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BIOS update needed

Posted on 2008-06-13
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Last Modified: 2008-06-27
I need to update the bios for a Matsonic 9377C+ motherboard.  The existing bios, dated 4-9-04, will not allow installation of Windows XP.  A later version dated 9-29-04 does not even allow the system to boot into Windows.  There are many websites which advertise free downloads of a more recent driver, such as version 1.6, but the download links lead to a dead page.  The Matsonic website does not post a driver, nor is there contact info for customer service.
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Question by:ddantes
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by:PUNKY
PUNKY earned 45 total points
ID: 21783736
If the matsonic has not provided the new bios for update, then you have to live with current system. Flashing bios is danger, you could make the motherboard becomes paperweight!

What is really problem that preventing you to install XP?
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by:ddantes
ID: 21783852
During the "preparing to install Windows XP" phase of setup, the system hangs.  

Matsonic has produced bios updates since the version on my system, which is dated April 2004.  However, I cannot find a working link to these updates.
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by:PUNKY
ID: 21783875
Matsonic website have bios for download for you have to pay (what the heck!), it should be free:
http://www.matsonic.com/drivers/view.php?modelID=MS9337C

Not sure it is up-to-date bios.

Back to installation, did you try other XP CD?
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by:ddantes
ID: 21783924
Thank you for your comment.  That link is for MS9337C, but the model I need is MS9377C (numbers are similar but not the same).   Good idea to try a different XP CD, although the one I used worked fine on two other systems.
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by:PUNKY
ID: 21783969
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by:ddantes
ID: 21784326
Punky:  Thank you for your comment.  I haven't found an update among the links you posted.
    The first link is to a page on the Matsonic website which provides detailed specifications for the MS9377C+ motherboard, but no link for a bios update.
    The second and third links point to an older bios version (Dec. 2003, and my current version is April 2004).
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by:Mark
ID: 21784842
ddantes-->why do you think the BIOS is at odds with the installation. If that is the case it may be an ACPI issue and the right HAL(hardware abstraction layer) isn't being used. Try using a STANDARD hal by using this method below.

This is an excerpt from this page http://www.theeldergeek.com/clean_installation_of_windows_xp.htm

 "The Role of the F5 Key and Shutdown Problems

When I first put this page together I meant to include this information. Unfortunately it totally slipped my mind. One of the hazards of being an Elder(ly) Geek, but better late than never. Thanks to reader Glen M. for jogging my memory.

When XP is first installed it tries to determine what type of BIOS is available on the computer. Newer systems have what is known as Advanced Configuration and Power Interface (ACPI) capability. Unfortunately, XP doesn't always recognize a computer BIOS is ACPI capable and doesn't install the support for ACPI. Even more unfortunate is the fact that if ACPI support isn't determined at the initial install it's virtually impossible to correct this at a later time short of reinstalling XP over the top of the previous XP installation. To do so requires changing the Hardware Abstraction Layer (HAL). The chances of successfully changing a HAL after XP has been installed is pretty close to zilch.

Once you drop the CD in the tray and fire up the computer to install XP, the first thing you'll see at the bottom of the screen is the option to press F6 if you need to install a SCSI or RAID controller. Don't press F6. Press F5 instead. This will take you to a separate menu of Hardware Abstraction Layer's where you can choose an appropriate HAL that supports ACPI. The choices will be:

    *

      ACPI Multiprocessor PC
    *

      ACPI Uniprocessor PC
    *

      Advanced Configuration and Power Interface (ACPI) PC
    *

      Compaq SystemPro Multiprocessor or 100% Compatible PC
    *

      MPS Uniprocessor PC
    *

      MPS Multiprocessor PC
    *

      Standard PC
    *

      Standard PC with C-Step i486
    *

      Other

In the majority of installations the 'Advanced Configuration and Power Interface (ACPI) PC' HAL is the one you will want to use. A few cautions are also in order:

    *

      Obtain and install the latest BIOS for your motherboard before you begin the XP installation.
    *

      Equally as important as using the proper HAL on ACPI capable systems, is NOT using it on systems that are not ACPI compatible. The install may complete but the system will almost surely fail to start when it reboots.
    *

      There are situations where it is definitely not desirable to use an ACPI HAL even if it is supported by the BIOS. This predominately applies to servers, but to ensure that an ACPI HAL will not be used or automatically detected and used, press F7 instead of F5 as discussed previously.

Considering the number of problems that users have with systems not shutting down completely I wonder why this feature is not prominently mentioned and documented. It could save many headaches, but now you know. A good piece of knowledge to have tucked away for your next XP install.

As a final note, to determine if your computer was detected as being ACPI enabled:

Right click My Computer then click Properties > Hardware > Device Manager.
Expand the entry called Computer.

If the entry is 'Advanced Configuration and Power Interface (ACPI) PC' you're all set. If it says 'Standard PC' the computer BIOS was not detected as being ACPI capable.
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Author Comment

by:ddantes
ID: 21786158
Sparkmaker:  thank you for your comment.  I suspect the Bios is conflicting with Windows XP because installation (upgrading from Windows 2000 Pro SP-4) repeatedly hangs during the "preparing to install" phase of setup.  The installation CD worked in other systems which were being similarly upgraded, but had different motherboards. Under Windows 2000 Device Manager the Computer is identified as an ACPI Multiprocessor PC.
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by:Mark
ID: 21786371
Is this an upgrade install or a clean install?
If it's a clean install, I would still try theF5 method and install a standard HAL to make sure  ACPI isn't the culprit.
If this is an upgrade install then there is the possibility that hardware incompatibility may be the cause. Did you run the XP compatibility tool when you had win 2000 in that PC?
Perhaps you should strip it down to the bare components, video card, hard drive, one stick of ram and try the install.
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by:ddantes
ID: 21786393
This is an upgrade from Windows 2000 Professional SP-4.  I ran the system compatibility check before attempting the upgrade, and there were no hardware conflicts.  I have tried two different installation CDs, with similar results.
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by:Mark
ID: 21786595
Can you pull that hard drive and try a clean install to another drive just so you can narrow down where the issue may be. Other than an ACPI issue, I can't think of any reason a BIOS would be incompatible with XP.
More likely an issue with the upgrade IMHO. Have you turned off anti virus, firewall and any non essential programs that may be running in the background before starting the upgrade?
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by:PUNKY
ID: 21786616
The installation halts at sometime (9 mins, prepare to ..., 34 mins) could be a bad memory, video card, hyperthread function enable in bios, or even motherboard has issue such as bad cap. Try minimum hardware install on system and try install OS again.
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by:ddantes
ID: 21786742
Thank you for your suggestions.  I removed all hardware except hard drive, CD ROM and AGP graphics card.  Tried an upgrade and it failed.  Tried a fresh install and it failed also.  I would like to pursue my original question regarding locating an upgraded version of bios for this mortherboard.
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by:Mark
ID: 21786874
Did you try a fresh install with the F5 method and using a standard HAL.
 I don't think you are going to find an update for the BIOS as the Matsonic page mentioned going to the BIOS vendor for all BIOS files, all they have for download are the flash utilities. What i the BIOS manufacturer for this board.
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Mark earned 80 total points
ID: 21787049
Just a thought. The Matsonic boards are actually one of a group of cloned motherboards that come from PCchips.
The Matsonic site actually said to go to the BIOS manufacturer to get updates. Try this link for a scanning tool that will tell you if there is an AWARD,AMI, or Phoenix  BIOS update for your motherboard.
http://scan.esupport.com/?r=29
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by:ddantes
ID: 21787134
I didn't try a fresh install using F5 and a standard HAL.  Thank you for the link to a driver/bios scannng tool.  I subscribed to the driver and bios update service and am awaiting a subscription number and download instructions.  I will post back when I know whether an updated bios version was provided.
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by:ddantes
ID: 21787622
While awaiting feedback from eSupport regarding bios update, here is some more info:  The bios is produced by American Megatrends, the motherboard may have been manufactured by ECS but cloned by Matsonic.  The installed bios ID is 62-0100-001131-00101111-090904-SIS648FX-MS9377C.
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by:ddantes
ID: 21806280
I heard back from eSupport, and the motherboard manufacturer has not released a bios revision later than Sept. 9, 2004.   Thank you for your efforts, and I will request deletion of this question.
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by:Mark
ID: 21807751
Actually PUNKY stated-->" If the matsonic has not provided the new bios for update, then you have to live with current system." which is essentially the correct answer.
Did you attempt the F5 method for installing a standard HAL?
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by:ddantes
ID: 21808273
I didn't use the F5 method, perhaps because I misunderstood your directions.  I thought if Device Manager reported an ACPI-compliant computer, the F5 method was a moot point.  As far as Punky's comment is concerned, I am uncertain whether it merits points because it appears to state the obvious.
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by:Mark
ID: 21813462
Sorry , but I do not mean to be argumentative.
Time has been spent, and answers have been given that do merit a second look.
 http://www.experts-exchange.com/help.jsp#hi96
 In that case,my answer with a link to the esupport page provided the proof, or merit, that there is no updated BIOS for this board, could be considered as a correct answer.
Also, the F5 method not being attempted gives pause, as it doesn't address the possible issue of ACPI problems with the BIOS. Whether the boards BIOS has been seen as ACPI compliant by win2000 doesn't mean XP will view it the same way. At least if it was tried and still didn't work then I would consider the BIOS not to be the problem, but a different piece of hardware. Perhaps disabling onboard components through the BIOS such as sound, network, raid if available, can alliviate the issue. Most times when the install stops at the "Preparing to install" stage it's a driver problem, or the hardware that that XP is trying to enumerate is faulty.

If you have lost interest past a BIOS update, so be it, but I believe a correct answer has been given.
If you are interested in pursuing it further, I am more than willing.
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Author Comment

by:ddantes
ID: 21817441
Thank you for your additional comment, and it is not my intention to delete this question prematurely, or without appropriate recognition of contributions.  The lack of an attempt at the F5 method was unrelated to loss of interest, but was a function of my misunderstanding.  Prior to your last explanation, I thought the Bios recognition of ACPI under Windows 2000 made the issue moot.

 With your further encouragment, I implemented the F5 method.  There were only two choices:  "Standard Computer with C-step i486" and "Other".  Selecting "Other" led to a screen requiring insertion of a manufacturer specification floppy disc.  I do not have one.  Selecting "Standard Computer" led to Setup entering the "Preparing Installation" phase, and the system rebooted before the phase was complete.  On restarting Setup,  a screen appeared asking whether to retry upgrading.  Retrying led to a disc scan, reboot, and restart of "Preparing Installation".  This process repeated itself with another premature reboot...

As a test, I performed a successful fresh install of Windows XP on the partition which I am attempting to upgrade.  This may eliminate some possibilities regarding the cause of the difficulty.  The goal is still an upgrade, due to the amount of software which is currently installed and functioning under Windows 2000 (with no hardware malfunction).

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by:Mark
ID: 21818388
The choices in the F5 method only show those 2 you mentioned, it isn't obvious on the page but, others can be seen if you scroll through the choices. I can't remember the keystroke to use for scrolling on that menu but the "standard PC" choice is just above( and out of sight of) the "Standard Computer with C-step i486".

When you say a fresh XP was installed on the partition you are trying to upgrade, by what method was this accomplished. Also what type of hard drive are you installing to, SATA or IDE?
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by:ddantes
ID: 21818583
Thank you for letting me know the F5 choices can be scrolled.  I will try to find "standard PC."
The hard drive is IDE.  XP was installed using a slipstreamed CD with SP-3 as a "fresh install."
All hardware works under Windows XP.  Some devices required driver updates, but no crash occurred during installation of those devices.
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by:ddantes
ID: 21818708
The "Standard PC" option was found by using the "up" arrow after pressing F5.  However, the behavior of the system was identical to that described above when "Standard Computer with C-step i486" was selected.
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Author Comment

by:ddantes
ID: 21818737
Incidentally, after a failed upgrade, an automatic chkdsk is run, and it sometimes reports up to six hundred corrupted system files.  In that case, attempting to restart the upgrade results in a message that "Setup cannot locate the windows installation you wish to upgrade."
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by:Mark
ID: 21826811
Will this computer still boot to the old win2000 OS?
What with the F5 method failing,(shows that it's not an ACPI issue) but a fresh install to the partition works(did it show an ACPI compliant PC in device manager), I have to say the upgrade path looks quite bleak.
Upgrades from one OS to another can have the most problematic issues of all installs.
You had previously tried a fresh install that failed, what did you do different that the second fresh install worked?
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by:ddantes
ID: 21827884
The old Windows 2000 still boots.  The fresh install of WinXP is apparently damaged now and will not boot.  I am attempting to repair it.
    As to why the fresh install failed one time and succeeded another time, I don't understand what was different the second time.
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by:ddantes
ID: 21836123
I ran memtest all night, and it reported six errors while testing 100% of free memory.  Is this significant enough to warrant replacing memory and attempting the upgrade again?
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by:Mark
ID: 21836631
Any error reported in memtest would be cause to replace the ram.
You can also verify by using the windows memory diagnostic as well.
http://oca.microsoft.com/en/windiag.asp
It could certainly create the corruption of that fresh install that worked at first and then didn't.
Was there any indication in  win2000 of problems? Application installs that wouldn't work, file corruption of any kind?
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Author Comment

by:ddantes
ID: 21838340
Under Windows 2000 there were occasional unexplained lock-ups or spontaneous reboots.  This was unusual, so I wasn't motivated to investigate.  I have replaced the RAM with a module which had no errors running Memtest overnight, and will post again after attempting the upgrade.
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Author Comment

by:ddantes
ID: 21839218
Upgrade failed in the same way, using a memory module with no reported errors.
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