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44. Loading The New BIOS

BIOS from A to Z
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Once the update is complete, turn your PC off. Be sure to remove the power cable, then erase your CMOS as described in Point 5 in the "BIOS Golden Rules" section that follows next. Reconnect your power supply to the grid by reattaching the power cable, then plugging it into a wall socket. Turn the PC on, and you should be rewarded with an on-screen message that refers to the new BIOS you just installed. Hit your magic key to invoke the BIOS Setup program. Select the "Load Optimized Defaults" option (which may appear as "Exit, Load Setup Defaults" on some machines). Exit setup and save changes by striking the [F10] and [Y] keys, then start the PC up again to start enjoying the fruits of your labors.

BIOS Golden Rules

When you change BIOS settings, there's little you can actually break, as long as you don't elevate any input voltages. Nonetheless, it's a good idea to know about and follow various rules to help stay out of trouble.

  1. Create a backup copy of your current BIOS. Before you install a new or changed BIOS, save the old version. Every Flash tool includes an option such as "Save current BIOS as" (see Screenshot D). With the help of a backup, you can always get your system up and running again if a new version or changes to settings cause problems.
  2. Change only one setting at a time. When running the BIOS Setup program, make changes carefully, one at a time, and in small increments where applicable. Restart you PC after each change and take it on a test drive under Windows to make sure things work properly. This is the only safe way to determine what impact individual settings changes have on your PC.
  3. Run stress tests or benchmarks. Running your system under heavy or full load is the best way to determine whether or not aggressive settings cause problems when the PC is put to work. For this purpose, parallel use of massively networked applications such as online games, video editing, or 3D benchmarks such as 3DMark 2005 work best.
  4. If all else fails, try a cold boot. If the PC won't boot after pressing the Reset button, turn off the computer and wait a minute or two before turning it back on. Use the switch on the power supply, not the buttons on the front of your PC.
  5. Erase the CMOS. When the PC won't boot any more after you make BIOS changes, you won't be able to access the BIOS Setup program to back those changes out. Should this happen, you'll need to erase the CMOS memory in which the BIOS settings reside. Follow the instructions for clearing or resetting CMOS from your motherboard (or system) manual.
    In some cases, this requires moving a jumper to bridge contacts that are designed to send a "Clear CMOS" instruction to that memory. This may mean actually moving a physical jumper block on the motherboard, or may require flipping a DIP switch. Remember to remove that jumper after you've cleared the CMOS.
    Another possibility is removing the CMOS battery and unplugging the PC from the wall. This may take several hours to work reliably, however.
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