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DBabo 11-22-2009 07:03 PM

can't boot after BIOS flash
 
Hey guys and girls,
i got fed up with my USB mice and keyboard getting hung again and again and again. After a days of reasearch i finally cave in and decided to upgrade my ACER Aspire AST160 Foxconn (whaever) motherboard's bIOS to the latest and greatest. Little that i know that since last time - ~10 years ago little has changed in the field of BIOS +linux - i could not find any utility that would allow me to flash the bios under Linix. Anyway, i ended creating windows Live CD ( pe builder) and putting the bios update on it.

That didn't completely worked right. During "Erasng boot block" i got a message "Flash block erase failure". I rebooted after that
after reboot it finished update - ith a few messages on the screen - "updating this and that". the only odd was " CMOS check-sum is invalid" @ the same time i can enter the setup and change/save settings.

Anyway , i can boot from CD, but when i try to boot from the hd ( with my old Linux installed" I'm getting :
"Verifying DMI ..... Success"
GRUB "

and silence after that...
Any ideas would be very very welcomed.

thank you.

GrapefruiTgirl 11-22-2009 07:22 PM

I don't use GRUB, so can't help much there if GRUB is a part of the problem. However I just wanted to ask something, and point out another thing:

1) If your BIOS has/had anti-virus protection or other-wise-ly named write-protect function in the BIOS, you may have needed to disable that first, before trying to flash the BIOS. That may have caused the erase failure. It's difficult to figure out precisely what happened, but if it were my machine, I'd be a bit leery of any bios flashing procedure that failed and then said "updating this and that..". However, since the machine seems to work, I'll leave it to you if you want to leave well enough alone, or re-flash it.

2) After flashing a BIOS, it is normal for the CMOS checksum to be wrong. It should however be correct after you enter the BIOS, save settings and reboot.

Kind regards & good luck!

Sasha

DBabo 11-22-2009 07:32 PM

Sasha,
valid points.
Now, when i think about that (antivirus ) i'm pretty positive that imight have set it to "ON" and, obviously, forgot about that.
i an save settings but still facing the same problem with "GRUB" message.
"leery" is a good work - i'm pretty upset - it;s not the first time did flash, but i guess after ~10 years of not doing i'm paying a price...
Anyway. I'll try again with the same version and make sure that there is now "antivirus" option set.

DBabo 11-22-2009 09:17 PM

Ehhh, silly me - I have 2 IDE and one SATA drive.
By default first master is IDE, but the boot record is on SATA. So i had to change the boot sequence of drives and the system is up again.
That's a relief :)

GrapefruiTgirl 11-22-2009 09:58 PM

Cool, looks like things are looking up.

Now would be a good time to mention one other thing:

My motherboard, for example, has a BIOS recovery function, for in the case of a dead machine if a flash goes awry. It requires a floppy drive, and a floppy diskette with the BIOS file on it with a filename "something.ROM" where something is the BIOS name/version, like AMI2607 or whatever, and it must end with .ROM.

If the BIOS is dead, I put the disk in the drive, hold CTRL+HOME and turn on the machine, and it will flash the ROM file into the BIOS.

So, before I ever flash my BIOS (and I do it whenever there's a new release) I make a fresh floppy, and put the new BIOS file onto it, and write-protect it, just in case... Though I have never needed to use it.

SO, for anyone reading this, you might want to investigate if your machine or motherboard has a similar option, if you are wary of flashing your BIOS.

Cheers!
Sasha

btncix 11-22-2009 11:41 PM

GrapefruiTgirl,
Thanks for the info, but what motherboard do you use? Is there a specific name for the bios recovery option you mentioned - perhaps how is it listed on the manufacturers site?

H_TeXMeX_H 11-23-2009 04:53 AM

There is flashrom:
http://www.flashrom.org/Flashrom

it supports Linux and many BIOSes.

But, be VERY careful when flashing the BIOS, it's a very sensitive and dangerous procedure, in some cases it may brick your mobo. Although in most cases this can be undone, it's usually not a fun or easy procedure.

GrapefruiTgirl 11-23-2009 08:42 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by btncix (Post 3766334)
GrapefruiTgirl,
Thanks for the info, but what motherboard do you use? Is there a specific name for the bios recovery option you mentioned - perhaps how is it listed on the manufacturers site?

This is a P6N-SLI-FI from MicroStar Intl. (MSI, p# MS7350-010).

The emergency recovery procedure is not documented in the manual, but one location to read about it is here: http://forum-en.msi.com/index.php?topic=119375.0

I can't remember where I very first heard of it (possibly within the documentation included with the BIOS download + flash tool), but elsewhere on the MSI website(s) there are other documents about it also.

I don't know if it's MSI-specific, or BIOS-specific -- I figure there are quite a number of machines that can do this by some means.

Sasha

DBabo 11-23-2009 09:12 AM

Sasha,
Ihad hard time identifying the MB i have. I doubt there is any procedures for that. Though i can be very much wrong. Honestly have no desire to look for them. All i know that the machine is AST160 from Acer. %)

GrapefruiTgirl 11-23-2009 09:58 AM

The best thing for getting the make/model of the motherboard, is to use "dmidecode" which may or may not be on your system, but if it is there, it'd be at /usr/sbin or /sbin and if the BIOS DMI information is at all present, you should be able to read the model number from that output.

lshw *might* give you the motherboard model & make too, but I can't say for sure.

Alternately, visual inspection is reliable, if you can open the machine and have a look. Since it's an Acer, I'm going to guess that it has either an Intel or Asus board, but I may well be wrong on that.

Sasha

DBabo 11-23-2009 11:35 AM

well, i'm an old guy ( relatively %) - i used to open the box and read the label. and that's the reason of my previous post.
I'll try the commands later tonight. From what i remember it's some Foxxconn MB.
thank you Sasha - you are very knowledgeable and helpful.

GrapefruiTgirl 11-23-2009 11:58 AM

No problem, hope it helps! For the record, while Foxxconn did at some recent time, start shipping branded motherboards of their own, they have been making motherboards for other Big Names for many years. They are most well known for making motherboard components, like connectors, plugs, and that sort of thing.

So, there's a good chance it was *made* by Foxconn, but may not be a "branded Foxconn" motherboard.

Anyhow, let's see what results you get later on this evening from those commands, and go from there ;)

Have a good day,

Sasha

DBabo 11-23-2009 09:03 PM

Sasha,
lshw is not on the system, but here is the output of dmi :
Quote:

# dmidecode 2.10
SMBIOS 2.2 present.
42 structures occupying 1195 bytes.
Table at 0x000F0000.

Handle 0x0000, DMI type 0, 19 bytes
BIOS Information
Vendor: Phoenix Technologies, LTD
Version: R02-B1
Release Date: 07/14/2006
Address: 0xE0000
Runtime Size: 128 kB
ROM Size: 512 kB
Characteristics:
ISA is supported
PCI is supported
PNP is supported
APM is supported
BIOS is upgradeable
BIOS shadowing is allowed
Boot from CD is supported
Selectable boot is supported
BIOS ROM is socketed
EDD is supported
5.25"/360 kB floppy services are supported (int 13h)
5.25"/1.2 MB floppy services are supported (int 13h)
3.5"/720 kB floppy services are supported (int 13h)
3.5"/2.88 MB floppy services are supported (int 13h)
Print screen service is supported (int 5h)
8042 keyboard services are supported (int 9h)
Serial services are supported (int 14h)
Printer services are supported (int 17h)
CGA/mono video services are supported (int 10h)
ACPI is supported
USB legacy is supported
LS-120 boot is supported
ATAPI Zip drive boot is supported

Handle 0x0001, DMI type 1, 25 bytes
System Information
Manufacturer: Acer
Product Name: AST160/ASE360/APM6
Version: R02-B1
Serial Number:
UUID: Not Present
Wake-up Type: Power Switch

Handle 0x0002, DMI type 2, 8 bytes
Base Board Information
Manufacturer: Acer
Product Name: FC51GM
Version: <BAD INDEX>
Serial Number: <BAD INDEX>

Invalid entry length (0). DMI table is broken! Stop.
So i have FC51GM MB and the interesting thing are those few last entries in the quote above - " DMI table is broken!".. .i wonder why is that ;) and more importantly what's the impact... So far everything seemed to function as expected...
Thank you.

P.S. And all this just because of "IRQ INTR_SF lossage" when my mice started to die on me %)

GrapefruiTgirl 11-23-2009 09:08 PM

Actually, there's no "impact" from the "broken table".. DMI information is not usually complete, and not necessarily useful. It's just information for informations' sake. Much of the DMI info on my motherboard reads "To be filled in by OEM" or something like this.

Anyhow, you were right on target: It is apparently a Foxxconn motherboard, and Google turns up loads of results when I Google it. Many of the results include "Acer" which makes me wonder if Foxconn makes that board specifically for Acer, as an OEM product? Or if the board is available off-the-shelf too..

Sasha

exvor 11-23-2009 09:12 PM

Anything with DUAL bios will recover from a bad flash. And most modern bios will boot from a recovery image in the floppy drive or even USB drive. My asus board has 2 bios areas and is able to load a bios from floppy, USB , CDROM or even network i think but this is also one of the more expensive boards you can buy that they expect people to be messing with it.


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