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- Generalities: what is the BIOS and types


- Why to update the BIOS?

- Before starting...

- The typical update process

- The part hardware (or "before the fatal error...")

Released page
7/21/2000


Author:
Juan Herrerías Rey
 

Essentials of the update of computers


What is... the BIOS?
 

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To update the BIOS


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The typical update process

Attention to this: read what he reads next, MAKES EXÁCTAMENTE WHAT THE MANUFACTURER OF HIS MOTHERBOARD SAYS. Although the mechanics of the process of updating the BIOS usually looks like much of a few badges to others, the true thing is that only the manufacturer knows how it must be done in his badges, and sometimes the process differs from what we are going to explain in some important step... or in ALL.

A program of update of BIOS, AFLASH.EXE of ASUS - Source ASUS, www.asus.com.tw

Obviously, this implies that in most cases, he will have to know something about English to understand the instructions, since few manufacturers will include instructions in Spanish, and enclosed in those who include the update program in himself it will be in English. Does it not also is usually very complicated English, but if it does not understand things like "Save current BIOS to file? Y/N", do not touch anything without calling a friend who knows a little the Shakespeare language.

And saying this, let's start:

1.-Go to the web page of the manufacturer of the motherboard (if he does not know which is, try to look in Yahoo or in Altavista, for example). Once in her, go to the section of update of BIOS ("Support", "BIOS Upgrade", "Download"...).

2.-READ ALL THE INSTRUCTIONS (better print them or aim at them) and unload to his hard disk the necessary programs; typically, he will need:

  • new BIOS (a small file often compressed into format ZIP or into EXE autoextraíble);
  • the update program to write the new BIOS in the chip (AWDFLASH.EXE, AMIFLASH.EXE... is a few; only make sure that is exáctamente adapted for his BIOS).

In some cases it is possible that he needs some file more (perhaps a BAT to automate the process), or it is possible that it avenges any tablet in the only file, or even in the only file without compressing (in some BIOS of AOpen, for example)... again, we send him to the instructions of the manufacturer for these details.

Of course, if the files are compressed into format ZIP, guy Winzip will need a descompresor; if they it are in EXE autoextraíble, normally it will be enough to do double clic on the file (care: confuse an EXE compressed with a program feasible EXE, be possible begin to update the BIOS before time!).

3. - If an update does not find for his motherboard model... bad luck. Undoubtedly the best thing is that it does not try to load the BIOS of another different badge (it is easy that it manages to remain with a completely useless badge), but if the badges are very similar and you have suicidal instincts... Or consult on this page, perhaps have some BIOS compatible with his badge.

If on the contrary several BIOS versions exist for his motherboard (more modern and more ancient, but ALL for HIS badge), it can be practical to unload not only the most modern, but also some of the previous ones, if the "poltergeists" were complicating the topic later...

4. - Come to this point, it will have to take a decision: in 99 % of the cases, the update of the BIOS will have to realize in the way pure TWO (that is to say, on the classic black screen with commands line "of the whole life", without any controler of memory or anything loaded).

To come to this way pure TWO can be achieved of two forms:

  • by means of a starter diskette: this is the method recommended by most of manufacturers. It has the advantage of which there is simple to insure ourselves of being in the way pure TWO, and the disadvantage of which the diskettes are very insecure storage means.
    If you choose this method, do not use the diskette of starter of Windows 9x, but one created by means of the orders FORMAT A:/S (it formats the diskette and does it arrancable) or SYS TO: (on a diskette either formatting).
    In any case, the diskette should contain only the file COMMAND.COM and the (secret) starter files, in addition to the necessary files to update the BIOS. Just in case, use mark diskettes and do more of one.
  • starting from the hard disk: it is a question of a much more trustworthy device, but pure TWO can be more difficult to come to the way. A method of doing it is to pulsate "F8" or just "Control" when the phrase appears "Initiating Windows" and to select in the menu the option "Only symbol of the system in Way to mistakes test", to omit the files CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT.
    Of course, do not forget to place the update files in the directory root of the hard disk (typically C: \).

5. - Well, it begins the game. Starter in way pure TWO and do a copy of his current BIOS. And how does this do? Well... it is very possible that it is not even possible to do, but it be usually interesting to try it, if everything was going out badly and was necessary to turn back.

Consult the information of the manufacturer or, if his update program is AWDFLASH.EXE (and only if it is this one), prove the order: "AWDFLASH/PN/SY" and select like "File Name to Save" a little like "MIBIOS.BIN". This should keep his current BIOS in a file called MIBIOS.BIN, without touching his current BIOS... or that should do, I do not become responsible for anything.

Principal screen of the program AWDFLASH.EXE

6. - Finally, record the new BIOS. Again, they exist infinity of methods, which will be described in the information of the manufacturer. He usually consists of executing a program, with or without parameters, that there asks for the name of the file with new BIOS (or it interferes like one more parameter).

For example (and only like example), on the Iwill page we find the following command to update one of his BIOS, of the mark Award and actualizable by means of AWDFLASH.EXE:

   AWDFLASH BS0708. BIN/PY/SY OLD.BIN/CP/CC/R

The previous order would record the new BIOS (the file BS0708. BIN) and he would keep the ancient one in the file OLD.BIN. Some of the multiple parameters can be necessary or not (like / R, that it indicates that it must begin again on having ended), but the best thing is to continue the instructions exactly.

7. - For no motive extinguish I nor began the team again before making sure that the update has finished correctly.

If mistakes of any class have taken place (for a defective diskette, for example), try again, with new BIOS or with safety copy of the ancient one. Do what is, but until it does not finish the whole "OK" there does not extinguish, since if the BIOS has not remained well engraved the team will not start, he will seem "dead".

... And this includes to make sure that will not jump the light, so I did not update the BIOS in the field a day of strong electrical thunderstorm, do not even put the washer, the dishwasher and the stove at the same time. It looks like a prank, but these things happen...

8. - Begin again the team (the best thing is usually to extinguish it), between in the BIOS (if it can do it: congratulations!, at least it starts...) and load the correct values. A simple method is usually to execute "PRAISE SETUP DEFAULTS", or it can introduce the values to hand; and do not forget to keep the changes on having gone out. For more information about these aspects, consult: What is... the BIOS?.

 

The part hardware (or "before the fatal error...")

Well: and if the previous thing has failed, and does it turn out that his team does not start? Since it is in very serious problems, why to deny it. On not having been able to start, BIOS cannot load a piece of news (or old woman) by means of these methods, so it will have to act physically on the chip of BIOS (it sounds badly: truth? Since to me it is the part that more I like... if it is not my motherboard, skylight).

It plates to cover the expassion grooves

This would be also the case if a BIOS EEPROM was a not Flash, like that of many 486 or ancient Pentium. If not Flash needs a new chip for an ancient badge with BIOS, perhaps find it on this page.

Let's see: it will have to withdraw the chip of BIOS (remember: generally it is rectangular, of approximately 4 x 1,5 cm and with 28 small legs). For it, and if it does not have a specific tool (does anybody have it?), realize lever on both sides of the chip with a screwdriver of flat top, or with the end of one of the sheets that cover the grooves of expansion (they have a very appropriate flat form).

Typical BIOS socket, without the chip

Of course, there will be many delicate elements close (for not speaking about the proper delicacy of the paws of the chip of BIOS), so it is patient and extremely careful. If it breaks something, that is at least the proper BIOS chip, they are not very expensive.

As soon as the chip was withdrawn, take it to a shop of electronics (or a shop of truly professional computer science, but that thing about is surer the electronics shop), together with a diskette with the BIOS that should be inside the chip, and there it will be recorded by a special device (that a software is only a programmer of BIOS and a socket to place the chip). It should cost him less than 1.000 ptas, or a little more if they must change the chip to him into other.

On having installed it again, pay attention to introduce it in the same position in which it was, and press with the force adapted not to double his legs, but that simultaneously I remained well inserted. If everything is fine, it should work again without problems.

 


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