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Recover from inacessible/corrupted/possibly bricked BIOS?


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#1 AnonVendetta

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Posted 18 August 2015 - 05:40 PM

I'm now unable to access my BIOS, as a result of changing the disk operation mode from AHCI/SATA to IDE, as suggested by cdob in my "Can't install (Arch) Linux" topic. The errors in that topic didn't go away, they changed a bit, but essentially meant the same things as before.

 

At that time I had also tried swapping 2 tested, known good HDDs, into my laptop, and removed the SSD. A tech friend tested both drives for 2 hrs for free, said they were fine, and have no bad/relocated sectors as well as a low UDMA CRC error count.I became unable to access the BIOS at this time. I don't think the removal of the SSD had anything to do with this, putting it back in will likely yield the same issues as before. The 2 HDDs I swapped in were previously present there before I bought the SSD and all worked fine. So I have no reason to believe that the presence of 2 drives are confusing my PC. No OSes are installed at this time, and haven't been for about a week.

 

I don't really believe the BIOS is bricked, since I can boot a disc/iso/USB from the boot selection menu. However, repeatedly tapping F2 or F12 then selecting "Setup" (what my PC calls the BIOS" results in a hang on a black screen with a non-blinking white cursor in upper left corner. I've left it this way for over an hour and nothing happens. I hear no beep error codes and no external devices are inserted except power cord. In the rare event I can get in (about 1 out of every 100 tries) I'm immediately locked out the next time I try. During this time I've checked the disk settings and everything is back in AHCI mode.

 

What I've tried:

 

1. Swapping the HDDs into the opposite slot, no difference

 

2. Booting to BIOS with no disks inserted, same as above

 

3. Downloading Hirens boot disc in an ISO format, then booting it from my phone via DriveDroid app and USB cable (Wonko, don't you dare say anything along the lines of it being an illegal PE, because I don't care at this point), then reflashing 100% stock BIOS from there. BIOS flash succeeded but it didn't auto reboot, I also had to change a few parameters in the INI file because the flasher wouldn't recognize my battery/power cable.

 

4. Formatting a USB as FAT32 and placing the BIOS file on it, then removing battery, holding End key while simultaneously plugging in. The fan turns on and PC turns on (but doesn't boot into anything), screen stays black and USB blinks rapidly then stops. I found the details at http://forum.techinf...y-possible.html

 

I haven't tried removing the CMOS battery yet because I'm unskilled with disassembling electronics (beyond replacing HDD, RAM, battery, etc), Dell made it a megabitch to get to, a complete teardown is required. This will only reset the BIOS to default settings rather than reflash, which I've already managed to do.

 

What I really believe is going on is that in my attempts to flash BIOS in the past, something got corrupted along the way. I was able to able to access it just fine while SSD was in, as well as long before then when I only had 2 internal drives. All this happened the moment I tried IDE. This something that is being corrupted (or whatever) is something that probably isn't overwritten with a normal flash, since it seems logical that flashing fresh *should* fix my issue, but in fact doesn't.

 

I've also noticed the presence of literally dozens of "Network" entries in both the BIOS and boot menu, all doing the same thing (nothing, except give an error). A new entry is added when I flash a new BIOS or reset to defaults, and they just keep building endlessly. Perhaps there are now so many that the PC has become overloaded. They may be a result of my usage of unofficial rather than pure stock BIOSes, or something else. My tech also stated that some of the menu entries in my unlocked BIOSes may either be invalid or not applicable. Like the presence of a NumLock on/off option, even though I have no NumLock key. He thinks this may be a part of what is causing my issues.

 

I think the only solutions will be to replace the BIOS chip with a new one, completely erase my current chip with an EEPROM programming device then refash pure stock. I don't think resetting BIOS via CMOS will help. Both of these will be expensive and not worth the money, so if anyone has other suggestions then I'd like to hear them.



#2 Wonko the Sane

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Posted 18 August 2015 - 06:29 PM

I think the only solutions will be to replace the BIOS chip with a new one, completely erase my current chip with an EEPROM programming device then refash pure stock.

Is that chip an EEPROM? :w00t: :dubbio:

I don't think resetting BIOS via CMOS will help. Both of these will be expensive and not worth the money, so if anyone has other suggestions then I'd like to hear them.

Resetting the CMOS (if it is possible) shouldn't be that much expensive. :unsure:

:duff:
Wonko

#3 AnonVendetta

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Posted 18 August 2015 - 06:49 PM

A simple oversight by me in failing to word the sentence correctly. I dont find you funny in the least, since this is serious for me. You didnt even bother to give helpful info, everything you said are things I'd already things I've thought of. And here go you nitpicking again, even though my meaning is obvious. If you want to insist on unnecessarily being a dick, then at least choose your battles and do so with something that matters, because I can be a much bigger one that you'll end up hating. It's probably best that I just block you and your aliases anyway.



#4 Wonko the Sane

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Posted 18 August 2015 - 07:09 PM

Well, if it is a Flash chip and you place it in an EEPROM programmer you will very likely burn it.

 

I would have considered helpful making you aware of this, as well, a PITA as it might be :ph34r:, removing the battery is not that much a cost (unlike procuring a new chip, possibly desoldering and re-soldering it, and flashing it with a "stock" BIOS/UEFI).

 

:duff:

Wonko



#5 AnonVendetta

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Posted 18 August 2015 - 07:15 PM

Blocked..........I prefer not to even see your posts, at least for the near future. Buh-bye LOL.



#6 Wonko the Sane

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Posted 18 August 2015 - 07:21 PM

Blocked..........I prefer not to even see your posts, at least for the near future. Buh-bye LOL.

Bye-bye :bye: , have fun :).

 

:duff:

Wonko



#7 sixcentgeorge

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Posted 18 August 2015 - 08:03 PM

linux is not good with bios...i remind when i was using it for the first time ...despite i did things in bios for drive not to be used...linux distro found it and formatted it in ext2 ...

at that time it was very not easy to handle that and keep back the data..

 

that is very sad what happen to your computer..that i think you should "change or update" at least the mainboard ...[ as your comp is not new from the last rain...it is nearly impossible to find a new one...may be ebay have something compatible ...]

 

all the thingies about flashing bios at boot are 99% "fairy tales" , some mainboards do that but not so much , that requires the awd/ami flash.exe to be in rom , so it is reserved for expensive mainboards like the one for servers with dual cpu.

 

you can use the tool at a dos prompt, but i will not bet that will works...

i mean that your bios is damaged so when the flasher will check it , it will not like that and so will not flash or badly flash...

 

may be ask the pc manufacturer , he can have a tool that clean the bug...

if i were you , i would use computer like that and spare money to change it ...

[ may be not with win10 installed...beside spying user....i read today that it is able to refuse some hardware cards and some softwares to run..it is in the "eula".. [even if it is not implemented yet in the os..one update : automatic , unstoppable and without war-nings

then all users are 'f...d' ]

 

edit : i found something about win 10 blocking :

http://www.windowsce...-or-securom-drm

 

Microsoft has announced that it will block games utilizing SafeDisc or Securom DRM on Windows 10, citing security concerns owing to a lack of support by the companies that made them.
 
In an interview with German publication Rocket Beans TV, Microsoft's Enthusiast Marketing Manager for Windows, Boris Schneider-Johne, revealed:
 
Everything that ran in Windows 7 should also run in Windows 10. There are just two silly exceptions: antivirus software and stuff that's deeply embedded into the system.
 
And then there are old games on CD-Rom that have DRM. This DRM stuff is also deeply embedded in your system, and that's where Windows 10 says 'sorry, we cannot allow that, because that would be a possible loophole for computer viruses.
 
That's why there are a couple of games from 2003-2008 with Securom, etc. that simply don't run without a no-CD patch or some such. We can just not support that if it's a possible danger for our users. There are a couple of patches from developers already, and there is stuff like GOG where you'll find versions of those games that work.
Microsoft, for its part, seems to be doing all it can to protect users from using older DRM, potentially leaving them open to a malicious attack. SafeDisc has mentioned that it will leave it up to Microsoft to issue a fix for the ROM to be compatible with Windows 10:
 
SafeDisc DRM hasn't been supported for a few years now, and the driver has consequently not been updated for some time. Microsoft should have migrated the existing software since Windows 8. We don't know if that's still possible with Windows 10 or if they simply didn't care about it.
Source: YouTube (Rocket Beans TV (in German));


#8 cdob

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Posted 18 August 2015 - 09:16 PM

I don't think resetting BIOS via CMOS will help.


Dosn't use the machine a Insyde H2O EFI BIOS?
http://713itsupport....e-h2o-efi-bios/

the C flag will clear the CMOS memory

flashit at E527 BIOS file http://www.emachines...content/drivers
No idea, if this works at current machine.

#9 AnonVendetta

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Posted 19 August 2015 - 03:46 AM

The issue seems to be solved. I took it back to my tech today, he was busy but suggested that the Insyde flasher may have some additional parameters that could be used. This gave me the idea to check the platform.INI file that comes with the BIOS file. And sure enough, there were lots of parameters, including a few that made reference to overwriting NVRAM, overwriting protected regions, clearing the ECC, and yet another telling entry that was called "ResetCMOS". It flashed successfully and I had no issues accessing the BIOS despite multiple tries. All all the " Network" entries except one are gone. Now that this is resolved and I know my drives aren't the issue, I can finally move on to installing an OS.






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