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Updating Bios


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#1 Dapper Dan

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Posted 31 December 2003 - 04:05 AM

Hi everyone,

I've found a Bios update at the Intel site which is a perfect match for my Dimension 4550, and I'm tempted to update it in hopes that it also provides boot-to-usb capability.
The operation looks pretty straight forward. You download an executable to floppy, then reboot, and the update is supposed to install itself.
Honestly though, I'm feeling a bit of anxiety over this because, once you hose your Bios, you're exceptionally hosed!!
Anyone here ever done this before? If so, are there any tips or precautions I should be aware of?
Thanks!

#2 danleff

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Posted 01 January 2004 - 12:24 AM

I updated my bios at work in order to install more memory. It is a Dell Optiplex (don't laugh), using the same process that you described. It worked flawlessly (don't tell the IT dept. that I did this).

The two precautions that I suggest.

Make sure it is the exact bios revision for your system. Use the tag number to search and verify that the system and update files are indeed correct. Then go into the bios and verify the update version number.

I did not find a recover possibility. I too was hessitant, since, unlike award bios updates, you can't save the old file, just in case.

Do not turn off the system during the update. It should prompt you to reboot, or do so atuomatically when the update is finished.

By the way, I hosed my USB card setup with Flonix, but the curret version is in English.

I'm going to try again, to see how I got it to wotk the first time. My bios stalls on boot when the USB stick is in the slot, have to hit reset, then it boots correctly.

#3 jim2005

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Posted 11 February 2005 - 06:27 AM

Hi everybody,

here is a problem, probably regarding bios. yes, i think its bios problem. i downloaded an exe file and installed. one or more virus might have came along with that file or resided in that downloaded file. i was using win xp. i have a fedora linux partition too. now i can not boot my pc. when switched on pc is not booting at all. some data access is going on in the HD, coz the indicator light is flashing. i tried to update the bios as described in intel site. mine is intell 845GVSR motherboard. do anyone have any suggestions?

#4 jim2005

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Posted 11 February 2005 - 12:22 PM

Originally posted by jim2005:
Quote:
Hi everybody,

here is a problem, probably regarding bios. yes, i think its bios problem. i downloaded an exe file and installed. one or more virus might have came along with that file or resided in that downloaded file. i was using win xp. i have a fedora linux partition too. now i can not boot my pc. when switched on pc is not booting at all. some data access is going on in the HD, coz the indicator light is flashing. i tried to update the bios as described in intel site. mine is intell 845GVSR motherboard. do anyone have any suggestions?


Hi let me add one more thing: the pc was able to boot today morning and then everything was as normal. backed up all the required files. Later when tried to restart, again the same problem as described above. cann't boot!

#5 danleff

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Posted 11 February 2005 - 12:48 PM

Quote:
i tried to update the bios as described in intel site.


First of all, did the bios update complete without issue? Did you get a message stating that the bios update completed? And, are you sure that the bios update was for your specific motherboard and revision number? Not just the motherboard, but the exact revision number, as well.

The unfortunate thing is that folks sometimes think that the first thing to do in these situations is to update the bios. True, you could have had a virus that corrupted the bios, but was there any real indication that you had/have a virus? Do you have any anti-virus software on the system?

The other thing to look for are error messages during boot. Are there any that may indicate a problem?

Do you have a system that has Windows pre-installed and has a rescue cd, say a Dell, gateway, HP system?

Intermittant booting problems can be caused by a variety of problems, including;

A failing Power supply
A failing memory module
A failing hard drive
A failing motherboard battery
A virus that affected the MBR

As the system boots, look for any error messages that may give a clue about what is going on. post any that you see. Listen for any unusual beep codes that may occur, other than the normal ones that you usually hear during boot.

Take the case cover off, if possible and listen for any noises that may be unusual, such as a constantly cranking hard drive during boot.

Let us know what you seem to find.

#6 BSchindler

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Posted 19 February 2005 - 02:53 AM

It is VERY unlikely that the bios was corrupted by a virus or something akin to that. When a machine first starts, the bios itself calculates a checksum which it compares with the value in the bios itself. If they differ you will be told immediately and most machines will stall until reset.

When you start pc in WinXP does the log show anything unusual?
Go to <Start><Control Panel><Administrative Tools><Event Viewer>
The log is most recent first. Anything interesting there? (Look back a couple of boots.)

Was the machine at all unstable before you flashed bios? Was that why you "updated" it?

A lot of things can cause bailing boot. I suggest that you attempt starting the machine from power off a couple of times. As the machine powers up, listen for any beeps and other strange noises from the machine. Beep codes are a dead give away and come from the POST (Power On Self Test) portion of the bios. They tell you about which step(s) during system initialization failed.

Any other noises should be checked out. Failing that, I suggest that you disconnect everything but the hard drive, video, keyboard and mouse. In other words, make a minimal running system. See if that boots consistantly. If so, add back other stuff one piece at a time until the instability shows up. For the device causing instability, check for an updated driver. Remember, changing bios can make devices configuration reports to drivers change.

By the way, when you have the case open. You should also "reseat" all cards and cables. That is, unplug them, inspect for dirt etc (clean with soft cloth only, as necessary) and reconnect or plug back in.

Those are cheap things to try. Good luck





#7 martouf

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Posted 19 February 2005 - 03:57 AM

I too have a Dimension 4550 system.

If I had it to do again, I'd be sure to download the BIOS version you have now
in addition to the new version you intend to try.

I ended up putting the A06 BIOS back because the A08 BIOS messed up the IRQ
routing where the Atlantis PCI video I/O card wouldn't work with any OS.

As I understand the Dell flash process: the new BIOS is written to a secondary
location and checksummed. If the checksum passes, the secondary location
is changed to be the primary. The one time I experienced an error,
the end result was no change made to the BIOS.

It seems they've implemented a two-phase commit.

I still plug the system into a UPS before I update the BIOS, though. 8)




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