Optimize Your BIOS for Top Performance
By now you know that there are tons of things you can do to make your Windows PC run faster and smoother and I’m sure your computer is now a lot more comfortable to use. But now is the time to speed up your computer even more by delving under the hood and tweaking some more advanced settings.
One of the more advanced optimization techniques is BIOS tuneup. BIOS stands for Basic Input-Output System and is the standard firmware for motherboards. It is the first software your computer loads when you power it up. It prepares everything for your operating system by detecting your computer’s hardware components and letting the operating system know it can use them, calculating the amount of available RAM and setting the CPU speed. Once everything has been taken care of, the BIOS boots the operating system and lets the OS take it over.
Just like any other piece of software, the BIOS can be fine-tuned. Optimizing the BIOS will decrease your computer’s boot time and make it run more efficiently.
Access the BIOS
On most systems, accessing the BIOS is not all that hard. When you
power up your computer, a startup screen appears. That screen is usually
accessible for only a few seconds, so you’ll need to act quickly. On the screen,
you should see which key you need to press to enter Setup. Usually it’s either Del,
F1, F2 or F12. Make sure you press the appropriate key
quickly, as you might not have more than a few seconds. This will get you
through to the BIOS settings.
If the startup screen flashes too quickly or doesn’t appear at all, try pressing the above-mentioned keys – you will eventually catch the right one. And if there is a splash screen that doesn’t show anything, try pressing Esc – this should get you through to the DOS screen where you enter BIOS setup.
Configure boot order
Configuring boot order is something that can significantly speed up computer startup. The BIOS manages the order of system boot items, such as floppy (yes, they still exist), CD/DVD optical drive, flash drive and hard drive. At times, you might need to boot from a CD or a flash drive, but most of the time you boot from your hard drive. However, your BIOS checks whether there are any bootable CDs or floppies, just in case. When it doesn’t detect any of these devices, it moves on to the hard drive. Since you use the hard drive to boot your OS every time you turn your computer on and almost never use bootable CDs or other drives, it only makes sense to put your hard drive first in line. This will save you a few seconds during computer startup. Here is how you can do it:
It also makes sense to disable floppy altogether because it’s highly
unlikely that you will be booting from there (even if you have a floppy drive,
that is). To disable FloppyDrive in BIOS, you’ll need to click on FloppyDrive
A within BIOS and set it to Disabled.
Save the changes in BIOS and your computer won’t look for floppy drives anymore. You can do the same for your CD drive and re-enable it or move it to the top later on in case you need to boot from your Windows disc.
Enable the Quick Boot option
In the past, computers needed to run POSTs – power-on self tests, which are no longer necessary. However, some systems still perform them and thus increase your PCs startup time. Memory check is the longest of them all and can last for several seconds. The Quick Boot option still performs all the necessary tests, but it does that quicker. This makes sense, because the complete version of POSTs is not really needed every time you power up your PC.
Turning on Quick Boot is pretty easy:
Update your BIOS
Just like any other software, BIOS needs updating. And just like any other vendor, your motherboard manufacturer should issue regular updates and bug fixes, as well as improve compatibility with new devices. BIOS updates can significantly decrease your PCs boot time and increase its overall performance.
BIOS updates are available for download through your PC/motherboard’s
manufacturer website. But before downloading you’ll need to find out which BIOS
version your computer is running. To do that, simply type msinfo32 in
the Search box in Windows 7/Vista, or in the Run box in Windows
XP and hit Enter.
This will open the System Information tool where you will be able to see which BIOS version you are using (look for it under System Summary). Record your BIOS version and close System Information.
Now that you know your BIOS version, go to your PC’s manufacturer’s
website and check whether there is an update available. Most manufacturers sort
updates by PC lines and models.
Be very careful and make sure that you download the right BIOS update file that is intended for your particular model. Installing a BIOS that is not intended for your model will most likely wreck your computer and make it unbootable. Most BIOS updates will warn you if you try to install them on hardware that doesn’t match, but it’s best to be careful in the first place.
Once you’ve found the right BIOS update, download it along with any supporting documentation and Read Me files.
IMPORTANT: it’s absolutely essential to read the update instructions in the Read Me documentation. Updating the BIOS incorrectly can ruin your computer.
Most PC manufacturers make updating BIOS fairly easy – all you need to do is download the update, quit all open applications, and run the .exe file. Let the update handle everything and then reboot your computer. Make sure you are not running off battery during the BIOS update, as you will not be able to boot up if the update gets interrupted. This doesn’t sound too hard, does it?
However, if you have an older computer, you might need to create a bootable drive and update the BIOS manually. Some systems will allow you to simply download an app that will configure a bootable USB drive or a blank CD/DVD to update your BIOS. Other systems are not that user-friendly and will require you to copy some files to your bootable drive, restart your PC, and enter the BIOS during startup. You will then need to change the boot order so that your system launches the update instead of booting your operating system from the hard drive. You’ll need to consult the BIOS update documentation for more specific instructions.
We’ve covered other important BIOS optimization techniques in our ebook “Turbo Windows – the Ultimate PC Speed Up Guide”. Download it for FREE now!