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Award Bootblock - Can not find BIOS image in Hard Drive

Mainboards - Gigabyte

 
 
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Unread 08-11-2007, 10:38 AM   #1
Robusie
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Award Bootblock - Can not find BIOS image in Hard Drive

GIGABYTE GA-8IPE1000-L (rev 2) Socket 478 Motherboard won't post.

My analysis is that the BIOS is corrupt and it is looking for a backup
copy on a hidden partition of the hard drive, (Gigabyte "feature").
Problem is that when this feature activates - board won't look
anywhere else for BIOS.

Can't flash the BIOS at all. All it will do is Post to the BootBlock
screen.

Gigabyte website states that the BIOS should look for an image on the
CD drive if a working copy is not found on the Hard Drive. http://
http://www.gigabyte.com.tw/FileList/...board_newtech/
article_04_bios_explained.htm

Here's where I am wondering if anyone can help. Does anyone know of a
way around this? Is there a hidden command, like F8, that could make
it look for the floppy, or is there a way to create an image on a
blank IDE drive?

I have asked this of Gigabyte tech support. Don't know when or if they
will decide to answer.


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Unread 08-11-2007, 10:38 AM   #2
fondue
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Re: Award Bootblock - Can not find BIOS image in Hard Drive


"Robusie" <robusie@optonline.net> wrote in message
news:1170861182.674537.225940@j27g2000cwj.googlegr oups.com...
> GIGABYTE GA-8IPE1000-L (rev 2) Socket 478 Motherboard won't post.
>
> My analysis is that the BIOS is corrupt and it is looking for a backup
> copy on a hidden partition of the hard drive, (Gigabyte "feature").
> Problem is that when this feature activates - board won't look
> anywhere else for BIOS.
>
> Can't flash the BIOS at all. All it will do is Post to the BootBlock
> screen.
>
> Gigabyte website states that the BIOS should look for an image on the
> CD drive if a working copy is not found on the Hard Drive. http://
> http://www.gigabyte.com.tw/FileList/...board_newtech/
> article_04_bios_explained.htm
>
> Here's where I am wondering if anyone can help. Does anyone know of a
> way around this? Is there a hidden command, like F8, that could make
> it look for the floppy, or is there a way to create an image on a
> blank IDE drive?


Is it that difficult for you to get access to a cd burner?

Try putting the disc that came with the board into the CD drive. There may
be an earlier BIOS image on it that can be used.

If the machine won't boot into a DOS environment, then you would need to
connect the HDD into another PC to copy any files onto it. You could do this
with an external enclosure instead of opening the other PC.

From a quick read of X-press recovery the hidden partition is created by the
motherboard to store a backup of the BIOS. Simply copying a BIOS image onto
the HDD may not suffice.

Do you happen to have the old HDD that came out of the PC before? This most
likely would have the backup BIOS on it, unless you deleted the hidden
partition.

Not related but...

When posting long URLs
http://www.gigabyte.com.tw/FileList/..._explained.htm
will (probably)wrap and be cut off.
http://www.gigabyte.com.tw/FileList/..._explained.htm
should work properly. Use arrows, i.e. <paste URL here> so long URLs will
function properly in your posts.

HTH.






 
Unread 08-11-2007, 10:38 AM   #3
Robusie
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Re: Award Bootblock - Can not find BIOS image in Hard Drive

I do not have the original drive, so interenal or external connestion
is not an option. Nor will the machine boot from the CD, as the URL I
posted indicated. I do not have the original CD, so tried a burn with
just the BIOS files as well as burning a DOS boot disk with the
AWDFLASH.exe in the autoexec. The MB simply was not taking anything
from the CD drive.

Other forums have confirmed that putting a copy of the BIOS on a blank
hard drive, (say FAT32 or NTFS) will not work. The Gigabyte BIOS
writes its settings so early on in the boot process that it is
probably not a true partition, but some reserved space at the end of
the drive. I doubt that I would have success in finding another user
that could send me an image of a bootable hard drive, but I posted
here anyway. I had hoped that Gigabyte tech support would be able to
send me something, but is has been 5 working days now and I haven't
had any response at all from Gigabyte. If this is typical of their
tech support, I don't think that I will ever be using or recommending
their products again. I am tempted to flame them, creating a
problematic "special feature" in the BIOS and then proving no support
whatsoever.



 
Unread 08-11-2007, 10:38 AM   #4
fondue
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Posts: n/a
Re: Award Bootblock - Can not find BIOS image in Hard Drive

No OS boot disk will work, since the BIOS is corrupted, but according one of
the scenarios listed on the URL you posted, the BIOS will check the CDROM
for a BIOS if it can't find one on the HDD.

The CD doesn't need to be bootable, or have awdflash.

What kind of BIOS do you have dual or quad.

If the BIOS is socketed you might need to send it of for re-flashing, or do
a hot swap or something.

You'd be in the same boat with any other mobo I think. How successful this
system is would be measured by the number of times Gigabyte wasn't contacted
over a corrupted BIOS.

Just out of curiosity, when did the BIOS become corrupted.

"Robusie" <robusie@optonline.net> wrote in message
news:1171030294.552434.211050@j27g2000cwj.googlegr oups.com...
>I do not have the original drive, so interenal or external connestion
> is not an option. Nor will the machine boot from the CD, as the URL I
> posted indicated. I do not have the original CD, so tried a burn with
> just the BIOS files as well as burning a DOS boot disk with the
> AWDFLASH.exe in the autoexec. The MB simply was not taking anything
> from the CD drive.
>


<snip>


 
Unread 08-11-2007, 10:38 AM   #5
Robusie
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Posts: n/a
Re: Award Bootblock - Can not find BIOS image in Hard Drive

Dual BIOS - Chip soldered to the board. Don't know how long it has
been corrupt - trying to help out a friend.

I disagree that any other MB would have me in the same boat. The
Bootblock sector is not corrupt. It is coded to go the hard drive to
look for an image rather than allowing the option of Boot to DOS. I
have saved boards before by forcing a boot to AWDFLASH.exe from the
floppy.

The image on CD drive that they mention as last option has either been
disabled or removed from my version of the BIOS.

Engineering wise - backup BIOS it is a nice feature, but why not have
a switch (/p or F8) or some other option to force a DOS boot?

And worst of all is that switch may exist - but I can get any response
from Gigabyte.


 
Unread 08-11-2007, 10:38 AM   #6
fondue
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Posts: n/a
Re: Award Bootblock - Can not find BIOS image in Hard Drive


"Robusie" <robusie@optonline.net> wrote in message
news:1171210060.806927.216010@m58g2000cwm.googlegr oups.com...
> Dual BIOS - Chip soldered to the board. Don't know how long it has
> been corrupt - trying to help out a friend.


From reading the blurb the restoration of the corrupt BIOS is meant to be
seamless, so I was just wondering if someone had a damaged CMOS, and the
BIOS was restored on each boot, how would they know the main BIOS was
damaged before they replaced the HDD.

>
> I disagree that any other MB would have me in the same boat. The
> Bootblock sector is not corrupt. It is coded to go the hard drive to
> look for an image rather than allowing the option of Boot to DOS. I
> have saved boards before by forcing a boot to AWDFLASH.exe from the
> floppy.
>
> The image on CD drive that they mention as last option has either been
> disabled or removed from my version of the BIOS.
>
> Engineering wise - backup BIOS it is a nice feature, but why not have
> a switch (/p or F8) or some other option to force a DOS boot?


It would seem to me if you can force a boot to an OS, like DOS, there would
be no problem..
>


I assume you've tried Q-Flash, re-setting CMOS ect?


 
Unread 08-11-2007, 10:38 AM   #7
ribes
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Re: Award Bootblock - Can not find BIOS image in Hard Drive

I've got the same problem. I'll be interested to hear if Gigabyte
comes back with anything. So far I'm concluding that I'll have to
reverse engineer the latest bios image on my MB to find out what it's
looking for and how to construct it on an ide flash drive adapter.

Everywhere I've googled people have just thrown up their hands and
bought a new mobo.

A fellow out there wrote an interesting paper on award bios. Here's
his website http://www.geocities.com/mamanzip/. Might be a clue
there.

 
Unread 08-11-2007, 10:39 AM   #8
Robusie
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Posts: n/a
Re: Award Bootblock - Can not find BIOS image in Hard Drive

Still no word from Gigabyte, total pain in the ___. You can not just e-
mail tech support, you have to fill out this form with like 30
questions, and then they don't respond. No acknowledgement, no message
stating they have discontinued support for that product, nothing. I
was also hoping that somebody from the company might occaisionally
monitor these boards to glean feedback and such, but apparently not.

I have bought an ASUS board and will no longer deal with Gigabyte.

 
Unread 08-11-2007, 10:39 AM   #9
ribes
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Re: Award Bootblock - Can not find BIOS image in Hard Drive

I'm deep into trying to understand a disassembly of the award bios on
this gigabyte board, a GA-81848P-L. Call me crazy but I'm learning a
lot and I just don't need another $100 bill for another mobo and
processor (yeah socket 478 boards are getting scarce).

I've found the bootblock code but it's slow going trying to understand
it. I see the strings that appear on the screen but no code seems to
reference them. It's very odd. Right now I've found the write to
screen routines and I'm going to try to work backward.

Assembly is really dense. So much bit-twiddling to accomplish the
simplest things.

 
Unread 08-11-2007, 10:39 AM   #10
ribes
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Posts: n/a
Re: Award Bootblock - Can not find BIOS image in Hard Drive

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It appears this russian hacker called mikkey figured it out.

Here's the details with a lot of source code listings:

http://forum.rom.by/viewtopic.php?p=86823&highlight=

This brings me a lot further along. Now the trick is to write a
program to store a bios image on a hard drive in the "hidden
sector" so it can be "recovered".


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