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Flashed BIOS and Sony Vaio  now dead

Posted on 2003-03-19
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Last Modified: 2007-12-19
Helping friend with upgrade of his vaio from Win2000 to WinXP Pro.

Thoughtfully checked Sony site and downloaded their BIOS for XP.

Auto flashed, got about 80% and then kerpow! Power crash.  Can get no further than logo screen at power on. No POST and no access to Setup (F2).

Some limited read activity on floppy, but it won't boot from floppy or CD.

Assuming I have blown the BIOS, is there anything I can do? Am not too nervous about going into guts of Vaio, but preferably with plan of action.
Fingers crossed
Alan
 
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Question by:ab9758
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15 Comments
 

Expert Comment

by:Fdisk
ID: 8170403
Sounds like bad flash and bios is corrupt check and see if bios if removable.  You can try using uniflash and another motherboard to flash chip again.  The basic procedure would be to boot another computer remove the bios while computer is running after ensuring bios is cached to ram install the corrupt bios and use uniflash to load new bios.  A second alternative would be to find an eprom programmer and flash bios that way.  Without a working bios your computer will not boot.  These are kind of advanced but so is your problem.  Also im not farmiliar with the sony vaio but some newer boards have more than one bios on them incase of bad flash (ie. Aopen diehard bios)  Reflashing bios is not that difficult and any competent shop with an eprom programmer and a working bios image should be able to reflash for you or supply an new eprom and flash it.

Hope this helps
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Expert Comment

by:kiranghag
ID: 8171063
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Expert Comment

by:kiranghag
ID: 8171073
i hope u have taken backup of the old bios...
since u are able to boot the system partially...you may be able to recover without going to a shop and pay money...

try the bios boot block method to recover...you need a bootable floppy with minimum dos files, flash utility from award/ami and the bios image to be burnt...

you can pop this floppy in and boot...a small fail-safe code in the bios would automatically read the floppy and allow you to reporogram...

more informtion on creating this floppy can be found at wimsbios...

try this first else go to a repair shop...
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Expert Comment

by:kiranghag
ID: 8171088
here's what the wimsbios.com says about receovering the bios


Solution 1: Boot-block BIOS

Modern motherboards have a boot-block BIOS. This is small area of the BIOS that doesn't get overwritten when you flash a BIOS. The boot-block BIOS only has support for the floppy drive. If you have a PCI video card you won't see anything on the screen because the boot-block BIOS only supports an ISA videocard.

Award: The boot-block BIOS will execute an AUTOEXEC.BAT file on a bootable diskette. Copy an Award flasher & the correct BIOS *.bin file on the floppy and execute it automaticly by putting awdflash *.bin in the AUTOEXEC.BAT file.

AMI: The AMI boot-block BIOS will look for a AMIBOOT.ROM file on a diskette. Copy and rename the correct BIOS file on the floppy and power up the PC. The floppy doesn't need to be bootable. You will see the PC read the floppy, after about 4 minutes you will hear 4 beeps, this means the transfer is done. Reboot the PC and modify the CMOS for your configuration.

Solution 2: Get a new BIOS chip

Contact your motherboard manufacturer to see if they sell BIOS chips. Some motherboard manufacturers send them for free.
Contact a company that sells pre-flashed chips, like Unicore Software, FlashBIOS.ORG or BadFlash
Solution 3: Hot-swapping

Note: I'm not responsible for any damage this method may do to you or your computer !

Replace the corrupt chip by a working one. The best option is to take the working BIOS chip from a motherboard which has the same chipset although that's not absolutely necessary. It just has to give you a chance of booting into DOS. Before pulling the working BIOS chip out of it's original motherboard, set the System BIOS cacheable option in the BIOS to enabled.
After you have put the working BIOS in the motherboard with the corrupt BIOS boot the system to DOS (with a floppy or HD).
Now replace (while the computer is powered on) the working BIOS chip with the corrupt one.
Flash an appropriate BIOS to the corrupt BIOS and reboot.
Note: Use a flasher from MRBIOS. They are known to work best.

Solution 3: (for Intel motherboards)

Change Flash Recovery jumper to the recovery mode position (not all products have this feature)
Install the bootable upgrade diskette into drive A:
Reboot the system
Because of the small amount of code available in the non-erasable boot block area, no video is available to direct the procedure. The procedure can 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.
Turn the system off
Change the Flash Recovery jumper back to the default position
Leave the upgrade floppy in drive A: and turn the system on
Continue with the original upgrade
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Author Comment

by:ab9758
ID: 8173344
Interim progress and notes. Apologies for delay, but am on GMT so 5 hours plus ahead of many of you!

First comment is tha I don't seem to be able to get FDD to read ANY floppy. Have tried my old Win 95, 98 and ME bootdisks and have tried on one of them adding the German AFLASH,EXE program, but to no avail.

Second, it's a notebook and getting into the motherboard is a bit of a nightmare!

Onwards and upwards

Alan
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Author Comment

by:ab9758
ID: 8175273
Greeetings several hours later from an eeerly quiet Central London. I live about 300ft from the US Embassy, 90ft from the Egyptian and 20ft from the Qatar one so either the safest or most foolhardy place to be at the moment!

I would love to put a spin on what in reality is my surrender.

Have bitten the bullet and the laptop goes back to Sony in a.m. Only consolation is that they are charging just under $50 (fifty dollars) so not as life threatening as I feared. I must admit that what made me give up is that I can't even power up the FDD and seek as software solution.

Equally, must admit that I would be entering pastures anew if I tried to play with the MB of an ultraportable, especially when it isn't mine!

On a practical note, what would you like me to do with the points. Feel guilty that you've all made such an effort, but can't allocate any ACCEPTED ANSWER.

Whatever you think, let me know

Regards and thanks
Alan
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Expert Comment

by:kiranghag
ID: 8175871
you can either give them all or split them. points are supposed to be given at your discretion for the comment/answer which u feel helped you more or gave you more insight about the problem.
fdisk and me tried to help you up...
i suggest a point split between us.
you can post a question with zero points along with link to ur question in the community support area if u need a split...
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Author Comment

by:ab9758
ID: 8176690
Many thanks again for response. Always thought that points were for Accepted Answer that in turn could go into the DB for others.

Have been aware that Community tries to allocate more strictly and only to Answers that actually solve problem. My query is that while I fully accept the effort and speed of response, I still ultimately had to surrender and send laptop back to maker.

Don't want to cause ructions, but could Community review and arbitrate?
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Author Comment

by:ab9758
ID: 8176731
http://www.experts-exchange.com/Community_Support/Q_20557893.html

Posted Q on Community Support for advisory.
Alan
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Expert Comment

by:Computer101
ID: 8177728
Any objections for refunding points and placing in PAQ?

Computer101
E-E Admin
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Expert Comment

by:kiranghag
ID: 8181620
yes...we tried to help...at least that should count...user was in a hurry and not enthu for much RnD....
sending machine for repair is most of the times last solution...does that mean "send it for repairs" will be a justified answer??? ppl come here to solve problems on own, often it takes time...
okay...if he is not ready to give out all the 500 he has in his creadit...both of us should get a good part of it...
wat do u say fdisk???
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Author Comment

by:ab9758
ID: 8182745
My tuppence worth.

Think you would see that in this circumstance (someone else's ultraportable) with no guidance whatosever from anyone accessing the innards of such a toy, then 'sending it back to Sony' to replace BIOS chip.

Have you ever tried to replace the MB of an ultraportable as per one advisory? A daunting task for the very experienced, so very much not a case of copping out.

Have never believed that sending PC for repair should not be valid advice and an acceptable answer. Sometimes it is simply the best advice.

My reluctance to allocate points is not losing points, but in accepting any answer when there was patently not one that future users could refer to.

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Expert Comment

by:kiranghag
ID: 8182858
it was not evident from the question that the machine was a laptop...i did no bother check from the model whethere it was one.

whatever solutions were given to you were based on assumption that the toy was a desktop one...

neways...its upto you about what to do with the points...no more posts from me here...

have a nice time dear friend...
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Accepted Solution

by:
Computer101 earned 0 total points
ID: 8207986
Points refunded and placed in PAQ

Computer101
E-E Admin
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Expert Comment

by:joe_aqs
ID: 12335542
These guys can recover this BIOS without buying a new motherboard.

http://www.laptopbios.com

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