!!! Warning: Z490 boards - problem with recent BIOS updates !!!

Furna

The sky above the port was the color of television
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Jul 19, 2020
Messages
345
About CH341A programmer
Do I use the BIOS from MSI website to write to the BIOS chip?
Do I need to change the filename or file format?
To anyone trying to re-flash their BIOS chip with a CH341A programmer, double check your chip voltage tolerance and be aware the IO ports of widely available programmer have 5V I/O ports
For a one time flash, probably the BIOS chip can survive but there is no guarantee ... otherwise you might want to modify your programmer
 

westsam14f902cb

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Oct 15, 2021
Messages
1
Date of failed flashing: 14.9.2021
Affected board model: MSI Z490 TOMAHAWK
CPU: i9-10850K
Flashing method used: M-Flash
Attempted update to BIOS version: 7C80v19
Result: Stuck at EZ Debug LED "CPU" after update.

The board was replaced with new one by retailer.

I came here to see if I should even think about flashing latest v1A BIOS and apparently that wouldn't be a good idea.
 

sale122f029b

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Oct 15, 2021
Messages
2
Date of failed flashing: OCT/15/2021
Affected board model: MPG Z490 Gaming Plus
CPU: i9-10900KF
Flashing method used: M-Flash
Attempted update to BIOS version: from A6 to A9
Result: BRICKED! No power at all, machine wont even power up to lights on nobody home. PSU tested Ok!
 

Jerry_Smith

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Oct 12, 2021
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Date of failed flashing: 9.10.2021
Affected board model: MSI Z490i Unify
CPU: i5-10600K
Flashing method used: M-Flash
Attempted update to BIOS version: 7C77v1A
Result: Stuck at EZ Debug LED "CPU" after update.


Before that, I updated the BIOS several times, everything was successful. The seller (Amazon.de) has already sent me a new Z490 instead and it will arrive in about a week or two.
But I had to buy a Z590i Unify board, it had the first release BIOS. I have updated to the latest version 7D05v13. Everything went well.
I also ordered CH341A for myself, just in case.
 
Last edited:

turkel15c802ed

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Oct 11, 2021
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I was sent to the service and it came repaired within 2 days, they installed the latest version as bios, no problem.
 
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Oct 17, 2021
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Z490 Gaming Edge board bricked by recent BIOS update. MSI replaced board with 1.9 installed. Now trying to recover RAID M2 configuration. Anyone else finding that the M2 Remapping Enable setting is missing from the new BIOS?
 
Last edited:

Herates

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Oct 19, 2021
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I had no idea about this topic and cluelessly updated my Z490 Unify with latest september bios and had no problems. I check m/b driver/bios support page everyday for updates and noticed that they removed latest problematic bioses from the list. I believe they will release stable and bug free bios in near future. Thank you for being informative and all your helps. @citay
 

citay

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With the Z490 Unify you have nothing to worry about, because it has the Flash BIOS Button feature. With it, you can always force-flash the BIOS in case of problems. So for example you can force-flash a problematic BIOS a couple times until it works (because the flashing process doesn't always seem to fail), or you can force-flash to an older BIOS version. The trouble for a lot of other people is that their Z490 board model doesn't have this USB flashback feature, so they usually have to send the board out for repair/replacement. This BIOS bricking problem conclusively shows how important this feature can be on a board.
 

virgolicidaniel

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Aug 27, 2019
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I managed to install all bios updates since i own my z490a pro without any problems. Latest bios (with the win11 and other things) also installed fine but today i saw it got removed from the support page.
 

edy2005

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Mar 13, 2019
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Just want to follow up with folks that sent in an RMA for their Z490 boards. Did you receive yours back repaired? Or you got a brand new one? How long (many days) did it take for the entire process?
 

TheRenesa

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Oct 7, 2021
Messages
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Date of failed flashing: 26 August 2021
Affected board model: Z490 gaming edge wifi
CPU: I9-10900KF
Flashing method used: Dragon center
Attempted update to BIOS version: 1.7 to 1.8
Result: Stuck at EZ Debug LED "CPU" after update.
 

TheRenesa

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Just want to follow up with folks that sent in an RMA for their Z490 boards. Did you receive yours back repaired? Or you got a brand new one? How long (many days) did it take for the entire process?
Mine was a brand new one, I'm 99% sure (Z490 gaming edge wifi). Windows detected a hardware change and wanted me to reactivate it. Also it had all the brand new cpu cover + plastic film.

I still have all the RMA emails and tracking so I can provide a pretty specific timeline:
-Thursday 26th of August 8pm, I dropped it off at Canada Post (I went with a 2 day delivery)
-Saturday 28th, they received it
-Monday 30th 5pm, they processed it
-1 hour later a "replacement" was shipped
-Wednesday Sept 1st, I received it in the morning

Originally they'd told me on the phone it could take anywhere between 3 to 15 business days for the processing alone.
But as you can see, it was much quicker for me, literally an hour (as far as the tracking can tell). Hopefully it's just as fast for you.
 
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Oct 20, 2021
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was wondering why lately dragon center says it can't reach the server when I have it check for bios updates.
hadn't bothrred updating since none of the changes looked like they were something I needed...waiting on win 11 for MS to work out their kinks.
guess that's a good thing. though I guess I'm fortunate I have a unify
I am curious though, with anyone that has a flashback button, if they tried reflashing the bad bios to see if it would take?
 
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User: @janschulteortbec154a02d3
Date of failed flashing: July 2021
Affected board model: Z490I Unify ?
CPU: ?
Flashing method used: MSI/Dragon Center Live Update
Attempted update to BIOS version: v19?
Result: Stuck at EZ Debug LED "CPU" after update.
There is a common problem with the two or three latest BIOS updates for Z490 boards: The update seems to finish, the PC reboots, but then it's stuck with the EZ Debug LED "CPU" being on.

There seems to be a danger from the April/May BIOS update (changelog: "Improved Audio compatibility"), from the July update (changelog: "Support M2 PCIE lanes switch function."), and first reports about the September update (changelog: "Windows 11 Supported, Improved compatibility for Intel Thunderbolt devices.") potentially causing the same issue: The board becomes unusable.

The first reports about a Z490 BIOS update causing problems was at the beginning of May: z490 Tomahawk CPU Debug LED Stuck on after latest BIOS update
Then in May, this thread: Warning : V17 bios for Z490 Gaming Edge Wifi release Monday may brick your board., and several more after.

Note that there is no risk of this happening with BIOS updates on MSI mainboards using other chipsets (Z590, X570, B550, ...), only on MSI Z490 boards with the last three BIOS updates.

I have found no reports of problems with any of the earlier BIOS updates. So i urge everyone to not update to any of those latest three versions until this possible problem is solved. I say possible, because it probably doesn't happen all the time, otherwise this forum would be absolutely flooded with complaints. But it is a real danger, as you will see below when i list some of the affected users.

Normally i'm all for updating the BIOS, and i do it pretty much immediately on my boards whenever a new BIOS is released. And this Z490 issue is the first such problem i ever saw. But most of the Z490 boards have no way of recovering from it. For most people, the only way to solve this would be to RMA the board. The only Z490 boards where it's no problem are the two sister boards MEG Z490 UNIFY and ACE, and the MEG Z490 GODLIKE, because those three have a BIOS Flashback function (Flash USB Button). There you can flash back to an older version and the board works again.

The more recent Z590 ATX boards now all have a Flash BIOS Button (and corresponding USB port) on the back, through which you can "force-flash" the BIOS in case of problems. So i guess MSI rather add that function everywhere now, instead of dealing with RMAs of bricked boards when something goes wrong.

I have researched about all the users i could find that have been affected by this, so everyone can see the full scope of the problem. I don't think i exaggerate when i claim that this is a huge problem for MSI and their reputation, and to my knowledge, they have not reacted until this day. They released the September BIOS update for Windows 11 compatibility, and while such an update went well on my Z590 board as expected (plus it has the safety net of the Flash USB Button), there are still reports of the similar Z490 update potentially causing this problem there. Each day, there are many people updating their BIOS on MSI mainboards without any issues, and only on Z490 we see this kind of problem.

As a longtime MSI user, this kind of problem with the Z490 boards is unacceptable, even if i don't have a Z490 board myself.
Therefore, i decided to try to bring further attention to it, so hopefully MSI can do something about it as soon as possible.

Update October 7, 2021: MSI are now seemingly aware of this issue, as was confirmed on a German forum by an official MSI account. I will update this post/thread if there is any progress.

It is important not to be put off from doing BIOS updates altogether by this. BIOS updates fix bugs, add new features, and they even improve performance. It is extremely rare that a whole line of mainboard models has such a potential problem. So, nobody should conclude never to do any BIOS updates again, that would be the wrong message. Instead, once this problem is fixed for the Z490 boards, the BIOS updates can once again be an important way to make the system work better, faster, and with less bugs.


What follows is a list i made of the affected users to date just here on this forum (and i'm sure i missed some posts).

Statistics:
Affected total users (from this list and from further replies to this thread): 76
Users that could fix it themselves: 4 (3x Flash BIOS Button, 1x external programming device)
Users who did an RMA with the vendor or MSI for a fix/replacement: 28
Users where the RMA was declined: 3 (2x because of existing damage to the board, 1x not stated)
Users that bought a new board themselves: 5
No further information / no RMA yet: 36

Users that updated via MSI/Dragon Center Live Update: 22
Users that updated via M-FLASH: 35
Update method unknown: 19


List of affected users i have found on the forum, as of first posting this thread:

(Roughly in chronological order)

User: @datz.bunz
Date of failed flashing: May 2021
Affected board model: Z490 Tomahawk
CPU: ?
Flashing method used: M-FLASH
Attempted update to BIOS version: 7C80v18
Result: Stuck at EZ Debug LED "CPU" after update. Bought a replacement board (ASUS)

User: @mace014ea02cd
Date of failed flashing: May 2021
Affected board model: Z490 Tomahawk
CPU: 10700K
Flashing method used: M-FLASH
Attempted update to BIOS version: 7C80v18
Result: Stuck at EZ Debug LED "CPU" after update. Got a replacement board

User: @dr_overflo153302df
Date of failed flashing: May 2021
Affected board model: Z490 Tomahawk
CPU: 10700K
Flashing method used: M-FLASH
Attempted update to BIOS version: 7C80v18
Result: Stuck at EZ Debug LED "CPU" after update. Bought a replacement board

User: @sixpackvbal129b02ae
Date of failed flashing: May 2021
Affected board model: Z490 Tomahawk
CPU: ?
Flashing method used: M-FLASH
Attempted update to BIOS version: 7C80v18
Result: Stuck at EZ Debug LED "CPU" after update. RMA through MSI, got his repaired board back

User: @mark.hadda156c02dd
Date of failed flashing: May 2021
Affected board model: Z490 Tomahawk?
CPU: 10850k
Flashing method used: M-FLASH
Attempted update to BIOS version: 7C80v18
Result: Stuck at EZ Debug LED "CPU" after update.

User: @mickh5494
Date of failed flashing: May 2021
Affected board model: Z490 Gaming Edge
CPU: ?
Flashing method used: M-FLASH
Attempted update to BIOS version: v17
Result: Stuck at EZ Debug LED "CPU" after update. RMA through MSI?

User: @kenneth.cotma151802d1
Date of failed flashing: May 2021
Affected board model: Z490I Unify
CPU: 10700K
Flashing method used: MSI/Dragon Center Live Update
Attempted update to BIOS version: ?
Result: Stuck at EZ Debug LED "CPU" after update. RMA through vendor, sent to MSI for repair

User: @anglnotre15dd02f0
Date of failed flashing: May 2021
Affected board model: Z490 Gaming Plus
CPU: 10600K
Flashing method used: MSI/Dragon Center Live Update
Attempted update to BIOS version: ?
Result: Stuck at EZ Debug LED "CPU" after update. RMA, got his repaired board back with older BIOS vA6 on

User: @lesurvenan152302d4
Date of failed flashing: May 2021
Affected board model: Z490 Gaming Edge Wifi
CPU: 10600K
Flashing method used: MSI/Dragon Center Live Update
Attempted update to BIOS version: v17
Result: Stuck at EZ Debug LED "CPU" after update. RMA through MSI?

User: @sa3aa14e902d9
Date of failed flashing: May 2021
Affected board model: Z490 Gaming Edge
CPU: 10700K
Flashing method used: MSI/Dragon Center Live Update
Attempted update to BIOS version: v17
Result: Stuck at EZ Debug LED "CPU" after update. Goes "back to ASUS"

User: @jallu_col129b02ae
Date of failed flashing: June 2021
Affected board model: Z490 Gaming Carbon Wifi
CPU: 10900K
Flashing method used: MSI/Dragon Center Live Update
Attempted update to BIOS version: v18
Result: Stuck at EZ Debug LED "CPU" after update. RMA denied due to small scratch on the board. Bought a replacement board from different brand

User: @Own3d
Date of failed flashing: June 2021
Affected board model: Z490 Gaming Edge Wifi ?
CPU: ?
Flashing method used: MSI/Dragon Center Live Update
Attempted update to BIOS version: ?
Result: Stuck at EZ Debug LED "CPU" after update. RMA through MSI

User: @luis.stuardo2151c02d3
Date of failed flashing: June 2021
Affected board model: Z490 Gaming Carbon Wifi
CPU: ?
Flashing method used: ?
Attempted update to BIOS version: ?
Result: Stuck at EZ Debug LED "CPU" after update. It will be "his last board from MSI"

User: @tehjacku151402ce
Date of failed flashing: June 2021
Affected board model: Z490 Gaming Edge Wifi
CPU: ?
Flashing method used: ?
Attempted update to BIOS version: ?
Result: Stuck at EZ Debug LED "CPU" after update. RMA denied by MSI (didn't go into detail), got a replacement through insurance

User: @mark.robinson198127b02ab
Date of failed flashing: June 2021
Affected board model: Z490 Gaming Edge Wifi
CPU: ?
Flashing method used: ?
Attempted update to BIOS version: ?
Result: Stuck at EZ Debug LED "CPU" after update.

User: @dj3for10
Date of failed flashing: June 2021
Affected board model: Z490 Gaming Edge Wifi
CPU: ?
Flashing method used: ?
Attempted update to BIOS version: ?
Result: Stuck at EZ Debug LED "CPU" after update. "Contemplates life in front of dead PC"

User: @jwilby8160102f6
Date of failed flashing: July 2021
Affected board model: Z490 Gaming Carbon Wifi
CPU: 10700K
Flashing method used: M-FLASH
Attempted update to BIOS version: v19
Result: Stuck at EZ Debug LED "CPU" after update. RMA through vendor

User: @ferran.duarr157e02dd
Date of failed flashing: July 2021
Affected board model: Z490I Unify
CPU: 11700
Flashing method used: M-FLASH
Attempted update to BIOS version: v19
Result: Stuck at EZ Debug LED "CPU" after update. RMA through vendor

User: @Rubik
Date of failed flashing: July 2021
Affected board model: Z490I Unify ?
CPU: ?
Flashing method used: M-FLASH
Attempted update to BIOS version: v19
Result: Stuck at EZ Debug LED "CPU" after update. Successfully repaired it by using a BIOS programmer,

User: @janschulteortbec154a02d3
Date of failed flashing: July 2021
Affected board model: Z490I Unify ?
CPU: ?
Flashing method used: MSI/Dragon Center Live Update
Attempted update to BIOS version: v19?
Result: Stuck at EZ Debug LED "CPU" after update.

User: @hardcore_gamer29
Date of failed flashing: July 2021
Affected board model: Z490 Tomahawk
CPU: 10900K
Flashing method used: M-FLASH
Attempted update to BIOS version: v19
Result: Stuck at EZ Debug LED "CPU" after update. RMA through service center, got his repaired board back

User: @yamei031154f02d7
Date of failed flashing: July 2021
Affected board model: Z490 Gaming Edge Wifi
CPU: 10900K
Flashing method used: ?
Attempted update to BIOS version: v18
Result: Stuck at EZ Debug LED "CPU" after update. RMA through MSI

User: @saokirito93156102df
Date of failed flashing: July 2021
Affected board model: Z490 GAMING EDGE WIFI
CPU: 10600KF
Flashing method used: MSI/Dragon Center Live Update
Attempted update to BIOS version: ?
Result: Stuck at EZ Debug LED "CPU" after update.

User: @jwilby8160102f6
Date of failed flashing: July 2021
Affected board model: Z490 Gaming Edge Wifi
CPU: 10700K
Flashing method used: M-FLASH
Attempted update to BIOS version: v19
Result: Stuck at EZ Debug LED "CPU" after update. RMA through vendor

User: @gmbeas160158102e0
Date of failed flashing: July 2021
Affected board model: Z490 Tomahawk
CPU: 10700K
Flashing method used: ?
Attempted update to BIOS version: v18
Result: Stuck at EZ Debug LED "CPU" after update. RMA through MSI?

User: @mohdrodz15bf02ed
Date of failed flashing: July 2021
Affected board model: Z490 ?
CPU: ?
Flashing method used: ?
Attempted update to BIOS version: v19
Result: Stuck at EZ Debug LED "CPU" after update. RMA

User: @mikemauge154a02d7
Date of failed flashing: July 2021
Affected board model: Z490 Gaming Edge Wifi
CPU: 10900
Flashing method used: MSI/Dragon Center Live Update
Attempted update to BIOS version: v17
Result: Stuck at EZ Debug LED "CPU" after update. RMA through MSI, got his repaired board back with BIOS v17 on

User: @xsketchyfruit12fc02b9
Date of failed flashing: August 2021
Affected board model: Z490 Gaming Pro Plus
CPU: 10400
Flashing method used: MSI/Dragon Center Live Update
Attempted update to BIOS version: v19?
Result: Stuck at EZ Debug LED "CPU" after update.

User: @yxh93021154502dc
Date of failed flashing: August 2021
Affected board model: Z490 Gaming Pro Plus
CPU: ?
Flashing method used: MSI/Dragon Center Live Update
Attempted update to BIOS version: v19
Result: Stuck at EZ Debug LED "CPU" after update.

User: @John Eisberg
Date of failed flashing: August 2021
Affected board model: Z490 UNIFY
CPU: 10900K
Flashing method used: ?
Attempted update to BIOS version: vA9
Result: Stuck at EZ Debug LED "CPU" after update. Used "Flash BIOS Button" method to force-flash to BIOS vA8, board works again

User: @aaronpeigh
Date of failed flashing: August 2021
Affected board model: Z490 UNIFY
CPU: 10850K
Flashing method used: ?
Attempted update to BIOS version: vA9
Result: Stuck at EZ Debug LED "CPU" after update. Used "Flash BIOS Button" method to force-flash to BIOS vA8, board works again

User: @dan.pahal125b02a7
Date of failed flashing: August 2021
Affected board model: Z490 Tomahawk
CPU: 10700K
Flashing method used: MSI/Dragon Center Live Update
Attempted update to BIOS version: v18?
Result: Stuck at EZ Debug LED "CPU" after update. RMA

User: @amichele154f02db
Date of failed flashing: August 2021
Affected board model: Z490 Gaming Plus
CPU: ?
Flashing method used: MSI/Dragon Center Live Update
Attempted update to BIOS version: vA8
Result: Stuck at EZ Debug LED "CPU" after update. RMA through MSI?

User: @j0sefuz115d402ee
Date of failed flashing: August 2021
Affected board model: Z490 Gaming Edge Wifi
CPU: ?
Flashing method used: MSI/Dragon Center Live Update
Attempted update to BIOS version: v18
Result: Stuck at EZ Debug LED "CPU" after update.

User: @mikkl1620
Date of failed flashing: August 2021
Affected board model: Z490 Tomahawk
CPU: 10600K
Flashing method used: ?
Attempted update to BIOS version: ?
Result: Stuck at EZ Debug LED "CPU" after update. RMA denied due to slightly bent pins in the CPU socket. Bought a replacement board "Z590 Tomahawk"

User: @yohan.vandevell154002e1
Date of failed flashing: August 2021
Affected board model: Z490 Gaming Edge Wifi
CPU: ?
Flashing method used: ?
Attempted update to BIOS version: ?
Result: Stuck at EZ Debug LED "CPU" after update. Opened a ticket with MSI

User: @jonathan84012e802b5
Date of failed flashing: August 2021
Affected board model: Z490 Gaming Carbon Wifi
CPU: ?
Flashing method used: ?
Attempted update to BIOS version: ?
Result: Stuck at EZ Debug LED "CPU" after update.

User: @takocankol
Date of failed flashing: August 2021
Affected board model: Z490 ?
CPU: ?
Flashing method used: ?
Attempted update to BIOS version: ?
Result: Stuck at EZ Debug LED "CPU" after update.

User: @christoph.urba128d02aa
Date of failed flashing: August 2021
Affected board model: Z490 Gaming Plus
CPU: ?
Flashing method used: MSI/Dragon Center Live Update
Attempted update to BIOS version: ?
Result: Stuck at EZ Debug LED "CPU" after update. Wants to attempt manual BIOS flash with CH341A EEPROM programmer,

User: @seeknay7415ae02f0
Date of failed flashing: September 2021
Affected board model: Z490 Gaming Carbon WIFI
CPU: ?
Flashing method used: ?
Attempted update to BIOS version: v19
Result: Stuck at EZ Debug LED "CPU" after update. RMA through MSI. "Very unlikely he will buy another MSI board after this"

User: @mastersap157d02db
Date of failed flashing: September 2021
Affected board model: Z490 Gaming Carbon WIFI
CPU: ?
Flashing method used: ?
Attempted update to BIOS version: v19
Result: Stuck at EZ Debug LED "CPU" after update. RMA through MSI?, got a new board of the same model

User: @stro152c02d9
Date of failed flashing: September 2021
Affected board model: Z490 Gaming Edge
CPU: 10500
Flashing method used: M-FLASH
Attempted update to BIOS version: v19
Result: Stuck at EZ Debug LED "CPU" after update.

Users from other forums with confirmed cases: stiffmeister53, d-Udo, msiz490b, HeavenRL, hubihh



Everyone with the same problem on Z490 that doesn't find themselves on the list, feel free to reply here using the same format, here is a template:
Date of failed flashing:
Affected board model:
CPU:
Flashing method used:
Attempted update to BIOS version:
Result: Stuck at EZ Debug LED "CPU" after update.

Whenever i have seen your reply and included it in the statistics, i will give a "thumbs up" for it to thank you for your participation.

Also, feel free to refer to this thread in your communication with the vendor or with MSI. Hopefully MSI will finally start to recognize this problem and do something about it.
Everyone with the same problem on Z490 that doesn't find themselves on the list, feel free to reply here using the same format, here is a template:
Date of failed flashing:
Affected board model:
CPU:
Flashing method used:
Attempted update to BIOS version:
Result: Stuck at EZ Debug LED "CPU" after update.

Whenever i have seen your reply and included it in the statistics, i will give a "thumbs up" for it to thank you for your participation.

Also, feel free to refer to this thread in your communication with the vendor or with MSI. Hopefully MSI will finally start to recognize this problem and do something about it.
Date of failed flashing: OCT/2/2021
Affected board model: Z490 Gaming Edge Wi-Fi
CPU: i9-10850
Flashing method used: M-Flash
Attempted update to BIOS version: from 1.7 to 1.9
Result: BRICKED! Black screen - lights on, no one's home (in other words, it's running, but dead anyways)

[/QUOTE]
User: @sosemprelumejo
Date of failed flashing: October 2021
Affected board model: MEG Z490I Unify ?
CPU: i5-10600KF
Flashing method used: M-FLASH
Attempted update to BIOS version: v19
Result: Stuck at EZ Debug LED "CPU" after update.
 

citay

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I think you made a bit of a mess there with the quotes in your post, but i will include you in the statistics, thank you.
 

citay

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Finally! MSI managed to do the obvious thing and take down the faulty BIOS from the Z490I Unify page...
Yes, i think they're withdrawing the latest update for all the Z490 board models now. However, as i wrote in the first post, the first reports about this issue came back in May, with a BIOS that was two versions older. So this can happen with the last three BIOS updates, not just the latest one. Therefore, i'm not sure why they only withdrew the latest one. Well, let's see what solution they come up with.
 

citay

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Please only post in English here, but yes, that is most likely the BIOS chip. If you can tell me what's written on there, i can double-check.
 
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