Motherboards run special firmware called BIOS or, more recently, UEFI. The BIOS is important because it allows your computer to execute some essential commands and check your hardware before booting up. So, if it is so important, how do I know if my motherboard needs a BIOS update?
To cut a long story short, you should only update your motherboard BIOS if you are facing an error that can be fixed through a BIOS update or if you are getting a new CPU and your old motherboard BIOS does not support the new generation of CPUs. The BIOS that came originally with your motherboard should be just fine and you won’t get much, if anything, from an update.
But BIOS updates can sometimes be significant. For example, if there is a security vulnerability or your new SSD or RAM stick doesn’t work with your motherboard, a BIOS update could fix it. So, how do I know if my motherboard needs a BIOS update? Let’s talk about it in more detail.
How Do I Know If My Motherboard Needs a BIOS Update?
Let’s start by explaining why updating your BIOS without any reason is a bad idea. Your BIOS is not like other software where you simply install a new update and you get the latest and greatest available from the program. The BIOS is a fixed type of software that is stored on your computer’s ROM. Updating it is very risky and it takes a surprisingly long time (10-15 minutes).
If something happens in that time slot, such as a power outage, then your motherboard may be bricked. The only way to fix a bricked motherboard is to RMA it or to have a professional replace the physical BIOS chip on your motherboard. Both options cost money and are very inconvenient, so don’t risk it.
And flashing your BIOS is not that easy either. Thankfully, motherboard manufacturers have, over the past few years, created programs that allow you to update your BIOS while in Windows. This means that you do not have to do it from DOS using a bootable USB drive anymore, but it can still be risky.
If you accidentally flash a BIOS that is not meant for your motherboard but for a different model, the computer could stop working and you won’t be able to turn it on. That is why having a Dual BIOS motherboard is such a great thing. Even if a BIOS update wrecks your first BIOS, your backup BIOS is there to save your motherboard.
“So, how do I know if my motherboard needs a BIOS update?” – you ask, and here is the answer. If there has been a security vulnerability that was fixed through a BIOS update, then even if you are not affected, it may be worth the minor risk to update your BIOS.
And if there was a bug that affected performance, most commonly of the CPU, then again a BIOS update is not a bad idea. You can check what BIOS version you are running by opening the BIOS while it is booting or in System Information in Windows.
Go to the manufacturer’s website and check what BIOS updates have been released from your BIOS version onward. Check the notes that explain the BIOS update. If you see something that could fix your issue, then a BIOS update may be necessary.
Another common reason why you should update your BIOS is when new hardware comes out and your motherboard can only support it through a BIOS update. For example, most B450 motherboards support Ryzen 5000 series CPUs, but a BIOS update is necessary to make it work. The same is true for RAM and M.2 SSD compatibility.
Updating your motherboard BIOS can be a risky thing. Unless you face some performance or compatibility issue or there was a major security vulnerability that can only be fixed by updating your BIOS, hold back from updating your BIOS.
As long as your computer is working fine, there is no reason for you to update your BIOS. It is quite uncommon to see new features added to the BIOS through updates and new updates can cause new issues.