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Author Topic: BIOS flashing - why, when & how  (Read 6549 times)

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BIOS flashing - why, when & how
« on: 30-November-05, 13:53:24 »

BIOS flashing is covered in depth in several areas of this forum, but I thought for the benefit of everyone here in the SocketA forum that I would just cover this subject briefly


Why

First of all, if you're even considering updating your board's BIOS, read Bas' post here: BIOS flashing - stupid or not?


When

so now that you know that BIOS flashing won't magically fix all the problems you're having, does a BIOS update address a particular issue you may be experiencing? first of all, check which BIOS version you currently have. When your PC first powers up, you see the POST screen, like in the picture here:


in this example (towards top left) "W6167MS" is the BIOS for this board, and "V1.3" is the version installed

look for BIOS updates here: MSI Mainboard BIOS Downloads - SocketA (if your SocketA board is older, it may be listed in the 'Archives' section if you cannot see it listed here)

click on your board, and a list of all BIOS downloads is available, with the most recent at the top. find your version in the list, and look through the list of fixes in "Update description". if you see a later BIOS revision that affects you (for example, if you have a KM4M-V, with BIOS 1.0, but you want to install a Sempron CPU, which was addressed in BIOS 1.2) then you need to update your BIOS.

Note that all later revisions include all issues already fixed, you can flash straight to the version you need, rather than updating one at a time (in our example, we can flash BIOS 1.2 without doing 1.1 first)

if you don't see anything here that affects you, then you don't need to update your BIOS. if your system is having problems, then it is not the BIOS causing it.


How

Ugh, this is where it can get tricky and complicated, but as long as you read what is in front of you, and follow instructions given, then you will safely avoid a "bad flash"

Using MSI LiveUpdate
If you really want to use LiveUpdate, I recommend you READ CAREFULLY what it tells you to do, and to select the DOS flash mode. This is by far safer than flashing in Windows, though you may do if you so wish, provided you folllow instructions exactly as stated and close all background tasks not being used.

DOS flash mode will create a floppy disk for you, which you must then boot from. Before you do so, enter your BIOS and select default setting, save then exits. Once the floppy is booted, it creates a RAMDrive in your system memory, and copies the BIOS files to it. NEVER perform a flash directly from the floppy (unless in an emergency of course). Once the BIOS flash procedure is completed, power off your PC, disconnect the power lead, and move the CMOS jumper (refer to your manual for its location) to the 'clear' position for about a minute. While in this position, press the Power button on your case a few times, to discharge any power remaining in capacitors. After about a minute or so (you don't need to remove battery, or leave overnight) move the CMOS jumper back to the 'Keep Data' position, reconnect the power cord and power back on. Enter your BIOS, select default settings again, and then make any changes you need to (you'll need to set time & date again), then Save & Exit. make sure the floppy has been removed, and look at the POST screen, and you should see the BIOS version reflect its change

If you don't have a floppy drive...
Of course, this is no good to you if your PC doesn't have a floppy drive, but you can still boot from a CD, and some newer boards will also allow booting from a USB flash drive, it just takes a little more effort... you still sure you want to bother updating your BIOS? ;-))

OK, from the links above, download the BIOS version you want to flash (it is a ZIP file), and extract to a folder somewhere.

Booting from USB sticks - if your system allows USB-HDD boot, then follow advice in that thread, and simply copy the BIOS files you just extracted to your flash drive. then boot from the drive, and flash the BIOS following the instructions in the ReadMe file included in the ZIP. remember to follow the advice given earlier about what to do after flashing is complete.

If you cannot create a bootable CD, you can find links and info here: NTFS boot floppy and cdrom down loads


Modified and BETA BIOSes

Use only at your own risk! MSI will not provide any support if you use any modified ("modded") BIOS and you may invalidate your warranty. Please also be aware that MSI and this forum can not be held responsible if you trash your mobo by using a modded, beta or otherwise incorrect BIOS.



If it all goes wrong...

BIOS recovery page

http://www.msi.com.tw/html/support/bios/note/boot.htm


Note that when using the DOS Flash mode of LiveUpdate, the floppy disk created also acts as the "recovery" disk. Make sure you read all the instructions and information LiveUpdate gives you!


BIOS Recovery Feature

For AMI BIOS

Rename the desired AMI BIOS file to AMIBOOT.ROM and save it on a floppy disk. e.g. Rename A569MS23.ROM to AMIBOOT.ROM

Insert this floppy disk in the floppy drive. Turn On the system and press and hold Ctrl-Home to force update. It will read the AMIBOOT.ROM file and recover the BIOS from the A drive.

When 4 beeps are heard you may remove the floppy disk and restart the computer.
 

For Award BIOS

Make a bootable floopy disk
Copy the Award flash utility & BIOS file to the said floppy disk
Create an autoexec.bat with "Award_Flash_Utility BiosFilename" in the content (e.g. awdfl823K w6378vms.130)
Sample on how to create an autoexec:
a. On Windows, open the notepad
b. On the notepad, write "awdfl823K w6378vms.130" (without the " ")
c. Save the file as autoexec.bat

Boot up system with the said floppy (it will take less than 2 minutes before screen comes out)

Re-flash the BIOS & reboot.


Failing that if you still have no joy, if your BIOS chip is socketed, you could try www.badflash.com to see if they can supply a new BIOS chip, or [http://support.msi.com.tw]Contact MSI[/url] to see if they will replace the board



If you have any further queries regarding flashing your BIOS, please direct them to our BIOS Forum



 
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