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Tutorials | Troubleshooting a BIOS upgrade

Publish date: 18:57 Thursday, 28th July 2005
Written by: Postcode
Audience intended for: Hardware
Category: Computer Hardware

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The PC does not boot after upgrading the BIOS:

If you have removed the CMOS chip for flashing, double check that you have inserted the CMOS properly. Ensure that the orientation of the IC is proper and that all pins are properly inserted. If you have flashed the BIOS with the wrong BIOS update, then the only recourse is to replace the CMOS IC outright.

You accidentally reset or power down the system during the BIOS flash. Now the system won't boot:

Basically what has happened here is the BIOS was only partially programmed. In this case, the BIOS is corrupt. If possible, you can remove the IC and reprogram it in a EEPROM programmer. Another option is performing a "hot swap" of the chip with another motherboard with the same chip. Otherwise, a replacement of the CMOS IC is required. There is no chance in fixing the IC in it's current state.

The BIOS upgrade proceeded properly, but now the system performs sluggishly, erratic or error appear that never occurred before:

Several things can attribute to this. It could be caused by a bad flash. In this case, reflash the BIOS with the backup of the BIOS made during the flash (you did make that backup...right?). After restoring the backup, you can reflash the BIOS again with the new update. Other possibilities include new settings within the BIOS. Memory timings area big issue. Enter the BIOS setup program and restore BIOS defaults or Fail Safe Defaults. Then, once your system is stable, tweak the memory timings to you desire. Other issues can be incorrect port settings, features that were enabled when the flash took effect and features that were disabled. Check the following: "System Bootup Speed", "Speculative Lead Off", "Turn Around Insertion", "ISA Speed - ISA Clock to:", "16 Bit Recovery Time", "Pipeline Cache Timing", and other speed settings that may effect performance.

You just upgraded the BIOS and now cannot boot from the floppy drive:

Enter the BIOS setup program and check the Boot Sequence. Ensure that the sequence is set to A:/C:. Ensure that the floppy drive is setup properly in the BIOS as well and that the system is not looking for a B: drive too.

You get a message saying: "Incompatible BIOS translation detected - unable to load disk overlay":

A lot of people upgrade their BIOS to get support for larger hard drives. In some cases, users have installed a software overlay that allows the operating system to properly see the entire hard drive. What happens with the BIOS in this case is the LBA (Logical Block Address) is now enabled. What you will need to do is enter the BIOS setup program and disable LBA mode for the hard drive in question. If more than one drive is configured for a software disk overlay, then you'll need to configure all drives properly by disabling LBA on them. With some disk utilities, the user can remove the software overlay safety. Beware. This is no guarantee that the system and the hard drive will work properly. Always backup your data before removing a disk overlay. You may not be able to get it back.

Your system boots with an error message saying "BIOS Boot Block Loaded":

What most likely has happened here is the BIOS is not being read correctly by the system. This is usually due to a BIOS not being cleared properly. Power down and clear the BIOS. Ensure that you pull the system power cord when clearing the BIOS to ensure proper erasure. Resetting the BIOS, in most cases, will clear this up. If the problem persists, then insert a bootable floppy and reflash the BIOS with the backup you created during the flashing. Once your BIOS has been restored, you can proceed with flashing the BIOS again. After flashing the BIOS, always clear it before proceeding.

You may also receive this message if the BIOS flash did not complete, you flashed the BIOS with an incompatible BIOS update, or some other anomaly occurred. In any case, you should be able to recover the BIOS as long as you can boot to a floppy. Remember to boot from a floppy that doesn't have any drivers being loaded. Once you have booted the system you should be able to either restore the BIOS from the backup you created or reflash the BIOS with the BIOS update.

You get an "Insufficient memory" error when running the flashing program:

This means that the flashing utility has run out of memory to perform the flash. Enter the BIOS and disable the video and system caching as well as all types of Shadow Memory. Make sure the boot floppy you are using is not loading ANY device drivers, such as CD-ROM or mouse drivers.


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