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abit Bios Flashing Guide Step by Step

#1 User is offline   Lvcoyote 

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Posted 11 October 2008 - 08:16 PM

BIOS Flashing Guide, Step by Step

This guide will show you how to flash your BIOS using a floppy drive. I know the floppy is old and antiquated, but it truly is the best way to flash a BIOS, and the safest as well.

Owning a floppy does not mean you have to keep it installed in your case once your build is finished, but they are nice to have laying around for more than just BIOS flashing. The floppy can also be used to flash video cards, Rom drive firmware and other things. Suffice to say that anyone who considers themselves a good system builder will always have a floppy drive around.

Countless people come to these forums looking for a way around flashing with a floppy, and there are alternate methods, but this has always been the safest most reliable way. More times than not people who try to get a USB stick or CD Rom bootable to flash with, have little success. Others that try abit's utility "FlashMenu" have good success with that, but many have stability issues they are not aware of and the utility fails and ultimately corrupts their BIOS leaving the system unworkable until the BIOS chip is replaced.

Ok, so now you have my reasons for why I suggest flashing with a floppy, so lets get started with the procedure!!


Preparing Your Floppy

With todays larger BIOS files, many complain that after formatting a floppy in Windows, the BIOS file is too large to fit on the formatted floppy. The reason for this is that formatting a floppy in Windows puts some files on the floppy that are not needed to flash your BIOS. The easiest way around this is to use a utility called DrDos which can be downloaded HERE.

Once you have DrDos downloaded, insert a floppy into your floppy drive and double click the DrDos icon. DrDos will format and create a bootable floppy disk using only the minimum amount of files needed to get you to the A: Prompt. You will now find that any BIOS file abit has will fit on this DrDos created floppy.

Now, lets get your BIOS files on the floppy. Navigate to the abit ftp BIOS page and select the folder that corresponds with the model of your motherboard. Once inside that folder you will see all the official BIOS versions available for your Motherboard. Download the BIOS version you would like to flash with. Most of todays BIOS downloads come in a .zip format so just unzip the file after its downloaded. Once unzipped, take a look inside the unzipped folder. You will see several files in there:

ABIT FAE
AWDFLASH
XXXXX.BIN (File name will vary by motherboard model)
XXXXX.TXT (Text file with some change log info, etc)
RUNME

Because we have created the floppy using DrDos, there is plenty of room left, so for the sake of simplicity, just copy all these files to your floppy disk, they should fit easily. You now have a floppy ready to flash with!!


Preparing Your System for Flashing

Ok, now that we have the floppy created and the BIOS files loaded to it, lets get your system prepared for the flash process. First thing we should cover is system stability. If for any reason you feel your system is unstable, you need to correct that issue before flashing. Flashing a system that has frequent unexplained "blue screens", "Random Reboots", or "Freezes" can lead to a failed BIOS flash and all the headache that come with it. Please start a thread in the forums and get your issues fixed before attempting to flash. Please do not take this advice lightly as dealing with a bad flash is no fun!

Another thing you need to do is remove any overclocked settings you may be running. It is strongly advised that you NEVER flash a system when its overclocked. Set your BIOS to default settings except for your memory voltage and timings, set the memory to the manufacturers suggested voltage and timings. Under volted memory is a major reason for system instability.

At this point we need to enter BIOS. Navigate to the advanced BIOS features section. Once there look for the "First Boot Device" and make sure that is set to "Floppy" and save your changes when exiting BIOS. Now if we have a stable system and the first boot device set to "Floppy", we should be ready to flash the BIOS!!

Flashing the BIOS

Put your floppy disk in the floppy drive and boot from it, this should eventually get you to an A: Prompt. At this point we have a couple of different options to choose from:

The first option is to simply type "runme" (without quotes) and let it do everything for you. Using "runme" will automatically use the abit recommended switches of "/py /sn /cd /cp /cc /cks /R". For most flashes this method works just fine, in fact its the method I most often use. After typing "runme" just sit back and relax, no further action is required by you until the flashing is completed. We'll get to the post flash instructions later.

The second option is to manually type the information during the flash procedure. If your the type that likes to have total control over the process, then from the A: Prompt type "awdflash.exe /py /sn /cd /cp /cc /cks /R" (without quotes) or any other switches you may need. A list of the switches and what they do can be found HERE. Afterwards you will be prompted to enter the file name of what you want to flash. Just enter the file ending in .BIN, for example "M704B_14.BIN, press enter and the BIOS flashing procedure will begin, no further action is required until the flashing procedure is finished.


After the Flash Procedure

When the flash completes, you will see a message stating so and to hit F1 to continue. Go ahead and hit F1 and keep hitting the delete key to get you in to BIOS. If you get to BIOS turn off the power to the system. If you fail to get to BIOS, don't panic just yet, just go ahead and turn off the power.

Now we need to clear CMOS completely, so do the following:

1. Remove the power cord from the back of the PSU and turn the rocker switch to the off position.
2. Locate the "CLRCMOS" jumper on your motherboard, and move the jumper to the "Clear" position, (Normally this means the jumper should be on pins 2&3)
3. Remove the battery from the motherboard.
4. Press the power button on the front of the case to discharge any remnant power from the capacitors.
5. Take the dog for a walk and let it sit for a while (10 to 15 minutess should be more than adequate)

Now go ahead and replace the jumper to normal position, replace the battery, plug the power cord back in and turn the rocker switch back to the "on" position. Go ahead and start the computer and get yourself back in to BIOS. The first thing I do is select "Load Optimized Defaults" and then save and exit those changes, then I return to BIOS again. You will notice that all your BIOS settings are now set to defaults, so go through them all and set them to the way you like them. Reboot and you should be happily running with your new BIOS version!!


Troubleshooting After the Flash

Ok, so you followed this guide and now your system will not boot up.... now what?? Before you resign yourself to failed flash, remember that clearing the CMOS sets your BIOS to default settings which more than likely has set your memory voltage too low. If your using more than one stick of memory, remove them all but one stick and try getting in to BIOS again. If your successful, set the memory voltage and timings as per the manufacturers specs and save the changes. After powering off the machine, you can then install the rest of your memory modules and your should be good to go.

If all attempts fail to get you up and running, please start a thread in the forums describing the problem and what the LED post codes show (if your board has the LED). If all else fails and you did indeed have a bad flash, not all is lost. abit motherboards allow for easy removal and replacement of the BIOS chip. You can order a new BIOS chip directly from the abit Web Store for just the cost of shipping and handling, or another good place to get BIOS chips is at www.biosman.com . In fact if you want to be totally prepared, you could order a new BIOS chip before you flash just to have it on hand, never hurts to have a spare!
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#2 User is offline   BUFF 

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Posted 03 December 2008 - 01:07 PM

How to boot/flash an Abit board from a USB flash drive

Seemed to be time to do a walkthrough on this. Booting to a DOS prompt from a USB key is easy to do, is the best way to flash your BIOS, and has a load more uses. Hell, you can even put an entire OS on a big one if you want - which can make a really neat option for, say, an in-car PC. No need for a shock-prone conventional hard disk.


Anyway. To do this, the first thing you need to find is the HP USB Disk Storage Format Tool

Install it, and then use it to format your USB key as a DOS startup disk like this:




You can select FAT or FAT32 as the file system, but do not select NTFS! The HP utility installer package should come with the DOS system files, or you can use your own.

Note that Windows built-in format utility will not create the necessary active primary partition on your drive key, so go get that HP tool, it works, the Windows one doesn't!

If you are going to use the drive to flash your BIOS, copy over the Awdflash, binary file, batch file or however else you want to do it.

Once done, restart your system with your USB drive connected and DEL into the BIOS.

The key setting is in the Hard Disk Boot Priority section:



You need to put USB-HDD0 - your flash drive, above your primary boot hard disk. In the image above, the disgo has been moved up above Intel Volume0, which is the OS boot volume.

Once done, make sure that Hard Disk is one of the three boot device options, and it might also be worthwhile disabling the "Boot Other Device" function, as this is often a cause of weird boot problems.

F10 and exit, and when your system restarts, it should boot from your USB drive. Simple!

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