9 Replies Latest reply on Jul 22, 2016 10:50 AM by Intel Corporation

    Last-ditch BIOS recovery

    paramountain

      If a board is unresponsive (no video, whether using on-chip graphics or a video card), there's nothing to be lost by attempting a Recovery BIOS installation in the hope that a confused BIOS can be convinced to return to the straight and narrow (this system died right after making what should have been a simple BIOS change, disabling network boot). I have two questions on that:

       

      1) Does the Recovery BIOS process proceed if a user cannot see video and/or interact with the PC?

       

      2) Does the Recovery BIOS process work with a single-step downgrade of BIOS, for example, if a board is already at the latest firmware?

       

      I'm going to try it anyway, of course.

        • 1. Re: Last-ditch BIOS recovery
          N.Scott.Pearson

          Good questions! Folks always think these but never express them. I will give my answers below, but will need to verify (at least one thing) with a BIOS engineer...

           

          1. Provided that there is a valid video solution (i.e. the BIOS can see and talk to a video BIOS; whether on-board or add-in), it should proceed - whether that video solution is working properly or not. But, this is the answer that I am not 100% positive and need to ask the true experts.
          2. When you do a normal BIOS update, the ME owns the update of its portion of the flash IC and its update engine decides whether to install the update or not - which means it only performs upgrades (i.e. no over-install and no downgrades). When you remove the BIOS Configuration jumper, you disable the ME's update engine and the BIOS completely owns the flash IC update process including the ME portion. The BIOS can then install older versions and will forcibly install (or over-install) all updates included in the BIO package - but I believe that it will still not allow the downgrade of the ME firmware. There is a special case. Every once in a while, an architectural change in how the flash IC is used (organized) by the various firmware subsystems is rolled out. This happened when they released the firmware packages for 6 Series boards that supported 3rd Generation Core processors. In these cases, the BIOS will not support - even in recovery mode - any downgrades to versions prior to the architectural change (can't do it because it doesn't support the downgrade of the ME firmware)

           

          I will get a BIOS engineer to verify my answers...

          ...S

          • 2. Re: Last-ditch BIOS recovery
            paramountain

            I verified your last few sentences because I once tried to downgrade a DH67CL board back to SandyBridge-only BIOS, but it just ignored me. I forgot to mention that this is a DH67BL with a BIOS of 0132. I'll wait for the answer. Thanks.

            • 3. Re: Last-ditch BIOS recovery
              Intel Corporation
              This message was posted on behalf of Intel Corporation

              Hello:
               
              Thank you very much N. Scott Pearson, for all the information provided on this thread, and we will wait for additional comments from you.
               
              To paramountain, for the first question, based on the information we have, if the problem is related to the monitor and that is why you have no video, but the board is working fine, then you should be able to do the BIOS recovery, but still even if the problem is not related to the monitor and the reason why there is no video is because a BIOS update, like in this case, then I is always recommended to do a BIOS Recovery.
               
              In regard to the second question, yes, you can do a BIOS downgrade, but in this case, since this is a 6 series board DH67BL, and if you are using a 3rd generation processor, a BIOS update was needed to make it work, and if the BIOS version that you installed is higher than 0098, like in this case 0132, you cannot go back on a version lower than 0098, however you should be able to go back to 0125, 0122, and you can even try versions 0119, 0110, 0105.
               
              On the following link you will see all the BIOS versions for your board:
               
              https://downloadcenter.intel.com/product/50098/Intel-Desktop-Board-DH67BL
               
              Any questions, please let me know.
               
              Alberto
               

              • 4. Re: Last-ditch BIOS recovery
                N.Scott.Pearson

                The BIOS engineer that I talked to confirmed my answers. Some additional (collaborative) notes:

                 

                1. If the system is hanging because of ME firmware issues (corruption or otherwise), the recovery process will allow you to fix this issue because, in this case, the BIOS performs the firmware update, not the ME (which is, in this case, probably not running properly). There's a "but", of course - since the ME is responsible for some of the system initialization, if it is not running properly, there is a chance that the environment that the BIOS is required to run in may cause the BIOS to not run properly either.
                2. As a general (but absolute) rule, neither the ME (during the standard update process) nor the BIOS (during the recovery process) will support the downgrade of the ME firmware. It is true that this can create problems for some people. It is possible that relatively old BIOS firmware will not work well (or even not work at all) when combined with new ME firmware and vice versa. If the ME firmware cannot be downgraded and you use the recovery process to downgrade the BIOS, you may be creating a problem or making the exiting problem worse. This is why it is never recommended to make big jumps in BIOS updates (for example, from BIOS 20 to, say, BIOS 115) and it is recommended that you update to the latest BIOS in incremental steps.

                 

                He had one alternative suggestion for the original problem (I went "duh, of course" when I read it) - try putting the BIOS Configuration jumper in the 2-3 position. This supports booting in Maintenance Mode and will get you past some types of hangs. If this works, it is strongly recommended that you first use F9 to reset the entire BIOS configuration to defaults and then make any necessary changes for your hardware (boot) configuration.

                 

                ...S

                • 5. Re: Last-ditch BIOS recovery
                  Intel Corporation
                  This message was posted on behalf of Intel Corporation

                  Hello:
                   
                  Thank you very much to N.Scott.Pearson for all the support and information provided on this thread.
                   
                  To paramountain, I hope the information on this thread was useful for you.
                   
                  Any questions, please let me know.
                   
                  Alberto  
                   

                  • 6. Re: Last-ditch BIOS recovery
                    paramountain

                    Thanks for the detailed response. I'll go back to playing with it.

                    • 7. Re: Last-ditch BIOS recovery
                      Intel Corporation
                      This message was posted on behalf of Intel Corporation

                      Hello paramountain:
                       
                      Perfect, a BIOS recovery should work just fine, in order to fix the problem with the PC.
                       
                      Once you do that, please let us know the results.
                       
                      Any questions, please let me know.
                       
                      Alberto
                       

                      • 8. Re: Last-ditch BIOS recovery
                        paramountain

                        I breadboarded the motherboard, making sure both power connectors were attached, one known-good stick of memory was installed, everything was resting on a non-conductive surface, yada, yada. The power LED was lighted on the board, but nothing happened when I pressed the power switch, neither a spin of the CPU fan nor a beep. I tried BIOS recovery anyway, but nothing happened. The board is dead.

                        • 9. Re: Last-ditch BIOS recovery
                          Intel Corporation
                          This message was posted on behalf of Intel Corporation

                          Hello paramountain:
                           
                          Thank you very much for that information.
                           
                          I am sorry to hear that the board is still not working.
                           
                          You have 3 years of warranty on the board from the date of purchase.
                           
                          So, if you purchased the board less than 3 years ago, we can always replace it for you.
                           
                          In order to do that, please get in contact directly with us through chat, email, online support or phone support, you just need to select boards on product type and you will get those options:
                           
                          http://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/support/contact-support.html#@12
                           
                          Any questions, please let me know.
                           
                          Alberto