Recovering after bad flash (updated post -worth to read!)
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  1. #1
    Registered User Ruslan's Avatar
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    Post Recovering after bad flash (updated post -worth to read!)

    Hi, tech community!
    As I promised, this is an update to my previous post: <a href="http://forums.windrivers.com/cgi-bin/forum3/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic&f=1&t=000976" target="_blank">http://forums.windrivers.com/cgi-bin/forum3/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic&f=1&t=000976</a>

    Read mentioned above post first,then You'll understand all I want to say!
    I have nothing against Badflash.com ,but I have never used their service and probably never will.
    Sorry for that...
    My topic is for experienced techies only, so, I think, here is best place to post it.

    As probably many of fellow techies knows, BIOS' content depends on (in that order):
    1. Motherboard chipset.
    2. Keyboard and multi Input/Output chip (Winbond W83877F ,W83977TF chip or similar)
    3. Motherboard's hardware configuration i.e. has motherboard CPU jumper settings or softmenu, has videocard on-board or no, modem, LAN card and so on.
    4. BIOS chip size depends on all listed above, can be 1Mbit,2Mbit and even 4Mbit (in Intel 810 and 815E chipset motherboards).

    Of course the best method of BIOS recovery is using special stand-alone programmer. But not so many techies can afford to buy it...If someone familiar with soldering iron, I can e-mail You schemes, soft and so on. Assuming You have no programmer. Then preference will be in that order:

    1. ASUS motherboards (see my mentioned above post). Right now I use in my test bench ASUS VX97 and ASUS P2B-F at work and ASUS P2B at home.
    As I have said, almost EVERY ASUS motherboard can be used as well as universal flash programmer! You can programming flash IC for any device, i.e. not only for any of motherboards, but also for modems ,printers and so on with flash ICs. But You should have full image file for whole chip (not only for some part of IC or update) in that case.Just only ignore incompatibility message appeared.

    2. Uniflash or Ecflash utils mentioned also in my previous topic.
    3. Ordinary Awardflash or AMIflash utils.

    Which exactly method You should choose completely depends on situation You're having.

    Situation:
    1. PC won't boot from any device except only for floppy drive. It's easiest situation...

    Solution: You should use an ISA videocard and original BIOS recovery procedure described, for example, by techguy13 here:
    <a href="http://forums.windrivers.com/cgi-bin/forum3/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic&f=17&t=005180#000003" target="_blank">http://forums.windrivers.com/cgi-bin/forum3/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic&f=17&t=005180#000003</a>

    and by Freddy here:
    <a href="http://forums.windrivers.com/cgi-bin/forum3/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic&f=17&t=004900" target="_blank">http://forums.windrivers.com/cgi-bin/forum3/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic&f=17&t=004900</a>

    Very good posts, I almost have nothing to add... That situation is possible, when BIOS chip has so called boot block(s), one (for example, 28MX1000P) or two (i28F001BX-T ). These BIOS ICs usually have hardware protection (12v voltage should be applied to certain IC pins for rewriting content of boot block). Some motherboards have no support for reprogramming boot blocks, though. That's why sometimes almost impossible to reprogram boot block (especially for incompatible with original BIOS)in some non-ASUS motherboards.

    Situation 2:
    Motherboard refuses to boot at all.

    Solution:
    1. Using ASUS motherboard as programmer.
    You can use ASUS MoBo for reprogramming BIOS for ANY (not only for ASUS !!!) motherboards with well-known hot-swap procedure.
    You can use any ASUS board with originally 1Mbit flash BIOS IC (ASUS VX-97, P1/P55T2P4,TX97,TX97E,LE, etc. I used to use all these boards,by the way), for reprogramming ALMOST ANY 1Mbit BIOS ICs. And also for reprogramming boot blocks for 2Mbit ICs; then these ICs can be reprogrammed using mentioned in first situation methods.
    If You have ASUS P2B, P2B-F or similar with 2Mbit BIOS motherboard ,You can feel yourself lucky - You can to reprogram everything You want, including 1Mbit IC (backward compatibility).

    - Boot an ASUS motherboard in test bench (without case) in DOS mode without any drivers.
    - Pull carefully original BIOS out from motherboard and insert BIOS IC You want to flash (hot-swap). Don't use screw driver made from metal!
    - Run aflash utility.
    - Choose "update all,including boot block", type file name You want to flash and good luck! Programming AMI BIOS? - really it doesn't matter - just only ignore incompatibility message and all!

    Found minor bugs, though:
    Aflash utility from ASUS doesn't recognize MX29F001 and MX29F002 chips,and works incorrectly with weird Mosel Vitelic chips. I think it will be fixed bit later by ASUS software dep.
    That's probably,all...

    Oh, there is one - make sure BIOS chip has been flashed completely, i.e. 1Mbit from address 00000 to 1FFFF, 2Mbit from 00000 to 3FFFF without any gaps. Sometimes it may happen, if You're flashing BIOS for same ASUS board as You currently running (boot block is reserving during programming).

    2. You have no ASUS motherboards laying around. Well, You can use Uniflash or Ecflash utils, mentioned in first topic.

    Uniflash util should be used in "expert" mode.
    List of all modes you can obtain running that util with key /?
    Can also reprogram, save to disk boot blocks for any motherboard.

    Minor bugs found:
    - Old utility, some new IC types isn't supported. For full list of supported IC types run that util with key -chiplist.
    - That util is written using Turbo Pascal, what causes well-known run-time error 200 on fast PCs (above iP200). There is special patch correcting this problem.

    Ecflash utility also can flash BIOS IC for different motherboards.
    - boot PC with good BIOS chip
    - run utility
    - Do hot-swap of good BIOS chip with bad chip
    - Type filename of new BIOS
    - Press <Enter> and wait a bit.

    This utility has ability to recover BIOS chips with lost manufacturer's code with so called "uknown flash" message (see my post above).

    Found bugs:
    - old utility, doesn't support new flash ICs.
    - Works mostly for Intel chipset motherboards.


    3. Using ordinary Awardflash and AMIflash utilites.

    Sometimes I had to use these utilites having to reflash some weird flash IC, what
    all mentioned above utils couldn't fix. For example, I had to use AMIflash utility
    and PC Chips motherboard having to flash MX29F001,MX28F002 and Mosel Vitelic F29C51002T chips, what currently Awardflash ver.8 and below doesn't support correctly (cannot reprogram boot block or cannot recognize chip type at all).
    Uncheck all "check for compatibility" boxes and check box "boot block programming", and You'll be able to flash BIOS for another (even incompatible with original) motherboard.

    Why seems to be new Awardflash utility does not allow You to do similar things,"freezing" as soon as You're trying to load "incompatible with original" image file?
    That utility became now safer for end-users and almost useless for techies like me.
    Locked boot block programming makes almost impossible reflashing BIOS with erased or incompatible with original boot block. Fortunately, not so many flash IC types have these boot blocks. Here is list of some flash chip types without hardware boot blocks:
    Atmel 29C010 (1Mbit), 29C020 (2Mbit), 29C040 (4Mbit)
    Winbond W29EE010,W29EE011, W29C010 (all 1Mbit), W29C020 (2Mbit)
    SST 29EE010 (1Mbit), 29EE020 (2Mbit)
    All these flash ICs can be reflashed for another motherboard using an older awardflash utility. Thank to ICBOOK here:
    <a href="http://ic.doma.kiev.ua/inside/award/ehistory.htm#BOT" target="_blank"> </a> is probably full collection of Awardflash utilites. Use newest possible version, what recognizes You flash IC type correctly and ... allow You to reflash BIOS for another motherboard (it can be ver.6.21 or below).
    BUT VERY IMPORTANG THING - FLASH UTILITY YOU'RE USING MUST (!) RECOGNIZE FLASH IC TYPE CORRECTLY!!! - ELSE YOU'LL FRY YOUR BIOS CHIP!!!

    For people, who concern about dangerous enough hot-swap operations, I would recommend to buy mentioned by me 32-pin ZIF socket(the same one I use now, by the way)

    If someone have something to add/correct me - come on!
    Most of an "old" techies like me have own BIOS recovery tips - tell us about them!

  2. #2
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    Thanks for the Public Service

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    Whoa! Close that tag there, Tex!

    Thanks much for this info! I'll be sure to sock it away somewhere for a rainy day (I even have a P2B at home).
    "Show me a perfectly smooth operation and I'll show you someone who's lying. Real boats rock." --Frank Herbert

  4. #4
    Darren Wilson
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    Superb information, Ruslan. Any BIOS problems that I have in future, I will definatly come to you if I cannot solve them.

    First class.

  5. #5
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    *bump*

    Check out the post by "WaltH" for another interesting trick regarding flashes gone bad.
    http://bbs.pcstats.com/viahardware/m...8&threadid=830
    "Show me a perfectly smooth operation and I'll show you someone who's lying. Real boats rock." --Frank Herbert

  6. #6
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    obviously like forums.windrivers.com however you need to test the spelling on several of your posts. A number of them are rife with spelling problems and I to find it very troublesome to tell the reality nevertheless I'll definitely come back again.

  7. #7
    Registered User Niclo Iste's Avatar
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    Your request is noted, however you're chastising a 10 year old thread. Please keep in mind this is a forum full of volunteers from all over the globe and not all are native english speakers and some are just lazy writers. Given that I noticed you are not from a native english speaking region yourself, I hope you can hold up to your own standards.

    With that all out of the way, welcome to windrivers.
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    One Script to find them.
    One Script to bring them all,
    and clean up after itself.

  8. #8
    Registered User Ferrit's Avatar
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    Indeed. Resurrecting old posts with bad spelling is sometimes useful.
    I should say someone with a bad flash wouldn't care much how you spell his help as long as he finds help.
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