BIOS upgrade: Just how dangerous is it?

Discussion in 'other software & services' started by HandsOff, Apr 13, 2005.

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  1. HandsOff

    HandsOff Registered Member

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    I have a Gateway computer, and have been having tremendous numbers of problems trying to install sp2, in addition, Mindvision Installer Vise 2.8.3 cannot seem to install (because of a security fix? i dont know) also I used a cd ripping program that had problems working with my firewire drive.

    those are plenty of issues...however...I really don't have direct proof that the bios is the culprit.

    My computer is 3 years old. the update says its for:

    ***********************************
    "P04-0007

    Updated to latest processor support.
    Replaced PXE Remote Boot question in Setup.
    Changed WOR Setup default option to Disabled.
    Updated processor support to include Celeron.
    Added 48-bit LBA support.
    Added PARTIES support for 48-bit LBA drives.
    Updated to latest PXE Boot Agent."
    ***********************************

    I dont need support for Celeron (have P4)

    I dont have a clue what any of the other features are or if they are very important.

    I went on Gateways forum and asked and was told simply "i would not advise you to update the BIOS. Is it that dangerous.

    One sad thing is that apparently one has to make a floppy start up boot disk. (you insert the disk, the program (attempts to) make you the disk. I am guessing the whole operation hinges on whether the data on the disk is pristine. Well....XP seems to be VERY picky about floppy disks. To the point that I dread using startup floppys. They work...maybe half the time...


    It's a tribulation, Bob Marley said it, know I say it



    - HandsOff
     
  2. MikeBCda

    MikeBCda Registered Member

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    Interesting comment, HandsOff, even if we're a little off-topic (or I am). About 2/3 of the time I can't read, write to, or even format a floppy, and I was starting to think I had a system problem. So XP's the culprit, huh?
     
  3. Capp

    Capp Registered Member

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    I've used XP for over 3 years now without any problems with floppies. :)


    Upgrading your BIOS can be very dangerous. IF you flash the wrong BIOS, you now have a very expensive paperweight. If you are 100% sure the ones you have are correct, then it is easy and fairly fast.

    User Preference is all.
     
  4. bigc73542

    bigc73542 Retired Moderator

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    XPsp2 I also don't have a floopy problem, seems to work just fine.
     
  5. chew

    chew Registered Member

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    BIOS flash is rather easy if you know how to do it. I did it once with my Dell Inspiron 8100 laptop. I flashed it from BIOS A04 to BIOS A08 ... there is a new BIOS A15 out now for my model but I am still not sure to flash it or not ... if you do it wrongly ... errmm ... you need a new motherboard.

    Flashing BIOS only take few steps. The safest way to flash a BIOS is by the Floppy method with the battery inside your laptop and with AC on. This is to ensure that if there is power cut or fluactuation it will not affect your BIOS flash. Also you need to make sure you don't have other thing attach to your system while doing the BIOS flash.

    I don't know about Gateway but if you visit Dell forum there are plenty of BIOS flash ... LOL! Especially, Dell Inspiron 8000 & 8100 models ...

    The actual BIOS flash process only takes about 3 - 4 steps for Dell laptop ... but I am not sure about Gateway. It will not affect anything inside your HD really.

    Chew
     
  6. yolinux

    yolinux Registered Member

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    RE: BIOS update,

    I would not suggest updating the BIOS unless your pc will not POST. If the gateway gives you that much problems, now is the time to get a new mobo. Gateway has crappy support for updating the BIOS. Get an ASUS or MSI motherboard and you can update the BIOS via internet safely, liveupdate feature.

    You can get a new mobo here http://pcclub.com/product_browse.cfm?cat=Motherboards for around $120 for P4 models, with all the bells and whistles.

    Just recycle the memory, cpu, and harddrive, and you got yourself a new computer.
     
  7. HandsOff

    HandsOff Registered Member

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    Hmmmm, I don't feel any closer to understanding certain aspects of this task. would someone explain...


    The paperweight transformation. If the BIOS somehow breaks, why cant you just buy a replacement for it?

    The things that this BIOS upgrade fixes:

    Updated to latest processor support.
    Replaced PXE Remote Boot question in Setup.
    Changed WOR Setup default option to Disabled.
    Added 48-bit LBA support.
    Added PARTIES support for 48-bit LBA drives.
    Updated to latest PXE Boot Agent.

    ...do they sound that crucial to anyone. I get the impression that they aren't.


    -HandsOff

    --------------------------
    On the floppy issue, I have never understood the XP floppy quirks, however many procedures that involve creating a boot floppy will tell you to use a formatted floppy disk, but not to use one that you have formatted using xp's format command. Then the "disk image" will be prepared using some 3rd party disk utility. If you right click A: and choose format, you will see a check box suggesting you can make a dos boot disk. But I'm pretty sure that you can't. Unfortunately I have to use the floppy drive quite a bit. the number of disks that it can't read is preposterous. maybe diskette quality itself has taken a dive, i dont know.

    I sometimes wonder if microsoft was actively trying to discourage running dos on an xp system, maybe hoping to make windows files and folders less accessable from the command line. The problem is some things that are easily fixed from the command line are very difficult to fix with windows.
     
  8. Firecat

    Firecat Registered Member

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    I flash my motherboard BIOS all the time. With my motherboard's ASUS EZ Flash feature, it becomes a very easy process.
     
  9. HandsOff

    HandsOff Registered Member

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    Well it really does not sound complicated for mine either.

    you get the blank formatted disk (which probably you had better not format yourself)

    create a boot diskette

    boot windows and run the program.

    reboot.


    The only thing is, a predict that the floppy will fail...oh, say halfway through the upgrade. And that will be the end of my computer.

    -HandsOff
     
  10. Firecat

    Firecat Registered Member

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    "The only thing is, a predict that the floppy will fail...oh, say halfway through the upgrade. And that will be the end of my computer."

    Asus EZ Flash allows the BIOS to be flashed from CDs too. If even that fails, I can always reset the jumpers on the motherboard (if I know which jumpers are the ones responsible for BIOS reset)....
     
  11. HandsOff

    HandsOff Registered Member

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    okay, one more creepy bios inconsistancy...

    in my BIOS setup it says my computer has a 400 mhz front end bus

    belarc advisor says it is 100 mhz. that's sort of a big difference. my current memory is capable of 400 mhz. i doubt the original pc266B was.


    - HandsOff
     
  12. Firecat

    Firecat Registered Member

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    Well, my computer's supposed to have a 400MHz bus too, but CPU-Z reports 200MHz. But that's normal b'coz the professional reviews said the same. My PC has a dual-pumped 200MHz bus, but it is only reported as 200MHz anyway, and thats perfectly normal because the pro reviews have the same.

    I dont think you need to worry, Your Intel CPU has a quad-pumped 100MHz bus which makes it equal to a 400MHz bus :)
     
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