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Old 02-21-2005, 03:07 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Corrupted BIOS?

A family member brought home a new SATA hard drive for his Intel D845BG MB - that doesn't support SATA. So, no problem, I picked up a $30 controller card for the new SATA drive, installed it, and installed windows XP Pro. After installing all of the lastest drivers, I had some trouble with the USB and the intel tech support site suggested a BIOS update. So I downloaded the tool that allows you to flash the BIOS starting from Windows. I've always run the BIOS updates from floppy so I'm not sure how or when windows flashes the BIOS - presumably sometime during the reboot. I ran the utility, clicked to restart, and went for a bite to eat.

When I returned there was a "checksum error" during the post and an option to enter setup. The BIOS had several things missing. For one, It didn't see my IDE CD drives and no longer saw my SATA HD. I decided to give it another chance and restarted. I've gotten nothing but a blank screen since. Lights are on, drivers are spinning up, fans are on, but nothing on the screen. No beep codes, no memory test, no chance to enter BIOS setup.... nada. I'm guessing the flash utility running from an expansion hard drive controller somehow currupted the BIOS. Has anyone had a similar event? A new MB is about $100 (2.2 mhz p4, 400mhz bus). I dont' know of any way to repair the BIOS once it's corrupted. Anyone have any ideas that might help me avoid a MB purchase?

Thanks.
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Old 02-21-2005, 03:28 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Some BIOS chips can be removed from the board. Basically a bad flash = your motherboard is a new paperweight.

However, assuming you infact have a removable BIOS chip you can do what's called a 'hot flash' inwhich you need a spare chip to do so.

Hot flashing is where you put in the spare chip, turn on the computer, go to the flash sequence, but before you actually commence the flash you swap out the chips while the machine is still on, hence the term 'hot' flashing is used.

I did it once on my machine. I was terrified of course, but I managed to do it.

Wrote an article with some detail and info on where to purchase spare chips.

http://www.techist.com/computer_arti...g-recovery.php

Good luck

BTW: Dont suppose you've tried resetting the CMOS just to eliminate that possibility have you?
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Old 02-21-2005, 09:57 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks, your article is second on a google search of "BIOS flash from windows". I have flashed countless BIOS (okay so what's the plural of BIOS?), only once from windows, and never from windows on a drive connected to an expansion card. I followed the right links and obtained the latest Intel software - you would hope that the Intel utility would check the BIOS version, etc.

I'm curious (since I walked away), when you run it from windows, when does the bios actually flash. When you run the utility or after a fresh boot (like scandisk or some virus/adware removal tools)? I'd like to understand something about what happened so I can avoid it in the future. There was no power failure.

I will try the reset if I can find the jumper in the documentation. I will also try to make it really simple becuase I think I have a partial BIOS (remove all but the floppy, RAM, and CPU).

On the bright side, I could use a new paperweight (this 40gb maxtor with the head crash is getting old), and the new MB will have built in SATA!
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Old 02-21-2005, 11:34 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Hello,

When you run a BIOS update utility in Windows, It applies the data when the computer reboots- so yep, when you reboot.

Unfortunately, even the correct BIOS updates can go wrong, due to several reasons: corrupt BIOS update file or simply an error during the writing of BIOS data.

I once updated a BIOS for a Compaq OEM Asus A7N8X-LX Motherboard- AMI BIOS, with success. Did the same update for my own Compaq OEM Asus A7N8X-LX Motherboard- AMI BIOS of the same version, and when it rebooted afterwards...it never booted again. Same problem, lights, fans etc...but no activity. Fortunately, I was still under warranty with Compaq, so I simply had to send it off and the motherboard was replaced for free.

Just as Nubius said, you could get your BIOS chip hot-flashed, or simply re-flashed. http://www.badflash.com/ can offer this service for a small fee.
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Old 02-22-2005, 09:38 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Thanks for the help but the BIOS is soldered to the board. I had to purchase a new MB. The board had a recovery prodedure but it did not work. I will added "removable BIOS" to my list of desired features on any new board. I probably have enough useless MB's now to paper a wall!
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