Tuesday, November 10, 2015

How I fixed my corrupted BIOS chip by Hot Swapping

Read my previous post HERE to know other available methods to re-flash a corrupted BIOS.

When my motherboard's bios chip got corrupted I used this technique to fix it. And it worked flawlessly. To make it work 100% successfully you need to make sure you have access to another PC with the exact same motherboard model. Luckily I have a friend who had the exact same motherboard.  And make sure it has a socketed BIOS chip (not soldered in to the board).

What you have to do is boot the working PC into DOS , and swap the corrupted BIOS chip with the working chip while PC is still up and running and perform the BIOS update.

BIOS chip looks like this

WARNING:  Hot-Swappingis not for everyone. This is a risky method and you will end up corrupting other working BIOS as well. If you are planning to do this, try this at your own risk.

My motherboard was a Foxconn. I dowloaded latest BIOS update from their website. This BIOS update file comes with an executable MS-DOS program which can be used to easily update the BIOS.

I used my usb flash drive and made it a bootable DOS drive. This can be easily done with Rufus tool.
Then copied the BIOS updated to the usb drive.

Then I booted my friend PC into DOS using this usb stick. While PC is still ON and running DOS , I removed the working BIOS chip.  Before I did this, I had to loosen the chip from it's socket first. Loosened as much as possible until it merely touched the socket. Otherwise it would've been harder to remove the chip while PCs running and I might have ended up short circuit something.

Then I plugged my corrupted chip to the socket of the running PC and performed the BIOS update by executing the dos program. It was an award BIOS and it's BIOS-update file set came with an autoexec.bat file which contained all the required commands. All I had to do was run this autoexec.bat file. If you like to manually input commands HERE's a good guide on how to do that with Award BIOS and AMI BIOS.

Then updated was successful, and I turned off the PC. Removed my BIOS chip from the socket and plugged back my friends chip in to the socket. Then later I plugged my flashed BIOS into my previously dead motherboard and boom! It worked flawlessly!! PC turned on like nothing ever happened!

 This may work with different motherboards if the chip is exactly same. For e.g. my chip number was MX 25L8005PC.  Once I tried to flash this with a different motherboard that had a different chip as well (MX 25L4****) and it didn't work. However it might work if the chip number is same.

Make sure to use YOUR motherboard's BIOS-update files, when updating YOUR chip even with a different motherboard model.

Why does this work?

When PC is booted and running POST module is no longer used it's possible to even remove your BIOS chip and still run the PC until another restart. This makes us to use this opportunity to re flash a corrupted BIOS using a PC with a working BIOS.


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