The BIOS chip, which is usually located close to the central processing unit (CPU) on the motherboard of most computers, contains the basic input/output system that initiates the operation of the machine. You can easily find BIOS chips online if the BIOS needs to be replaced or upgraded.
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Things you need
- New BIOS chip
- Anti-static wrist strap
- Chip removal tool
- Phillips head screwdriver
- Indelible marker
Turn off and unplug the desktop or laptop computer, then disconnect all peripherals such as a monitor, external drives or a printer. Remove the battery if you are using a laptop.
Open the computer case containing the motherboard. Attach the anti-static wrist strap to a common ground such as a metal table leg.
Locate the CPU on the motherboard. It is usually in the centre covered by a fan or a large heat sink.
Find the BIOS chip next to or very close to the motherboard. It is generally marked with the term "BIOS" or SST, Award, Flash or another manufacturer's name on a glossy sticker. The dual in-line package (DIP) type of BIOS chip generally has 16 "legs" or pins on each side, measures about three centimetres in length by one centimetre in width, and is about a quarter of a centimetre in height. Legacy BIOS chips might be plastic-leaded chip carrier microchips (PLCCs), which are square in shape and have pins on all four sides. Check the pins on the bottom of the BIOS chip to confirm that the chip is not soldered onto the board. The chip cannot be replaced if this is the case.
Remove the BIOS chip using the chip removal tool.
Replace the BIOS chip with the new chip by gently aligning the notch on the chip with the mark made previously.
Gently press the new BIOS chip into the chip socket, making sure that the pins all fit into the proper sockets. Do not force the chip. Move the chip back and forth when finished to make certain the chip is securely in the socket.
Boot the computer before reassembling to be certain the BIOS chip is functioning properly.
Tips and warnings
- DIP BIOS chips with 28 or 32 pins generally have a notch at one end of the chip to properly align the chip in the socket. Place a dot with an indelible marker on an empty space on the motherboard next to this notch.
- PLCC BIOS chips will have one corner of the chip that is indented or marked to make it stand out in some way from the other three corners. Make a mark on the motherboard in the same manner where this occurs.
- Confirm that the correct BIOS is pre-installed and that the chip is "flashed" and ready to boot. Since the computer is open, you can replace the CMOS battery, which is generally found next to the BIOS chip, at the same time. The part number is CR2032 and it usually costs £1.30 to £1.90, as of November 2010.
- Be gentle. Bending a chip pin can be disastrous -- not only to the chip, but also to the many other components linked to it. If no tool is available, experts can remove the BIOS chip with the edge of a knife or flathead screwdriver by leveraging one side, then the other, over and over until the chip frees itself from the motherboard. This method is difficult at best and could result in damaging the motherboard. It is not recommended for novices.
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