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 Post subject: BIOS built-in features for backup and/or update (flash) bios
PostPosted: Tue Jan 25, 2011 5:33 am 
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Joined: Sat May 08, 2010 5:26 am
Posts: 762
The first recommendations to update (flash) your BIOS are:
1_ Know your exact BRAND, MODEL and REVISION of your motherboard.
2_ Download and read the relevant MANUAL.
3_ Download the most updated stable BIOS version, according to the previous specific data.
4_ In case of trying a BETA version, FIRST try the latest STABLE BIOS version to check/test if your issue is resolved.
5_ Before updating to a new BIOS version, always try to save a backup copy of your previous BIOS version
6_ If you are not sure about the current BIOS settings, write down the settings so you can be sure to reset them to the correct values after the update procedure.
7_ If you are not sure, stop and ask, search, read... until you are sure. Making a mistake (like flashing the wrong BIOS file) could leave you with a nonworking motherboard.

Once you read the specific manual, read the general documentation.

In case you can't use the built-in feature to update your BIOS version, then the second preferred method would be to use a DOS bootable media.

If you have a DOS bootable floppy/UFD/CD, you can use it with the appropriate drives (for the USB and/or the CD connections).

In case you don't have a DOS bootable media, you can get a free one at FreeDOS website http://www.freedos.org , or you can use UBCD http://www.ultimatebootcd.com .

------

In general, the most simple method to backup and/or update (flash) your BIOS is to use the BUILT-IN Feature, when it is available.

01_ Download the appropriate BIOS file. It is usually included in a zipped archive. The BIOS file is usually a file named with the 8.3 name format (8 characters for the name, and 3 for the file extension), according to:
A: your specific motherboard model and revision,
B: the BIOS version,

The extension is *.BIN or *.ROM.

02_ Copy the *.BIN or *.ROM file to a floppy or USB Flash Drive (UFD). In some cases, it is also possible that the procedure will also successfully work when you copy the BIOS file to your HDD, instead the UFD or the floppy.

03_ If you copied the BIOS file to a floppy or a UFD, then insert it or connect it accordingly.
Avoid using hubs.
If using a UFD, connect it to a USB post at the back of your computer, which is directly connected to your motherboard. Avoid connecting a UFD to the USB ports that are connected "indirectly" to your motherboard by using internal cables (like the USB ports located at the front of your computer case, for example).
In addition, the UFD should be formatted as FAT to be recognized by your BIOS.
When using this Built-In method, there is no NEED to prepare a bootable media. A non-bootable FAT floppy or any non-bootable FAT UFD should be enough. A bootable FAT floppy or a bootable FAT UFD are also acceptable, but if your floppy or UFD are not bootable, the built-in procedure will also successfully work.
Disconnect any OTHER external device, specially those connected to USB ports. This "helps" to select the correct device in the BIOS settings.

04_ With the floppy inserted / UFD connected, boot your computer. Enter to the BIOS setup and select your first boot device to the floppy / UFD that contains the BIOS file. Don't worry about the floppy / UFD not being bootable. By selecting it as bootable device, you are "helping" the BIOS to recognize the device, even when it is not actually bootable.
Only in case the BIOS can NOT recognize the appropriate floppy or UFD device, reboot again and <PAUSE> the system immediately. Wait several seconds, to give time for the system to recognize the device, and continue the boot process, entering to the BIOS setup again. This time, the BIOS should be able to recognize the device, so you can select it as "first boot device" as requested.

05_ Once the appropriate device is selected as "first boot device", "save and exit" the BIOS settings and reboot. Enter again to the BIOS setup. Select the appropriate BUILT-IN feature to update the BIOS. Usually, using the same procedure, you can also backup your current BIOS version, before updating it to the new one.

06_ Follow the instructions on the screen.
Until you give the actual command to start the actual flashing procedure, you can exit the process and reboot.
But, once you give the command to start the actual flashing process (you will be asked if you are sure you want to start it), do NOT reset, nor power off, your system until the flash process is complete. You will be able to select the appropriate media (floppy / UFD), and also the file name so you can backup and/or can update the BIOS version.

07_ Once the process is complete, you will be requested to reset/reboot the system, usually using a specified keyboard key. Follow the instructions on the screen.

08_ After rebooting (from the previous step), enter again to the BIOS. Reset all data (like IRQ, DMA, etc.).

09_ "Save and exit" your BIOS settings and reboot again.

10_ Once again, enter to the BIOS setup, and load the "safe settings". You may choose "optimal settings" instead of "safe settings" if you really know what you are doing. Complete the selection of the rest of the settings. Set the boot device order to the previous default (meaning, the sort order that was set before you changed it to the floppy or your UFD), which is usually your first HDD. Configure the BIOS settings for your storage devices and controllers, etc.

11_ For the last time, "save and exit" your BIOS settings and reboot. This time, let your OS load. Your OS may recognize different/new "devices" because of the BIOS update.

12_ Now you can safely disconnect your UFD (unmount), or extract your floppy, according to the media where you previously saved the BIOS file(s).


------

Here are several resources as examples, so you can better understand what's the general idea for your specific motherboard brand.


GigaByte motherboards:

"HowToReflashBIOS"
http://www.gigabyte.com/webpage/20/HowToReflashBIOS.html

The previous linked document will explain the 3 following possibilities:

Q-FLASH : Built-in BIOS Feature for BIOS update
http://www.gigabyte.com/MicroSite/121/tech_qflash.htm
http://www.gigabyte.com/webpage/20/images/flashbios_qflash.pdf
http://www.gigabyte.com/MicroSite/121/flashbios_qflash.pdf

DOS Flash Utility : Bootable DOS media
http://www.gigabyte.com/webpage/20/images/flashbios_dos.pdf

@BIOS : BIOS Live Update (Windows-based) Utility
http://www.gigabyte.com/MicroSite/121/tech_a_bios.htm
http://www.gigabyte.com/webpage/20/images/flashbios_atbios.pdf
http://www.gigabyte.com/MicroSite/121/tech_bios.pdf


Asus motherboards:

1_ http://support.asus.com/technicaldocuments/technicaldocuments.aspx?SLanguage=en-us ;
2_ Filter the list of technical documents by "Select Category" -> BIOS
3_ Filter "Display per page" -> 100
4_ From the list of online documents available, select the one you are interested in.
4.1_ "How to identify your motherboard model and BIOS version."
4.2_ Download the relevant BIOS update file and/or utility, depending on the motherboard model/revision.
4.3_ Select the method you prefer to update your BIOS.
4.3.A_ EZ-BIOS for Built-in BIOS Feature for BIOS update ;
4.3.B_ Bootable DOS media
4.3.C_ BIOS Live Update (Windows-based) Utility ;



MSI motherboards:

For identifying the motherboard's model and revision, BIOS version and updates:
http://www.msi.com/service/troubleshooting/

NOTE: By the time I am writing this guide, the AwardBIOS procedure (at the troubleshooting guides) does NOT contain the correct instructions, nor the correct images (they correspond to AmiBios).

For general FAQ's:
1_ http://www.msi.com/service/faq/
2.A_ Filter by "Search by type" -> Mainboard -> BIOS -> "GO" ; OR
2.B_ Filter by the Keywords "flash bios"
2.C_ "How to make a bootable flash disk and to flash BIOS?":
http://www.msi.com/service/faq/2203.html

Technical Support:
http://us.msi.com/index.php?func=service
Select "Technical Support"
Open one of the available options, like "Basic Troubleshooting Guide" or "OnLine FAQ".

"How do I flash the BIOS on my MSI motherboard?"
http://service.msicomputer.com/html/popup/techsup/formviewer.asp?esoformid=34
Includes a video with instructions, and also links to "how to make a bootable media".

FAQ Home:
http://service.msicomputer.com/html/popup/techsup/faq_result.asp
Search the FAQ by using the keyword "M-FLASH".

"My MSI motherboard supports M-Flash. How can I flash my BIOS using this feature?"
http://service.msicomputer.com/html/popup/techsup/formviewer.asp?esoformid=2845
Includes instructions about how to use "M-FLASH", the Built-in BIOS Feature for BIOS update.

Troubleshooting Guide:
http://service.msicomputer.com/html/popup/techsup/TroubleSt.html
It includes the possibility to download several guides as PDF.
Among others, it includes the following guides:
BIOS Flash/Update procedures using Floppy Drive and Bootable CD
• How to flash the BIOS FDD
• How to flash the BIOS CD
• How to flash the BIOS Flash Drive
• How to upgrade BIOS using MSI LiveUpdate (Windows-based) Utility


---

Additional resources:

For additional information, there are several step-by-step guides and videos.

For example:

1_ Go to Google ;
2_ According to your
- motherboard brand, model and revision;
- BIOS brand and version;
- and adequate available method to flash your BIOS;

then search using the following words and parameters (example):

2.A_ For GigaByte "Q-Flash",
Code:
gigabyte motherboards +"Q-FLASH"
;

2.B_ For Asus "EZ FLASH",
Code:
asus motherboards +"EZ FLASH"
;

2.C_ For MSI "M-FLASH",
Code:
MSI motherboards +"M-FLASH"
;

3_ Use one of the following methods to filter the results
3.A_ Limit the results to "Videos" (for example, using the side-panel filter or the upper filter on Google's search webpage) ;
3.B_ Limit the results to "Images" (for example, using the side-panel filter or the upper filter on Google's search webpage).

Comments, additional tips and resources are welcome.


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