Is It Corrupt?


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Ze BIOS Is Corrupt!

BIOS (Basic Input Output System) - If it is corrupt you will have all kinds of failures, this makes it very hard to troubleshoot for the correct problem.

Upgrade the Basic Input Output System or leave it alone is the question.

Recently a question was asked about a keyboard problem with at laptop in the 0ld Q and A Forum of the this web site: Laptop Keyboard doesn't work.

The gist of the problem was the Basic Input Output System was corrupt. Now how did that happen?

The original owner had the computer worked on (by a repair shop) then the keyboard problem started.

Not knowing what the first repair was for and what the tech did instigated a long drawn out process of elimination for the cause and that was a Basic Input Output System update or upgrade that was not done correctly or failed.

Not pointing fingers but when you have a computer repaired by someone else documentation of the repair steps is a necessary evil.

This problem could have been solved in ten minutes if there was documentation to show the BIOS update on the original repair.

A BIOS will only become corrupt if the following scenarios are attempted:

  • Removing the Basic Input Output System chip from the socket and reinserting it will sometimes clear it if the correct two pins are grounded.
  • The Basic Input Output System backup battery goes dead for a length of time and the AC power is also removed. (rare)
  • A Basic Input Output System update or upgrade did not finish before power was removed
  • A Basic Input Output System bin file was corrupt when the update or upgrade was performed (rare)
  • The media used that held the bin file was bad.
  • Take any two of these scenarios and you have a problem with the computer after attempting to update or upgrade your Basic Input Output System.
  • Even Flash chips can be faulty or not receive a good erase prior to doing the Basic Input Output System update or upgrade.

So you have to consider if you want to update or upgrade your Basic Input Output System.

There are two types of BIOS files

  • Update is where there are minor problems with the original or last Basic Input Output System bin file that was loaded.
  • Upgrade is where there is a major fix(s) for the hardware the Basic Input Output System controls, sometimes after a computer has been in the field for a couple of months problems start appearing and the Basic Input Output System program is at fault (faulty programming) so the BIOS publisher will do fixes to the programming and will call this an 'Upgrade".

When should you update or upgrade the Basic Input Output System?

  • When you are experiencing a problem that you know is not the hardware.
  • When you receive a notice from the manufacture that there is a problem and they give you a list of effected computers by serial or model number.

You shouldn't update or upgrade the Basic Input Output System just because there is a new revision for your motherboard/computer model.

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In the past people would buy a new computer/motherboard and after doing the 'burn in' go straight to the manufactures web site and get the latest Basic Input Output System update or upgrade.

Those days are in the past, first off you do not have to do a 'burn in' on modern electronics. Nor do you have to do the BIOS update or upgrade unless you are experiencing problems with your hardware and before doing it check the text file with the bin file from the manufacture it will list all the changes and fixes the update or upgrade covers, your problem may not be address and you may wind up with a non functional computer like Joe!

In my 25+ years as a computer nerd (tech) I have messed up exactly zero Basic Input Output System updates or upgrades. (I have messed up a bunch of Basic Input Output System chips by hacking the code for various reasons - another article maybe  Smiles )

Couple of lessons from Joe's experience:

  • Documentation - If you have your computer repaired and it still has problems then make sure the tech documents everything they did, ask questions.
  • All problems are not hardware related even though the steps he took to arrive at the corrupt Basic Input Output System were hardware steps of elimination that any good tech would have done.

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So if you get the itch then do your BIOS update or upgrade at yer own peril...

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