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How to Fix a Failed BIOS Update

Fixing a failed BIOS update is a high stakes challenge because a corrupted BIOS can make your computer unbootable.

Before You Start

Find Your Motherboard Model: Knowing the exact model number is crucial for finding the right BIOS recovery procedures. Look for markings on the motherboard itself or consult your computer’s documentation.

Prepare a USB Flash Drive: You might need a blank USB drive for some recovery methods.

Step 1: Basic Fixes

Complete Power Reset: Unplug your computer’s power supply, hold the power button down for 30 seconds then plug it back in and try restarting. Believe it or not, this can sometimes clear a stuck BIOS update process and you can start it all over again.

Clear CMOS: Resetting your BIOS settings can help. This is done by either removing the coin cell CMOS battery from your motherboard for a few minutes or by shorting specific pins. Use your motherboard manual for the exact procedure for your model. 90% of the time it’s done by removing the CMOS battery but if you have a quirkier motherboard then it might be a little different.

Step 2: Built In Recovery Features

Most modern motherboards have special features to recover from a failed BIOS update.

Dual BIOS: Some motherboards have two BIOS chips. If one gets corrupt you will be able to switch to the backup BIOS via a switch or jumper on the board. Again, look for the dual BIOS section in your motherboard’s manual for specifics.

BIOS Flashback: Some motherboards have a feature called BIOS Flashback or something similarly named that lets you flash the BIOS from a USB drive even if the system can’t boot.

Step 3: Advanced Techniques (Proceed With Caution)

External Programmer: CH341A programmers and a SOIC8 test clip let you directly reprogram BIOS chips. This requires specialized tools and some technical skill, only do it if you’re comfortable with electronics.

Replace the BIOS Chip: Some motherboards have socketed BIOS chips that you can change. You’ll need to get the exact correct chip matching your board model and revision.

If Everything Else Fails

RMA: If your motherboard is under warranty contact the manufacturer for a replacement or repair (they might even walk you through troubleshooting first).

Repair Service: Independent computer repair shops might be able to reprogram or replace your BIOS chip for a fee.

Important Thing

Precautions: Incorrect procedures will damage your motherboard sometimes. Watch out and understand the risks before trying advanced techniques.

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