The Super 7 Hardware Guide's BIOS FAQ

We hope that the following list of frequently asked questions will be of use to you.   If there are any I didn't cover specifically pertaining to Super 7 BIOS please drop me a note.  Thanks - Boomer/MediaTek

  1. What is a Flash BIOS?
  2. How can I tell if my system has a Flash Bios chip?
  3. Do I really need a Flash BIOS upgrade?
  4. Where can I download Flash BIOSs?
  5. How do I flash my BIOS?
  6. Is it Foolproof?
  7. What to do when the Award flasher says: Insufficient memory?
  8. Can I recover a corrupt BIOS?
  9. What can I do if my BIOS has no update available?
  10. . What about the Award or AMI websites?
  11. . Where do I have to look for technical support?
  12. . What do PROM, EPROM, EPROM Burner mean?
  13. . How can I clear my BIOS with the DOS DEBUG command?
  14. . What can I do about the password protection?
  15. . What do the AMI BIOS Beep codes mean?
  16. . What about the YEAR 2000?

1. What is a Flash BIOS ?

The BIOS is built-in software that determines what a computer can do without accessing programs from a disk. On PCs, the BIOS contains all the code required to control the keyboard, display screen, disk drives, serial communications, and a number of other functions.   The BIOS is typically placed on a ROM chip that comes on the motherboard (it is often called a ROM BIOS). This ensures that the BIOS will always be available and will not be damaged by disk failures. It also makes it possible for a computer to boot itself. Because RAM is faster than ROM, though, many computer manufacturers design systems so that the BIOS is copied from ROM to RAM each time the computer is booted. This is known as shadowing.   Most modern PCs have a flash BIOS, which means that the BIOS has been recorded on a flash memory chip, which can be updated if necessary.    BIOS is standardized, so that all PCs are alike at their most basic level (although there are different BIOS versions). Additional DOS functions are usually added through software modules. This means you can upgrade to a newer version of DOS without changing the BIOS.

PC BIOSes that can handle Plug-and-Play (PnP) devices are known as PnP BIOS's, and are virtually always implemented with flash memory rather than ROM.

2. How can I tell if my system has a Flash Bios chip ?

The easiest way is to consult the manual.  Barring this you will need to make a visual inspection of the BIOS chip.  Take the cover of the computer and look inside.  Look for a 28 or 32-pin DIP IC chip  with the BIOS brand sticker on it.  Peel the sticker of the BIOS chip.   Anything without a Window that doesn't have a 28 or 29 as the preceding numbers of the part #, is most likely a standard ROM and will have to be replaced if you intend to upgrade the BIOS.

3. Do I really need a Flash BIOS upgrade ?

There are several reasons to update your BIOS. Primarily due to a multitude of peripheral devices constantly being released and the motherboard manufacturers in a rush to get to market true compatability is hard to achieve, so, new BIOS are written to catch up addressing bugs as they occur.  The major reason used to be Operating System compatability.  Older BIOS weren't properly configured to handle new OS's like Win95/98 or FAT 32.  All harddrives that are sold today are larger then 528MB. and come in a wide variety of SCSI and EIDE interfaces.To support these drives the BIOS must have LBA (Logical Block Addressing) support, PIO mode 4 support, DMA support, etc. When your BIOS doesn't support LBA et. al. and you want to use your new drive at full it's full capability, OS's like Win95 will load virtual device drivers in an attempt to fool the BIOS.  With some of these software drivers Windows 95 will load your HD in compatibility mode which means a performance loss. To let Windows 95 fully support Plug 'n Play you also need a PnP-BIOS. This is a very important reason to update your BIOS.   If you are happy with the way that your system performs and don't intend to upgrade any of your peripherals we suggest you leave your BIOS alone.  Problems have been known to occur when attempting a flash BIOS upgrade and why open yourself up to those headaches if you don't need to.  On the other hand if your system has problems a flash BIOS upgrade may be of great help in resolving them.

4. Where can I download Flash BIOS's ?

If you have a Super socket 7 mainboard you can probably find the latest BIOS available here. If your motherboard  isn't listed on the BIOS Update Page then you will have to search for your mb. manufacturer's web site.

5.  How do I flash my BIOS ?

To flash your BIOS you'll need 1) an executable Flash file and 2) a data-file.(most often with a The flasher 'flashes' the data-file into the BIOS chip.    Download the files to a newly formatted bootable floppy (make sure to extract ZIP files).   With the disk in your floppy drive turn off the computer, wait 3 seconds then turn it back on.  I should boot to a DOS A:\ prompt.  Type in the name of the EXE file (typically FLASHxxx) a space, then the name of the data file (typically xxx.bin) and hit enter.  Most flashers will ask you to save the current BIOS. Choose Yes, so that you can always flash back to the original version if you're having problems with the one you are installing.   Some manufacturers may use their own utilities to upgrade the BIOS.  IMPORTANT! -  Disable the System BIOS Cacheable option in the BIOS before flashing.

6. Is it FoolProof ?

No, variances in the quality of the chips have generated problem reports, also, if you use the wrong Flash BIOS, there is chance that your computer won't boot anymore.

7. What can I do if the Award Flash EXE says: Insufficient memory

At the POST (Power On Self Test) hold down the delete key to enter Setup.

  1. In CMOS Chipset Features Setup, Disable Video Bios Cacheable.
  2. Hit Esc,F10,Save and exit.
  3. Reboot and hit Ctrl+F5,when you see "Starting Windows 95/98" (This temporarily prevents Drvspace.bin from loading-making 108K more Memory available.)
  4. Flash the BIOS and reboot
  5. Enter CMOS Chipset Features Setup,and Enable Video Bios Cacheable,hit Esc,F10,Save and reboot.

8. Can I recover a corrupt BIOS ?

For AWARD BIOS based boards...

  1. Take PCI video card out (you can do it with a PCI video card, but you won't see anything on the screen)
  2. Find and insert an old ISA video card and hook up monitor
  3. Insert a bootable DOS floppy in drive a:
  4. Turn on Computer -  Computer will boot using award boot bios
  5. Insert disk with flash program and the backup bios (you should always flash from a floppy in case you mess something up... the flash program along with the new and backed up bios will fit on a floppy)
  6. Flash bios chip with good backup bios
  7. Re-boot.. computer should work fine

Drastic & Dangerous (Hot Swap)

  1. In BIOS Setup be sure that the System BIOS cacheable option in your BIOS is enabled
  2. Replace the bad chip by a working one. The working BIOS chip doesn't have to be written for your motherboard, its only to give you a chance of booting to DOS.  Any BIOS's for the same chipset usually work.
  3. Boot the system to DOS (with floppy or HD)
  4. Now replace (while the computer is powered on) the BIOS chip with the corrupt one. This works fine with most boards because most BIOSs are shadowed to RAM.
  5. Flash an appropriate BIOS to the corrupt chip and reboot.
    (If possible use a flasher from MRBIOS. Utilities particular to your motherboard often use specific BIOS-hooks. Because you have booted with a BIOS not written for your motherboard they usually don't work.
    The MR Flash utilities communicate directly with your Flash ROM and always work. In most cases they will  flash a non-MRBIOS to your BIOS chip without any problems.

For some Intel motherboards

  1. Change Flash Recovery jumper to the recovery mode position (not all products have this feature)
  2. Install the bootable upgrade diskette into drive A:\
  3. Reboot the system
  4. There is a small amount of code available in the non-erasable boot block area, No video is available to direct the procedure. The procedure must be monitored by listening to the speaker and looking at the floppy drive LED. When the system beeps and the floppy drive LED is lit, the system is copying the recovery code into the FLASH device. As soon as the drive LED goes off, the recovery is complete.
    5. Turn the system off
    6. Change the Flash Recovery jumper back to the default position
    7. Leave the upgrade floppy in drive A: and turn the system on
    8. Continue with the original upgrade

9. What can I do if my BIOS has no update available ?

Although there have been reports of successfully upgrading BIOS from the same maufacturer we do not recommend that you even try.  Contact your motherboard manufacturer and question them about the availability of upcoming updates.  If there are none in the works start thinking about a new motherboard.

10. What about  the Award or AMI websites ?

Award and AMI custom create motherboard manufacturers BIOS  for each specific board and the chipset(s) controlling that board. The manufacturer, using tools from Award/AMI, make final modifications to the BIOS before shipping the system or board. In other words, the manufacturer knows more about that system than AMI/Award do and is better able to provide a Flash BIOS upgrade.

Note: contains hundreds of Flash BIOS images, specific to each motherboard manufacturer but, you should only use these if you can't find an updated BIOS anywhere else.

11. Where do you have to look for technical support ?

At the Tech Support site of your motherboard manufacturer (if they have one). If you can't find the answers you seek there, drop them an email.

12. What do PROM, EPROM, EPROM Burner mean ?

PROM (an acronym for programmable read-only memory) is a memory chip to which data can be written only once. Once  written it remains there forever. Unlike RAM, PROMs retain their contents when the computer is turned off.

The difference between a PROM and a ROM (read-only memory) is that a PROM is manufactured as blank memory, whereas a ROM is programmed during the manufacturing process. To write data onto a PROM chip, you need a special device called a PROM   burner.

An EPROM (erasable programmable read-only memory) is a special type of PROM that can be erased by exposing it to ultraviolet light. Once it is erased, it can be reprogrammed.

EEPROM (Acronym for electrically erasable programmable read-only memory). Pronounced double-ee-prom, an EEPROM is a special type of PROM that can be erased by exposing it to an electrical charge. Like other types of PROM, EEPROM retains its contents even when the power is turned off. Also like other types of ROM, EEPROM is not as fast as RAM.

A special type of EEPROM, referred to as flash memory or flash EEPROM, can be rewritten while it is in the computer rather than requiring a special device called a PROM reader.

13. How can I clear all of the BIOS settings back to their defaults with the DOS DEBUG command ?

For AMI and Award BIOS:

Boot the machine to "Command Prompt Only" Type:
-O 70 17
-O 71 17

Turn the machine off then back on and allow to boot normally.

14. What can I do about the password protection ?

Most of the new SS7 motherboards have jumper configurations which allow you to clear the password.  If yours doesn't try the following:

For Award BIOSs:
Try these : AWARD_SW, j262 , HLT, SER, SKY_FOX, BIOSTAR, ALFAROME, lkwpeter, j256, AWARD?SW, LKWPETER, Syxz, aLLy, 589589, 589721, awkward


15. What do the AMI BIOS Beep codes mean ?

Except for beep code #8, these codes are always fatal.
1 beep Refresh failure
2 beeps Parity error
3 beeps Base 64K memory failure
4 beeps Timer not operational
5 beeps Processor error
6 beeps 8042 - gate A20 failure
7 beeps Processor exception interrupt error
8 beeps Display memory read/write failure
9 beeps ROM checksum error
10 beeps CMOS shutdown register read/write error
11 beeps Cache memory bad

For 1 beep, 2 beeps, or 3 beeps try reseating the memory first. If the error still occurs, replace the memory with known good chips.

For 4 beeps, 5 beeps, 7 beeps, or 10 beeps the system board must be sent in for repair.

For 6 beeps reseat the keyboard controller chip.  If the error persists, check the parts of the system relating to the keyboard, e.g. try another keyboard, make sure the keyboard socket is correctly grounded, check to see if the system has a keyboard fuse.If the error still occurs, replace the keyboard chip.

8 beeps indicates a memory error on the video adapter. Replace the video card or the memory on the video card.

9 beeps indicates faulty BIOS chip(s). It isn't likely that this error will be corrected by reseating the chips. Consult the motherboard supplier or an AMI product distributor for replacement part(s).

If no beeps are heard and no display is on the screen, The first thing to check is the power supply. Connect a LED to the POWER LED connection on the motherboard. If this LED lights and the drive(s) spin up then the power supply will usually be good.

Then; inspect the motherboard for loose components. A loose or missing CPU, BIOS chip, Tag RAM, or Chipset chip will cause the motherboard not to function properly.
Next, eliminate the possibility of interference by a bad or improperly set up expansion card by removing all cards except for the video adapter. The system should at least power up and wait for a drive time-out. Insert the cards back into the system one at a time until the problem happens again. When the system does nothing, the problem will be with the last expansion card that was put in.

If the above suggestions fail to cause any change in a malfunctioning system, the motherboard must be returned for repair.

16. What about the YEAR 2000 ?

Check out the following sites:

Home ] [ BIOS FAQ ] BIOS Updates ] AMD-750 Chipset ] SiS 530/5595 ] SiS540 Preview Pt. I ] Intel i810 Chipset ] Intel's i810E Chipset ]


MediaTek All Rights Reserved