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This is my follow-up to Is it OK to update my BIOS? Hopefully I shan't need to update my BIOS - but I thought I'd ask anyway - What precautions should I take before updating the BIOS?

One that comes to mind is to backup the current BIOS, and profile (if so supported).

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Your question had the [community] tag on it, so I've flagged it for a moderator to make this community wiki. –  DragonLord May 14 '11 at 11:55
    
@DragonLord: Thank you (+: The question isn't the type to have a clear yes/no reply and at the same time of the type that it may be of use to the ICT community here ... hence the community tag. –  Everyone May 14 '11 at 17:46
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2 Answers

Pray?

Seriously, there isn't really a lot you can do.

To begin with, I would say only upgrade if it is needed such as you have a critical problem or it offers something you need - if it just changes a logo or adds a feature you will never need, there is no point in doing it.

Backing up really isn't an option on most, and when you upgrade, it could make the saved profile no longer work.

I would say, if you are constantly having power cuts, don't do it - and on the same topic, it doesn't hurt to have a UPS on your machine as best practice, but it isn't worth getting one just for this!

I would say, just go for it - some modern machines offer the ability to back up the BIOS and recover in the event of an error. If however you don't have this option, make sure you have access to another machine so that you can download a recovery image or emergency image (different names across different manufacturers) so you can do a recovery if needed.

This being said, I have had power cuts and problems and sometimes it still works - there is no one answer fits all and it changes from manufacturer to manufacturer.

Hope this helps!

edit ---

In addition, a piece of advice as I just upgraded mine (GPU Voltage change, stops freezing!), Write down as many settings as you can, especially every one you changed. After upgrading my BIOS(well... EFI), made Windows not start and BSOD. The reason was because my default setting was SATA Mode to IDE, when I had changed it to AHCI. Changing it back after flashing made Windows boot normally.

I would also say, it is sometimes best to perform a settings wipe / go to defaults upon a flash and then change settings back just in case there are any conflicts or settings left over that have changed or similar.

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The most effective thing you can do is to familiarize yourself with the BIOS recovery procedure for your computer. This way, if the update goes wrong, you'll know what to do.

Usually in modern BIOS updates, the whole BIOS isn't replaced at the same time. Instead a block which does he updating itself is either read only or updated once the rest of the BIOS has been updated to the point at which the computer can boot.

So if the BIOS update does fail, you'll most likely need to have a USB flash drive using certain filesystem with BIOS image on it under a certain file name or have a CD-ROM with the image in your CD-ROM drive or have a floppy with the image. Then you'd usually need to press a combination of keys on your keyboard when the computer starts and it will go into emergency flash and will hopefully correctly flash the BIOS. It will then reboot or shut down or do nothing. It is also possible that there will be no external indication that the BIOS is being flashed.

I wrote the general guideline for BIOS recovery, but you'll need to find the one which works for your motherboard and write down exact steps and what to expect.

Other than that you may find various fancy ways of restoring BIOS, such as dual BIOS and what not. Read the motherboard manual and see if any of that is mentioned.

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Do you know if DELL has such flash image to boot from? –  Boris_yo Aug 29 '11 at 21:46
    
@Boris_yo I don't know. I think that they probably do, but that heavily depends on exact model of the computer. Try asking that as a separate question or looking at some Dell forums. –  AndrejaKo Sep 1 '11 at 20:18
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