Bios Information
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Other Useful BIOS Information Websites

  • The Flashbios Site - We offer a Chip programming service (bioschips or any other chip to be programmed), we also fix PC's and laptops. Soldered chips are not a problem too ;-) Any kind of programmable chip: DIL, PLCC, TSOP, EPROM's, etc...(ask Arthur for the WebHQ discount)
  • BadFlash - excellent Flash Bios rescue site (ask Jack for the WebHQ discount)
  • Masters Estate Tech Support Site - great resources, even 1 on 1 support
  • Drivers Headquarters - popular flash bios files are found in here
  • Sysopt - huge support site, don't get lost
  • Micro Firmware Inc. - good reading

What is a BIOS?

BIOS is an acronym meaning Basic Input / Output System. It is stored in a chip called ROM (read only memory). Most of the latest motherboards now use EEPROM's (Electrically Erasable Programmable Read-Only Memory) (also called "Flash" BIOS) which can usually be upgraded by the user. (The earlier versions of the BIOS had to have the chip physically removed and replaced with a another chip programmed with a later BIOS version.) When you switch on your computer the BIOS is the first program to run . It initializes and tests the hardware in your computer (called Power On Self Test or POST). When everything is running, the BIOS program initiates and loads the operating system. The information in the BIOS can be changed by running Setup (sometimes called CMOS Setup). A set of routines called Run-Time Services, which is also a function of the BIOS, help operating systems and application programs to manage the hardware.


BIOS Flash Upgrades

Flashing your computer bios can be a very intimidating chore. Many users are unfamiliar with this type of activity and are apprehensive about doing things that could potentially damage or render their system inoperable. Because of these risks, we advise users to flash their bios only if the newer bios will fix a specific problem that they are having. With computer bios upgrades, newer is not always better.

Flash ROM Voltage and Block Size
EEPROM chip Voltage Block Size BIOS binary file
MX28F1000PX 12 V Large 16 K (xxxxxxx)L.bin
MX28F1000PL 12 V Large 16 K (xxxxxxx)L.bin
MX28F1000PC 12 V Large 16 K (xxxxxxx)L.bin
MX28F1000PPC 12 V small 4 K (xxxxxxx)s.bin
i28F001BX-T120 12 V small 4 K (xxxxxxx)s.bin
SST 29EE010 5 V small 4 K (xxxxxxx)s.bin
Winbond 29EE011 5 V small 4 K (xxxxxxx)s.bin
ATMEL 29C010 5 V small 4 K (xxxxxxx)s.bin

Who made my motherboard

In order to obtain an updated BIOS for your system, you will need to identify the motherboard manufacturer and BIOS identification number. To do this, reboot the machine. You will need to record the BIOS ID string, which will be located at the bottom-left corner during startup. On most systems, you can press the Pause key during the memory test to suspend the process and allow more time to properly copy the ID string.


CTBIOS ID Program

If you can boot your motherboard use CTBIOS to reveal the possible manufacturer for motherboards older than 1997. Download and run this DOS utility which will read the AMI/AWARD bios id string. If you can't locate the manufacturer yourself from the CTBIOS information then send WEB HQ the output. You can cut & past the info or redirect the output to a text file and send it thru email. Create the TEXT file using this DOS command line: CTBIOS.EXE >> WEBHQ.TXT

we strongly suggest you use this utility thats found on our Diagnostic Tools download page:
biosagent.zip 306kBios Agent 3.45 reports BIOS string, model#, chipset, cpu, memory


Accessing BIOS Setup

If you require the CMOS Reset and don't have the proper jumper settings try these methods: Our Help Desk receives so many requests on clearing BIOS/CMOS Passwords that we've put together a standard text outlining the various solutions. Take note that resetting the CMOS settings may cause the motherboard to revert to a default password on some boards. The password is usually Award, AMI, etc...see below
When clearing the CMOS, it's NOT done by pulling the lithium battery or DALLAS chip off of the motherboard for a short period of time. Instead, there is a jumper on the motherboard that clears the CMOS. The jumper varies for all motherboards, so you will need to see which jumper applies to your motherboard.

#1
Did you recently 'flash' your computers BIOS, and needed to change a jumper to do so? Perhaps you left the jumper in the 'flash' position which could cause the CMOS to be erased. A system with a seeminly dead Bios might have actually been erased by an incorrect 'flash' upgrade attempt.
Please Note: older 486 motherboards did not have 'flash' support because it wasn't invented at that time. Its possible to find and download 486 Bios binary upgrade files for these older boards but they require the binary files to be 'burned' into an EPROM, and the PROM Writer costs over $900 US !! Anyone attempting to 'flash' an non-flash motherboard will corrupt the Bios leaving the motherboard completely unuseable...
don't believe me? come see the stack of boards we've recieved over the years
#2
Its possible your system may have reverted to its default password.
Try these as passwords (case sensitive):   AMI    Award    bios    setup    cmos   
AMI_SW    AMI!SW/    AMI?SW/    AWARD_SW    j262   
#3
If you still can't enter the BIOS Setup try these famous keystrokes:
  • AMI BIOS:  Del key during the POST
  • DTK BIOS:  Esc key during the POST
  • Award BIOS:  Ctrl-Alt-Esc
  • misc BIOS:  Ctrl-Esc
  • Phoenix BIOS:  Ctrl-Alt-Esc or Ctrl-Alt-S
  • IBM PS/2 BIOS:  Ctrl-Alt-Ins after Ctrl-Alt-Del
#4
Some 286 machines don't have a CMOS configuration menu in the BIOS. They require a software CMOS setup program. If you don't have the Installation and/or Diagnostics diskette for your machine, you can try using a shareware/freeware program. Try looking in: http://www.simtel.net/pub/msdos/sysutl/
for example, http://www.simtel.net/pub/msdos/sysutl/gsetup31.zip
#5
If none of those passwords worked, look in your motherboard/PC's manual for a jumper that will reset the CMOS. If you can't find it in the manual, look on your motherboard and find the battery. There should be a jumper with three (3) pins directly adjacent to the battery. To reset the CMOS Settings/Password, move the jumper to the 2-3 position if it is currently 1-2, or 1-2 if it is currently 2-3, wait 15 seconds, then turn the power on. Now, move the jumper back to the original pins. Presto, no more password. There are numerous jumper and pin configurations so becareful and contact us if you're in doubt.
#6
If you're unsure about the jumper, it may be necessary to remove the CMOS battery. If the battery is not soldered to the motherboard, this should be an easy task. With the computer's power off, remove the CMOS battery (2032) and then short the battery connectors with a 10k ohm resistor (brown,black,orange) for about 10 mins. Power up and enter the BIOS Setup, if its now cleared power off and replace the battery then proceed as usual. Also try setting motherboard jumper for an external battery and then shorting those pins out works...by setting it to external it bypass's the internal....
#7
Here is an odd ball thats worked for us on old 486SX boards: remove the keyboard from the system, some systems when powered up will default to the CMOS Setup if a keyboard is not found. Some will Auto Enter the CMOS Setup and head right for the keyboard setting... save using the mouse and reboot.
If that doesn't work, then turn off the computer, and unplug the keyboard. After a minute or so, turn the computer back on. When you get a "keyboard error" on your screen, plug the keyboard in (Yes, while the computer is on. It won't hurt the system.) and then press the DEL/F10 key. This is a good trick for Compaq systems.
#8
To reset the Bios when the password protection is enabled try using this DEBUG script.
Boot the system to a plain DOS prompt and type:
    DEBUG    ; Run DEBUG, "-" will appear on each line then type:
    o 70 2e     ; Send 70 to address 18
    o 71 ff       ; Send 71 to address FF
    q              ; Quit DEBUG

or you can use this alternate DEBUG script sent in by: hermanb@xsinet.co.za
    DEBUG    ; Run DEBUG, "-" will appear on each line then type:
    o 70 20     ; Send 70 to address 18
    o 71 21     ; Send 71 to address FF
    q              ; Quit DEBUG

Send in other useful DEBUG scripts. Let me know how you make out or if you find another solution... We have expanded this area to include a useful utility, please visit CMOS Pitfalls for more details.


American Megatrends Inc. (AMI)


AMI has been around for quite a while now and has earned itself a name (with me anyway!!!) as one of the easiest to use BIOS's because of usually great documentation supplied by the motherboard manufacturers. (These are admittedly USA and European manufacturers - but a few 'Far East' companies (like Fujitech / Octek of Singapore) have excellent BIOS manuals!) Identifying your motherboard from an AMI BIOS is relatively easy if you take a look at the section at AMI's site called just that!! You can also get a similar but slightly simplified version of this page from Wim's BIOS Page.
A lot of Intels' motherboards use the AMI BIOS and details about how they are identified (as well as some of the OEM's who use Intel motherboards) are in the Intel section below


Award

Award state on their BIOS page - "Do not contact Award Software for BIOS upgrades or BIOS technical support" - but a lot of useful information can be gleaned from their Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's) on their Web site. They also have a how to identify your motherboard section from an Award BIOS number for motherboard manufacturers worldwide. Again you can get a similar but slightly simplified version of this page from Wim's BIOS Page
For all end-user technical support and BIOS upgrades for Award Software BIOS products contact Unicore Software Inc.. Their e-mail address is support@unicore.com.


MR BIOS

Microid Research Inc. manufacture the MR BIOS for various chipsets and are available as upgrades for most motherboards. If you have an Intel based pciset (formerly called 'Triton') click here to see if your motherboard is included. If your pci chipset is NOT Intel then click here They also have a very informative Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's) section.
A third party company handles MR BIOS upgrades


Phoenix Technologies

Identifying a Motherboard with a Phoenix BIOS could be difficult, the reasons being as follows (quoted from Phoenix's FAQ's):
"If you cannot find the maker's name on or in the computer, in the copyright notice displayed during POST, or in the owner's manual, then you are out of luck. Phoenix does not make computer systems. There is no reliable way for Phoenix to determine the original manufacturer. The numbers listed on the BIOS sticker on the motherboard do not identify the BIOS version or the manufacturer of the system." They "are sequence numbers used to count stickers. They do not identify the BIOS nor the computer manufacturer. Our customer list is highly propriety information."
All is not lost however companies like Intel have upgrades for the Phoenix BIOS's used on their motherboards.
Phoenix Technologies Homepage
Phoenix Technologies Technical Support


Motherboard Manufacturers BIOS Upgrades

2 the Max Home Page : http://www.2themax.com
Driver Page: http://www.2themax.com/drivers.htm
A-trend Home Page : http://www.atrend.com.tw
Driver Page: http://www.atrend.com.tw/driver.html
ABit Home Page : http://www.abit.com.tw
Driver Page: http://www.abit.com.tw/html/download.htm
Advance Integration Research Home Page : http://www.airwebs.com
Driver Page: http://www.airwebs.com/tech_support.html
American Megatrends Home Page : http://www.amibios.com/
Amptron Home Page : http://www.amptron.com
Driver Page: http://www.amptron.com/html/download.html
AOpen Home Page : http://www.aopen.com.tw
Driver Page: http://www.aopen.com.tw/tech/mainbd/mainbd.htm
ASUS Home Page : http://www.asus.com.tw
Driver Page: http://www.asus.com.tw/Products/bios.html
Biostar Home Page : http://www.biostar.com.tw
Driver Page:
FTP Server: ftp://biostar.com.tw/BIOS
Chaintech Home Page : http://www.chaintech.com.tw
Driver Page: http://www.chaintech.com.tw/bios/frame6.htm
Concord Home Page : http://www.concord.com.hk
Driver Page: http://www.concord.com.hk/support/library.htm
Elite Computer Systems Home Page : http://www.ecs.com.tw
Driver Page: http://www.ecs.com.tw/ecs/ecs/spp-m.htm
Epox Home Page : http://www.epox.com
Driver Page: http://www.epox.com/bios.html
FIC Home Page : http://rd.fic.com.tw
Driver Page: http://rd.fic.com.tw/bios.htm
Freetech Home Page : http://www.freetech.com
Driver Page: http://www.freetech.com/SUPPORT/Download.htm
Giga-Byte Home Page : http://www.giga-byte.com
Driver Page: http://www.giga-byte.com/software.html
IBM Home Page : http://www.us.pc.ibm.com
Driver Page: http://www.us.pc.ibm.com/cdt/biosidx.html
Intel Home Page : http://support.intel.com
Driver Page: http://support.intel.com/design/motherbd/genbios.htm
FTP Server: ftp://ftp.intel.com/pub/bios/
Jet Way Home Page : http://www.jet-way.com
Driver Page: http://www.jet-way.com/download.htm
MachSpeed Home Page : http://www.machspeed.com/
Magic-Pro Home Page : http://www.magic-pro.com.hk
Driver Page: http://www.magic-pro.com.hk/bios.html
Matsonic Home Page : http://www.matsonic.com
Driver Page: http://www.matsonic.com/update.htm
Megastar Home Page : http://megastar.kamtronic.com
Driver Page: http://megastar.kamtronic.com/support.htm
Micro-Star Home Page : http://www.msi.com.tw
Driver Page: http://www.msi.com.tw/bios/bios.htm
Nimble Home Page : http://www.bjmt.com
Driver Page: http://www.bjmt.com/htm/mb_drv.htm
PC Chips Home Page : http://www.pcchips.com
Driver Page: http://www.pcchips.com/bios.html
QDI Home Page : http://www.qdigrp.com
Driver Page: http://www.qdigrp.com/html/bios.html
Shuttle Home Page : http://www.shuttlegroup.com
Driver Page: http://www.shuttlegroup.com/products/support/bios.html
Siemens-PCs Home Page : http://www.fujitsu-siemens.com
Driver Page: http://www.fujitsu-siemens.com/de/service/index.html
Supermicro Home Page : http://supermicro.com
Driver Page: http://supermicro.com/Download/DLframe.htm
Tyan Home Page : http://www.tyan.com
Driver Page: http://www.tyan.com/html/cmos.html

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