June 27, 2010

Updating the Gigabyte BIOS

Updating the BIOS of a Gigabyte motherboard is very easy (and safe, thanks to the Dual-BIOS).

There are several alternatives for this:
  • The Q-Flash Utility (embedded in the BIOS),
  • The @BIOS Windows utility
  • The FLASHSPI.EXE MS-DOS utility (included with the BIOS update)

As I don't use DOS or Windows, I always use the Q-Flash Utility.

Once I unpacked the BIOS, I copy it over to a USB stick (USB flash drive or DiskOnKey).

Reboot, and enter Q-Flash (hitting the End key in the welcome screen, or F8 in the BIOS)

The Q-Flash main screen appears:

Now we insert the USB stick, and select "Update BIOS from Drive"
Edit: Based on comments from some readers, it seems not all USB sticks are recognized at this point. So, if yours is not, you might need to reboot with the USB stick plugged-in.

At first, I was surprised that the USB Stick was being shown as "HDD 1-0"...

Selecting it allows me to navigate down to where I put the BIOS in the USB stick.

That's it, after a confirmation message, the BIOS is updated, and my PC reboots.

NOTE: It's very important, and many users forget to do that, to reset your BIOS settings to the "Optimized Defaults".
This guarantees that there are no left-overs in the configuration from a previous BIOS version.

Now, we can move on to Configuring the BIOS Settings


  1. It might be useful to specify some programs, such as keka, that can be run under OS X to extract/unpack the bios from the exe file. After you load optimized defaults don't you need to set some other bios settings such as AHCI and 64 bit HPET?

  2. Forget about my comment regarding the BIOS settings, I see you have a link to them here.

  3. @Anonymous: Thanks for the tip on keka!...
    Added a reference to it in Unpacking the Gigabyte BIOS without Windows, and I'm glad you found my post on BIOS settings optimization.

  4. Hi whats a usb disc on key? I put the extracted folder on a usb flash drive formatted to fat but it isnt recognized when plugged in? Thanks.

  5. @Anonymous: A DiskOnKey is just a USB flash drive (that was the original name that IBM used when selling the M-Systems flash drives).

    Do you see anything in the Q-Flash screen when selecting "Update BIOS from Drive" ?
    If you see "HDD 1-0" or "HDD 1-1" try navigating into...
    I too was surprised that it was being shown as "HDD 1-0"...

  6. Hi Lnx2Mac, is it important to format and partition the USB key before
    copying the bios file on it ?
    IIs the partition scheme important and the partition format also ?

    Thanks a lot

  7. @Anonymous: Yes, it's important that the USB key be FAT formatted.
    It's not required, however, for it to be empty.

  8. Edit:
    Added a note about some USB sticks not being recognized, needing a reboot with the stick plugged in.

  9. Hi Lnx2Mac

    I had passed to f11 bios some days ago, and had occasional problems with the mouse that -after restart- moved the cursor, but didn't register any click. Maybe the sort of USB-problem you have mentioned. Unplugging or trying with another mouse didn't help. I went back to f9, and havn't had this problem any more.

    Cheers - Klaus

  10. You can also use Flashrom, which runs on GNU/Linux (and at a guess, Mac OS X too) -- it worked on my GA-P35-DS3L perfectly, and most other Gigabyte boards if not all should also work great.

  11. @Ranguvar: Thanks for your comment !
    What's the advantage of using FlashROM instead of Gigabyte's Q-Flash ?

  12. Thanks Lnx2Mac,
    I have searched tonymacx86 forums for updating my bios. Didn't realize the .exe file was able to be unpacked using Stuffit Expander (or even that it needed to be unpacked). Now using f4 on my MB. Really appreciate all the work you guys do. Thanks again.

  13. @JohnnyMac2001: Thanks for your feedback!

  14. Hi,
    which BIOS ver. do you recommend for P55M-UD4? i have now F9

  15. Hey! First off thanks for such a informational blog! Most appreciated!

    I run using DSDT and I own a Gigabyte Z68x-B3-F7 bios. I was planning to q-flash to the F9 bio's but had something that said Check sum c500, so I didn't follow through. Any idea on what that means? I tried googling it, but was still unsure.

    Is it possible to flash your bios and then somehow update the DSDT file on your Lion HD afterwards or does a fresh bio's require a fresh install of the OS?

  16. @Anonymous:
    Was that a checksum error?
    If so, re-download the BIOS from Gigabyte's site.
    If it was just a notification, you can go on.

    Don't try flashing a BIOS which was not intended for your motherboard.

    And flashing a new BIOS doesn't require a reinstall of the OS, but better start with the most up-to-date BIOS for which a customized DSDT is available.

  17. Hi,

    My Qflash wont allow me to install new BIOS as it says wrong file size. Anyway around this?

    1. @Mud: Have you extracted/decompressed the BIOS file ? Are you sure you got the right one for your motherboard ?

    2. I'm having this same problem, and I can see in the Qflash that it's expecting a 1mb file, but the p55mud2.f11 file is 2.1 mb. Looking at your picture above, I can see it says Flash/Type Size 2mb which matches the file. My current Bios is F4. Any idea what's up? Thanks!

    3. @Arne Johnson: Why do you think it's expecting a 1MB file ? All BIOSes I used are about 2MB.