How to update PC motherboards

MSI motherboard stood up next to box
Credit: MSI

MSI motherboard stood up next to box
Credit: MSI

Knowing how to update a PC motherboard can provide a wide range of benefits like support for new features, compatibility, and improved performance. Certain motherboards require a firmware update to unlock support for new CPUs and other components.

Updating a motherboard seems scary at first because there's the possibility that you brick your computer. Following the right steps will guarantee that everything goes smoothly. In this article, we will walk you through the exact steps needed to update your motherboard.

How to update PC motherboard

  1. Download the firmware update to a USB drive
  2. Insert the USB drive into your computer
  3. Open your PC BIOS
  4. Launch the BIOS update tool
  5. Select the firmware update on the USB drive
  6. Allow the motherboard to update without interruptions

To start, research your motherboard's model and download the latest firmware, it should be under the support section on the manufacturer's website.

Copy the firmware update to a USB flash drive. If you're attempting to repair a computer, you might need to do this on a separate device.

Once the flash drive is ready, plug it into a USB port on the back of your computer and restart your computer. When your computer reboots, tap F2, DELETE, or another key, to access your motherboard's BIOS.

In the BIOS, search for an update utility feature. Most ASUS motherboards include an easy-to-use update tool. Every manufacturer has its own software for updating the BIOS. It can also be called Q-Flash or EZ Flash.

Select the USB drive from within the motherboard update tool and select the firmware file. The motherboard should immediately start the update process and your computer will likely reboot a few times.

Once the update is finished, your computer should restart and boot into Windows normally. This will indicate that the update process has been completed successfully.

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How to find PC motherboard model

If you're not sure what motherboard you have, an easy way to find your motherboard model is to type "System Information" into the Windows search bar and launch the utility. The motherboard's model will be listed under "System Model".

System Information will also reveal what firmware is currently running on your motherboard. If you compare your current firmware to the firmware available on the manufacturer's website, you can determine if you are running the latest version.

If you're planning on building a new system, take a look at our best AMD motherboards.

Dangers of updating your motherboard

Updating a motherboard always comes with some risks. However, most modern motherboards utilize BIOS backup features like DualBIOS to prevent permanent damage.

The main issue to worry about when updating a motherboard is a power outage or a forced shutdown. If the motherboard update is interrupted, it can easily become corrupt, which could brick your motherboard.

Should you update PC motherboard?

Besides the previously mentioned points, another reason to update your motherboard is improved security. Most motherboard updates include essential security updates. The updates also eliminate bugs and other issues, so it's important to always make sure your motherboard is running the latest firmware.

Remember, updating your motherboard should be a straightforward process and it only takes a few minutes. If your motherboard supports DualBIOS, the chances of it becoming corrupt are minimal.

One pointer to keep in mind is all your BIOS settings will reset. So, you might have to reconfigure fan curves, overclock settings, and other settings. It's a good idea to make note of any custom configurations before you update the motherboard.

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