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How do I find a BIOS update?


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#1
Fixer99

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I've been searching for a BIOS update on the web. Most of my web searches result in sites that want to sell me something to help me update my drivers. I bought one of them, and spent many hours downloading zip files and installing new drivers. The particular service I paid for doesn't seem to offer me a way to find a BIOS update, only driver updates. I did use the free software called Everest, to find out the manufacturer of my motherboard (First International Computer, Inc. ), and I went to FIC's website. I looked up my motherboard model number, and FIC doesn't offer an update to my BIOS. I already paid $30 bucks for a service to update my drivers, I don't want to spend another $30 to see if another service works better. I might be out of luck, but I've learned some things that I would like to share here. First of all, the Everest program can get you the manufacturer and model number of your motherboard, then you can go to the manufacturers website. Beware of sites that offer driver updates, but not a BIOS update. It seems that there are really only three manufacturers of the BIOS - AMI, AWARD or Pheonix. Pheonix bought AWARD, so now there are only two. Pheonix doesn't supply BIOS upgrades at their website, and they suggest using www.esupport.com to get a BIOS update. And you will have to pay to get the update. In my case, I can't get a BIOS update from the manufacturer of the motherboard. There is one site that lists a bunch of manufacturers, but if you know the manufacturer of your motherboard, then you can probably easily find the site yourself with a web search. My motherboard is manufactured by FIC. The model number is K7M-NF18G(AU31). My BIOS is a Pheonix with a date of 2004. The eSupport's software that checks my computer for outdated BIOS and device drivers seems to imply that they can update my BIOS. My problem is that my AGP Controller is disabled and I'm trying to update drivers and my BIOS to see if I can get it enabled. My CMOS doesn't have an option to enable the AGP Controller. My computer works just fine, I'd just like to get that AGP Controller enabled to see if it improves the performance.

I just ran across another driver update service that only charges $10 dollars. Its:
Driver Cleaner

Edited by Fixer99, 19 October 2008 - 05:44 PM.

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#2
Neil Jones

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The older the board the less likely a BIOS update will be available. A 2004 board will have past its life span last year sometime.
Everest only tells you what the board says.
Realistically a four year old computer will perform like a four year old computer, they're not getting any faster. We're at a point where its hardly worth spending any money on a computer of this age when you can spend a bit more and replace the entire lot anyway.
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#3
Fixer99

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Here's an interesting site for driver downloads. I haven't used it, so I don't know how good it is.
DriverFiles.net


I spent $30 more dollars to register with esupport and sent off a request for a BIOS update. They are supposed to respond within 24 to 48 hours. I thought that their software would just automatically find a BIOS update and let me download it right away, but that wasn't the case with me.
My CD drives are running a lot better than they used to, and when I copied a CD from one drive to another I was surprised at how great it worked. My old motherboard must have really had some problems for quite a while. The mother board I bought only cost $25 dollars from ascendtech.us. It took the same processor I had in my old motherboard.
My old computer works just fine, so I'm not worried that it's outdated. I bought a new laptop with Vista on it, and I've had a lot of problems with Vista working with my old software. For the amount of money I've spent on computers, printers, software and computer accessories over the years, I could have bought a brand new low end vehicle. I mean, were does it end? Are we all supposed to buy a brand new computer and all new software every three years?
It took me weeks to get everything installed on my new laptop, and get everything working the way I wanted it. Owning a computer is practically a full time job. I've spent massive amounts of time installing and updating, and configuring, and fixing my computer the way I want it. I don't even come close to using the amount of space on my hard drives. My CD drives work good. The software I use has more options and functionality than I'll ever use. My internet works real good. I don't need a new computer.
Now that I know how to build a computer from replacing this motherboard, I would probably just build my own computer anyway. So it was a good learning experience.

Edited by Fixer99, 25 October 2008 - 12:43 PM.

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#4
Fixer99

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I received a BIOS update from eSupport.com yesterday, a day after I made the request. I got the email on a Saturday even though there business hours don't include Saturday. So someone must be checking the requests. I created a bootable CD and made sure my CMOS settings were set to boot from the CD drive, and ran the program to update (Flash) my BIOS, but the utility didn't give me an option to back up my current BIOS settings. So I searched the web for utilities to back up the settings in my BIOS Memory. The utility I decided to use was from the site:
Mind Products CMOS Utility

The reason I decided to use this utility is that it was updated just a few days ago, and it seems like whoever created it is keeping up to date with what they created.

This utility has to be run from a command prompt, so it's not as user friendly as a program you can just start up and then click your mouse on. I did run the CMOSSAVE.COM command and got a msg that my BIOS settings had been saved to a file. And I did see that the file had been created.

This utility could be very confusing and difficult to learn for someone who isn't familiar with typing commands in MS-DOS. If I didn't have some experience with MS-DOS, and understood things like the PATH command, and what it does, I don't know if I could have figured out how to use this utility without investing large amounts of time to learn the background knowledge needed.

For anyone who doesn't know how to use the MS-DOS command prompt and wants to be able to use this utility, you can get to the command prompt by going to "All Programs, Accessories, Command Prompt" You can type "help cd" and hit enter to learn about the Change Directory (CD) command. It's critical to understand how to move between the directories (File Folders).

I use "Explore" (Not Explorer, Explore) to create new directories instead of using the MS-DOS command "Make Directory". To get to "Explore" just right click the Start Button, or "Pearl" as Vista calls it.

You also have to be able to unzip files, and then actually be able to find them after they have been unzipped.

The site "mind products" does have a link to view the manual for this utility right there next to the download link. Make sure to look at the manual first to see if this is something you think you can handle.
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#5
Fixer99

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I ran a Norton Ghost backup of my Hard Drive and I have a backup of my BIOS Memory. I just ran the update (flash) utility to update my BIOS, and it failed. I got a flashing msg stating: "Program Chip Fail". There was another line that stated: "Flash ROM is Write-Protected, Please make sure lockout jumper is set correctly" I guess I'll look at my motherboard manual and see if it says anything about the Flash ROM jumper pin.
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#6
Fixer99

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I called the eSupport technical support number and the tech support person gave me the command line prompt to flash my BIOS with the new update. I didn't write down the command line switches that he gave me, so I don't know what they are. But I didn't have to do anything with the motherboard BIOS pins. When I first called eSupport, the phone system wouldn't connect me with tech support, and then it disconnected me. So I was wondering how bad of an experience this was going to be. But the second time I called I got right through to tech support, and only waited a couple of minutes for someone to answer. The new BIOS is definitively a lot better than my old one. But my AGP Controller is still disabled. At least the new BIOS program has some options in CMOS for the AGP. Now I need to learn about what they are. My nVidia set up is working now. It wasn't working with my old BIOS. It looks like I can run multiple monitors now. I got eSupports tech support number from this site: eSupport

That site has a link to a bunch of programs that can flash your BIOS. Here is the link.

BIOS Flash Programs

The flash program that downloaded with my new flash .bin file was BFLASH.

It cost me $30 dollars, but I got a new BIOS program from eSupport and it's installed. I might want to run multiple monitors on my computer, so the new BIOS might have helped me already.
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#7
Fixer99

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Tech support sent me an email about the BIOS chip being write protected. Here is what they suggested looking for in the CMOS that can keep the BIOS from being flashed.
Write protection can have several names in setup. Here are a few examples:

BIOS guardian

Flash ROM write protect,

BIOS update,

BIOS flashable,

ROM update

These are just a few. There is also the possibility that the write protect is on the motherboard in the form of a jumper or switch. Please refer to your motherboard manual to check for this, you will typically only see this on older boards.

Hopefully this will help anyone doing a search for reasons why you get an error msg that the BIOS is write protected when you try to flash it.
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