What is BIOS? & How to enter and update it? [step-by-step]

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You may have heard about the word BIOS. Here you can find the complete required information about BIOS in a computer.

After reading this article, you will get to know about

  • What is BIOS
  • Why BIOS is useful in a computer
  • How to find your BIOS version on a PC
  • How to update BIOS and more…

BIOS meaning :

A complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor (CMOS) is a hardware component on a motherboard that stores some basic information about the computer, and this basic information will help to turn on the PC when we press the power button. Hence it is called Basic Input/Output System (BIOS). The BIOS is the first function that occurs in every PC. After completion of the Power On Self Test (POST), the BIOS will give control to the Operating System.

Security settings in BIOS setup
Security settings in BIOS setup

The information stored on the motherboard is given by the motherboard manufacturer. And it is a Non-Volatile memory means it can not be erased or deleted even we turn off the computer. But it can be overwritten with the programming and hence it is called Erasable Programmable Read-Only Memory.

In every motherboard, BIOS information exists to perform basic operations like hardware checking for errors, read boot devices, etc.

Functions of BIOS :

The information stored in BIOS helps to make various functions in a computer. These are very useful and important functions. Let’s see the various useful functions of BIOS.

  1. When we turn on the power button, BIOS checks all the hardware components in a CPU for errors. If they found any error, the computer won’t turn ON and displays the error information on the monitor with a ‘beep’ sound. If there is no problem with the hardware components, the BIOS load normally. The process of finding hardware errors in a CPU called Power ON Self Test (POST).
  2. BIOS reads the bootable devices and displays them. This is called a Boot loader. We can install an Operating System with the help of a Boot loader.
  3. We can select the functioning of USB ports ON and OFF with BIOS information.
  4. In BIOS, we can find the operating temperature of the CPU.
  5. We can change the date and time of the system in BIOS.
  6. BIOS has a feature to protect its information with a password. We can set and reset this password anytime in BIOS.

The other functions also present. But these are the most important ones. You can find and customize all these functions in a BIOS setup, and it is also called a CMOS setup.

Types of BIOS :

Based upon the type of functioning, the BIOS is of two types.

  1. Legacy BIOSIt is the old technology used to turn on the computer. Legacy BIOS can identify the data drivers of up to 2.1 TB. We can see this kind of BIOS in older motherboards. However, there are limitations in these BIOS compared to UEFI in terms of security, compatibility, operation, etc.
  2. UEFIThis is the latest technology that we are using on our PCs. Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) can handle large data drivers greater than 2.2 TB. In 2005, the first UEFI version EPI 1.10 was released and it is used in Microsoft Windows. Security enhancement, device compatibility, loading time, etc, are improved with UEFI BIOS.

Some motherboards support functions with Legacy BIOS and UEFI. And some don’t, so you need to find whether your motherboard supports UEFI or not.

The details of your motherboard are given with a manual. If you have your motherboard manual, you can find this information about a supporting type of BIOS in it.

If you don’t have the manual, no problem, find your motherboard model and then search it on the web. Your motherboard manufacturer provides this information on their official site.

How to check BIOS version Windows 10?

We can find a system whether it is up-to-date or not by checking its version. You must need to check the version of your BIOS before updating it. So that you could compare both versions (the existing one with the new one) and select the best one out of them.

If there is no much difference between the current BIOS version and the latest version, it’s better to ignore the BIOS update.

Finding the type of BIOS that a motherboard supports and the BIOS version are not the same. In Windows 10 we have two possibilities to find the BIOS version on a PC.

System information :

To find the various valuable information about your PC, you need to enter into the system information location by following the steps that I’m saying now.

#1. Open the RUN dialogue by typing ‘run’ on the search bar and press ‘Enter’ or use the shortcut key (Windows Key + R).

#2. Type ‘msinfo32‘ in the bar and press ‘Enter.’

#3. The new (system information) tab will open. There you can find all the information about your PC. And the BIOS version of a PC that we want now also located here.

Steps to find the system information in a PC
Steps to find the system information in a PC

Enter BIOS to find the version of it :

The second possibility that we have in finding the BIOS version of a PC is we need to get into BIOS. In the BIOS of a system, we found its version on any PC.

Finding this way is a bit complicated compared to the above method.

However, we will find the BIOS setup along with its version in this process.

How to enter BIOS?

If your PC has an Operating System or not doesn’t matter, it must have the BIOS setup. Not only your PC, everyone’s PC has the same.

These are not casual Windows settings, If anything goes wrong during this process, your PC will get damage. So, enter the BIOS only if necessary, like when installing Operating System, to find CPU temperature, to modify date and time, to update BIOS, etc.

Let’s see how to enter BIOS step-by-step.

Step1: Turn ON your PC

If you build a new PC or have an existing one, just turn off all the running programs and make a complete shutdown of your PC. And then turn ON as usual by pressing the power button.

Step2: Press function keys to enter BIOS

As I said before, BIOS is the first function that is happening in a computer. When you turn ON the power button on the CPU, the monitor connected to the CPU will active. This means the BIOS is running in the computer during this time and processing the Power ON Self Test (POST) function.

When the motherboard brand displays on the monitor, then you need to press the required function key repeatedly to enter the BIOS. The keys that are commonly used in this process are F1, F10, F12, Del, Esc. The other function keys also used in this process, it depends upon the type of motherboard. If you don’t know what keys you need to use, check the manual of your motherboard.

In some computers, you need to press the function button along with the key, then only the system will respond.

If you are pressing the function buttons slowly, it may not respond to your action and the Operating System will load in the meantime. So be hurried.

Your monitor will display the BIOS setup with a blue screen (default screen) if you did it in the right way. Now the setup is in your hands.

Step3: Customize BIOS setup

Here you can find the complete setup functions which are present in the CMOS memory.

You can’t use your mouse here to select and modify the functions. But instead, arrow keys, Enter, and Esc buttons to customize the functions.

My PC BIOS version in BIOS setup utility
My PC BIOS version in the BIOS setup utility

With this setup, we can command the most important functions in a computer. You’ve seen the function of BIOS at the top of this page.

Along with the other setup functions, you can find the BIOS version of your system here. This is the thing that we want to find earlier.

Step4 : To save and exit ‘Press F10’

After making the required changes, time to save the data. To save and exit, we need to press the function key F10.

Then the Windows will load normally by applying necessary changes, and the Windows will be installed if you use a flash drive. The lock screen displays on your monitor screen after this setup.

NOTE: It is good to avoid the power cut during the setup. Power cut harms the functioning of BIOS, and so it gets crashed. If your motherboard manufacturer program likes to keep a backup memory when any fault situations occur, then it is good for you to lose nothing.

Corrupted BIOS symptoms

I saw a lot of people, even in my friends, if they have slow running PC, the problem is from the BIOS side. But in practicality, it is not. There are various factors that represent the performance of a PC.

However, if you found any of the problems below, that means these are the symptoms of corrupted BIOS in your PC.

Hardware malfunctioning :

If the BIOS is completely corrupted, it is not possible for the PC to make the POST process and load the Operating System. In some good cases, somehow BIOS works even with the corrupted data. In this situation, your PC will face a lot of problems like…

  • Canceling data transfer automatically
  • USB ports will not work due to the lack of good communication between BIOS and OS
  • Your PC can’t connect to Wi-Fi, even the signal strength is good
  • Startup and Boot up problems and more

There are so many malfunctions like this. A computer is a collection of a bunch of functions. It’s hard to list every one of them.

Software instability :

Along with the hardware malfunctioning, the software instability also occurs due to the corrupted BIOS in a PC. Some of the symptoms of software instability are…

  • Windows keep on loading but not turning ON
  • PC apps get crashed
  • Drivers in a PC are not downloading or updating
  • Unwanted PC shutdown
  • Monitor flickering, etc

These are the issues that a corrupted BIOS PC would produce. In order to avoid it, you need to know about the reasons for its crash or corruption.

Why BIOS gets corrupted?

Nobody can’t use their PC at high potential every time. And it’s ok to use your PC as of your continent. The areas where we found a problem is…

  • Unwanted highly effective power cuts during the OS installation time. To avoid this, you have a UPS in your PC setup.
  • Improper PC cooling with bad stock cooler and improper PC fan airflow direction
  • CMOS battery failure due to dust or heat or any other factor
  • In some motherboards, overclock performance causes BIOS failure

Whatever the reason may be, you need to be careful about the things that harms to your PC.

Why BIOS update is important?

Updating BIOS is a sensitive approach, and yet it is an efficient way to solve your PC problems.

In your PC, if the BIOS getting trouble making the POST process and load the Operating System, then the BIOS update will help you to fix the issues. You can enhance the performance of your PC or motherboard by updating the processor, RAM, and other new features. Through updating BIOS, the security of the system will improve. However, during the process of updating BIOS, your PC needs Uninterruptible Power Supply, otherwise, BIOS gets corrupt.

How to update BIOS?

I want to remember one thing to you. We can update BIOS only if the new version or the updated version is available from the motherboard manufacturer.

With the above information, now you know how to find the BIOS version in your PC.

To see if the updates are available, go to your motherboard manufacturer’s official website. If they provide any update to the version of what you’re using now, download it on your flash drive. If there is no update available, then use the existing BIOS.

We have two methods to download and update BIOS in a PC.

Direct method :

This is the latest method that we are using now on PCs. In this method, we don’t need an external drive to download BIOS updates.

Just like any software, we can download the latest version of BIOS from the official site. The downloading file is in the format of a zip file. So, use any free software like power ISO, Win RAR, etc, to extract the files.

After extraction, install it like any normal application. Then your PC will need a system reboot. It took some time to reboot. And the system will consume the updates during this reboot process.

BIOS update will complete along with the reboot process. Now your PC has the latest version of BIOS. You know, how to check the BIOS version. This is simple, isn’t it?

Update with Flash drive :

The above method is easy to apply but it not a stable one. So, we use the second method called ‘update with a flash drive.’ In this method, we can use a Pendrive to flash the memory.

Download the original BIOS from the manufacturer to the Pendrive and keep it ready to boot your PC.

In the above process of getting into BIOS, step 3 means customizing the BIOS setup, select the boot device to the Pendrive where updated BIOS is available, and run the process.

The system will take some time to get the updates from the flash drive. After that, the PC will restart normally and now you have up-to-date BIOS on your PC.

Note: Your PC will never get interrupted during this process under any circumstances.

Your BIOS version?

Hope this information is helpful to you to find a solution to your problem. I only recommend you update your PC BIOS only if it is necessary. Because, in most cases, BIOS updates can’t make many changes to your PC.

What’s the version of your BIOS? Let me know with your comment. And if you have anything to ask, feel free.

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Author: Aswarth

Hey Guys, I'm an Electrical Engineer who is interested to learn Technical stuff in deep and want to give you the best quality information on this blog.

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