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 Motherboards Support Center--BIOS Update Procedure

BIOS Update Procedure
BIOS Update Tips (important!)

    BIOS Recovery Prodedure

Do I need an update?

If you are considering updating your BIOS it is strongly recommended that you first contact your dealer or system assembler for help and guidance. Inexperienced users should not attempt this procedure alone. This on-line BIOS Guide contains only general information about the standard product and, as such, the information and files provided here may not, in some cases, work with all combinations of hardware.

You should be aware that flashing a BIOS is not not guaranteed to be successful. If your system is running well then, even if there is a new version of the BIOS available, it may not be the best option to flash the new one. Your system may experience serious, adverse side effects or even lower performance. Remember that a new BIOS usually fixes bugs or incompatibilities but it can also introduce new ones.

If you decide to flash a new BIOS, make sure that you have first made a copy of your present BIOS on a bootable floppy disk (before flashing, use your flash utility to back up your current BIOS).

BIOS Update Procedure

All latest FIC 1stMainboard motherboards and some 486, Pentium and Pentium Pro FIC motherboards incorporate the system BIOS in a FLASH Memory component to simplify the upgrade procedure. With FLASH BIOS, there is no need to replace an EPROM device to perform an upgrade. Once downloaded, the upgrade utility fits on a floppy disc. Users may then save their original BIOS code (AMI BIOS excluded) before verifying and upgrading system BIOS. A hard drive or a network drive can be used to run the upgrade utility but memory managers must be uninstalled before upgrading.

Most pre-Pentium FIC motherboards do not have a Flash BIOS component. The following instructions therefore apply only to FIC Pentium boards and PN-2000. For motherboards that do not have a Flash BIOS (EEPROM) an EPROM programmer will be required to re-program the BIOS chip. See your dealer for more information about this. FIC does not provide a service to end-users for upgrading non-flashable BIOS.

Please read the following instructions in full before starting a Flash BIOS upgrade:
A. Create a Bootable Floppy

Note: It is not possible to create a DOS system disk on a system using Windows 2000 OS. If the machine to be upgraded has a Windows 2000 OS, you will need to create the system disk on another machine

(Windows XP)

  • Insert blank floppy disk in drive
  • In Windows Explorer, right click on '3.5 Floppy (A:)' in the Folders menu
  • Select "Format" from the dropdown menu
  • When the Format box appears check the "Create an MS DOS startup disk box" and click "start"
  • (Windows 98)

  • Insert blank floppy disk
  • Open "My Computer" and right click on "3.5 Diskette (A:)"
  • Select "Format" from the dropdown menu
  • Make sure that the "Format Type" is set to "Quick (erase)"
  • Make sure that the "Copy system files" and "Display summary when finished" boxes are checked
  • Click "Start" and When the "Format Results" window appears, click "Close"
  • (DOS)

  • With a non-formatted disk, type the following:

  • format a:/s

  • If using a formatted disk, type:

  • sys a:

    NOTE: When you create a DOS bootable system disk, all data from the disk will be erased.

    B. Download the BIOS file

    Updated BIOS files can be downloaded from the support section of the FIC website. You will need to know the model name of your motherboard to find the support page you require. The model number of your motherboard is printed on the circuit board between the expansion card slots. It is essential that you use the correct BIOS for your motherboard. The support section of the FIC website can be found here: http://www.fic.com.tw/support/motherboard/

    The downloaded file will be a compressed zip file which will probably contain both the flash utility and the new BIOS. An unzip utility will be required to extract the files. An evaluation copy of WinZip can be downloaded free from www.winzip.com or www.pkware.com . Many CD ROMs from computer magazines also have a shareware version of WinZip on them.

    The files downloaded from the support section of the FIC website conform to the following naming convention:

    Example: ad412_AD11_pcb1112.zip

    In the above example ad412 refers to the BIOS version number, AD11 is the model of motherboard this BIOS is written for and pcb1112 are pcb versions that are supported by this BIOS. In this case both pcb 1.1 and 1.2 are supported. The .zip extension means that this file as a compressed file.

    Save the downloaded file to your hard disk and use WinZip to extract the files.

    Most downloaded files contain both the new BIOS file and the flash utility. Unzipping will therefore produce 2 separate files:

    Flash BIOS utility eg: flash765.exe

    BIOS eg: 615J900.bin

    If unzipping does not produce a flash utility program, consult the support page and download the latest flash utility available.

    Save the BIOS file and the Flash Utility file on the boot disk you have created.

    Make sure that BIOS Guardian is disabled in CMOS settings before proceeding further (see BIOS update tips).

    C. Upgrade the System BIOS

    During boot up, make a note of the old BIOS version because you will need to use it for the BIOS backup file name.

    Insert the bootable floppy disk containing the BIOS file and the Flash Utility in the A: drive and reboot the system in MS-DOS mode.

    Note, you may need to change your boot sequence in system BIOS before attempting to boot from a floppy disk. Make sure that the boot sequence is set to A:, C: ...

    At the A:> prompt, type the corresponding Flash BIOS utility name and the BIOS file with its extension.

    For example:flash625 615j900.bin

    From the Flash Memory Writer menu, select "Y" to "Do you want to save BIOS?" if you want to save (back up) your current BIOS (strongly recommended), then type the name of your current BIOS and its extension after FILE NAME TO SAVE: eg: a:\613J900.bin

    Alternatively select "N" if you don't want to save your current BIOS. Beware that you may not be able to recover from a possible failure if you do not save your original BIOS.

    Select "Y" to "Are you sure to program?"

    Wait until "Message: Power Off or Reset the system" is displayed.

    Once the BIOS has been successfully loaded, remove the floppy disk and reboot the system. If you write to BIOS but cannot complete the procedure, do not switch off because the computer will not be able to boot and you will not be given another chance to flash. In this case leave your system on until you resolve the problem (flashing BIOS with old file is a possible solution if a backup exists)

    Make sure the new BIOS version has been loaded properly by taking note of the BIOS identifier as the system is rebooting.

    For AMI BIOS

    Once the BIOS has been successfully loaded, remove the floppy disk and reboot the system holding the "END" key prior to power on until you enter CMOS setup. If you do not do this the first time booting up after upgrading the BIOS, the system will hang.

    BIOS Update Tips

    If the "unknown flash" error occurs, the "BIOS Guardian" feature should be disabled. This feature is supported by the latest FIC 1stMainboards which have NOVUS functionality. Older models do not support NOVUS.

    BIOS Guardian is enabled by default on 1stMainboard products that support the feature. BIOS Guardian protects the system against computer viruses that can attack BIOS while the system is running. Therefore, users must disable the BIOS Guardian before reflashing the BIOS. To configure BIOS Guardian, reboot the system while holding the "DEL" key after power on until the CMOS setup screen appears, go to Advanced BIOS Features and select BIOS Guardian option select 'disable' or 'enable'. After successfully updating the new BIOS, it is recommended that BIOS Guardian is re-enabled for added virus protection.

    1. It is essential that the system is not turned off or reset during the flash process. This will corrupt the BIOS data. It is also recommended that a copy of the current BIOS is made on the bootable floppy to allow regression if necessary. (This option is not available when flashing an AMI BIOS).

    2. If you have problems installing your new BIOS please check the following:

  • Have you performed a clean boot?
  • Did you follow the above procedure for making a bootable floppy? This ensures that when booting from "A:" there are no device drivers on the diskette. Failing to perform a clean boot is the most common cause for getting a "Memory Insufficient" error message when attempting to flash a BIOS.

  • Have you booted up into DOS?
  • Booting in Windows is another common cause for getting a "Memory Insufficient" error message when attempting to flash a BIOS. Make sure to boot up to DOS with a minimum set of drivers. Important: Booting in DOS does not mean selecting "Restart computer in MS-DOS Mode" from Windows98/95 shutdown menu or going to Prompt mode in Windows NT/2000/XP, but rather following the above procedure and booting from floppy.

  • Have you entered the full file name of the flash utility and the BIOS plus its extension?
  • Do not forget that often you will need to add a drive letter (a:\) before flashing the BIOS. Example: when asked for file name of new BIOS file which is on your floppy disk, in case you're working from c:\ your will need to type a:\615j900.bin, rather than 615j900.bin only.

  • Have you downloaded the correct BIOS update?
  • All BIOS updates conform to a naming convention and the name of the updated BIOS should be similar to the BIOS that already exists on your motherboard: e.g. If your current BIOS is QFc xxx then the new BIOS will be called QFc xxx. It is essential that you download and install the right BIOS for your motherboard. Not all FIC 1stMainboard products with similar model numbers use the same BIOS, due to differences in PCB versions etc. Make sure you check the existing BIOS version before any upgrade is carried out.

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