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Compaq SR1710NX Motherboard + A8AE-LE (AmberineM) = LOCKED BIOS

I usually build all my computers, but I couldn't passup a deal on a Compaq sr1710nx for next to nothing (after rebates/coupons/etc...).

Now I relize why I don't buy and only build... the motherboard this computer came with has been Locked and Limited (I assume to keep newb users from frying there components).

Apparently the Motherboard is a "A8AE-LE (AmberineM)" and here is a link to it's Spec's and Diagrams:
http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/document?x=5&dlc=en&lc=en&product=1817035&lang=en&cc=us&y=5&docname=c00496280

After making an adjustment to the bios:
Boot-time Diagnostic Screen -> Enabled (comes defaulted to disabled so you can see the gay "Compaq Screen")

I noticed something...
"System Bios Shadow Status: Enabled
System Video Bios Shadow Status: Enabled"

I assume if I can somehow Disable this I'll beable to tweak it (i.e. OC'ing and adjusting voltage etc...)

I am not an OC'er, I like to keep my stuff cool, and running stable... but after I had an issue with the new memory I installed I have a feeling this default setup isn't pushing enough power to the RAM or the timing settings are off, and I'd like to adjust the settings.

Anyone know how to UN-Shadow this BIOS?
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I later learned that Shadowing has nothing to do with it...
"Shadowing the bios doesn't have anything to do with your memory problem or ability to overclock or change memory settings.
"shadowing" just means the bios instructions are copied into fast system ram instead of the computer having to access them in the slower CMOS bios memory chip."

So I guess my question is how can I unlock the BIOS on this computer so I can adjust settings???

I've tried posting this question at:
www.hardforum.com
www.wimsbios.com

To no avail. :(

Please help, I am looking for a BIOS image I can flash to this MoBo to unlock it, or at lease point me in the direction of a Forum where I can get some answers.
Thanks,
-BassKozz
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basskozz
Asked:
basskozz
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1 Solution
 
maramomCommented:
Holding F1 should get you into BIOS Setup. I'm not sure about 'locked and limited, but if it's a password that's preventing changes...here is how to bypass it:
http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/document?lc=en&cc=us&docname=c00496280&product=1817035&dlc=en&lang=en
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maramomCommented:
To clear BIOS Password:
--Unplug the power cord.
--Move the jumper labeled "CLEAR P.W" to pins 1-2.
--Wait at least 6 seconds and then return the jumper to pins 2-3.
--Plug the power cord and turn ON the computer.
--Hold down the F1 key during the startup process and enter BIOS setup to change or clear the password.
This link takes you right to it:
http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/document?lc=en&cc=us&docname=c00496280&product=1817035&dlc=en&lang=en#N1022
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basskozzAuthor Commented:
It's not the PASSWORD !!!

The BIOS is limiting access to Voltage Settings, FSB Settings, Memory Timings, ETC...
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garycaseCommented:
As you've discovered already, shadowing has nothing to do with what options you have available in terms of modifying voltages, timing, etc.   In fact, you definitely DO want shadowing enabled -- it makes a significant difference in performance.

Your BIOS does not have a password set -- since you can access the BIOS Setup (obviously, since you made a change to it) --- and I don't recommend you set one.   There are an amazing number of "how do I access my BIOS" type questions posted on this forum by folks who set a password and then weeks/months later don't remember what it was.   In any event, you certainly don't need to "clear" the BIOS password -- since there isn't one :-)

The BIOS for many OEM PC's is limited in what features it allows you to adjust.   As you've correctly surmised, this is done to keep users from making changes that may be inappropriate for the system.   Since you're not interested in overclocking, these changes should not have any impact on your use of the system -- they don't "cripple" the system in any way; they just limit it to running at the designed values of the CPU and memory.

So the problem here is not that you have a "Locked" BIOS -- the issue is simply that the BIOS for that motherboard does not allow some changes you'd like to be able to make.   Unfortunately there's nothing you do about that.   In some cases, the OEM boards are special versions of "standard" boards; but this does not appear to be the case here -- there's no equivalent Asus board.   (In those cases if you're willing to take the risk you can flash the BIOS for the standard board and get full functionality)

It sounds like your real issue - and what I'd suggest you focus on - is your comment that "... after I had an issue with the new memory I installed ..."

==>  What was that issue?    ... is it working okay now?   If you post more details on this issue, we may be able to help you resolve it.


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garycaseCommented:
You posted again while I was composing -- you obviously already realize what I said in my 2nd paragraph.

You last comment ("... limiting access to Voltage Settings, FSB Settings, Memory Timings, ...") reflects what I said above.   Does the BIOS display these items?   There MAY be a setting that you simply need to change to allow them to be modified -- look CAREFULLY at all the other areas in the BIOS.   As I noted above, many OEM BIOS's simply don't allow these to be changed; but if that's not the case here, then you probably just need to check/uncheck a box that's causing it to use standard settings.   Could be a "Use standard settings", "Advanced timing parameters", etc. box.   But I think it's very likely that the BIOS simply does not allow you to adjust these parameters.
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basskozzAuthor Commented:
garycase,

You are correct, in saying that the BIOS will NOT let me adjust these settings, I've looked all over for the option to allow me to, but it simply is not there.  So does this mean there is obsolutly NO WAY to adjust the voltage/timings/fsb/etc... ?

There is no way to adjust the bios to allow me access to this? or flash with a similar bios that will allow me ?

Thanks,
-BassKozz
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garycaseCommented:
Nothing's ever absolute -- but essentially yes, it means "NO WAY" to adjust the voltage/timings/etc.
IF you knew for sure that another Asus BIOS would work with your board, you could flash it -- BUT there is no other Asus motherboard with a similar model number (i.e. there's no "A8AE" board), so I'd be VERY reluctant to even try that.   If you flash with the wrong BIOS you will in all likelihood simply destroy the motherboard -- not something I'd try.

This restriction is not uncommon in OEM systems -- they simply don't want users modifying settings that can harm the system.   In many cases, they don't even display the values.

As I noted above, if you'll post the details on the memory issue that prompted you to post this question, perhaps we can help.  (or have you resolved that ??)

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basskozzAuthor Commented:
Thanks garycase,

As far as the memory issues go, I think it had to do with the memory and not the MoBo after all, but I wanted to try and adjust the timing settings in hopes to get the memory working.

As far as the MoBo goes, I guess I was looking for a "Ray of Hope" in flashing or obtaining a way of unlocking or adjusting these various settings (voltage,timings,etc...)...

Could someone at least point me in the direction of a forum of experts that deal with motherboard issues so I can at least try my question there?

Thanks,
-BassKozz
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garycaseCommented:
I researched this quite thoroughly for you -- there simply is not a compatible "standard" Asus model that you can safely use to flash your board.

Further, there are NO BIOS updates for your system (Here's the complete list of downloads available for it:  http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/softwareList?dlc=en&lc=en&product=1817035&lang=en&cc=us&os=228)

If you want to buy a 3rd party BIOS update, note the details of your motherboard, the maker of your BIOS (Award, Phoenix, etc.), and call these folks:  http://www.unicore.com/biosupgrades/

They sell updated and modified BIOS's that can add additional features -- typically their modifications are to incorporate 48-bit LBA support;  add support for newer processors (in the same socket);  update the video support; etc.   I doubt they'll have one to add voltage control -- but anything's possible.

In your question you said:  "... I am not an OC'er, I like to keep my stuff cool, and running stable..."
==>  Based on that, I wouldn't be concerned about the lack of ability to adjust voltage/timings/fsb etc.  The standard settings that are automatically set based on the interface with the CPU & memory will run everything at the designed specifications -- that's as "cool and ... stable" as you can get.
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basskozzAuthor Commented:
thanks GaryCase,
I appreciate all the help, and research.

With regaurds to "... I am not an OC'er, I like to keep my stuff cool, and running stable..."
I guess it's just the fact that it won't let me tinker with these settings that pisses me off the most :)

THanks again,
-BassKozz
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