Need to find or check the current BIOS version on your laptop or desktop computer? BIOS or UEFI firmware is software that is installed by default on your PC’s motherboard and that detects and controls on-board hardware including hard drives, video cards, USB ports, memory, etc.
I already wrote about whether you need to update your BIOS or not, and the main premise of this article was not to update unless you have a specific need.
So how do you go about figuring out if you need to update the BIOS on your computer? Well, first you need to find out the current BIOS version. In this article, I will explain several ways to determine the BIOS version. Once you get the current version, you can visit the manufacturer’s website to see what the latest version is.
Click Start, select Run and type msinfo32. The Windows System Information dialog box appears.
In the System Summary section, you should see an item titled BIOS Version / Date. You now know the current version of your BIOS.
Another easy way to determine the BIOS version without restarting your computer is to open a command prompt and enter the following command:
wmic bios get smbiosbios version
The command line will simply tell you the BIOS version number, and that’s it. However, there are other commands that will give you a little more information.
wmic bios get bioversion
wmic bios get version
Almost everything in Windows is stored in the registry, and the BIOS version is no exception! Navigate to the next key:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE HARDWARE DESCRIPTION System
And you will see several BIOS related keys including SystemBiosDate, SystemBiosVersion, VideoBiosDate and VideoBiosVersion.
Another way to determine the BIOS version on your computer is to simply restart your computer. Some computers, including Dell, will display the BIOS version number on first boot.
If not, you can enter BIOS setup by pressing F12, DEL, F10, or F12 when it appears during startup. Other computer manufacturers may have a different key to enter setup, but this usually tells you which key to press.
Since the BIOS interface is different for almost every computer manufacturer, you will have to navigate through it, until you see the BIOS version or BIOS version.
If you are using a new Windows 8 computer with UEFI instead of the traditional BIOS, you will not be able to press any keys during startup. In such cases, you need to boot to the system recovery options screen. Once there, you should click on Troubleshoot and then Advanced Options.
This is the same method for putting Windows 8 into Safe Mode, but instead of clicking on Run Settings, you should click on UEFI Firmware Settings. Note that you will not see this option unless your BIOS is UEFI.
If you prefer to use a third-party utility that can provide you with other information about your computer, then Speccy is a good option. It belongs to the same company that created CCleaner, one of the best Windows PC maintenance tools.
Click on Motherboard and you will see a section titled BIOS that lists the brand, version, and date of the BIOS. The program also provides a lot of other system information about CPU, RAM, storage, etc.
So these are almost all different ways to determine the BIOS version. The BIOS should only be updated when necessary and with great care. A failed BIOS update can lock up your entire computer and force you to spend a lot of money to repair it.
There is no single way to do this when updating the BIOS. Each motherboard manufacturer has its own set of BIOS update tools. Some have update options in the BIOS itself, others require you to boot from a USB stick and thus flash the BIOS.
Each BIOS file usually comes in a compressed archive package that includes a text file ReadMe. You should read this file because it contains the exact instructions for updating the BIOS.
The only BIOS update method that should be avoided is the Windows option. This is usually a Windows application that can be downloaded and run from Windows to flash the BIOS. The problem is that it might fail as Windows is still running and usually the manufacturers themselves don’t even recommend it. This is the easiest method, but carries the greatest risk of failure.