Updating your BIOS on Windows

BIOS stands for "Basic Input/Output System", it was created in 1975 and basically it is firmware for your computer, loaded into a chip on your motherboard. BIOS is now slowly being replaced with a similar system called EFI or UEFI (Unified/Extensible Firmware Interface).

BIOS is the very first piece of software that runs when your computer turns on and is responsible for activating and testing your computers components, ie, Network adaptors, Graphics cards etc, before your operating system starts running.

Early in a specific BIOS chip's life cycle, like any software or firmware, there may be bugs that impact the stability or performance of your BIOS. If your computer cannot connect successfully to the various components you want to use, you may experience weird issues that are hard to resolve within the operating system's preferences. If the BIOS cannot communicate successfully with your computer's USB interface you may experience USB dropouts when using Serato software.

A solution for this is keeping your BIOS updated. Just like the drivers for your computer's internal hardware the updates for the BIOS are provided by the manufacturer. With Mac computers, the machine is manufactured by Apple so the updates for their EFI chip are rolled into their general OS updates. With Windows PCs it's a little different, Microsoft make Windows and provide updates only for the operating system. It is the computer manufacturer's responsibility, ie, Hewlett-Packard, Asus etc, to provide updates for the hardware, including BIOS chip updates.

Even if a computer is “brand new” it may not have the latest BIOS loaded when it is shipped. Most computer manufacturers sit on stock for some time before shipping to retail. The laptop can then sit in a distribution warehouse and then sit on a shelf for some time before it is purchased. It is possible that there a quite a few updates available.

Because the updates are different for each manufacturer you will need to carefully follow the instructions they provide and make sure that you are using the the correct update. Running the wrong update or losing power to your laptop whilst the BIOS is being updated can seriously damage your machine. If you are not confident doing the update yourself you should contact your laptop manufacturer's local service specialist.

 

Even though the steps will be slightly different depending on your laptop, I have included a step by step guide for updating your BIOS with one of the laptops here at Serato HQ:

 

  • 1.     Find out your laptops model number. It is generally found on a sticker on the bottom of your laptop. On some machines you can also go to Start > "Right-Clicking" My Computer > Properties. You need the FULL model number, this is important so you can find the correct BIOS update, some laptops in the same series may have different BIOS chips and therefore need different updates. It generally consists of a series number ie, Inspiron 1545and then a more specific product number ie, PP41L. The complete model number for the Dell machine that I am updating is: Inspiron 1545 PP41L. 

  • 2.     Navigate to your laptop manufacturer's support page. Enter you laptop's model number or select your machine from a list of products.

  • 3.     Check the downloads and drivers section for a BIOS update and download the latest version if there is one available. For the Dell machine I'm using, there were 14 previous BIOS updates. There may also be a list of fixes that this update includes, check the list to see if any USB issues are addressed (even if it doesn't specifically note that it includes USB fixes, it may help your system perform better).

  • 4.     Follow the instructions carefully and make sure your machine does not lose power. Some BIOS updates are .exe and you can run them from your desktop. Others will require that you put them on a USB drive and configure your computer to boot from USB before running your OS, if you are required to do so there should be step by step instructions to follow, you might want to write them down or have them displayed on another computer while you update the BIOS. The BIOS updater I am running is a .exe with on screen instructions:

  • 5.     Now that the computer's BIOS has been updated, check to see if it helps your Serato software perform better.