is updating the BIOS really dangerous?
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Thread: is updating the BIOS really dangerous?

  1. #1

    is updating the BIOS really dangerous?

    I recently bought a 80 GB Seagate HDD, but my computer shows only 32GB of it. I read on some sites that to solve this problem, I need to update the BIOS. But, also they stated that its very dangerous.

    Is it really? What precautions should I take to update the BIOS? Has anybody tried updating the bios here? If yes, can u share your experience with me?
    Hi! I am new to these forums.......

  2. #2
    Most BIOS updates go well....The problem comes when the update gets interrupted. This can leave you with a corrupt BIOS which is a serious problem requiring everything from moving some jumpers to a chip change depending on your mobo.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    There is some risk involved. On some boards if the bios update fails, it will leave the system fried.

    If the power fails while you're flashing the bios, it could be corrupted. Some bioses will detect this and automatically use a backup copy they keep for this purpose, others won't.

    In the latter case there is a good chance you can't boot. However some boards provide an emergency flashing procedure that works even if the machine cannot be booted (usually involving a specially formatted floppy disc and keys held down at boot time)

    I've flashed the bios on my machine because it was reporting the size of the memory incorrectly under Linux - it fixed it and has caused no problems.

    It's usually extremely safe as long as you make sure you have *EXACTLY* the right version of bios for your board. If you're unsure whether it's the right bios, DON'T FLASH IT. I have seen problems in the past - they all came from having the wrong bios for the board.

    If you live in an area where the power is extremely unstable, having a UPS might be handy. Otherwise try not to flash the bios during a storm.

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    This is an interesting subject as I have had a forklift crash through my workspace while flashing the Nvram (aka bios) of a proliant server once...... thankfully compaq's boards are very good at emergency recovery.

    Most newer boards will have the emergency flash utility, and some appear to keep the actual bootstrap (part of the bios that tells it to boot off devices such as floppy, zip, cd, or hdd) separate from the section being flashed (as it is not normally changed). Like slarty said... keep yer eyes on the power and ya should be fine!

    worst case scenario, warranty!! also look into flashing the drive itself, some of the fujitsu and western digital drives required updates out of the gate... joy!
    I\'ll preach my pessimism right out loud to anyone that listens!
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  5. #5
    Senior Member cwk9's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    I usually say if it isnít broke don't fix it. If you go a problem that requires bios flashing then by all means. As long as you get the instructions right and don't flip to off button while its updating everything should be fine. Some moboís(not to be confused with hoboís or mofoís) come with two BIOSís one that can be flashed and a backup that canít.
    Its not software piracy. Iím just making multiple off site backups.

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    all flashing bios consits of is going into dos mode, and running an update util (for the bios type of course) and giving it a path to a .bin (binary file), and it would tell you if it wernt successful, but i know on the new MSI mobo`s (lol cwk) and the K7 series has a program that runs in windows to do it, but it it goes wrong you system may not boot, which can be rectifyed by clearing your cmos, and resorting to the factory default settings (if nothing was damaged= dead mobo )

    1.find out your motherboard
    2. goto the site and find specs
    3. or if they offer the bios tools DL em and the latest flash

    (flashing bios`es used to consist of shining light into a glass place, as the components were light sensitive)
    (just a bit of usless info, incase u wanna impress neone, i done it too many times to count)


  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    If you get it wrong (like downloading the wrong version of the upgrade, or interrupting mid way through the update), then your BIOS may be totally screwed. And, no, you cannot restore this by resetting jumpers on your motherboard, as the BIOS chip itself is now corrupt. The only way to fix this is to get a replacement BIOS chip.

    Fortunately, a lot of modern motherboards (like some graphic cards) offer a dual BIOS option.
    In other words, you update one of your BIOS chips with the new code, and if it all goes horribly pear shaped (i.e. FUBAR), you can always reboot using the other one. And you can then copy your good copy to the corrupt one, and try again

  8. #8
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Before updating ur BIOS! check if has a jumper option (*Limit Capacity 32gb. *) if

    there's no jumper I think the best way is to update the BIOS look for the model and the

    newest ver. BIOS update!


    Try not to interrupt the flashing! Gud Luck!

    The secret in success is good timng.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Look for a manufacturer's update or an update from the company who wrote the original BIOS.
    [shadow]OpenGL rules the game[/shadow]

  10. #10
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2002
    manpreet - To be totally safe, download not only the correct bios update for your board (make sure you check the revision numbers, etc.) but the bios currently running. Alot of manufacturers will include the current bios and flash utility on the drivers CD that comes with your board. You should also check to see if there is an updated flash utility. Most MB sites are pretty good about noting which boards, use which flash utilities but then again, there are those (FIC for one) that show one flash utility and actually use another. Unless it's something 'big' . . . if you use the same flash utility that is currently on your system . . . you should be okay. As suggested earlier, make sure you understand the steps needed to flash your bios and it doesn't hurt to have your instructions printed out so they're handy. There are command switches (Award/Phoenix) that can be used to make things easier. Also don't forget to SAVE a copy of your old bios when prompted. It's always a good idea to get that 'extra' cushion of safety, even if you do have another copy of the original bios downloaded or on a driver CD. If you could tell me the make/model and revision number of your board, I could dig up some of the info I have on command switches, bios info sites, etc. Most Important - DO NOT - for any reason - interrupt the flash process!! If you do, you may wish you'd just put in a smaller hard drive. If you take it slow and follow all the great advice the other AO members have provided, you'll be fine. Hope all goes well.
    . . . V.
    All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them. What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.

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