Your BIOS needs facelift, too

The BIOS is a chip on your computer’s main circuit board that controls all of the built-in devices on your system including the processor socket as well as the USB ports. It is called firmware, meaning software on a microchip.

You can fix system problems sometimes with a BIOS firmware update.

To do this, download an update program from the motherboard (main circuit board) or computer maker and install the update.

Here’s what a BIOS update can fix:

  • USB compatibility issues with some USB 2.0 devices.
  • Updates system fan functions.
  • Fixes problems with certain graphics cards.
  • Adds support for additional memory speeds and processors models.
  • Corrects issues with the CPU temperature monitor.
  • Repairs buggy audio problems.
  • Fixes a funky RAID (a hard drive technology that allows you to use multiple hard disks to create a backup of your data on the fly so if one hard drive breaks, the other kicks in to save you and your data) setup.

Before you start this process, check to see the model and make of your computer and install the BIOS update available specifically designed for it.

Install a BIOS update if you are getting weird system behavior that matches some of the issues mentioned earlier. And review any notes that come with the update to see if they address issues you are having.

Some BIOS upgrades require a floppy boot disk. Some install from within Windows. Read the instructions that come with the update carefully before you get started.

Also be sure that your computer has consistent power. Don’t do a BIOS update in a thunderstorm or during rolling blackouts. And don’t do an upgrade when a laptop is running on battery. Updates can take up to five minutes to complete. A power outage during the update will render your computer unbootable.

So how do you update your BIOS? Well, you can run many BIOS updates simply from inside Windows using an executable file downloaded from your computer or motherboard maker.

Here’s how:

1. Download the upgrade file from the computer maker’s (or motherboard maker’s) website and save it where you can find it.

2. Close all programs that may be running.

3. Double click the downloaded file to begin the installation.

4. Follow the instructions to complete the install.