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Welcome to the first edition of Ask Ritter. Our first chapter comes from a personal experience I feel some of you poor noobs might benefit from. So it's kind of a Ritter asks Ritter thing but I swear I talk to myself only when I need to.


Ok, so a friend of mine, and definately not me accidently flashed his brand new Abit NF7-S (v2.0) motherboard's BIOS with a bios file that was designed for a v1.x board. Oddly enough there were insufficient safeguards to keep the wonderfully easy to use MenuFlash programming utility from recognizing this was an incorrect bios file for that revision of motherboard. And almost ironically the utility displayed wonderously entertaining information and progress meters as it overwrote the current bios sucessfully. Much to my friends surprise upon restarting the machine, it failed to POST (power on self test). It sat quite dead as I, (I mean my friend) stared at it and watched my monitor report that it itself would turn off due to no signal. At this point (far too late) I thought to myself "Maybe it is a v2.0 board ... huh." I figured I've seen worse and moved forward with standard procedures to recover.


When dealing with troubles involving the BIOS there are a few steps of items to try, all of course vary based on age of technology, vendor, etc etc. But I'll list for the steps I took (for my friend, and not me).


Step 1: Soft reset of BIOS data.

Most recent BIOS chips have some amount of failover or recovery options, so our first step is to see if we can nicely recover from overclocking too high or some other option that has cause the system not to POST. With my Abit motherboard and I'm sure many others out there like it, you can perform what I'll coin as a "soft reset" by holding the DELETE key down while you press the power button to turn the computer on. I usually hold it for a good 10 seconds or more while I wait and pray to hear that lovely tone that assures me my computer is not completely dead. I vaguely recall using the INSERT key on an older Asus motherboard .. or I could be crazy. Do a little research and I'm sure you can find the proper method for your specific brand.


Should Step 1 not succeed as a recovery option you may continue on, keep your chin up little camper, the battle is not over, we move on now to defcon .. I mean.. step 2.



Step 2: Hard reset of BIOS data.

All motherboards have some technique to reset or clear the CMOS (BIOS). Most prefer the good old fashioned jumper method and that what was on my friends NF7-S. Fairly easy to find usually located near the oversized watch battery looking mecahism is a 3-pin jumper block with a jumper connecting 2 of the 3 pins. Before we do anything here we make sure of one thing:


2a: TURN OFF THE POWER ... unplug the power cable, flip the switch on the back of the power supply, all and whatever is needed to ensure that the motherboard IS NOT getting any ounce of voltage. Key items to use as a sign of such state would be LEDs on the motherboard. My friends NF7-S has two, a red and a green. You must make sure the motherboard doesnt have any power before switching the clear cmos jumper.


2b: switch the jumper to the appropiate oppisite pins, but .. please, please, please refer to your motherboards manual for better specifics. In my case it was recommended to leave the jumper in place for approximately 1 minute. I'm pretty sure it doesn't need any more than a few seconds to clear, but when facing a dead computer, we are willing to spend some extra time in attempting resurrection.


2c: return the jumper to its original (normal state).


2d: re-enable power, reverse what ever method you took to disable the power to the motherboard.


With any luck your system will POST (noted by the single beep tone) and prompt you to enter the setup utility or bios menu and reconfigure your bios options. In my case, it was best summarized by Max Payne, "This was about the time you realized Lady Luck was a hooker ... and you're fresh outta cash." Basically, no such luck for me. But hope is not lost!



Step 3: BIOS bootblock (only really really new non-fscked bios have this)

My BIOS should have had this option, except that I broke my bios really good flashing it with the wrong version file. Basically though, if you get this:

Award BootBlock BIOS v1.0
Copyright (c) 2000, Award Software, Inc.

BIOS ROM checksum error

Detecting floppy drive A media

then you are back in luck and can go here and read about how to create and use a floppy to re-flash your bios.


However, since I really really broke my bios step 3 failed me as well as the others. It was time to pull out the big guns, tackle this the only other way some l33t hacker such as myself would. No more crazed panic, no more crying and weeping about lost hours that could have been spent gaming. I wasnt about to give up, and I wasnt about to spend the horrific costs of new bios chip ($15). Instead... I moved on to step 4.


Step 4: Hot-Swap BIOS flashing

This is a extremely tricky step, not for the weak of heart, not for your little sister, OR her dog. While unable to confirm I would like to do two things here, 1) thank |Sanchez| for offering a bit of his bios flashing experience with Xbox and 2) recommend that you (as I did) ensure that your host system (the one with a working bios) has the bios set as cacheable (in the bios).


Ok, here's the quick overview. I like how this guy shows these steps too with his How To Hot Swap Your Bios.


4a: Find a functionally booting system/motherboard with the same type of bios chip. In my case, I had recently built my brothers computer with a NF7-S (v2.0) mobo. such a wonderfully handy thing to have nearby.


4b: Boot the host computer to a bios programming safe dos environment, no highmem or emm386 voodoo here, just plain jane dos. I used an old win98 boot floppy I've been kicking around for ages.


4c: Using highly speciallized tools (paperclip), remove the current bios chip. Yes, this happens while the host machine is still turned on. Having lose chips and metal tools running around a device so sensitive to the slightest error seems to becon some precaution... SO BE CAREFUL!


4d: Put the non-functional bios into the host machine CAREFULLY. I just dont want to seem too casual about this hot-swap idea ... its really a last resort and requires the upmost respect and delicate-ness.


4e: Proceed with BIOS flashing, using the correct bios file and flash utilities as needed for your bios. Dont risk yanking the chip again until you've finished and turn the machine off.


4f: Remove your newly programmed bios and replace original.


I would like to report that Step 4 did in fact work flawless for my case. And I'll even say that I was a bit surprised that it did. I hope this is of some value to you, please come by again for another edition of Ask Ritter.




Feel free to suggest topics for the up coming Ask Ritter and maybe I'll even start a dedicated thread for this.

hey ritter,


great post. i once flashed my gigabyte 7IX-E with the wrong update (i used the 7IX one) and it was non reversible [img]<___base_url___>/uploads/emoticons/default_mad.gif[/img] luckily, it didn't actually affect the operation of the pc (apart from making a few bios settings no longer accessible). if i had had another mobo of the same model maybe i would've given the old hot-swap a go.


my suggestion for another topic: "fun things to do in linux" (if you can think of enough to fill an edition of 'ask ritter'!). basically, some exercises in getting cool bits and bobs working in linux would be good. it would be interesting to see some things that i'd never thought of doing with my linux box, and also help me learn a bit more about using the os as a whole.


just a thought :)