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Old 12-24-2009, 09:42 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Flashing the bios

I have never done this before and have some questions:

1) Is it the PC manufacturer or the Motherboard manufacturer I search for to update my BIOS?

2) Is it just an exe that I would run after dloading it, which would update it by itself?

3) What are the benefits from updating it?

Thanks.
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Old 12-24-2009, 10:18 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Flashing the bios

1) This depends on whether it's a brand name PC like a Dell or HP, or if it's a custom-made PC. If it's a Dell or something simular you get the bios update from them. If it's a custom PC then you'll be looking at the mobo manufacturer.

2) No. If it's an exe or zip file you'll need to extract the files to a bootable floppy, cd or flash drive. Then you'll restart the system and the flash will run in DOS mode.

3) Bios updates often improve stability, fix incompatibility issues, add new features or fix problems.
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Old 12-24-2009, 10:31 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Flashing the bios

thanks for the reply. Is it strictly true that you can only flash your bios by extracting the files to a floppy, cd, or flash drive. As i thought you could maybe just extract the files onto my desktop and run the setup or exe from there.
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Old 12-24-2009, 10:45 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Flashing the bios

That depends on the computer or motherboard manufacturer. Some allow for updating from within Windows. Some don't.
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Old 12-24-2009, 10:50 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Flashing the bios

@Clark33, for several years now, Dell BIOS flashing has been done with a simple EXE. You run it from within Windows. The utility checks the current BIOS version, and if there's a difference, it prompts if you want to upgrade. If you choose to upgrade the BIOS, it warns you to have uninterruptible power (a UPS, which you could be brave and continue without). The utility then loads into memory and does a warm reboot. It boots into the utility, flashes (which often looks scary, even though everything is fine), then reboots back into Windows.

So it depends.

Worst-case (and this is how it was done in the old days), is you have to download a flash utility that doesn't contain any BIOS version - it's just the utility. Then you have to download the BIOS update. Then you have to build a bootable floppy or USB that boots to DOS. After booting to DOS, you run a command similar to "Flash.exe BIOSVer2.bios".

More common these days, though, is that you will download an EXE that runs from Windows, the utility will prompt you to provide either a floppy disk or USB stick. It will reformat the disk/stick to be bootable to the flash utility. When done, you can reboot to the floppy/stick, it will probably prompt you to back-up your current BIOS. If you choose yes, it creates a backup file on the floppy/stick. You flash and you're done.
If it acts squirrelly, and you want to put it back, you boot off the device again. When the utility sees two BIOS version files, it asks you which to use. You would choose the original version and it would be flashed back to the way it had been.

So it all depends on your motherboard and BIOS.
I've probably flashed BIOS's about 40 times over the years. It never ceases to cause my heart to skip a few beats. If something goes wrong, it can ruin your motherboard. That happened to me once, but the situation was not critical, as the PC was old and I was simply trying to extend it's useful life.

Doing a BIOS flash without external UPS is more risky. if it's your only PC, I advise having external battery power. Otherwise, if not so critical, you could argue that a motherboard costs the same as a UPS, so it's not like a smoked motherboard is the end of the world. You'd buy another motherboard compatible with your existing hardware (not always possible on an old PC).
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Old 12-24-2009, 02:39 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Flashing the bios

Flashing your bios from within Windows is a very bad idea.
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Old 12-24-2009, 10:28 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Flashing the bios

Quote:
Originally Posted by Slaymate View Post
Flashing your bios from within Windows is a very bad idea.
It's not the ultimate evil it used to be. I've done it many times. With some systems, you have to hack together a solution for flashing outside Windows. I would consider that much more dangerous.
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Old 12-24-2009, 10:40 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Flashing the bios

^^ Most people flash BIOS through windows.

And 99% of the time nothing goes wrong.
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