Ask the Doctor LogoAre there any benefits to flashing or updating a PC’s BIOS? Are there any dangers to my machine by doing this?

—Andrew Wilson

Andrew, there are many potential benefits to updating your BIOS. BIOS updates typically include performance increases and support for hardware that was not available when your motherboard launched—like new CPUs and memory. A BIOS update can also improve stability and correct bugs that the mobo maker has found since the board was released. Maximum PC endorses keeping your motherboard BIOS up to date. Most modern motherboard vendors make BIOS-flashing utilities that can run from inside Windows—these are available for free from their support websites; otherwise, you’ll have to boot from a floppy disk, USB drive, or CD.

There are potential dangers to flashing your BIOS, of course—a botched upgrade can totally bork your PC. Still, flashing a BIOS today is not as scary as it was 10 years ago as many board vendors have recovery mechanisms in place. Some even have backup BIOSes should one fail.


SUBMIT YOUR QUESTION Are flames shooting out of the back of your rig? First, grab a fire extinguisher and douse the flames. Once the pyrotechnic display has fizzled, email the doctor at for advice on how to solve your technological woes.




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