Enabling Legacy USB Support without logging into BIOS

Posted on 2010-09-22
Last Modified: 2012-06-21
I work for a company that support the new HP Photosmart Instant Print systems. We are having to perform software upgrades and before we start, we have to use a PS/2 Keyboard and login to the BIOS to enable Legacy USB Supprt. The whole process is time consuming and I am trying to save a little time.

Is there a way to enable Legacy USB Support without rebooting the PC and logging into the BIOS settings?
Question by:risaacs76
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Accepted Solution

garycase earned 500 total points
ID: 33741085
Unfortunately the answer is simple:   No.

... it IS possible, but would require a custom-programmed utility that "knew" the BIOS structure and could modify the BIOS settings for USB support -- and the system would still require a reboot after this utility was run.     For all practical purposes, the answer is simply No.

Expert Comment

ID: 33741093
Sometimes, depending on the hardware, you can download a software utility.  But, this is entirely dependent on the maker of the motherboard.  There is no clear cut solution.  What motherboard are you dealing with?

Expert Comment

ID: 33742254
Al major BIOS settings are written in the CMOS memory. The structure of the CMOS memory strictly depends on the PC model. As long as your PCs are all of the same brand model (doesn't matter memory or disk size, just mainboard is important) you can do something like this:
1) take 1 PC and change the BIOS settings as you like (you'll need Ps/2 keyboard, but just for this one PC)
2) download a CMOS save/restore utility. There're many for free. I suggest (and show examples later for) CMOSsave/CMOSrest from (just select Download and search for CMOSsave/CMOSrest). Unzip in a folder.
3) Insert a floppy disk and format it as a boot disk (You'll have then a DOS on it). If your PCs have no floppy drive, then you'll need to create a bootable USB pendrive or CD. I'll not explain this process.
4) Open a Command prompt, go to the utility folder and run:
cmossave a:\cmos.sav
5) copy on the root of A:
6) delete A:\CONFIG.SYS and replace the content of A:\AUTOEXEC.BAT with the following:

Now you can use your floppy on the other PCs in this way:
1) insert the floppy
2) reboot the PC
3) wait for the DOS prompt and then remove the floppy
4) press reset button to return to Windows.
Still takes some manuality, but you don't need to connect Ps/2 keyboard and navigate the BIOS screens to change the option.

Consider that some manufaturers, for some professional models of PC, may have network utilities to change some BIOS settings remotely. You need to check your vendor about this, there's no standard.
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Expert Comment

ID: 33743089
@mpiceni I'll give you credit for posting a different solution, but that is not the one I would recommend.  You should only do bios updates when you have to.  It's too easy to mess up.  Furthermore, booting up off of the floppy isn't going to be any faster than going into bios.

Expert Comment

ID: 33743860
My solution definitely doesn't update BIOS, just change CMOS settings.
Booting from floppy is just the easy option. If you have a strongly managed network, you'd probably be able to boot from network all the PC at a time and do the whole job in few minutes regardless the number of PCs. Anyway, setting up a network boot environment goes beyond the ourpose of this question.

Expert Comment

ID: 33762243
@mpiceni Point taken on the cmos vs bios.  Technically, the user is not changing the bios, but the cmos.  This does seem like a more complicated solution and relies on consistent hardware.  The network boot is a nice touch, but unless the computers are already configured for it, you are still in the same boat of configuring the cmos first.  Interesting solution.  Cheers.

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