flashing a BIOS *


Flashing a BIOS can be extremly harmful to your computer. ONLY PROCEED IF YOU THINK THIS OPERATION IS USEFUL. It's important to underline it ; many users willing to increase their PC's performances came out with a machine that could only serve as a clock at best.


> When should I consider flashing my BIOS?

It has to be an absolute necessity. Never flash a BIOS when everything works fine!

- Generally after adding new hardware, if it's not recognized by the motherboard.
(eg: a 8 Gb hard drive on a Pentium 1 motherboard)

> Amibios, Phoenix, Award, American Megatrends... which version to choose?

- First of all, note down your BIOS reference. It is displayed right after powering on your PC, otherwise it appears in the BIOS editor. You can access it by pressing ESC, DEL, or other function keys...The relevant key is generally displayed as soon as your computer boots up. Note down the BIOS reference, the manufacturer (AMIBIOS, PHOENIX, AWARD...) and the version date.

It's a fairly good idea as well to note down your the important settings in your BIOS (information pertaining to hard drives, COM ports, printer mode...)

Connect to your BIOS or motherboard manufacturer's website. Find the manual supplied with your PC, it contains your motherboard reference. Let the search phase begin! It is often difficult -sometimes impossible- to find a BIOS file even with all this info. Don't give up.
Once you've found it, download the latest BIOS version (and only if you are positive it's the good one!) on a floppy disk that was formatted with the option "Copy system files". Then look up the floppy disk; if there is a readme file, read it carefully (print it if necessary): it contains vital information for the procedure to come.

What is the procedure?

- Once you have a proper BIOS version, insert the disk and reboot.
(N.B : some BIOS can be written on the motherboard only in a clear NVRAM / clear CMOS configuration. If such is your case, refer to your motherboard manual to find out the location of the jumper to be moved. Then grab a screwdriver and open up the beast's belly!)

If your PC doesn't boot on a floppy, you have to get to the BIOS editor first. Change the settings so that the A: drive be the first starting drive. Now all you have to do is replace the current BIOS file by it's update. In most cases, this procedure is completed through an .exe that promps you for the location of the file, then does the rest. If you are asked to, don't hesitate to backup your existing BIOS version. You never know...

Under no circumstances should you interrupt the flashing process. Make sure that no power failure can occur (don't do anything on a stormy day). Don't restart/power off your PC until the procedure is fully complete. Eject the disk, power off then on after ten seconds.
(If you are in clear NVRAM / CMOS, don't forget to place the jumper back into it's initial position.)

Thanks, Knights! My PC never worked that fine!!! Let's celebrate...

I get a series of error messages on-screen, I carry on reading...


My PC doesn't restart properly, what can I do?

At restart, go back to the BIOS editor to reconfigure some settings according to your hardware. Set all IDE peripherals to "Auto(detection)".
Following this, if your computer acts erratically (error messages, peripherals not recognized...), you may have made a mistake during the process. Alternatively you may have installed a version that doesn't match your hardware.

You will rarely be given a second chance. But in such a case, restore the former BIOS (if you backed it up), or contact The Knights of the Boot©.




! Bonus ! Savoury (and genuine) story: a guy calls Technical Support. He's bought a second-hand laptop (a 2150 from Gateway). First thing he did was flashing the BIOS to boost up his PC (?!), as recommended in some computers magazines. The problem is he flashed with a version for a 2100 model.
The result looks like a giraffe with the brains of a tarentula ; communication doesn't flow with the rest of the body.
But fortunately an ultimate solution remains (aaaaah!?!). Either change the BIOS chip. On a laptop it's an operation that requires a specialist. "Specialist" means damage price. Or the cheaper solution: the trash can.

* The Knights of Boot© disclaim any responsibility for any damage arising as a result of the implementation of these instructions.