Just because there is an update for your BIOS does not mean that you should necessarily install it. For example, a BIOS update may help solve an overheating issue. Unlike the operating system, the BIOS is low-level software that is stored on a chip on the motherboard of the computer.
If you built your own computer, you will either need to download a BIOS update program from your motherboard manufacturer or you will need to manually perform the flash, which normally entails using a USB stick and booting into DOS. Each motherboard model requires its own BIOS version and this is where the problems can occur. Firstly, if you use the BIOS for a different motherboard or even a slightly different revision of the same motherboard, major problems can occur.
Your computer may not power up at all or you may get strange error messages when it boots. Secondly, if the computer loses power or something else goes wrong during the update itself, it can brick your computer and cost hundreds to repair. Note that the PC manufacturer remedies some of these problems for you. For example, a BIOS update from Dell will be packaged into an executable file that will not only check to make sure the version of the BIOS you are installing is compatible with your system, but will also go ahead flash the BIOS without you having to manually do it.
Take note of the version and the date of the release. Search for your particular computer model and you should see a section called Drivers and Downloads or something similar. Here is an example from Dell.
Always read the release notes or details to see what is actually being updated. So should you install this update? For custom built PCs, you will need to visit the motherboard manufacturer website and download the drivers from there.
This is an example from the MSI website below. It also gives you a description of what the update includes. Improved memory compatibility means the motherboard simply supports more RAM chips from different manufacturers. Of course, you may need to Google some of the technical terms in order to understand what they are talking about.
Check the version and date of the BIOS listed on the website and compare it to the one on your system. If you decide there is an update you would like to install, there are several possible ways.
Firstly, download the BIOS file, which will usually be in archive format like. Open the archive and look for a Readme. This file will usually explain exactly what you need to do to perform the upgrade.
There are three main paths: For a custom PC, you should use option 1 or 2, if possible, as it is less risky. If you have any questions, post a comment.