Can My BIOS Be Fixed?

Q: I need help to either recover or replace my AMIBIOS. I tried to update the BIOS inside of Windows using the AMIFlash. It said it failed, so I gathered the tools to do it in DOS. When I rebooted, I got nothing — no beeps, no lights, just the power supply, fan and heatsink. Any ideas?

– Buster

A: This one is very hard, and the AMIBIOS might not be recoverable at all. One of my main recommendations is don’t update your BIOS unless you have a spare set available.

Before discussing some recovery techniques, let’s first outline what the BIOS is. BIOS stands for Basic Input/Output System, and it’s the first set of commands that a CPU will execute when the computer is powered on. It will set the initial ways your hardware components will communicate with you and each other.

The BIOS software is stored on a memory chip that’s not volatile (i.e., erased when turned off). The user settings part in it — which defines which device is your first boot device (CD/DVD, USB or hard drive) — is volatile, but is backed up using a battery when the computer is turned off.

Prior to the early 1990s, BIOS programs were stored in read-only memory (ROM) or programmable read-only memory (PROM) chips, which could not be altered by users.

As the complexity of BIOS and the need for updates increased and reprogrammable parts became available more easily, BIOS firmware was stored…


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