USB BIOS Flashback is a way to update your motherboard’s BIOS without entering the BIOS menu or using your operating system. To use it, you need to connect a USB device containing an updated BIOS file and press and hold the BIOS Flashback button on the back of your motherboard for at least three seconds.
Times When You Should Use USB BIOS Flashback
USB BIOS Flashback can seem like it’s actually more effort than just using the BIOS menu or running an update straight through Windows or Linux. You have to:
- Go to another computer
- Find the correct BIOS update online
- Load it onto a USB
- Move to the motherboard that needs updating
- Perform the BIOS flashback
That’s a lot more steps than just entering the BIOS menu from your startup screen and pressing update, right? But, there are certain times when using USB BIOS Flashback is much more convenient.
One such time is when you’re assembling a new PC from scratch. There are often times when the processor or other parts you bought are compatible with your motherboard, but only after a BIOS update. So how would you enter the BIOS menu without a processor or ram installed first? You guessed it, through a USB BIOS Flashback port.
Of course, you can run into similar issues when updating hardware, and you only realize you should have updated the BIOS firmware before you installed the new parts. Using USB BIOS Flashback will prevent you from reinstalling your old parts, updating the BIOS, and replacing the components again.
How to use USB BIOS Flashback
The steps to performing a USB BIOS Flashback are relatively straightforward. They can vary slightly between manufacturers, so it may be best to check your manual to ensure you’re doing it correctly. Still, we’ll give you a basic outline that should work for most motherboards.
- Find the correct driver online – This is very important. You don’t want to try to update the BIOS with incompatible firmware, It won’t work, or even worse, you could end up with corrupted files. The safest place to download BIOS updates is usually from the manufacturer’s website. But, their latest firmware may be in beta, so check for older, more stable versions if possible.
- Load the driver onto a USB stick – The USB device has to be formatted in FAT32 in most cases, and it’s a good idea to have no files on the device other than the UEFI BIOS. Some motherboards will require you to rename the bios file for the flashback to work successfully.
- Shut down your PC – The USB BIOS Flashback button won’t do anything while your computer is running. If you were trying to do this while your computer is still functioning, you could likely update your BIOS via your operating system or BIOS menu anyway.
- Place the USB device in the BIOS Flashback USB port – You can’t just plug the USB stick into any port on the motherboard. You have to use the designated port, which is often outlined or has a small marking next to it.
- Press and hold the BIOS Flashback button – There should be some sort of indicator light to signify that the flashback has begun successfully; usually, a flashing LED. Holding the button for 3-5 seconds is generally long enough.
- Wait – The USB BIOS Flashing process is complete when the indicator light stops blinking or is no longer solid.
Sometimes, you will still need to use a USB stick to perform a BIOS flash from the BIOS menu. In this case, you just have to follow steps 1-3 above, then:
- Turn on your computer and enter the BIOS screen– Manufacturers use different buttons to get into the BIOS menu, but F10, F2, F12, F1, and DEL are the most common ones.
- Find “Update BIOS” or “Flash BIOS” – Then navigate to it and press Enter and/or Y
- Wait for the BIOS flash to finish.
Can I Flashback Bios While My CPU and CPU Cooler Are Connected?
Yes, you can. In fact, some motherboards still require a CPU to be connected. However, most that have USB Flashback capabilities don’t need the CPU or cooler to be connected. If your CPU were going to cause any issues with the flashback, your motherboard would be likely to automatically about the flashback process and revert back to its previous settings.
Is USB BIOS Flashback Safe?
Absolutely! In most cases, using USB BIOS Flashback is actually the most fail-safe method of updating your BIOS.
Why Do I Need Bios Flashback?
There are a ton of reasons to update your BIOS ranging from hardware compatibility to faster processing and even security. Just like any other part of computing, having the latest software is generally the best way to keep your computer safe from hacking, ransomware, viruses, and other potential threats to your PC.
How Long Should Bios Flashback Take?
BIOS flashback, whether through the USB method or not, does not take a long time. It shouldn’t take more than a few minutes, with three minutes tending to be the absolute maximum time needed.
How Do I Know If I Can Use USB Bios Flashback?
All you have to do is check for the button on the back of your motherboard. If it doesn’t have a button, you won’t be able to use this method to flash your BIOS.
How Often Should I Flash My Bios?
Not very often, this is not like Windows updates that happen every day, week, or month. You’ll likely have to do it no more than once every six months to a year.
What Are the Risks of Updating My Bios?
The risk associated with updating your BIOS is quite dire. If you do it incorrectly or with a corrupted file, you risk turning your computer into an expensive brick. You need to make sure you get the update from a reliable source like the manufacturer’s website and choose the correct one.