From: Paul on 6 Feb 2010 09:24
Brian V wrote:
> Thank you everyone. Questions answered.
> I looked on Acers site, and emailed them. There is another BIOS from 2008 I
> believe. It's the one that pops up for my system. I'm thinking I will
> eventually flash the BIOS. It's from the manufacturer. Microsoft apparently
> supports those BIOS's. They will apparently still support my OEM - XP if I
> flashed a BIOS. But if there are technical issues, I have to pay the fee to
> Microsoft once everything is up and running.
> Maybe that one would recognize more. I don't know. I can't get any technical
> help, unless I pay a fee to Acer, warrenty is done and there is no Acer
> forum. I found an Acer forum, but don't know if it's an official forum.
> I havn't looked at the BIOS zip file. I don't even know where to put this
> file. I don't think it is self-placing.
> Anyone know where to find a BIOS too?....Windows folder? Program files?
> Hidden files?
> Can a person make a BIOS? Is this mapping out the stuff from AMD site you
> speak of Paul? This would be programming. This is writing software, etc. That
> isn't exactly what I want to do. So consulting that file, means mapping into
> a definitive statement with coding. I just want to use the file from the
> manufacturers site.
> Flashing a BIOS: I was told by the microsoft rep that I'd need to re-enter
> my product key. Does flashing BIOS's potentially tend to create problems? If
> it's for a specific computer make and model, I don't see why I'd have to
> contact Microsoft technical support and pay the fee to get everything going.
> But maybe it's how OEM's work? The windows licensing situation?
You need to consider the risks, before flashing a BIOS.
If the BIOS flash operation is halted half way through (say your power goes off
in the middle of doing it), then the computer will not be able to boot. At the
very least, you should have two computers at hand, since you'll need the
second computer to call for help, etc.
So the BIOS, when flash upgraded, must be 100% functional, or the computer
will be "bricked" and won't boot. You would then need to pull the BIOS flash
EEPROM from its socket and replace it with another one.
In terms of risk mitigation, the first thing you do, is check to see if the
BIOS chip is socketed. This is an example of a PLCC flash chip in a brown plastic
socket. The chip can be pulled from the socket, and then a new one can be plugged
in. In fact, there is nothing wrong with the flash chip itself - the removal
and replacement just allows a person to get a chip from somewhere, with good
programming inside. So pulling this out, is the equivalent of using a USB
pen drive, without the convenience. By getting a BIOS chip from somewhere, you're
circumventing the fact that the computer cannot boot any more.
There is a nice tool to aid in pulling the chip from the socket. RadioShack
still seems to carry it. It fits diagonally across the flash chip, with little
hooks on the end that fit under the corners of the chip, and gives a grip on
the chip so it can be pulled upwards. The chip must be pulled straight upwards,
to avoid bending the legs.
I've pulled about a hundred PLCC chips from sockets at work, without any fancy
tool, so you don't absolutely need that tool. But you do need a thin sharp tool,
like some of the tools a dentist might have, to ease the chip out. The socket
grips the chip quite tightly, so it doesn't just fall out. That is why there
is a fancy tool to pull it out. To put the chip back in, you push it into
place with your thumb. Putting it back, is easier than pulling it.
A company that can provide new BIOS chips is badflash.com . But there have
been other companies on other continents, that can also do it for you. If I
wanted, I could also fix a bad flash at work, since we had a $5000+ programming
machine for them, but I never needed to do that with my own motherboards. It is
possible a mom&pop computer store could have a BIOS chip programmer, but since
the machines vary in cost ($100 for specialized one, $5000 for a machine that
will program just about anything), you cannot be guaranteed of finding someone
in town to do the work.
These are some considerations, for BIOS flashing:
1) Does the BIOS file have release notes ? What does the BIOS fix ? Why use
the BIOS, if you don't know what it fixes ? The new BIOS could in fact
have worse features than the original one.
2) What have other computer owners experienced with the BIOS file and
tools provided ? Did they manage to "brick" their computer by using
the provided file ? That gives you an idea what risk you're taking.
In fact, some tools and tool flows, have a 100% failure rate (due
to incompetence at the manufacturer). It is one thing, to have the
ordinary risk when flashing (maybe 1% failure rate), versus a problem
with the provided tools, that fails for everyone.
3) Is the BIOS chip socketed ? Does badflash.com carry blank EEPROMS with
your particular part number ? Getting PLCCs probably isn't that bad,
but some of the DIP EEPROM packages may be harder to find. You can also send
the original "bricked" BIOS chip to badflash.com and they can flash upgrade
that. But that means sending a package both ways. The chip can be programmed
thousands of times, so that isn't a problem.
4) In terms of flash procedures, some companies give a Windows flash tool.
I consider flashing from Windows, to be more risky than flashing from MSDOS.
I use an MSDOS boot floppy, and place the flashing tool on there. (Some
companies provide multiple flashing tools or options, which is why you
may be given more than one option for doing it.) Since my MSDOS floppy reads
FAT32 disks, I've also put flash files on the hard drive, and accessed them
5) The first thing to do, is backup or archive the existing BIOS image.
The flash tool should have an archiving option, if it is a good tool.
If the flash tool doesn't manage to complete the flash operation with
the new file, then, *without* rebooting the computer, you immediately
flash upgrade using the archived file. *Never* push the reset button
on the computer, or do a control-alt-delete restart, without the flash
tool saying the BIOS upgrade is "100% complete". Because, as soon as
you hit reset, if the BIOS image isn't good, the computer is then bricked.
If the flash upgrade fails, then consider (3) above. You can contact badflash.com
or any company that programs BIOS chips on your continent, and get them to fix
your BIOS chip for you. That may involve them shipping you a new one. Or you
can ship your old chip to the company and have them reprogram the original chip
to your specifications. The BIOS file you give them, must be "in the open", as
there are some pretty crazy BIOS tools out there, and it is just possible they
won't be able to extract the BIOS image from the file, to do the programming.
So, to make their job easier, you want to give them a plain BIOS file (power_of_two
size, like 262144 or 524288 bytes).
Anyway, that is a quick review of BIOS flashing and some considerations.
My recommendation to you would be:
1) Buy your new memory. (Say, add a pair of matched DIMMs, to the pair
of DIMMS you're currently using.) Try the new memory. If it is all
detected and works, then you're done. No need to touch the BIOS chip.
2) If any memory over 2GB causes "beeps", then flash the BIOS (using a
stable memory configuration). But only flash the BIOS, if the BIOS chip
is socketed. At least then, all it will cost you, is the $25 to $30 for
a new chip. If the BIOS chip is soldered directly to the motherboard,
you'll need someone who can solder (radio/tv repair shop), to replace it.
This is an example of a BIOS chip, soldered directly to the motherboard. The
manufacturer saves some pennies, by not having to put a brown socket on the
motherboard. Getting this off, with home soldering tools, can be a chore.
Much cursing and swearing.
From: Daave on 6 Feb 2010 10:24
Brian V wrote:
> Thank you everyone. Questions answered.
> I looked on Acers site, and emailed them. There is another BIOS from
> 2008 I believe. It's the one that pops up for my system. I'm thinking
> I will eventually flash the BIOS.
Unless you have a compelling reason, you should most certainly *not*
flash the BIOS! As Paul stated, something could go wrong, resulting in
an unbootable PC! Why do you believe you will eventually do this?
> It's from the manufacturer.
> Microsoft apparently supports those BIOS's.
Microsoft doesn't even enter the equation!
PCs do not care what operating system is installed. Could be Windows XP.
Could be Linux Ubuntu. Could be no hard drive at all! (That is, you
could use a live CD that contains an OS like Knoppix or Ubuntu or even
something like UBCD4Win.) The BIOS (Basic Input/Output System) is
software that resides on a chip on your motherboard that allows your PC
to boot up. For more info:
Even if you have Windows XP installed, the BIOS runs first and therefore
before (and independently of) Windows.
> They will apparently
> still support my OEM - XP if I flashed a BIOS. But if there are
> technical issues, I have to pay the fee to Microsoft once everything
> is up and running.
Don't flash the BIOS if there is no need to do so!
> Maybe that one would recognize more. I don't know. I can't get any
> technical help, unless I pay a fee to Acer, warrenty is done and
> there is no Acer forum. I found an Acer forum, but don't know if it's
> an official forum.
I am aware you have made tons of posts lately. :-) I can't keep track of
them all, but I assume you are trying to figure out if there is a way to
upgrade to a 64-bit OS in order to use more than 4GB of RAM. I will
defer to Paul and others in this matter.
However, my advice to you is to leave well enough alone. That is, as
long as you keep this PC, simply continue to use Windows XP on it, which
is a very good OS. Furthermore, it is in the "Exteneded Support" phase,
which will last another four years.
Your next PC can have 64-bit architecture and Windows 7 and loads of
Brian, how do you use your PC? Unless you do work that requires loads of
RAM (e.g., image or video editing on a professional or near-professional
level), you do *not* need any more RAM than you currently have. Just
something to consider...
> I havn't looked at the BIOS zip file. I don't even know where to put
> this file. I don't think it is self-placing.
Again, I urge you *not* to do this. FWIW, I needed to do this once. I
placed it on a floppy (yes, my PC has a floppy drive). I configured my
PC to boot off this floppy and I upgraded my BIOS this way. More info
(for educational purposes):
> Anyone know where to find a BIOS too?....Windows folder? Program
> files? Hidden files?
Again, the BIOS has *nothing* to do with Windows. You would need to
download the latest version from the Web site of the motherboard
manufacturer. Then you would need to create a bootable floppy from it.
It has *nothing* to do with C: drive or hidden files, etc. I hope this
is beginning to make more sense to you.
> Can a person make a BIOS? Is this mapping out the stuff from AMD site
> you speak of Paul? This would be programming. This is writing
> software, etc. That isn't exactly what I want to do. So consulting
> that file, means mapping into a definitive statement with coding. I
> just want to use the file from the manufacturers site.
> Flashing a BIOS: I was told by the microsoft rep that I'd need to
> re-enter my product key. Does flashing BIOS's potentially tend to
> create problems?
> If it's for a specific computer make and model, I
> don't see why I'd have to contact Microsoft technical support and pay
> the fee to get everything going. But maybe it's how OEM's work? The
> windows licensing situation?
*Nothing* to do with Windows at all. :-)
From: Brian V on 6 Feb 2010 14:31
Well, it's not a necessity to flash the BIOS or do much of anything else. Ok,
I don't have to. I'm getting ahead of myself. I'm doing some changes, and
there are certain things some people seem to be sucessful at, and some
precautions I should take.
These questions are just that.
The system is fine, I can change some other things on here.
Why would the manufacturer put an updated BIOS on their site, though? I
would assume that it is there to "upgrade" your computer and keep it a bit
more current. In general I'm wondering, yes I understand that nodoby can
really explain it. When would people/programers need to do this though?
From: Brian V on 6 Feb 2010 14:32
And do you have to put the BIOS onto a diskette? Can it be done by usb,
dvd-rom or anything else? Are disks more stable in theis context?
From: Brian V on 6 Feb 2010 14:48
Usage of pc: Not professional or for work. I am on it for art/creativity
fairly heavily. Some programs are in the earlier stages. But I am on more of
an intermediate level with others. I have been messing around/looking at the
video software I have. Most can run well on what I have. The problems I can
infer and see right now, if/when I get heavily into some of these programs is
what I am trying to prepare for. If certain people ask me to work on their
stuff, I don't see the problem. i am not advertising though. I still have
work to do, if I get it out for work. :-)
Eg: With making/recording music. I can make a song from start to finish. I
am getting better at the mastering of the whole song. I can do it, but to get
good takes a lot of years. Now the mroe tweaking I do the more it's lagging
the system. I do each individual sound. and thent he whole thing. I'm getting
better and the system is slowing down. More RAM will help, I'll get it in the
short term. But I can only put so much in there since my system cannot handle
"an orchestra". Most songs do not require "an orchestra", but you make a few.
And you understand how to make "an orchestra", if that is your thing. Because
that could be your legacy or that is the one or two 7-12 minute tracks that
are big.......You go big or you go home.......Too much at once is bad. You
learn to mix it all properly and give each sound it's place. Sometimes I just
have to export it, since it will run choppy. I use some midi, but I like
dealing with audio files (usually .wav). They are more demanding on the
computer, but certain editing features are only available in non-midi. So I
have to use heavy audio files with my current set-up.
Having all the files on the hard-drive an dnot the dvd helps speed
everything up. The lag can be bad with dvd's. Too choppy and unrealistic for
With the music example above, I will apply it to the future with video
editing. It's even bigger most times. Add in all those effects, transitions
and rendering. I'm not professional, but I am trying to learn....So I'm
trying to figure out how far I can go. AVCHD files (hi-def) need lots, going
in as those files, or you have to compress them, and export the high quality
as you like. I need to avoid compressing as much as possible. But PLENTY of
professionals compress imports and export the high quality as required.
I gotta say I checked Corel Draw 13 or 14 (the newest one out on corel.com).
The imaging programs don't seem to take up as much as music or video. But I
don't know fully yet. That is later.