Is your device experiencing glitches and bugs? If so, it might be time for a firmware update. Updating firmware can fix technological problems, improve security and provide new features. Let’s take a closer look at what firmware is, the benefits of firmware upgrades and how EIRE Systems can help you get the most out of your devices.
What Is Firmware?
Put simply, firmware is program code for your computer hardware. More specifically, it allows hardware devices to communicate with any software you’ve installed. You’ll find different kinds of firmware for every device, including computers, routers, printers and mobile devices.
Where Is Firmware Found?
The location of your device’s firmware varies depending on factors like the device model and type. Generally, the code is written in one of the following places:
- ROM (read-only memory): Permanent memory storage used in computers
- EPROM (erasable programmable read-only memory): Memory storage that retains data even when the power is turned off
- Flash memory: Memory storage that can be erased and rewritten electronically
Newer devices typically use flash memory as this code can be reprogrammed and updated when necessary. In computer hardware, the memory storage is usually located on a chip found on the motherboard (a printed circuit board that’s essential to your computer’s functionality). Known as motherboard firmware, it can be divided into two main types: BIOS (basic input/output system) and UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface).
BIOS makes sure all the hardware components of your device are functioning correctly. Any information about these components is then stored on a hard disk drive. UEFI, meanwhile, is a more advanced technology that transfers this information to your computer’s operating system. Most modern computers feature UEFI over BIOS.
Overall, firmware plays a key role in your device’s functionality. To help ensure your device continues to operate smoothly, manufacturers often release regular firmware updates.
What Are the Benefits of Firmware Updates?
Firmware updates allow you to upgrade your device without having to upgrade the actual hardware. Here are a few top benefits of new firmware:
- More features
- Enhanced user experience
- Improved security
Updating your firmware can grant access to different features and capabilities your device previously lacked. For example, say you want to make a CD using your computer, but it won’t let you download the required audio file. The manufacturer can release a firmware update that makes your device compatible with the file. Ultimately, new features expand your device’s abilities and prevent it from becoming outdated.
Another major benefit of updated firmware is improved user experience. As devices age, it’s common for them to develop bugs or glitches that make them more difficult to use. For example, you might encounter problems booting your operating system, or you might notice it suddenly takes longer than usual to navigate websites. Firmware updates usually sort out these bugs, which boosts the user experience. This also lowers the likelihood of experiencing serious computer breakdowns, which saves you repair costs.
Finally, updating your firmware can protect you against malicious cybersecurity threats. The AV-Test Institute registers almost 500,000 types of malware every day. When malware infiltrates your system, it can gain access to passwords, break into your accounts and steal valuable information. Firmware updates take care of vulnerabilities in the code, reducing the chances of hackers getting into your system.
What Is the Firmware Update Process?
Now that you know what firmware is and its unique benefits, you might be wondering: How do I update firmware? The first step is to check for available updates. You can usually find this information on the device manufacturer’s website, listed under a “download” or “firmware” section.
Once you’ve found the site, check if any updates are available for your specific device. You’ll need to know the exact device model name and current firmware version. If there’s a relevant update, you can usually download it onto your device through the website.
To start the update, all you have to do is find it on your device — it’s usually available under the “Firmware Updates” section within your settings. However, while clicking the “download” button is easy enough, many things can disrupt the process. Examples include:
- Downloading the wrong update: If you accidentally download the wrong file, it can ruin your device’s overall functionality.
- Losing power during the update: Updating the firmware can take a lot of energy. If your power supply gets disrupted and the device shuts off, it can render your device useless.
- Using third-party antivirus software: Antivirus software is a great way to protect against external threats. However, during an update, the firmware may identify the software as malware, which then blocks the update.
Ultimately, if one tiny thing goes wrong, you could jeopardize the entire device. Even if you’re positive there are no issues, it’s still tedious and time-consuming to tackle this process on your own — especially if you run a business that uses multiple devices. To ensure updates are as smooth as possible, it’s best to rely on a team of IT professionals like EIRE Systems.
EIRE Systems: High-Quality IT Support
If you run a business, you know how important it is to keep your devices up to date. Whether you want to fix bugs, enjoy new features or enhance security, firmware updates can help. At EIRE Systems, we offer a team of IT professionals through our IT support services who can perform seamless updates to keep you ahead of the competition. In addition to regular updates, we provide the following services:
- Data retention and safety solutions
- Hybrid physical and cloud solutions
- Flexible infrastructure and support services
We’re currently a leading independent provider of professional IT services to Japan’s financial, insurance and multinational sectors and throughout the Asia Pacific region. To learn more about how we can help your business, please contact us today!