1 2 Previous Next 19 Replies Latest reply on Oct 8, 2011 1:19 PM by snowshed

    BIOS update for D850GB motherboard

    snowshed
      Background

      I am reinstalling Windows XP Home on a Gateway Something.      I say something because the actual model number seems to be somewhat in dispute.  At least it's certainly confusing.

       

      The sticker on the back of the computer says ATXSTF MNT 700C.  MSINFO32  says it's an E-4600.  Gateway support is of zero help, as the computer is around 10 years old.

       

      When I install security update KD2393802 on the computer, you cannot shut the computer down using any mouse selected shutdown selection.  The computer will reboot.

       

      I've been working with MS tech support for the last 2-3 weeks.  The case is now with a support engineer and his team, and we still have not figured out the cause of the problem.  The current thought/idea is we should try a BIOS update.

       

      BIOS update question

       

      The current BIOS installed is GB85010A.15A.0046.P13.0108201551 08/20/2001.  We have downloaded GB85010A.86A_archive.zip from http://downloadcenter.intel.com/Detail_Desc.aspx?lang=eng&DwnldID=5327, which we believe is the correct file to download.  No matter which file we choose, the BIOS never seems to change or update.  When using Express Update, I get an error message that says "This program is unable to continue.  The BIOS you are attempting to update is invalid for this system".  When I attempt to update using the floppy disk method, the screen prompts indicate the BIOS update is being installed, but when you go into the BIOS or run MSINFO32 again, the BIOS has not changed.

       

      What are we missing, misunderstanding, or doing wrong?  Is it possible the currently installed BIOS is the newest that is available for this board?  How does the number "P13" and similar numbers factor in to identifying which BIOS is current?

       

       

       

      Thanks.

        • 1. Re: BIOS update for D850GB motherboard
          Flying_Kiwi

          Your motherboard being an OEM product from a large OEM will have its own OEM BIOS so any update (if available) should be obtained from the OEM. This means you'll need to get a serial number (as well as the number you already have - 700C is mentioned as a model no for this elsewhere on the internet) and go back to Gateway. Even though the computer is old, they still should have the relevant drivers and BIOS updates on their website and be willing to help you find those.

          • 2. Re: BIOS update for D850GB motherboard
            snowshed

            Hi, Flying_Kiwi

            Flying_Kiwi wrote:

             

            Your motherboard being an OEM product from a large OEM will have its own OEM BIOS so any update (if available) should be obtained from the OEM. This means you'll need to get a serial number (as well as the number you already have - 700C is mentioned as a model no for this elsewhere on the internet) and go back to Gateway. Even though the computer is old, they still should have the relevant drivers and BIOS updates on their website and be willing to help you find those.

             

            I'm not trying to sound like a smarta$$, so please don't misread what I say/write here. 

             

            This is my first time on Intel's forums, and had a couple of "crashes" before finally getting the post online.  And of course, something got omitted in version that was posted.  Go figure! 

             

            We've been down the "ask the OEM" route, to no success.  Gateway support flat told me in email they do not have the BIOS for the system.  Which, as it turns out, is BS.

             

            Your post, for whatever reason, made me think of a new search phrase for our friend Google.  That lead me to a forum post elsewhere that a link to Gateway for the BIOS update.

             

            But the date on the file leads me to believe this computer has the latest BIOS update, if there, indeed, ever was any update.

             

            Unfortunately, the Gateway page clearly states that you cannot use a Windows formatted floppy to install the update.  Why, I don't know.  The page says to use an IBM pre-formatted floppy.  Now, where am I going to buy any IBM formatted floppies, these days!  

             

            That being the case, what I'm looking for now is for information on the differences, if any, between a Windows formatted floppy, and an IBM formatted floppy.  If the only difference is the data that is written to the floppy when it's formatted, I can use a sector editor and manually create an IBM disk from a Windows disk.  Then, maybe the update will work.  ::crossing fingers::

             

            Any idea where that info may be hidden on the 'net?

            • 3. Re: BIOS update for D850GB motherboard
              Flying_Kiwi

              I think that just means don't use a Mac formatted floppy. If you believe you've been told 'BS' about  BIOS upgrades for the board, try putting in the PCs details/serial number on Gateways website and searching there yourself. I'm not familiar with their website but the Gateway website will be your way forward - forget about trying to source an update from Intels website as it won't be compatible with your hardware.

               

              Good luck!

              • 4. Re: BIOS update for D850GB motherboard
                snowshed

                Flying_Kiwi wrote:

                 

                I think that just means don't use a Mac formatted floppy. If you believe you've been told 'BS' about  BIOS upgrades for the board, try putting in the PCs details/serial number on Gateways website and searching there yourself. I'm not familiar with their website but the Gateway website will be your way forward - forget about trying to source an update from Intels website as it won't be compatible with your hardware.

                 

                Good luck!

                 

                The BS is what Gateway support told me.  Support bluntly said, in email, they don't have the BIOS.  But, in a roundabout way, I found out there is a BIOS file on their website.  I've got it downloaded, just need to know definitively what an IBM formatted disk is.  The download site for the BIOS specifically states not to use a Windows formatted diskette.

                 

                I'm going to go sign up with IBM's forums, and see if I can find out there what the true difference is.  I had a nice chat with their live help person, but she couldn't help me.

                • 5. Re: BIOS update for D850GB motherboard
                  Elemental1

                  They are saying don't use a windows formatted disk because of space restrictions. Use DOS.

                  It worries me that people flashing bios versions don't know this.

                  • 6. Re: BIOS update for D850GB motherboard
                    Flying_Kiwi

                    But a 1.4 Mb floppy is a 1.4 Mb floppy whether its formatted under DOS or Windows (that makes no difference to capacity or even how the floppy ends up).

                     

                    I think what they're referring to is do not attempt to run the BIOS flash upgrade under a Windows environment ie don't start a command prompt box from within Windows and attempt to run it from there and ensure no memory managers etc are loaded. Only run the flash upgrade from 'pure' DOS so that the process has full and unhindered access to the system hardware and resources - this is standard practice for motherboard BIOS flashing under DOS. When it comes to creating a bootable DOS disk, make sure it's just the basic DOS system files on it and not any additional things like memory managers and autoexec.bat etc.

                     

                    Does that make things any clearer Ken?

                    • 7. Re: BIOS update for D850GB motherboard
                      snowshed

                      Elemental1 wrote:

                       

                      They are saying don't use a windows formatted disk because of space restrictions. Use DOS.

                      It worries me that people flashing bios versions don't know this.

                       

                      Is this true 100% of the time?

                      • 8. Re: BIOS update for D850GB motherboard
                        snowshed

                        Flying_Kiwi wrote:

                         

                        But a 1.4 Mb floppy is a 1.4 Mb floppy whether its formatted under DOS or Windows (that makes no difference to capacity or even how the floppy ends up).

                         

                         

                        True, as long as you choose to use the standard number of tracks and sectors.  ;-)

                         

                        I think what they're referring to is do not attempt to run the BIOS flash upgrade under a Windows environment ie don't start a command prompt box from within Windows and attempt to run it from there and ensure no memory managers etc are loaded. Only run the flash upgrade from 'pure' DOS so that the process has full and unhindered access to the system hardware and resources - this is standard practice for motherboard BIOS flashing under DOS. When it comes to creating a bootable DOS disk, make sure it's just the basic DOS system files on it and not any additional things like memory managers and autoexec.bat etc.

                         

                        Does that make things any clearer Ken?

                        What I should have done at the beginning, but had my head where the sun doesn't shine, is post a link to the BIOS file download link, then you can read the instructions for yourself if you are interested.  That is totally my fault not to think to do this.

                         

                        http://support.gateway.com/support/drivers/search.asp?st=pn&param=2512808

                         

                        If you download the file and read the instructions, and actually follow the instructions, you find out that you create a bootable diskette, so there's no option to to start the process under Windows.  You boot the computer with the floppy in the drive.

                         

                        But, we are assuming, are we not, that an IBM floppy diskette is a pure DOS diskette?  If so, I can easily create one of those, just have to hook up an old Compaq Presario, boot it, then exit the shell back to DOS and format a floppy.  That's not a big deal to me, I used to create non-standard sized floppies that DOS and Windows computers would read just fine, but couldn't make similar floppies.  Know better than to throw extra crap on the floppy. 

                         

                        And I learned a long, long time ago, to never assume one thing is another.

                         

                        You may be right, the IBM floppy may just be a DOS formatted diskette.  Show me the documentation that says this. 

                        • 9. Re: BIOS update for D850GB motherboard
                          Flying_Kiwi

                          This has dragged on far to long. I've not read the readme.txt but clearly you have. It is possible to start that program under Windows or in a Windows MS-DOS session but this should not be attempted for the reasons already given. Some BIOS upgrades can run from within Windows and it does depend on which update, from who (eg Intels current 'Express' BIOS updates).

                          1. Format a new(ish) (known good) 1.44 Mb floppy using Windows 98 or older (making sure no unnecessary files are added other than those to make it bootable)

                          2. Use the flash update to do it's thing to that floppy disk and then boot from that floppy.

                          3.Wait while the BIOS update takes place.

                           

                          I've no time to argue points or show you documentation - you'll need to take that up with Gateway. So what are the results?

                          • 10. Re: BIOS update for D850GB motherboard
                            snowshed

                            Flying_Kiwi wrote:

                             

                            This has dragged on far to long.

                             

                            No offense intended, but no one is forcing you to write a reply.    But you will never find a post of mine, anywhere on the net, where I tell someone the discussion has "draggeon far to long" when the OP is looking for information/education.

                             

                            It is possible to start that program under Windows or in a Windows MS-DOS session but this should not be attempted for the reasons already given. Some BIOS upgrades can run from within Windows and it does depend on which update, from who (eg Intels current 'Express' BIOS updates).

                            Agreed.  If a person fails to read any instructions that came with the upgrade, they shouldn't be insulted when the upgrade screws things up. 

                             

                            1. Format a new(ish) (known good) 1.44 Mb floppy using Windows 98 or older (making sure no unnecessary files are added other than those to make it bootable)

                            2. Use the flash update to do it's thing to that floppy disk and then boot from that floppy.

                            3.Wait while the BIOS update takes place.

                            Very much to my chagrin, when I set up the old Compaq that has DOS 6.22 installed under the shell, I discovered that a pin from one of my monitors had broken off in the computer's port.  And not one of the outer pins, one right in the middle.    So, until I come up with a means of extracting that pin, the computer is unuseable unless I break the same pin off another monitor.  And that is not my preferred solution.  I'm guessing the pin is unused, as I don't have a failed monitor anywhere.

                             

                            I've no time to argue points or show you documentation - you'll need to take that up with Gateway.

                            Been there, done that with Gateway, their policy is one time help for a fee for legacy products.  Real user friendly, right??? 

                             

                            And as I noted at the beginning of this post, you're not obligated to write a reply. 

                             

                            So what are the results?

                            Inconclusive, I'm afraid. 

                             

                            After discovering the broken pin in the back of the Compaq, I went looking for more information on the Windows vs. IBM preformatted diskettes, and stumbled on this article:  http://www.petri.co.il/create_dos_boot_floppy_disk_in_windows_xp.htm  If the article is correct, and that's how I chose to view it, using the MS bootable floppy option does create a plain DOS bootable diskette.  And, the screenshot in the article of the finished product does closely match what I got when I created the diskette.

                             

                            I say "closely" as the first screen display I get when booting is "Starting Windows 98", and when I type "ver" at the DOS prompt, it says "Windows Millenium ?????????????".  There's some real attention to detail. 

                             

                            Followed the Gateway instructions, I copied the BIOS files to the floppy and followed the instructions in the readme file.

                             

                            When I started this project, I printed out details of the compuer using the free version of BelArc Advisor, so I had the BIOS version number when I started.  The version number of the file from Gateway is identical.  But I figured there was nothing to lose, so I updated the BIOS and all other options available to me via the file, except those that were Windows files, and with all available High Priority updates installed except KB2393802 installed, if any of those Windows files had problems, I'm confident Windows update will have installed even newer version.

                             

                            Based on the screen prompts, the BIOS installed correctly.  But with identical version numbers, who's to know?

                             

                            It seems to work sometimes.  I have a working theory, but it will take a lot of time to do adequate booting, rebooting, trying different things until I'm sure I can recreate what is happening "on demand".  That's my next step.

                             

                            My question of "What is the difference between a Windows formatted diskette from an IBM diskette" is still not conclusively answered as of yet.  Hopefully, I'll stumble on that answer eventually.

                            • 11. Re: BIOS update for D850GB motherboard
                              Flying_Kiwi

                              Ken Springer wrote:

                               

                               

                              Based on the screen prompts, the BIOS installed correctly.  But with identical version numbers, who's to know?

                               

                              It seems to work sometimes.

                              Sorry if I upset you with my response. I can assure you that's not my intention! It is very frustrating when questions are asked and suggestions provided but there's no clear indication if these have been answered or followed.

                               

                              Does the above mean it's now working fine, if so, whats with the 'sometimes' - what happens on the other occasions? If it's that the PC reboots instead of shuts down, it maybe that your power supply has developed a problem and is perhaps out of tolerance for its voltages. Some OEM provided computers (I know this definitely applied to some older Dell models but I'm unsure if your Gateway is included) had PSU connectors which looked conventional but were wired differently to the norm - meaning although a conventional PSU could be plugged in, doing so and powering up would damage the board. If you do have another PSU that you could try with this PC, check that the wire colours going into the each of the plug connector pins are the same before testing it.

                              • 12. Re: BIOS update for D850GB motherboard
                                snowshed

                                Flying_Kiwi wrote:


                                Sorry if I upset you with my response. I can assure you that's not my intention! It is very frustrating when questions are asked and suggestions provided but there's no clear indication if these have been answered or followed.

                                I should and could have been clearer, but most of your suggestions fell into the category of been there, done that, more than once. 

                                Does the above mean it's now working fine, if so, whats with the 'sometimes' - what happens on the other occasions?

                                Sometimes it shuts down, sometimes it doesn't.    What I need to do now is sit down and do detailed recordkeeping on when the computer reboots or shuts and if the security update is installed.  There is no software installed to see if anything in that arena is affected.

                                 

                                If it's that the PC reboots instead of shuts down, it maybe that your power supply has developed a problem and is perhaps out of tolerance for its voltages. Some OEM provided computers (I know this definitely applied to some older Dell models but I'm unsure if your Gateway is included) had PSU connectors which looked conventional but were wired differently to the norm - meaning although a conventional PSU could be plugged in, doing so and powering up would damage the board. If you do have another PSU that you could try with this PC, check that the wire colours going into the each of the plug connector pins are the same before testing it.

                                That's an interesting theory.  I don't think I've got a power supply large enough.

                                 

                                Thinking outside the box...  At one time, when the computer was first given to me, I installed XP Pro and did all updates, and I don't remember having this problem.  I might pull this HD out, stick in another HD, and install Pro and see what happens.

                                 

                                I might even try a different CMOS battery.  That doesn't make any sense AFAIK, but there's nothing to lose, and it's easy to do.

                                 

                                But, I'm afraid I can't get to it until Friday at  the earliest.    But I will post the results.

                                • 13. Re: BIOS update for D850GB motherboard
                                  snowshed

                                  Good Moring, Flying_Kiwi,

                                   

                                  There's an inherent problem with starting to find an answer to Question A (IBM formatted diskettes) and then discussing the overarching Question B (computer won't shut down), you tend to forget strange happenings! 

                                   

                                  As for the strange happenings, I'd discovered, that with the security update installed, if the computer is disconnected from the internet, as if you unplugged the ethernet cable, the computer will shut down every time.  Go figure.

                                   

                                  Had chance to multitask some testing today while visiting with a friend online (Yahoo Messenger).

                                   

                                  Yes,  it does shut off intermittently with the security update installed since the (hopefully successful) BIOS install.   Based soley on phsyical observation of watching the computer, after  switching out the original CMOS battery with one I had salvaged from  another computer, it "appeared" or "felt like" it shut down more often.   So I'm going to buy a new CMOS battery on the next trip to town and see  what happens.

                                  • 14. Re: BIOS update for D850GB motherboard
                                    Flying_Kiwi

                                    Ken Springer wrote:

                                     

                                     

                                    Thinking outside the box...  At one time, when the computer was first given to me, I installed XP Pro and did all updates, and I don't remember having this problem.  I might pull this HD out, stick in another HD, and install Pro and see what happens.

                                    An excellent idea to route out whether this is in fact a hardware or OS issue. Let us know the results!

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