Yes, it is the power LED that is manipulated. I am not sure that your USB access observations mean anything. For the best chance of success, stick with the following:
- Use only a USB 2.0 flash stick (i.e. don't use USB 3.0 flash sticks). Use one that has an access LED so that you can see whether it is being accessed.
- Format this flash stick as FAT32. Place BIO file in root folder. Best for there to be no other files present.
- Plug the flash stick into a (black) USB 2.0 port on the back I/O panel of the board. Do not use any front panel connectors cabled onto the board and do not use any (blue) USB 3.0 ports.
- Attempt to recover first back to the original (BL0076) BIOS. If unsuccessful, try a different USB 2.0 port. If successful, upgrade in steps using the available BIOS files.
I tried different versions of the .BIO file in a USB drive (in the 2.0 ones), nothing worked yet. However, I do not know if my USB drives are 2.0 or 3.0. I have had them for awhile. At any rate, none have a light.
Also, the manual for the motherboard says that I need to have 2 sticks of RAM in at minimum, but every instruction I have read is that for recovery, use only 1 stick. So, I tried only 1 in my attempts today thus far.
I did try 2 different recovery attempts from different CDs (0076, and 0160). Perhaps if the USB ports are faulty due to the BIOS update, I thought that MAYBE the SATA ports would work. First off, would it matter if it is a CD-R or a DVD-R?
I only had DVD-R's, so I tried with those. An observation I made was the light on the DVD drive flashed between 10-15 times when initially powered on. Then the light never came on until shutting down after about 15 minutes and turning on the machine again.
Here are some questions... should I see that light on the DVD drive constantly flickering if the BIOS update is going well? Since I have no video, how do I know if it even tried to do anything with the file or not? Didn't/did work (aside from shutting down, replacing the jumper to normal, and trying to start up normally and seeing if I have video)?
I am uncertain, but I think it needs to be a CD-R. As for RAM, a single stick is fine (but a double stick is also fine). If there is a chance that the RAM has gone bad or the board is having trouble recognizing it, a single stick raises the chance of success.
When the recovery process is executed, the BIO file is read fairly quickly, so your observation may be consistent. Did you watch the power LED to see if it flashed?
Another thing to try is using the on-board video and not an add-in card...
I do not have an add-in video card... so I am only trying the on-board video.
I didn't see the power LED flash at all.
Since I have no video, how do I know if it even tried to do anything with the file or not? ... (Aside from shutting down, replacing the jumper to normal, and trying to start up normally and seeing if I have video)?
According to its TPS, your board is equipped with an on-board (piezo) speaker. If the recovery process was proceeding, you would hear patterned sounds coming from this speaker. It "sounds" like the recovery process is not working
This being the case, I cannot think of anything else to try. If your system is less than 3 years old, you should contact Intel Customer Support for request a replacement...
Sorry I couldn't be more helpful...
At this point what we can recommend is to try a BIOS recovery to the BIOS version you had at first, if you have tried that and the problem persists we can try to replace the unit for you if it is still under the three years warranty, just make sure that you still have the proof of purchase.
You can request an RMA here.