basic software that is actually the Provides access to the hardware. Without BIOS / UEFI there would simply be no connection between hardware and, for example, Windows. Every device, from a printer to a reflex camera to a GPS logger, has such firmware. With the camera you operate the device directly via this firmware, with computers it works rather invisibly in the background and you work with Windows, Linux or macOS.

The BIOS is from the 70s, consists only of text and is operated with the keyboard. The successor UEFI offers a graphical user interface and can be operated with the mouse, otherwise the differences in operation are not that great. And since the BIOS has so established itself as a term, you often see the designation UEFI-BIOS or simply BIOS, even when UEFI is meant - and that's how we keep it here.

The important point now is: The BIOS runs under Windows, so you can't just double-click an exe file on Windows to load a new BIOS. Just as the Firefox browser cannot update Windows, Windows cannot update the BIOS. The BIOS has to do that itself. Of course, the firmware does not run on the hard drive or in the RAM, but on one Flash memory on the mainboard - therefore one also speaks of flashing. An MSI mainboard is used as an example, but the procedure also applies to other manufacturers.

Important: Find out the motherboard model

Flashing a new BIOS is pretty easy and very reliable these days - but it can also block entire systems! The good thing about it: Even if something goes wrong while flashing, it will not affect the operating system or your data and you can simply re-flash. Therefore you have to do some preliminary work: On the one hand, you should make a backup of the system or the most important data again beforehand. For another, you need the exact one Name of your mainboard find out.

If you have bought the computer ready-to-use including Windows, the chances are good that you already have a Firmware tool from the mainboard manufacturer on the computer that spits out the exact name - and maybe even offers BIOS updates, but more on that later. Alternatively, you can get the free CPU-Z, start it and switch to the tab "MainboardThere you will find all the information you need about the board and the installed BIOS version. In this article we explain step by step how you can get information about your mainboard with CPU-Z.

If you have an invoice where the model is noted, don't trust it! It does happen that an ordered mainboard is upgraded with compiled computers without reference to a better / newer model. Alternatively, you can simply use the command "msinfo32.exe"run - that's enough for the BIOS version.

BIOS update directly in the BIOS

With this information you can now search for the correct BIOS version. All manufacturers offer corresponding downloads on their homepages. Mainboard names often consist of endless, confused collections of letters and numbers - the name should be exactly right! Usually you will find a ZIP archive, often with just a read-me text file and a file with a strange name and no file extension.

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The Now copy the contents of the ZIP onto a USB data carrierregardless of whether it is a stick or a whole hard drive. Subsequently restart the computerand enter the BIOS. To do this, you have to press a certain key shortly after the computer starts up again. You can read here which key you use to get into the BIOS of your computer - because there are differences from manufacturer to manufacturer. Often, however, a corresponding message is also displayed on the screen. From here it doesn't always go on straight away: In the case of MSI, you will find the update option at the bottom left under "M-Flash", with other manufacturers you have to search for a suitable menu item.

The rest of the process is again super simple: when prompted by the update tool, select yours USB data carrier and then the unzipped Firmware file. After that, all you have to do is wait - after a few minutes the computer should start normally again. Very important: in this phase you should use the Do not switch off or restart the computer, that's guaranteed to backfire!

Update via Windows helper

Some manufacturers, such as Asus, also offer Windows tools for the BIOS update. At Asus, the software is called WinFlash and basically has only one advantage: You can copy the currently installed BIOS to the stick; however, there are usually downloads of older BIOS versions in case you want to downgrade for some reason. WinFlash also downloads the BIOS image, but you have to find the WinFlash version that matches the mainboard, so that doesn't save any work.

Then you need to Just start the tool and let it do its job: The computer is restarted, the new BIOS is flashed, the computer reboots with Windows. The way via such a Windows tool may seem a bit easier, but ultimately it only relieves you of entering the BIOS and three or four clicks in it. The advantage of the manual method: it pretty much always works and you learn to enter a BIOS. And there are all kinds of useful things to discover!