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AMI BIOS problem

  1. Sep 10, 2011 #1

    AlephZero

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    I have a PC with a fairly old (about 2004 vintage) motherboard.

    When it was new I had no problems getting into the BIOS setup, but I haven't had any reason to do that for several years until recently. I don't rememeber there was any special "trick" to this, but I might have forgotten something.

    I get the front screen saying

    AMI BIOS blah blah blah
    Press F2 for setup,
    Press F11 to select boot device".

    F11 works fine and gives me the choice of booting from disk, CD-Rom etc.

    If I press F2 I get a message saying "Entering Setup...". Then nothing happens for about 30 seconds, then the messages about auto-detecting IDE drives flash past and it just boots up without showing me the setup screens.

    I still have the original motherboard manual (such as it is!) but that doesn't say anything more than "Press F2".

    I tried restoring the default BIOS settings using the jumper on the motherboard to reset them. That certainly change something (it re-enabled some devices that I had disabled years ago, and also reset the clock back to 2004) but I still can't get into the setup screens.

    FWIW, The PC had a hard disk crash a few weeks ago which may have been caused by a power surge. I wonder if that has also trashed something in the BIOS.

    The PC runs fine, apart from not being able to get to the BIOS setup.

    Any suggestiions (apart from "why not buy a new PC")?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 10, 2011 #2

    jhae2.718

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    Have you tried flashing an updated BIOS?
     
  4. Sep 10, 2011 #3

    AlephZero

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    Catch 22. From the motherboard manufacturer's BIOS download web page:

    "To determine the BIOS version of your motherboard, press <F2> to enter the BIOS setup utility during bootup, and check the BIOS version from the Main menu. Larger numbers represent a newer BIOS file."

    Yeah, but if pressing F2 did something useful I wouldn't have a problem :rolleyes:
     
  5. Sep 10, 2011 #4

    jhae2.718

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    Maybe try removing all nonessential hardware first?

    I'm mostly a software person, but it sounds like a hardware issue.
     
  6. Sep 10, 2011 #5

    rcgldr

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    Quite often, there will be a BIOS update utility that runs from your operating system. When you run the update it may check or show the current BIOS version. If you suspect the BIOS is corrupted, run the update even if it states the version is the same. However, if there's some other issue, running the update could change the BIOS settings, and if you still can't get into the BIOS menu via F2, I'm not sure how you would recover.

    For your original problem, try pressing F2 repeatedly during boot up to see if that will get you into the BIOS setup. Also, are you using a USB keyboard instead of a PS/2 keyboard? An older system's BIOS might work better with a PS/2 (round connector) type keyboard.
     
  7. Sep 10, 2011 #6

    AlephZero

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    OK, problem solved. The low-tech way to find the BIOS version was clean the dust off the motherboard and read the label on the chip.

    I downloaded the BIOS flash utility from the motherboard website, re-flashed the same version, and the menus are back.

    I guess something had screwed the code that displayed the menus, even though the functional part of the BIOS was working OK (or at least, the PC wasn't crashing).
     
  8. Sep 10, 2011 #7

    jhae2.718

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    Glad you're up and running again.
     
  9. Sep 20, 2011 #8
    I had a bios chip fail on a motherboard I needed because it was one of the last produced that had a ISA slot (kt7raid).

    A search found a place on ebay that would flash the proper bios chip with the last known available bios and send the chip to you.

    It worked.
     
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