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BIOS
 
5.1 What is BIOS and how does it affects your computer 
BIOS (Basic Input Output System) is a set of computer program that contain the basic intelligence for the computer to do elementary jobs at the very low level, like power on self test, configuring the display screen, low level access to storage device....etc. This program is contained on non-volatile memory ICs, like EPROM or Flash IC chips. The compatibility of the computer with add-on hardware and software are largely dependent on these BIOS.  

There are a few area of BIOS on a typical computer system : System BIOS, VGA BIOS, Keyboard BIOS, expansion card BIOS, each serving their own functions. Present day design of PC system normally have the System (motherboard) BIOS put into Flash or EEPROM IC, such that they can be easily upgraded via a software tool and a newer BIOS file. The following context are referring to the System (motherboard) BIOS. 
 

 
5.2 Is my PC Partner motherboard's BIOS upgradable 
All Pentium class, or higher performance, PC Partner motherboards BIOS are implemented by FLASH ICs, so are upgradable. Older products (486) BIOS may not be implemented by Flash IC, then BIOS are not upgradable by running a software tool.  

PC Partner products are shipped with a certain version of BIOS that we believe to be satifactory at the time of shipment. Later bug fix and enhancement to BIOS are available as BIOS upgrade files for download from our Web Site. However, due to the fast pace of changes on the PC market, there will not be continual engineering effort onto BIOS refinement to old products which had stopped production for a long time. Therefore BIOS for a certain product will be freezed from further change ultimately.  

PC Partner system BIOS are tailor-made for PC Partner products, and in no way should these BIOS be used on other platforms, nor should unknown BIOS file be put into PC Partner motherboards.  
 

 
5.3 Under what condition should I perform BIOS upgrade
BIOS upgrading is NOT compulsary needed for your existing PCs, as long as your current configuration is functioning as it is stated. BIOS upgrades are only needed if you are changing your hardware / software configuration and that you observe some functions not running well due to the old BIOS. Typical example is the support for newly launched CPUs or booting devices which are only implemented on newer BIOS. Otherwise, you should keep using the BIOS which is already proven to work with your existing system. 
 
 
5.4 What precaution to note before doing BIOS upgrade 
BIOS upgrade is for the experienced computer users, because it involves a lots of hardware knowledge. A number of precautions are needed before doing the Flash BIOS upgrade :  
  • get the proper BIOS file and BIOS upgrade software tool which matches with your particular motherboard. Upgrading to a wrong BIOS may cause your system to fail booting, and the only way to recover it the take the system apart, remove the Flash BIOS IC and re-write with the proper content using an EPROM writer machine ! 
  • identify the Super IO chip and Clock Chip on the motherboard. Some PC Partner motherboards may be factory installed with a varity of different choice of hardware chips. BIOS files need to be matched to the chip on the board for proper functioning ! Typical IO chip include - ITE, Winbond, SMC, UMC. It can be reflected from the message line at the bottom of the power up screen. Yet it is best to look at the super IO IC right at the motherboard. 
  • backup the old BIOS file onto a floppy diskette, such that in case the newer BIOS is showing some undesirable side effects under your configuration, you may go back to downgrade to the older BIOS. 
  • ensure that you have a stable power source, and a well connected power to the PC system. Any power failure during the BIOS upgrade session may crash your existing BIOS halfway, and your system may not startup the next time ! It is also advisable that you backup your important data before doing BIOS upgrade, just in case there are unexpected power failure.

You should go into CMOS Setup to re-affirm your configuration data inside the CMOS and the Flash after BIOS upgrade, such that the new data are properly saved into CMOS and Flash. 
 

5.5 How to perform BIOS upgrade 
Get your new BIOS file and BIOS upgrade tool from the Web Site or other means. These files are normally in compressed format (eg. ZIP). Decompress the file to get the BIOS files. Identify which BIOS file is matching your motherboard. Copy the files to a floppy diskette. Write down the BIOS filename, you will need to type the name later. Boot a clean DOS from floppy diskette, that contains no loading of resident program (config or autoexec file), then execute the Flash Upgrade tool (AWDFLASH.EXE), follow the instruction on the screen, save your old BIOS to the floppy disk (disable the write protect tab on your diskette), and observe the program to start writing to the Flash IC. Make sure that the process completes without power failure. Reset or power off the system to see restarting. 
 
 
5.6 What to do if I accidentally upgraded to a wrong BIOS content 
If you are unfortunate to have accidentally upgraded to a wrong BIOS file, and the system is still able to boot up via HDD or Floppy, try the BIOS upgrade process again using the correct BIOS file, overriding the wrong file.  

If the wrong BIOS file had cause the system to fail starting up, or you cannot access the FDD nor HDD, then you will need to take your system apart, remove the Flash BIOS BIOS IC from the socket, look for some experieced user or computer shop that have some form of EPROM writer device, and re-write the Flash IC chip's proper content. Similar process also hold for power failure in the middle of a BIOS upgrade session. Therefore, you are advised to take great care when you perform BIOS upgrade !