The motherboard in your computer has a preset series of instructions called a bios (basic input output system) and is a software file that is loaded onto the bios chip. The bios is where you can make changes to overclock your CPU and set certain functions and hardware to be active or disabled.
Periodically you may need to update (flash) the bios to add new functionality, such as compatibility with a new CPU or Ram. Adding a new hard drive , video card and DVD drive will also show up in the bios and checking it to see if the device registered with the bios is a way to confirm it's compatible.
It is not necessary to update the bios simply because a newer one is available, you should only update the bios if there is a need to do so.
Updating the bios has become a whole lot easier then it was even 5 years ago. You can now even update the bios from Windows and there is no need to go into the bios and use the updater provided there. Some if not all of the motherboard manufacturers provide a Windows based bios updater.
Some motherboards have dual bios setups in case on gets corrupted you have a second one for backup.
Bios chips are located on the motherboard in various places depending on the manufacturer.
To start the bios update.
The first thing that you want to do is identify you current bios version and you can do this in two places. In the bios itself under the Main menu, and in Windows.
To get your bios version from within Windows go to the start button and in the run box type in msinfo32 and hit search. Then select System Summary and under the processor speed you should see the bios version number. Write it down and then go to the motherboards web site.
If you built the computer yourself then you will need to find the bios update version by yourself. If the computer is a prebuilt , such as Dell or HP or other computer builder then it would be best to visit their support site to find any bios update.
From the motherboards manufacturers site you will need to locate the model of your motherboard and after entering the OS version you will see a section like drivers and downloads and there should be a listing for motherboard utilities and drivers along with bios versions.
Find your bios version on the list and see what other versions are above it (newer) and going by the number and date of release you can see if there is one or many newer ones. Each new bios version should have a brief description of what the update covers. You should look them over and decide which one best suits your needs, such as newer memory or CPU compatibility or even just new enhancements.
Once you have decided on a bios version insert a USB drive into your USB port and download the bios version and any read me file onto the stick along with any new bios utiity updates that improve the function of your current bios updater utility.
Once downloaded you are now ready to update the bios and you will have to decide which way you are going to do it, through the bios or through Windows. Which ever way you decide you now need to activate the updater and start the process. Every step along the way you will be asked if you want to proceed so that there are no mistakes you do have that checking process.
The easiest way is through the Windows based utility but the most secure way is in the bios. I have done it both ways and I prefer the bios but if your inexperienced then Windows may be your best bet. The whole process takes about 5 to 10 min and you will see a progress bar that tells you when it's erasing the old bios and installing the new one. So you will see status progress like reading, writing and confirming.
Once the update is finished if you've done the update in Windows you will need to restart the computer and then you will need to go into the bios and make changes to the bios if you had made any changes previously such as overclocking or sata drive status (AHCI) since a bios update will reset all settings to default. If you did the update in the bios you will need to save and exit the bios and then on the restart go back into the bios to reset and changes that you had previously.
Good luck with your update.