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[ The PC Guide | Troubleshooting and Repair Guide | The Troubleshooting Expert | Troubleshooting Specific Components | Troubleshooting the Motherboard and System Devices | System BIOS ]

I flashed my BIOS, and now the system is dead!

Explanation: The system BIOS is the key piece of software responsible for booting your PC. Incorrectly flashing it will often cause the PC to fail to boot.

Diagnosis: The cause is usually flashing the wrong BIOS image file into the BIOS chip. This happens more often than you'd think, since most flash programs are not intelligent and will allow you to program the wrong BIOS code into the chip. The BIOS corruption can also result from an error or interruption during any BIOS flashing procedure. Finally, some new viruses can corrupt the system BIOS.

Recommendation:

  • Some newer PCs come with a boot block feature that enables them to recover from a corrupted BIOS situation. If the BIOS code is whacked, a tiny built-in program will look on the floppy drive for the appropriate files to reload the BIOS. You should contact the manufacturer for instructions.
  • You can usually purchase a replacement BIOS chip from the motherboard (not BIOS) manufacturer. Physically replacing the chip with another that has the right code will solve the problem.
  • See this section of Wim's BIOS FAQ for other ideas on how to recover from this situation. Warning: Some of the procedures described on Wim's page are not for the faint of heart, especially hot-swapping BIOS chips, which has the (low, but non-zero) potential to cause injury or damage.

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