How To Update BIOS with M-Flash on MSI Motherboards

By Published January 20, 2017 at 5:36 pm

After receiving a number of emails asking how to flash motherboard BIOS, we decided to revive an old series of ours and revisit each motherboard vendor’s flashing process as quickly as possible. This is particularly useful for users residing on the Z170 platform who may want to flash to support Kaby Lake CPUs. The process is the same for all modern MSI motherboards, and will work across all SKUs (with some caveats and disclaimers).

This tutorial shows how to flash firmware and update BIOS for MSI motherboards, including the new Z270 Pro Carbon / Tomahawk boards and ‘old’ Gaming M7 Z170 motherboards. For this guide, we’re primarily showing the MSI Z270 Gaming Pro Carbon, but we do briefly have some shots of the Tomahawk Z270 board. This guide applies retroactively to Z170 motherboards, and even most Z97 motherboards.

Article continues below the video, if written format is preferred.

Video Tutorial: How to Flash BIOS with an MSI Motherboard

Setup & Necessary Tools

  • Motherboard with simple firmware flashing tools
  • USB storage device
  • The most recent version of the motherboard’s BIOS, found on the motherboard vendor’s website. Place this onto the USB key.

Warnings & Notes 

Flashing BIOS can “brick” the device that is being flashed. This means that it could be damaged irreparably if done incorrectly. This includes abrupt power loss – whether through a surge / interruption or user action – and also includes using the incorrect BIOS version. To avoid component damage, ensure the following:

  • Do not flash firmware during power events or storms (lightning) that could cause power loss.
  • Do not use any BIOS for any other device. Being the same brand is not good enough. You must use exactly the correct BIOS for the specific device.
  • Do not use dodgy USB keys that have a track record of losing connection.

Flashing BIOS will wipe all your current settings, so make sure you’ve backed-up (to USB) any important overclocking or configuration profiles that need to be retained. Note that many high-end motherboards will include multi-BIOS switches with two BIOS chips on the board. This will allow you to switch to the other BIOS chip in the event something goes wrong with the first one.

Step-by-Step Guide to Updating BIOS on an MSI Motherboard

It’s very easy, really:

  • Navigate to the motherboard vendor’s website (MSI, in this case) and find the exact board you’re using. Don’t settle for “close enough” – find the exact product.
  • Go to Support, then download the latest BIOS that’s relevant to you.
  • Boot to BIOS and navigate System Information to find the current BIOS version. Make a note in case you need to roll-back.
  • Navigate to M-Flash.
  • Select the USB device, then the file, then proceed.
  • Accept the prompt after review and allow the flash to continue.
  • DO NOT INTERRUPT THIS PROCESS. If it looks like there is no progress, be patient and walk away from it. Restarting now can damage something.
  • Re-apply BIOS settings that you like.

Updating BIOS can help in a few ways. The main one is adding memory support, which we’ve found lacking on all early versions of motherboards from Gigabyte and MSI alike. Later iterations of BIOS can expand support for higher frequency XMP and memory settings, improve overclock stability, and improve temperatures / auto vCore for the CPU.

Editorial: Steve “Lelldorianx” Burke
Video: Andrew “ColossalCake” Coleman

Last modified on January 20, 2017 at 5:36 pm
Steve Burke

Steve started GamersNexus back when it was just a cool name, and now it's grown into an expansive website with an overwhelming amount of features. He recalls his first difficult decision with GN's direction: "I didn't know whether or not I wanted 'Gamers' to have a possessive apostrophe -- I mean, grammatically it should, but I didn't like it in the name. It was ugly. I also had people who were typing apostrophes into the address bar - sigh. It made sense to just leave it as 'Gamers.'"

First world problems, Steve. First world problems.

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