Recover Corrupted Bios

Posted on 2004-04-01
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2011-04-14
Yesterday a friend dumped an old Pc at my home because he was cleaning up his house and wanted to get rid of it. It's still a pretty good machine for my kids to play old games on so I kept it. And becaise the Bios didn't  recognized any disks larger than 8Gig I took off for an adventure to find a bios-upgrade.
The machine uses Ami Bios (chip id BJ666040), version 61-1001-001437-00111111-071595-440LX-1440L000-H. And I found out it were PCCHIPS 440LX/EX rev3. No problem untill I tried to update the Bios and having all the luck in the worl..power goes down (it's one of the pro's of living on Aruba). Now the system won't boot, power led goes on, I hear RAM en HD but nothing on the screen, and the disk drive constantly makes noise. So I tried the Amibios recovery procedure (you know, start up the system, insert a disk with a working BIOS-file which you renamed AMIBOOT.ROM)..but nothing..I tried different  bios-files but I just won't work...help anyone? I'll buy you a beer on Aruba (but not your plane-ticket ;-)
Question by:MrAruba
LVL 67

Expert Comment

ID: 10737600
Hi MrAruba,
With motherboards that use "Boot Block Bios" it is possible to recover a corrupted bios because the boot block section of the bios, which is responsible for booting the computer remains unmodified. When an AMI bios becomes corrupt the system will appear to start, but nothing will appear on the screen, the floppy drive light will come on and the system will access the floppy drive repeatedly.  If your motherboard has an ISA slot and you have an old ISA video card lying around, put he ISA video card in your system and connect the monitor. The boot block section of the bios only supports ISA video cards, so if you don't have an ISA video card or your motherboard does not have ISA slots, you will have to restore your bios blind, with no monitor to show you what's going on.
AMI has integrated a recovery routine into the boot block of the bios, which in the event the bios becomes corrupt can be used to restore the bios to a working state. The routine is called when the system block of the bios is empty.

The restore routine will access the floppy drive looking for a bios file named AMIBOOT.ROM, this is why the floppy drive light comes on and the drive spins. If the file is found it is loaded into the system block of the bios to replace the missing information.

To restore your bios simply copy a working bios file to a floppy disk and rename it AMIBOOT.ROM, then insert it into the computer while the power is on. The disk does not need to be bootable or contain a flash utility. After about four minutes the system will beep four times. Remove the floppy disk from the drive and reboot the computer.

The bios should now be restored.
Also see: http://www.driverforum.com/bios4/7031.html

Author Comment

ID: 10737614
Yo Sir Bounty,

didn't read the whole post did ya?? Or did you miss :"So I tried the Amibios recovery procedure (you know, start up the system, insert a disk with a working BIOS-file which you renamed AMIBOOT.ROM)..but nothing..I tried different  bios-files but I just won't work..." ???

LVL 67

Expert Comment

ID: 10737638
Sorry MrAruba - it's late - my eyes are getting heavy. :D
If that's not doing it for you - you'll need someone to reprogram it.
Here's a couple of services that claim to be able to do it..
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Expert Comment

ID: 10738911
Hi.  I once had a case where I corrupted the bios by accident.  I solved the problem by searching for a similar motherboard and working bios chip.  I replaced the corrupted bios chip, booted up into DOS.  Pulled out the working bios chip ...carefully... while the computer was still running, inserted the corrupted chip...carefully... and updated the bios.  Worked.

Be careful. Maybe you can find a similar chip?

Expert Comment

ID: 10738958
Any chance you got one of those motherboards with bios write protection jumper?

LVL 31

Expert Comment

ID: 10739046
Next chance: I've seen MB's with a jumper for a "BIOS restore" mode. You could look for one of those jumpers.

Accepted Solution

juliangkeller earned 1500 total points
ID: 10743465
When you are in the middle of a Bios flash you cannot recover from it.  You have to get a new one or send it off to get reprogrammed.  I had that happen to me a few times and nothing you do can bring it back because it erases and then writes to the bios.  When the power went out it might have been erasing and poof there it goes.  

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