Updating BIOS...

Discussion in 'other software & services' started by sweater, Jan 2, 2007.

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  1. sweater

    sweater Registered Member

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    Is there really a need to update BIOS? :rolleyes:

    Coz i hesitate that i might affect something unexpectedly in the system. What's the precaution if there's any?

    I have windows xp sp2 pro. :cool:
     
  2. farmerlee

    farmerlee Registered Member

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    If your system is running fine then you don't really need to update the bios. Its best to look at the new bios description to see what changes/fixes have been made, if they don't apply to you then you don't need to update it imo.
     
  3. Mrkvonic

    Mrkvonic Linux Systems Expert

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    Hello,

    If it ain't broken, don't fix it. No need to update it.

    Precaution - backup everything.

    Make sure there is no electricity power cut off during the reflashing of the BIOS or you might end up with a super-unbootable system. UPS is a good friend in this case.

    Be ready for a chance that even though you do everything by the book, you might screw up completely.

    Mrk
     
  4. siliconman01

    siliconman01 Registered Member

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    I agree totally. Dell hasn't updated BIOS for my specific Dell for 4 years. :D Of course prior to that they went through several updates.
     
  5. nigglesnush85

    nigglesnush85 Registered Member

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    Would that be the dimension 2400 by any chance? :) I have been searching their website for ages looking, would like an update as the usb ports are on the blink:'(
     
  6. Ice_Czar

    Ice_Czar Registered Member

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    the OS matters little, this is the lowest software level there is, below the OS kernel, the firmware\BIOS is instructions for the hardware to interact with higher levels of software independent of operating systems.

    sometimes BIOS upgrades can be very important to address stability issues or glitchy features, generally youd need to do this if youve built and integrated your own system, if your system was assembled by an OEM its more likely to have been tested to a higher standard\mature platform
    ie
    only flash when the upgrade will impact how you use the computer
    if its addressing some compatibility or feature your not having an issue with, take a raincheck, download the new BIOS and even burn it to flash, then archive it till you might need it.

    its not something you should fear but there are precautions I follow.

    Some gaming mobos have dual EEPROM (Electronically Erasable Programmable Read-Only Memory). There are also aftermarket systems (BIOS savior). But generally speaking you wouldnt regularly need or want them unless your flashing all the time. As mentioned not loosing power and not manually interrupting the process is very important. If the software written to the EEPROM chip is incomplete, incorrect or corrupted your basically unable to use the hardware until that is fixed, meaning you either have the mobo manufacturer send you a new chip, buy your own preprogrammed one, have yours reprogrammed by someone with the right equipment or in the riskiest move hotswap with an identical board.

    It used to be flashing was always done with a floppy disk drive and done in pure DOS with no memory manager like himem Ideally use DrDOS to create the floppy but in a pinch you can employ MS-DOS and remove himem after youve formatted


    These days CD and USB can also be employed. Which ever approach is selected having the system functional is important (power, good cables, good connections, reliable drives)

    Next the mobo manufacturer will have very specific instructions and the proper identification of you mobo\revision is critical. I generally employ both Everest and eyeball the mobo itself for revision numbers. As well as pause the BIOS screen for exactly which version is currently loaded.
    pick the wrong BIOS to flash and your dead in the water till you get some help.

    Lately there has been a move to tools that start the flash process from inside the OS, while generally reliable they add a few more layers that something could go wrong. I tend to avoid them and follow the manual instructions.

    If you'll post your mobo I'll double check the BIOS versions and procedures.
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2007
  7. Rico

    Rico Registered Member

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    Hi Guys,

    I took the time to write down all my BIOS settings, including all the sub screens. I then typed it up nice in Word. Now should the battery die, or any changes, go south on me, I can easily restore manually my settings. Also I keep this page in a three ring binder, along with other stuff pretaining to this system.

    Take Care
    Rico
     
  8. MikeBCda

    MikeBCda Registered Member

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    That would make a dandy utility, if there isn't already such a thing around -- something to save all your bios settings in a text file, so you don't have to copy it all manually. Icing on the cake would be if such a utility could also restore bios settings from the text file.
     
  9. Security Freak

    Security Freak Registered Member

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    remember "always" go to BIOS set up screen and deactivate the Hyper Threading when updating the BIOS.
     
  10. WSFuser

    WSFuser Registered Member

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    i found these two utilities, but i havent not tried/tested them:

    CMOS viewer
    CMOSsave/CMOSrest
     
  11. Ice_Czar

    Ice_Czar Registered Member

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    dont think Id trust a nearly 2 decade old ap to mess with my BIOS
    but the Insult generator struck my fancy :D

    there really arent that many BIOS features off the default or optimized settings one needs to change these days
    what with ESCD & DMI
    I find a simple review of the options in each menu even on boxes Ive seen for the first time tell me most of what I need to know
     
  12. lucas1985

    lucas1985 Retired Moderator

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    DFI BIOSes :D
     
  13. Ice_Czar

    Ice_Czar Registered Member

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    Ive fiddled with my fair share of overclocking boards
    and if youve forgotten what exactly was the level just shy of melting the heatsink, think its best to start over :D

    and dont change the tRAS ;)
     
  14. lucas1985

    lucas1985 Retired Moderator

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    I´ve dropped hardcore overclocking because of my interest in quiet computing and I don´t assiduously play games anymore. I have seated on small to moderate OC and safe tweaking. The savings in cooling are spent in higher spec. hardware.
    On topic: remember to backup your current BIOS version.
     
  15. siliconman01

    siliconman01 Registered Member

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    Nope, it's an 8200. You can get current BIOS for Dells at support.dell.com and then click on Drivers and Downloads.
     
  16. nigglesnush85

    nigglesnush85 Registered Member

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    I had a look there before, they only had the one bios version and that was the same as was on the pc. I shall look again.
     
  17. Rilla927

    Rilla927 Registered Member

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    Just out of curiosity, how long has it been since your last bios update?
     
  18. siliconman01

    siliconman01 Registered Member

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    It may be that all you need to do to get your USB devices working again is to let Windows rebuild the hardware device drivers. You could go to START>SETTINGS>CONTROL PANEL>SYSTEM>HARDWARE>DEVICE MANAGER. Remove all the entries under Universal Serial Bus Controllers. Then reboot and Windows should redetect and rebuild the drivers. I don't think Dell does anything unique with the older USB onboard controllers. You should also discuss on the Dell Support forum under the hardware section. Lots of expertise there.
     
  19. Mrkvonic

    Mrkvonic Linux Systems Expert

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    Hello,

    I've had a wicked idea:
    For all those who wish to quickly backup their BIOS without screwing up.

    Digital camera! Or any camera for that matter!

    Just shoot all the screens and options, print / save the images!

    Mrk
     
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