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3D Spotlight : Tweaking : BIOS tweak guide

BIOS tweak guide
Last Updated on June 21, 2000 by Thomas McGuire

By modifying settings in your BIOS you can improve performance, reduce boot time, fix incompatibility problems & many other things. This guide will take you through the BIOS & how to update it, change setting to improve performance, etc. & how to overclock your system using BIOS settings too.

BIOS flashing

You should begin by updating your BIOS to the latest version. This can fix issues with certain motherboards, add more features or just improve performance. Although BIOS flashing is a little more dangerous than say, updating drivers as if you do it wrong you may need a new motherboard or BIOS chip. As a result I'd recommend that if you're happy with your PC as it is then you can probably skip this section. Given the potential risks involved with this its highly recommended you backup important data. You can find a list of motherboard manufacturers (& their BIOS updates) at Windrivers.

Your manufacturers website may also contain instructions on how to flash your BIOS. NOTE - BIOS flashing can only be completed in DOS mode & not in Windows9x/NT.

What to do

         Begin by downloading the BIOS update & a BIOS flashing utility, e.g. Award Flash utility.

         Make a bootable floppy disk (startup disk), Windows 2000 (& other) users can download one here. A standard Windows 98 bootdisk will suffice.

         Extract the files from the BIOS update & the BIOS Flashing utility & copy them onto the floppy disk (BIOS update will end with the .bin, binary file extension).

         Restart your system & boot from the floppy drive (you may need to make changes in your BIOS to do this, its also recommended that you Load BIOS defaults before doing so).

         Ensure that no memory managers are running by typing in MEM /c or MEM /d at the command prompt. If they are you may need to edit the config.sys file on the disk to remove the references to them (EMM386.EXE & HIMEM.SYS). You'll need to load up Windows to do this. Open A:\config.sys with Notepad & delete those lines. Reboot then using the bootdisk.

         Type A:\ to go into the floppy drive where you can being the Flashing process.

         Update the BIOS via the Flash utility, e.g. To use the Award Flash utility you should enter in AWDFLASH.EXE. Substitute in the appropriate filename if necessary.

         You will be asked for the file name to program, enter in the name of the *.bin file on the disk, e.g. NEW.BIN. Hit Enter to continue.

         You may be prompted to save your current BIOS. Do so at your own discretion, e.g. Save it as BACKUP.BIN.

         The BIOS update procedure will now begin. Do NOT interupt this procedure in any way. You will be told what to do & when to do it.

Reboot when prompted to finish the update. Enter the BIOS & Load BIOS defaults. Save the changes & exit. Boot Windows as usual now & once all is working fine you can start tweaking the BIOS settings.


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