Bios copying Utility?

Discussion in 'A+ Certification' started by griff, May 17, 2004.

  1. griff

    griff Guest

    I know its a long shot, but I don't suppose any one knows of a util that can
    backup a BIOS to a disk after changes have been made to it and then copy it
    off to use onto another machine that has exactly the same BIOS and is same
    computer etc.

    Thanks
     
    griff, May 17, 2004
    #1
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  2. griff

    hootnholler Guest

    Hey Griff,

    I'm not aware of one, but you can try this. If you are familiar with
    flashing the bios, just flash with the latest file, then do again. Almost
    evey bios utility that I have worked with will allow you to make a backup of
    the bios before flashing, just make the backup the same as the update.
    Then, on the same machine or one identical to it, just start with the floppy
    and use the backup file.

    HTH.

    Hoot
     
    hootnholler, May 17, 2004
    #2
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  3. I've done it on older systems years ago using a debug script, at least
    the copy aspect. I think some of the information came from "Assembly
    Language Step-by-Step", by Jeff Duntemann.

    Tom
     
    Tom MacIntyre, May 17, 2004
    #3
  4. griff

    MF Guest

    This should even be simpler than Hoot suggested. If it's the same machine
    _with the same configuration_ just flash the first one and flash the
    second. When you get the stuff to do it from the mfgr, you ususally get a
    flash utility (that does the work) and the flash code, which replaces the
    orig. bios code. Typically, you make a boot floppy and put them both on the
    floppy. Then boot the computer to be flashed with the floppy and follow the
    prompts. Before changing the bios, the utility will give you the option to
    back up the old one, then as Hoot mentioned, you can do it again to get a
    backup of the new bios.

    But you don't need a backup of the new bios code -- cause you already have
    it on your boot floppy. So just boot the second computer with the flash
    disk - again backing up what's already in bios in case it does differ from
    the first one - and flash that computer too. BTW, if the utility gives you
    an option to make a boot disk and an emergency version, don't skip the
    emergency version.

    And yes, I'm pretty sure you can find a program to back up the existing bios
    code, but you'd still need the flash utility to get it into the chip - so
    might as well just make it a one step process. Finding an independently
    manufactured flash utilty that is reliably safe for your chip might not be
    easy.

    Good luck
    Mike
     
    MF, May 18, 2004
    #4
  5. griff

    hootnholler Guest

    Hey Barry,

    I believe you are correct. I actually did think of that, and that's why I
    was stating to make a backup of the BIOS. I just confused myself with the
    flashing part of it... I knew what I meant to try to get a cross ,but my
    tongue got wrapped around my eyeteeth, couldn't see what I was saying ^_^

    Unless I am mistaken (and I have been, many, many, many times ;o)) The
    backup will hold the settings that the person has made manually. I used to
    do this on an old Chaintech board with Award, worked like a million bucks.
    Just use Aflash.exe, backup the BIOS and then exited. Tweak the settings,
    try the box again, if all failed, reboot with aflash and put backup back in
    to last known good configuration that I liked, not the factory.

    Griff, of course, you could just write down the settings and manually
    adjust. This would probably be a bit easier if you are new to computers and
    haven't totally messed up a few settings in your time beyond repair like a
    coupla of us old dogs. The other issue you may run into when trying to get
    help with this project, what program are you going to use? What BIOS is on
    the CMOS; Award, AMI or Phoenix? Do you know how to flash a BIOS/CMOS?
    (hint: it does not involve you removing your clothes). If needed, you could
    write down the configuration you like, restore to factory settings and note
    what changed. Then, you could do this to the other machine, etc...

    If you are an admin of a large network, hire some of us poor A+ people to do
    this job for you! (shameless plug, I know...) If you are doing this for a
    buddy, and don't have a ton of experience under your belt in flashing, go
    the safe route. Write down your settings and apply to their's manually.
    Even though I have flashed literally hundreds of boards, I still find myself
    cringing when I hit 'flash'.

    To get technical, Barry is absolutely correct. When you flash a bios (using
    the common term...) you are actually reprogramming an EPROM. Griff, the
    reason why there hasn't been, to my knowledge, an all encompassing program
    that will do what you are asking is because there have been quite a few
    different chips used to store the bios (it's commonly called cmos,
    complimentary metal oxide semiconductor). There are dozens of manufacturers
    of these chips. It's actually a CMOS that is an EPROM (electrically
    programmable read only memory, or EEPROM, electronically erasable
    programmable read only memory). You need to have a program on this chip,
    and it's called the BIOS (basic input/output system). There are 3 players
    in that field, the ones listed above, Award, AMI and Phoenix. But, as
    you've probably noticed, there are hundreds of types of BIOS' since the
    manufacturer of the computer will custom order the BIOS listings that they
    wish to have from one of the 3. It's like buying a car, you can get it
    fully loaded or fully stripped down or with a few options. If you ever
    flashed a bios before, the .exe is the EPROM program to change the chip
    program, the binary is the program to change the BIOS. Hence, that is why I
    suggested making a backup using the .exe, thus creating a binary. Take the
    same disk to the other computer (and IT HAS TO BE IDENTICAL), and use the
    ..exe to install your backup binary, essentially, installing your BIOS
    settings.

    On another note, if you have a prebuilt system that you have changed parts
    in, or you build your own, you should adjust your BIOS settings. If this is
    a prebuilt system with factory installed parts only, I highly doubt that
    anything needs to be changed. The manufacturer of the computer will have
    usually tweaked the settings pretty well (even though this is wide open to
    argument...). With the dozens of different chips and literally hundreds of
    different BIOS configurations, you can see where a backup program will
    probably not fit on a floppy...

    Sorry this got lengthy, but this is a good question with a lot of thought
    needed to explain. Hopefully I hit the high points.

    Hoot
     
    hootnholler, May 18, 2004
    #5
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