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Windows 7: Need help updating BIOS


18 Jan 2011   #1

Windows 7 Ultimate x86
 
 
Need help updating BIOS

Hey, my laptop has been giving me some pain recently with BSODs when exiting Source games. I've also been experiencing performance drops in these games and in others which were all fine some time ago. Steam support suggesting updating my video and audio drivers (which I did) but they also said I should update my BIOS.

I have never updated my BIOS before and want to ask what and where should I get an update for my laptop, how to apply it and things I should be careful about. Also, would this void my warranty?

The laptop is an Acer Aspire 5742ZG
OS Windows 7 Ultimate x86
CPU Intel Pentium P6100
Motherboard Intel(R) 5 Series/3400 Series
Memory 3 GB DDR3
Graphics Card(s) NVIDIA GeForce GT 420M

LE: Also, while we're on the subject, do you have any good reads on BIOS updating and when it should be done? It's unexplored territory for me


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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18 Jan 2011   #2

Windows 7 x64 pro/ Windows 7 x86 Pro/ XP SP3 x86
 
 

Hey, first thing you need to do is type msinfo32 in the Start button search/run box. In the window that opens, look up the field Bios version/date and tell us what exactly you see there. This tells you the version number and date of the currently installed bios. By knowing this it can be determined whether an update is actually applicable.

Bios updating used to be a dangerous business in the earlier days but with better and more user friendly tools its quite OK, as long as you take certain precautions. However, do remember that no matter you do everything right, theres a very small chance that your mobo can get bricked, so the responsibility is all yours.

Not trying to frighten you, just need to be careful and be prepared.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Jan 2011   #3

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Ult. x64 Windows 8.1 x64
 
 

Updating BIOS should only be done as a very last resort when all other methods at resolving an issue have been exhausted, and you are 100% confident that updating the BIOS will fix the problem.

I would explore all other avenues (e.g. driver updates etc.) first before even contemplating a BIOS update.

Regards,
Golden
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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18 Jan 2011   #4

Windows 7 Ultimate x86
 
 

I have attached msinfo32. I'm very unhappy with the way the laptop works in games, I get stuttering from time to time that I never had (it gets very annoying in WoW and online shooters.), various mundane tasks take a lot longer (alt-tabbing, for example, used to happen instantly for most games, now it can take seconds) even 1080p movies started stuttering sometimes.

Right now I'm thinking of just reinstalling Windows. It only takes ~30 min anyway. But if these things persist, I will reconsider updating BIOS (if there is indeed an update available). Also, I registered my laptop at the producer's website, I will contact technical support about all this if necessary. They can probably point me in the right direction.


Attached Files
File Type: rar msinfo32.rar (64.8 KB, 53 views)
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Jan 2011   #5

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

NVIDIA GeForce GT 420M - Notebookcheck.net Tech

I was looking at this.... just out of curiosity... What resolution are you pushing when it comes to games.... seems like the higher you go on this graphics card, cuts it way down but if you stay within the means.. runs really good based on the benchmark.

It is a 128MB DDR3 Video Card.. not too shabby.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Jan 2011   #6

Windows 7 Ultimate x86
 
 

I really don't push it when it comes to resolution, and I always keep anti-aliasing and such other 'bonuses' off...I don't care much about graphics, really, the reason I wanted a more powerful video card was to be able to play the newer games. The resolution is always, always lower than 1366x768 (which is recommended and on my desktop). Most games I play 1024x768, except WoW where the lateral borders are annoying and I play it at 1280x768.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Jan 2011   #7

Windows 7 x64 pro/ Windows 7 x86 Pro/ XP SP3 x86
 
 

1) Your msinfo2 shows model Aspire 5742G, though you mentioned GZ in your first post. You need to be careful and specific.

2) Your current bios is ver 1.03 dated 29 july 2010. Since that time, 8 new bios updates have been released for this model. The latest is 1.12 dated 10 jan 2011. One interesting thing is that some of these updates that you skipped have nvidia related updates, that may or may not be interesting.

3) The latest bios for your model is ver 1.12. This is the downloads page.

Acer Support - Drivers & Support Documents

To download, all you need to do is to click on the green download link.

4) Basically, there are 2 broad ways to update the bios- one, flash the update from inside windows using the .exe file provided by Acer in that download package. For that, you just need to make sure the laptop is connected to the AC mains (i.e. not running on battery), double click on the .exe file and thats it. If everything goes well, the bios will update (it may show "programming ...blocks" kind of message), then it'll restart the computer. Or you may need to restart manually. The advantage of this method is its idiot-proof (no offence meant). The disadvantage is flashing inside windows can cause an occasional brick, though these flashers are extremely reliable nowadays.

The other method is to flash from DOS (pure DOS, not the DOS screen in windows). For this, you need to create a bootable usb drive, then copy the files provided in the DOS package to the usb, set your boot priority to USB first, boot from the usb drive, then run the flasher utility (not the same as the windows utility!) from the DOS prompt. Advantage is since there are no interfering processes running, its cleaner. Disadvantage is you need to prepare a bootable usb.

However for a newbie like you (again, no offence meant), I would suggest you use the windows utility because you are more likely to muck up the boot usb process. Just download the package, locate the folder called "windows", then double click on the .exe file inside.

Good luck!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Jan 2011   #8

W7 X-64 W8.1 X-64 Opensuse 13.1 W2003 Server
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Golden View Post
Updating BIOS should only be done as a very last resort when all other methods at resolving an issue have been exhausted, and you are 100% confident that updating the BIOS will fix the problem.

I would explore all other avenues (e.g. driver updates etc.) first before even contemplating a BIOS update.

Regards,
Golden
Hi there
Actually it's not so difficult -- The Mobo manufacturere will often supply a bootable disk where you can "Flash" the BIOS.

The decent ones also have a backup that you can recover if the update fails or doesn't work.


The only thing you MUST DO however is to ensure THE POWER REMAINS ON THE WHOLE TIME DURING THE UPDATE.

If you are updating a Laptop BIOS ensure its connected to the mains while you do the update.

Cheers
jimbo
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Jan 2011   #9

Windows 7 Ultimate x86
 
 

Thank you for your responses. Regarding the G/ZG confusion, I'm not sure what to say. The sticker on my laptop says 5742ZG. Also, I have just checked my product on the Acer website, where it also says ZG (and all the components are listed correctly). Not sure who to blame here I will update the BIOS to a newer version, but not before I reinstall Windows. It's been quite some time since I did it, and I want to make absolutely sure nothing wrong will happen during the update.

Is there any way to do a backup of my current version of BIOS in case things don't work out? And if there is, can I put it on a CD instead of a bootable USB stick? I only have one 8 GB stick, no experience in making it bootable (although I know there are many tutorials on the internet) and most importantly I'm not sure if I can make a normal stick once again. Didn't look into this.

LE: Also, after I reinstall Windows, should I first update the BIOS or install the rest of the drivers for my hardware?
LE2: I got to the page with BIOS updates for my laptop, and there are lots of updates. I presume that all previous updates are included in the one dated 10 jan 2011?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Jan 2011   #10

Windows 7 x64 pro/ Windows 7 x86 Pro/ XP SP3 x86
 
 

1) You can backup the bios with winphlash or some acer specific utility, trouble is it may not be necessarily usable. I'm not sure about the .fd bioses acer uses but at least some bioses (notoriously phoenix) cannot be flashed from a backup because the original bios contains platform data which is not written to ROM, hence is not present in the backed up bios.

You can google around for a downloadable version of your current bios instead.

2) Yes, you can use a bootable cd instead. Make sure you copy all the files in the DOS folder (inside the download) to the bootable cd, then boot from cd and run the flasher.

Although lemme tell you its a breeze to make a bootable usb. See this tut.

USB Windows 7 Installation Key Drive - Create

Of course, you dont need a 4gb drive, a 128mb old drive will do, you can choose whichever method in that tut seems simplest. And theres nothing abnormal about a bootable flash drive, you can use it normally- just dont boot from it. If it bugs you, you can just delete the boot files on the drive or format the drive.

3) Theres no hard and fast rule but since you are at it, might as well update the bios first.

4) Yes, bios updates are normally incremental, so the latest version includes previous fixes.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Need help updating BIOS




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