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Windows 7: Determining if I need to update my BIOS

06 May 2016   #1
M W

Win 7 HP x64
 
 
Determining if I need to update my BIOS

The HP Support Assistant program that came with my laptop used to update my BIOS along with various other drivers every couple months or so. Now it's quite rare that it ever gives me any updates, even when I check it manually, it reports that everything is up to date.

However, if I go to the HP website and check there, it shows that all kinds of updates are available. My current installed BIOS is from 2014, but the latest version on the HP site is from 2016.

So I'm not sure which source to trust. My laptop was one of "Customize and Buy" models, so maybe the Support Assistant isn't showing any updates because the newer versions aren't compatible with my specific hardware?

My inclination is just to leave it alone, but I always like to keep everything in top shape.

Thanks!


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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06 May 2016   #2
Mellon Head

Win 7 Pro x64/Win 10 Pro x64 dual boot
 
 

Welcome to SevenForums!

Your inclination is correct as far as BIOS goes. You shouldn't mess with your BIOS unless the new version specifically corrects a current problem that you're having. It's all too easy to brick a laptop or motherboard with a failed BIOS update, which is why we usually advise not doing one unless you absolutely need to.

In other words, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 May 2016   #3
Layback Bear

Windows 7 Pro. 64/SP-1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Mellon Head View Post
Welcome to SevenForums!

Your inclination is correct as far as BIOS goes. You shouldn't mess with your BIOS unless the new version specifically corrects a current problem that you're having. It's all too easy to brick a laptop or motherboard with a failed BIOS update, which is why we usually advise not doing one unless you absolutely need to.

In other words, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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06 May 2016   #4
M W

Win 7 HP x64
 
 

@Mellon Head @Layback Bear

Thanks for the reply. I'll leave the BIOS alone then. It had just been bugging me that the Support Assistant and the website were telling me different things.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 May 2016   #5
alphaniner

Windows 7 Professional x64, Arch Linux
 
 

There's also usually a disclaimer on the download page and/or the readme with the same advice that Mellon Head and Layback Bear gave.

But...

A BIOS update isn't black magic, and it won't arbitrarily fail because the planets aren't properly aligned. Long story short, BIOS updates are an everyday thing where I work. Not for in-house machines of course, but for the products we sell. To my knowledge there has never been a failed update.

The only thing I worry about during a BIOS update is power loss.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 May 2016   #6
Alejandro85

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by alphaniner View Post
A BIOS update isn't black magic, and it won't arbitrarily fail because the planets aren't properly aligned. Long story short, BIOS updates are an everyday thing where I work. Not for in-house machines of course, but for the products we sell. To my knowledge there has never been a failed update.

The only thing I worry about during a BIOS update is power loss.
Sure, the chances of a failure can be slim, but they exist. An update (of anything) can always go wrong, but in the case of BIOSes the consequences can be much worse.

For example, if a Windows update goes horribly wrong, you may use a restore point, or full disk image, or boot into safe mode and try to remove it, or worst case nuke the HD and reinstall everything. Certainly annoying, but recoverable.
In the case of a BIOS update, if things go wrong, the whole computer might become unbootable. For one, is much more difficult to take a backup of the current working BIOS. And if things actually go wrong, it's even more difficult to restore that backup, because the computer in some cases may not even boot. It can be 1 in 1000000 cases, but if that "one" happens to be you, the consequences of such failure are much worse. In turn, if there is no apparent gain or fix in upgrading, you end up taking a significant risk for no profit. That's why it's recommended only when an update fixes a problem affecting you currently.

You mention power loss. Well, we haven't any control over that, unless you have an UPS or a battery in a notebook, it can strike at any moment, without warning. Other possible causes are downloading a wrong version (granted, this is user error) or the update having a bug not noticed before.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 May 2016   #7
ThrashZone

Win-7-Pro64bit 7-H-Prem-64bit
 
 

Hi and welcome to SevenForums,
You can always contact H-P and confirm with them.

Outside of the bios I would look more at the chipset/ vga/ wifi and or Lan drivers offered those are usually something you might notice an improvement in updating.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Determining if I need to update my BIOS




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