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All that software running in the background—including security programs that may interfere with writing to the computer’s BIOS—can cause the process to fail and corrupt your BIOS.

Any system crashes or freezes might also result in a corrupted BIOS.

You then restart your computer and boot from the USB drive.

In the minimal DOS environment that appears after the reboot, you run the appropriate command—often something like BIOS3245.bin—and the tool flashes the new version of the BIOS onto the firmware.

You should see a list of available BIOS versions, along with any changes/bug fixes in each and the dates they were released. You’ll probably want to grab the newest BIOS version—unless you have a specific need for an older one.

If you purchased a pre-built computer instead of building your own, head to the computer manufacturer’s website, look up the computer model, and look at its downloads page. Your BIOS download probably comes in an archive—usually a ZIP file. Inside, you’ll find some sort of BIOS file—in the screenshot below, it’s the E7887IMS.140 file.

Though it's not without hazards, the process is fairly easy. Copy the updated BIOS file to floppy disk or USB drive. When the DOS prompt appears, type the following: afudos /i[name of BIOS file]For example, "p4c800b.rom" might be the name of the new BIOS file.

(Note: BIOS file and boot files should fit on a floppy disk. "afudos /ip4c800b.rom" is the command that will install it. Your monitor will display the update's progress with a series of messages: "Reading file," then "Erasing flash," then "Writing flash." The "writing flash" message will be followed with a percentage counter that tells you how far the write has proceeded. Copy your new BIOS files to a floppy disk or USB drive. When the system is at POST, press "Alt" "F2" to enter EZ-Flash.

We don’t recommend using these, and even many manufacturers who provide these tools caution against using them.

This will render your computer unbootable—it’ll be “bricked.” Your computer’s BIOS version is displayed in the BIOS setup menu itself, but you don’t have to reboot to check this version number.

There are several ways to see your BIOS version from within Windows, and they work the same on PCs with a traditional BIOS or a newer UEFI firmware.

Some manufacturers offer a BIOS-flashing option directly in their BIOS, or as a special key-press option when you boot the computer.

You copy the BIOS file to a USB drive, reboot your computer, and then enter the BIOS or UEFI screen.

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