|What is BIOS?
|BIOS is an acronym for Basic
Input/Output System. The BIOS is a program (also known as firmware)
which is stored in a ROM (Read-Only Memory) chip on the motherboard commonly
referred to as the BIOS chip. The BIOS is responsible for detecting,
testing, initializing and monitoring the system hardware from the moment the
system is turned on until Windows takes over. When you turn the computer on
the BIOS instantly identifies all of the onboard devices (processor, memory,
video card, etc.) and then runs the Power On Self Test (P.O.S.T) to
determine whether of not each device is working properly. If all of the
devices pass the POST test then the BIOS initializes each device, detects
the hard drives, CD-ROM and floppy drives and then searches the first boot
device (normally the hard drive or floppy drive) for files necessary to load
the operating system software and then passes control of the system to the
operating system software. If any device fails the POST test then an error
message will be displayed on the screen or a series of 'beeps' will be
played through the PC speaker to indicate there is a problem. The sequence
of beeps (beep code) can be used to identify exactly what the problem is.
|Why do I need to update my
|Most of the time you will not
need to update your BIOS. BIOS updates are provided to correct existing
problems 'bugs' in the original BIOS program, or to add new features or
hardware support to the BIOS. If your computer is working fine then updating
your BIOS is not recommended and may cause problems with your system.
However if you will be upgrading your computer's processor, hard drive or
video card you may need to update your BIOS in order for the new device to
|How do I update my BIOS?
Updating the BIOS is fairly
simple, but never the less should be done by someone with a fair amount of
technical computer experience. As easy as updating the BIOS is, if a mistake
is made the result could be catastrophic for your computer and may require
you to purchase a new BIOS chip or motherboard to correct the problem.
To update your BIOS first you need to gather
some important information about your computer's motherboard. Before you can
update your BIOS you must know all of the following.
While the first two items above are
absolutely crucial you may not need to know the second two. With most
motherboards the model number is printed on the cover of the user's manual
and often on the motherboard itself. The revision number is usually printed
on the motherboard in white writing next to one of the expansion slots or on
one of the corners of the motherboard. With most of our motherboards the
revision is printed on the left rear corner in small white writing.
Once you know which model and revision of
motherboard you have you then need to download the corresponding BIOS update
from the motherboard manufacturer's web site. The BIOS update
will consist of two files a flash utility and the BIOS update in binary
format. The flash utility writes the updated BIOS file to the ROM BIOS chip
on your motherboard.
If your motherboard uses AWARD Modular BIOS
then you will use an AWARD flash utility such as AWDFL763.EXE. If your
motherboard uses American Megatrends International (AMI) BIOS then you will
use a AMI flash utility such as AMIfl818.EXE. BIOS files for AWARD type BIOS
are in binary format and the file names end in .BIN. AMI BIOS files are in
hexadecimal format and the file names end in .ROM.
Here is the procedure to follow to safely
update your BIOS. (NOTE: This does not guarantee success)
Determine the model and revision of
motherboard you have.
Locate your motherboard's model and revision in one of the tables below.
If your motherboard is not listed in either of the following tables then a
BIOS update is not available for your motherboard.
Download the BIOS update for your motherboard by clicking on the model
number in one of the tables below. When prompted to open the file or save
it, choose to save the file and then save it on your hard drive in a
directory where you will be able to find it later.
Once you have downloaded the file and saved it on your hard drive put a
formatted 3 1/2" diskette in your floppy drive A:
While in Windows, located the file you downloaded on your hard drive and
double-click on it. A window titled 'WinRAR self-extracting archive' will
appear. In the text box labeled 'Install to' type A:\ and then click on
the 'Install' button at the bottom, this will extract the BIOS update and
flash utility to the floppy disk in drive A:
Create a Windows 98 bootable floppy disk. If you are unable to create a
Windows 95 or 98 bootable floppy disk on your own then you can download a
image of a bootable disk here. To
create a bootable floppy disk using the downloaded image, put a second
formatted floppy disk in drive A: and double-click on the floppy disk
image you downloaded. The image will make the disk in drive A: bootable so
that you can boot the computer from it and enter DOS mode.
Once you have your bootable floppy disk and the floppy disk that contains
the BIOS update and flash utility, restart the computer and hold down the
DELETE key to enter the CMOS. A blue screen with CMOS Setup Utility at the
top will appear. In the CMOS you need to set the FIRST BOOT device to
FLOPPY. If you are not sure how to do this you can consult your
motherboard's user's manual or call for technical support. Once you have
set the FIRST BOOT device to FLOPPY, save the changes you have made and
exit CMOS. Make sure that your bootable floppy disk is in drive A:
When the computer restarts it will read the floppy disk and boot from it.
When the STARTUP MENU appears choose 'START COMPUTER WITHOUT CD-ROM
SUPPORT' After a few seconds the compute will stop at the A:\
Once you see the A:\ prompt on the screen, remove your bootable
floppy from drive A: and insert the floppy disk with the BIOS update and
flash utility on it. Depending on which type of BIOS you have and which
flash utility you are using the command you type will be slightly
different, however the format will be the same. The following two examples
show commands used for each type of BIOS.
For AMI BIOS's type the following:
AMINF325.EXE BIOSFILE.ROM /A /SORIGINAL.ROM
AMINF325.EXE BIOSFILE.ROM /A
(This will save the original BIOS
to the file ORIGINAL.ROM)
(This will perform the actual
For AWARD BIOS updates type the following:
- Once you have successfully updated your
BIOS and the computer restarts you may see the message 'CMOS
Checksum Bad'. This is NOT an error message per say, it
simply indicates that you need to enter the CMOS Setup Utility by pressing
the DELETE or F1 key and save the CMOS settings.
|In the above examples you need
to replace the name of the flash utility and BIOS file with the names of the
files on your disk. When updating an AWARD BIOS you will be prompted
to save the original BIOS before continuing. You should always save the
original before you update it. In the event of an error the saved
original BIOS may be the only way to recover your computer. If you need
assistance with this procedure then you can call Technical Support at (540)
337-7777 or e-mail us at
|What do I do if something
If you experience an error
while flashing your BIOS or you suspect that the update did not work,
DO NOT restart your computer! You need to call Technical Support
immediately at (540) 337-7777 and let them know exactly what you did. The first thing the
flash utility does when you attempt to update your BIOS is to erase the
original BIOS in the BIOS chip. If the BIOS was not successfully
reprogrammed then when you restart your computer you will be unable to use
Not all errors are serious, most of the time
if you receive an error message while attempting to update your BIOS the
problem is usually due to a mistyped command, incorrect flash utility or
incorrect BIOS size. These types of errors will stop the flash utility
before it erases the original BIOS on the motherboard. Below are some common
errors incurred while attempting to update the BIOS.
Error messages such
as '.ROM file wrong size', 'Incorrect BIOS size', etc.
indicate that the updated BIOS file you downloaded is not compatible with
the BIOS chip on the motherboard. For example most BIOS updates are for
2Mb BIOS chips, however if your BIOS chip is a 1Mb chip then you will get
an error message similar to this. If this is the case then you will need
to purchase a replacement BIOS chip in order to update your BIOS.
Error messages such
as 'File not found' or 'ERROR 2: File does not exist' indicates that you are either trying to flash
your BIOS from a floppy diskette that may have bad sectors, or you are not
typing the name of the BIOS file correctly (including the extension). If
you receive this message make sure that you are attempting to update your
BIOS from your hard drive and that you are typing the correct name of the
BIOS file including the extension.
Error messages such
as 'Unknown flash part' or 'Unknown flash type' indicate
that the flash utility you are using is not compatible with the BIOS chip
on your motherboard. If you get this error message then download a
different revision of the flash utility and try again. Several versions of
each flash utility are available on this page below the BIOS code.
Error messages such
as 'Disable USB' indicate that a severe problem was encountered
during the flash process which MAY have been caused by the onboard USB
controller. In most cases this message appears when the flash process
ended abnormally due to a problem. Often the problem is not the USB
controller but in fact the BIOS chip itself. If you experience this
problem DO NOT reboot your computer. If you reboot the
computer it will be disabled. If you have made a backup of the original
BIOS try restoring the original BIOS. If you did not make a backup then
you have two choices. 1) Flash the BIOS again with the same BIOS date the
system originally had, or 2) purchase a new BIOS chip.
|If the computer is restarted
after a BIOS programming error the system will not boot. If you have an AMI
BIOS the monitor will remain blank and the system will try to read from the
floppy drive repeatedly. If you have an AWARD BIOS you may see an error
message that says 'CMOS BAD Detecting drive media for drive A:'.
This situation indicates that there is a severe problem with the
BIOS and the system is not able to read the from the BIOS chip.
We have provided these BIOS updates as a courtesy to our customers, however
we DO NOT recommend updating your BIOS unless it is absolutely
necessary. D D P Systems. is not responsible for loss or data,
revenue, use of your computer, or damages either directly or indirectly
caused by updating your BIOS. Updating your BIOS is considered a user
modification and may void any and all warranties and guarantees. If you do
not feel comfortable updating your system's BIOS yourself you may purchase a
replacement BIOS chip with an updated BIOS preinstalled on it by calling our
end user sales department at (540) 337-7777.
YOUR ORIGINAL BIOS TO A DISK BEFORE YOU UPDATE IT