Examine the Version Number
Now, once we have “entered” the BIOS, we need to find out the version BIOS our motherboard is running. Quite often, this is found on the main entrance screen, as shown in Figure 3. The figure shows that we are using AMIBIOS and that the version of the BIOS is 08.00.02.
Figure 3 AMIBIOS Main screen and version number
In Figure 4 we see the Intel motherboard’s BIOS screen, which shows version DPP3510J.86A.0572.2009.0715.2346.
Figure 4 Intel BIOS main screen and version number
Once we have found out the version of the BIOS, we should compare it to the latest versions available on the manufacturer’s website. You will either need to know the model of your computer (if it was made by a manufacturer such as HP or Dell), or the model number of your motherboard (if you are dealing with a white-box system or a system you built yourself).
Let’s use the Intel motherboard as an example. The BIOS version of our motherboard is currently DPP3510J.86A.0572.2009.0715.2346. For this particular motherboard, the version number is listed directly after “86A”. If we go to the Intel website, we will see that the latest version available for download at the writing of this article (December 2010) is called DPP3510J.86A version 0572, as shown in Figure 5.
Figure 5 Intel BIOS download options
This is what is shown within our current version number in our BIOS, so this motherboard is up to date. However, in screencast at the end of this article, we will show a BIOS flash update for this particular motherboard anyway. You will note that there are several versions of the BIOS download available, including .BIO, .ISO, .ZIP, and .EXE.
You only need one of these files to update the BIOS. The .EXE option is the most common and easiest of them all. Simply download the file to a folder within your operating system. Then double-click it to start the update. Be sure not to restart the computer during the update. It is also wise to avoid updates during storms; any power loss to the computer could render the motherboard’s BIOS chip inoperable. The other options allow you to use a bootable floppy disk, CD-ROM, or other removable media to install the BIOS in a variety of methods.
There are also proprietary programs for updating the BIOS such as AMIFLASH, and universal flashing programs such as UNIFLASH. However, it is usually recommended that you go to the source when updating the BIOS: this will be the website of the manufacturer of the computer/motherboard.