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By Raul


Purpose: To repair faulty, corrupt or otherwise bad Award BIOS programs in Abit VT6X4 mainboards. Usually caused by a bad BIOS flash.

The Abit Award BIOS (Basic Input / Output System) is written to a programmable ROM on the VT6X4 (and many other Abit boards). If this file becomes corrupt, the computer will not be able to boot up, despite CMOS clearing and other procedures. This usually happens when an attempt to re-program the BIOS (flash) fails either due to power outage or improper source file.

Boot block: Some Award chips may have a boot-block on them, a segment of information not rewritten during a flash. Supposedly it will be able to execute an AUTOEXEC.BAT file on a floppy disc (and nothing else) so it may be possible to resurrect the BIOS by putting system files, the flash program, a source file and an appropriately-written AUTOEXEC.BAT file on a floppy before reboot. This method is not available on VT6X4 mainboards.

Hot-swap: It is possible to resurrect the bad BIOS by using another, working motherboard. It is best to take the bad chip to the site with the good board because it exposes the known good BIOS chip to the least number of insertions and extractions (and subsequent risk of pin damage).


Step 1: Prepare a resurrection disk.

Prepare a clean floppy with:

  • System files. To perform any BIOS programming, the machine must be booted in DOS mode only without any drivers loaded. Use the Windows format utility (in the right-click menu) and select the option "Copy system files."
  • An updated version of AWDFLASH.EXE or the appropriate BIOS flash program.
  • A correct version of the BIOS source file.
Step 2: Reboot to DOS mode.
  1. Shut down the computer and lay it on its side.
  2. Remove all cards and other hardware over the motherboard except the video card. If it is a PCI video card, move it to the slot closest to the AGP slot.
  3. Insert the resurrection disk.
  4. Power up and allow to load all the way to the A:> prompt.
Step 3: Pull the good BIOS chip.
  1. Ground yourself if necessary.
  2. Use a PROM or IC puller to carefully remove the chip without bending any pins. Brace your arms against the case and pull upward as directly as possible. Make an effort to ensure that both ends of the chip are pulled equally hard. The chip is sometimes held very tightly by the socket.
  3. Carefully push any bent pins back into alignment.
Step 4: Install the bad BIOS chip.
  1. Align any pins that may be bent carefully.
  2. Carefully place the bad chip onto the socket. Check to make sure the pins are aligned before you start pushing.
  3. Push the chip evenly down. I found that the chip only needed to be inserted about halfway (until the spring leafs firmly grasp the pins). This makes it easier to pull out again. Use your judgment as to whether this is the right thing to do for your system.
Step 5: Flash the BIOS and test
  1. Run the flash utility, pointing it to the source file. Usually, the format is: AWDFLASH /Sn /Py /CC
  2. DO NOT FLASH if the flash utility tells you there are discrepancies between the two files (e.g. file length).
  3. Say a prayer to the smoke gods that live inside your components (because if this doesn't work, you've got other problems)
  4. Reboot the computer. It should load properly.
Step 6: Re-install the old (good) BIOS
  1. Shut down the computer.
  2. Pull the newly-reborn BIOS chip carefully and fully insert the old BIOS chip. Again, make sure you don't bend any pins.
  3. Re-install anything that was removed.
  4. Insert the now-good BIOS back in the dead board and let 'er rip.
That's all there is to it. No, pulling the BIOS PROM while the machine is powered up does not itself damage your motherboard. However, agility-challenged individuals may damage their mainboard or peripherals during the above process. I take no responsibility for anything that happens to any hardware you employ this method on.


© 2000