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Flashing Your BIOS
Flashing [aka upgrading] your bios should be the last resort to solve a problem. Most people flash to gain the use of larger hard drives although recently, many are flashing to get all the features of XP to work. Other people have to upgrade their bios just to get XP to work properly with some specific hardware.
A couple of items are really important if you decide to flash. First. Make sure the updated bios addresses the issue you are trying to solve. eg many motherboard makers update their bios's for many different reasons. A reason may simply be to get a certain big name brand of pc to work correctly with a new cd writer big brand pc is selling.
So you really have to read the docs so see if the upgrade addresses your specific niggle or concern. Secondly, try your motherboard maker first to see if they have the files you need. Bios's upgrades are best had, if available, from the company that made your motherboard or pc. In most cases these are free.
Thirdly, READ THE DOCS CAREFULLY AND FOLLOW THEM TO THE LETTER. Dont skip any steps, especially the backup option if available. Fourth, if the upgrade calls for a clean bootdisk, use one. The disk I made especially for bios flashing is the one you can download above. It's a DrDOS bootdisk with NO drivers loading up in config.sys or autoexec.bat which is very important. My bios flash bootdisk is recommended by the most popular motherboad makers.
If you dont have a 1.44 drive I also created a utility to use to flash from a CD which you can add the new bios and flash utility to and then burn it.
That's the easiest way to obtain to these informations. Try this free and small tool ctbios.zip.It's from the german computer magazine c't and informs about many internal BIOS settings like BIOS-passwords, chipsets, mainboard-manufacturer.
It should have room to add your new bios, the flash utility, and also have room for the backup. If not one can always use another disk for the info. Always use BRAND NEW MEDIA when dealing with flashes.
How To Find Bios Id
In order to locate the correct bios upgrade for your motherboard you need to know who made it AND you need to know the model number. If your PC was made locally perhaps you have the manual. If not, then you need to find out the maker and model. Or, and very common with major brands, your computer maker will/may have the updated bios's on their website.
I have one windows and three dos utils that find your motherboard maker and model number. One of them should work for you. The DOS utils are on my DOStools Page under Diagnostics, and are called CTbios, MBID, and HW iNFO. The windows utility is called BIOS Agent and is on my Utilities Page under Hardware .
Once you ID your motherboard and model go the the manufacturers website and see what they have available. Note that some upgrades will come with their own bootdisk/utility so you may not need the disk I made.
Again, note that even tho many people flash their bios regularly to get the latest features and never have a problem, I still recommend it as a last resort as a flash gone bad will make your pc unusable if the backup doesn't work. Look at it this way, suppose I have a used 80 gig drive I want to resuse and my old P400 cant even detect it so I have an unusable pc. This is the best, and most common reason to flash.
On the other hand, if you have a more modern pc that cant see lets say a 180 gig drive and but all else is working properly then you may want to consider a PCI hard drive controller card which has an onboard bios that will see your new large hard drive and also come with 2 more IDE channels you can use in addition to the 2 channels you already have. This is safer than flashing the bios.
Thanks for visiting and remember: Don't fix a system that's not broken :)
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