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Can not update iWill XA100-Plus BIOS.

Posted on 2002-03-29
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Last Modified: 2008-03-10
http://support.iwill.net/xa100+.htm

Using the AWDFLASH and the BIOS file from iWill's site, I can not update the bios.

I follow their directions and once the program tries to flash, I get an error from AWDFLASH "Unknown Flash Type !"

Please do not suggest I contact iWill as three seconds of looking at their website proves that it'd be a useless waste of time.  I have searched google and found nothing.  

My bios is the 32211A Oct.27.1999 version that the update is supposed to fix.

Any help would be appreciated.  Thanks.
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Question by:EDStech
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16 Comments
 

Expert Comment

by:SurferMan
ID: 6906658
EDStech, typically AWDFLASH output this error when the flash tag doesn't correspond with what it finds in the existing flash.

I looked at the link you provided and it claims that the LATEST revision out for that particular board IS 32211A Oct.27. 1999, in other words, the board is already at the latest flash. Where did you get the newer one? It may sound silly but could it be that you're trying to flash a wrong file?

SurferMan
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Expert Comment

by:SurferMan
ID: 6906717
EDStech, typically AWDFLASH output this error when the flash tag doesn't correspond with what it finds in the existing flash.

I looked at the link you provided and it claims that the LATEST revision out for that particular board IS 32211A Oct.27. 1999, in other words, the board is already at the latest flash. Where did you get the newer one? It may sound silly but could it be that you're trying to flash a wrong file?

SurferMan
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LVL 32

Expert Comment

by:jhance
ID: 6906823
My question to you is WHY ARE YOU TRYING TO UPDATE THE BIOS?  

Unless there is a specific problem and the BIOS update specifically states that it is for you EXACT model and revision of motherboard AND fixes this problem you are risking your motherboard for nothing.

Frankly, you may be lucky that this BIOS didn't start programming as you may have renedered your MB inoperable.

STOP WHAT YOU ARE DOING UNTIL:

1) You understand WHY you are doing it.
2) You are 100% positive you have the right BIOS and flasher.
3) You are 100% positive you know how to proceed.

If you are unsure of ANY of the above, don't continue!!
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Eye-catchers on the conference table

Challenge: The i-unit group was not satisfied with the audio quality during remote meetings. They were looking for a portable solution with excellent audio quality for use in their conference room but also at their client’s offices.

 

Expert Comment

by:SurferMan
ID: 6907011
And I apologize for multiple posts. How it happened, beats me. -;)

SurferMan
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LVL 32

Expert Comment

by:jhance
ID: 6907038
SurferMan,

That usually happens when you click your browser REFRESH button.  It's a EE bug and hopefully they will fix it someday...

In the meantime, use the "Reload Question" link at the top right-hand corner of the page to reload.
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LVL 2

Author Comment

by:EDStech
ID: 6907158
"This file is only for "XA100Plus for Product No is 32211A""

This says to me that the flash update is for bios version 32211A.  I have 32211A.  I have not ever flashed this bios.

I am trying to update it because this machine is experiencing a lot of hard lockups.  My main desktop is an iWill KK266 and I recently had to flash it too given some serious  hard lockup issues related to the bios trying to use a forbidden memory offset under XP.  The flash cured all of lifes problems.  I hope the flash for the XA100+ will do the same.

I've flashed hundreds of BIOS's before, I'm a desktop/server admin by trade.. I just haven't ever come across this before.  It's always worked.  :)
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Expert Comment

by:SurferMan
ID: 6907260
And I apologize for multiple posts. How it happened, beats me. -;)

SurferMan
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LVL 13

Expert Comment

by:magarity
ID: 6907318
According to the website in question, the BIOS update is only for "Fix Ali5819 Ver C cause system could not be turned off after 4 secs."  This is not a fix for hard locks but because the power button doesn't work properly.
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Expert Comment

by:SurferMan
ID: 6907353
EDStech, just out of curiosity, I followed the link and downloaded the file, XAP1027.EXE. This contains two files, README.TXT and the flash XAP1027.BIN. If I understand correctly, the *.bin numbering means for XA Plus, dated Oct. (10), Day (27).

So if your BIOS is the same, flashing is most likely not going to help.

As jhance stated, it's very important to make sure that the right file is being flashed. Not that I'm picking on you, just wanted to be 100% positive. From what you have stated about your board, I think the link points exactly to the same version file that you already have. Thus, unless the EEPROM has become corrupt, the flashing is not going to help. As to why it refuses to flash, I do not know. If I were you, I wouldn't force it, it could be that the board "locks up" forever.

On another note, flashing BIOS is not the only remedy to lockups. Have you tried to narrow down other possible hard lock-up reasons, such as faulty memory, bad power supply etc? Just thinking out aloud...

SurferMan
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Author Comment

by:EDStech
ID: 6907458
If the BIOS is not bad, then the motherboard or CPU itself is.  The only constant throughout all the various lockup problems I've had with this system has been the motherboard.  All of the memory, power supplies, OS's, etc have been replaced at various times.  But the lockup problems have always happened.  

If I have the most recent bios, and have never flashed this bios, why would iwill offer a bios upgrade?
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LVL 32

Expert Comment

by:jhance
ID: 6907821
>I am trying to update it because this machine is
>experiencing a lot of hard lockups

This is NOT a good reason to update the BIOS.  If you are running a WIN32 based operating system the BIOS is not even used beyond the initial boot process.

If you are having hard lockups you have a hardware problem (like overclocking) or an incompatible device driver.

I'd check out the stuff that CAN cause lockups before trying this tactic.
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LVL 13

Expert Comment

by:magarity
ID: 6908063
"If I have the most recent bios, and have never flashed this bios, why would iwill offer a bios upgrade?"

Because over the production life of this model, you bought at the end when the final revision of the BIOS was already decided upon.  Probably people who bought one a month before you had an earlier BIOS version.

Also, anyone with access to an EEPROMM programmer can make a new BIOS chip in the unlikely event theirs became messed up.

It really does appear you have the most current revision.  This may be a rare soft error in that something in the chipset has become damaged (either due to heat or original manufacturing) but not so damaged it does not work at all.  

As jhance suggests, play around with drivers, etc.  As a good test, get a spare hard drive and do a clean installation of some variety of Windows.  Do not install ANY optional drivers not installed by the OS's install CDROM, not even video.  Run some programs that usually are running when the thing crashes.  See if it crashes still.  This will indicate whether it is some driver issue or some mystery defect in the memory controller or IDE controller.
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LVL 4

Expert Comment

by:kannabis
ID: 6908092
Do you have proper cooling?

Hard locks can be related to heat (I just went through this the other day) Make sure that your HSF is moving smoothly and is clean of any dust.

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Expert Comment

by:SurferMan
ID: 6908267
EDStech, I may be indeed that something in your system is either faulty or failing. I can not pinpoint your trouble but this is what I would do. If possible, try to run SiSoft Sandra and BurnIn Test. Sandra has also a "burn-in" applet. This way you can stress your system more and selectively. That's how I caught a defective AMD Duron 1GHz CPU that was causing hard lockups for me. It didn't always freeze right away but in 40 minutes or so I could almost bet it would quit. Sometimes it happened at the beginning of the cycle, sometimes later. Sandra you can get at http://www.sisoftware.co.uk ,
BurnIn Test  at http://www.passmark.com/ 
Both also tend to stress the rest of the system -;)

Best of luck,

SurferMan
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LVL 2

Author Comment

by:EDStech
ID: 7018433
Thank you all for your help.  Given that IWill still has not released a working BIOS for this motherboard, I'm writing it off and buying a new one... (Abit K7T, if you're curious..)  900mhz isn't cutting it anymore anyway, so it's no big loss.  I'll put Win2K back on this system and replace my second pc that's currently a K62-400..  

I won't make the mistake of buying another IWIll board, that's for sure.  :(

Thanks all!
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