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Upgrading Your BIOS

The Basic Input-Output System or BIOS of a computer is a program located in the ROM memory of the motherboard. One of the functions of the computer BIOS is to provide information that enables the computer to work with hardware. It contains programming that boots the computer. The BIOS is not physically serviceable. However, you can 'flash' your BIOS if you deem it necessary. Flashing of the BIOS is also known as 'upgrading the BIOS' in some instances.

Updating the BIOS of your computer can be risky if you're not careful. A couple of seconds of power outage can corrupt the computer BIOS. If this happens to your computer, the only remedy is to replace your motherboard or BIOS chips. As you prepare to upgrade your system BIOS, we recommend that you look into getting a good UPS that can power your computer for more than 10 minutes as a precautionary measure.

1. Some of the most common reasons people update their BIOS is to get Windows XP to work with a newly acquired adware or to fix a system problem. No doubt, a BIOS upgrade can increase computer performance and may enable you to use some computer hardware. Nonetheless, it doesn't guarantee a solution to all of your system problems.

2. Where to find the correct BIOS update for your system should be the next thing you should consider. For desktops or laptops with known manufacturers like HP, Dell, Gateway, Toshiba, Lenovo and others, you can get the latest version of system BIOS from their official websites. In addition, if you're using a system built by yourself or someone else, then you have to visit the website of the motherboard manufacturer to download the latest system BIOS.

3. Look for your computer model number or write down the model number of your motherboard. The model number of your motherboard can be found on the display when you run a computer memory test. You need this information to search for a BIOS update.

4. Download the upgrade onto a floppy disk or bootable CD. Unzip and follow README file instructions for the upgrade to see if it differs from step 5 below. A BIOS download usually comes with three files: the flash utility file, the upgrade data file and a README file. Back up your Old BIOS onto a storage device and study the README file carefully.

5. BIOS manufacturers have different upgrading instructions. The most common one is to start by booting the computer with the boot floppy disk. Insert your flashed floppy disk. Write down the name of the flash upgrade file. After installation, remove your boot disc and reboot again. At this point, you can go ahead and clear the old system BIOS. Recent default systems BIOS don't require any settings changes.

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