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Is there any risk in updating BIOS?


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helpseeker's Avatar
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08-Dec-2005, 12:23 PM #1
Is there any risk in updating BIOS?
I have a Compaq Presario 1200XL106 notebook, running Win98SE. I used to be able to see the POST data screen by pressing ESC as soon as the Compaq logo screen appeared; and from there could get to the BIOS by pressing F10 to enter setup.

I recently replaced the original HDD with a larger drive, and installed Win98SE, etc. The computer boots up fine, and works fine. But now I'm unable to see the POST or get to setup by doing what I described above.

After much correspondence with forum members, I contacted Compaq, and surprisingly received a response from them. They said to update the BIOS, and directed me to a file to do this. I downloaded the file, but am concerned that maybe updating the BIOS will cause more harm than good.

So, my question now is: What are the downside risks associated with updating the BIOS? Or is this a safe thing to do? Right now the computer works fine; I just can't see the POST or access the BIOS. I'd hate to update and then find the computer inoperable.
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08-Dec-2005, 12:26 PM #2
Quote:
What are the downside risks associated with updating the BIOS?
Possible failed bios update rendering your whole motherboard unuseable....

Compaq I believe is pretty good at having a type of bios recovery (if I remember correctly) but the possiblity is still there.
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08-Dec-2005, 12:28 PM #3
Go for it. I have never had a problem updating bios. Just follow the instructions...
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08-Dec-2005, 12:33 PM #4
That is an old machine so I doubt there is going to be a bios recovery option if it fails.

I have flashed about 50 times and had one failure that made a doorstop out of the machine. It was a gut wrenching feeling but I will still flash if needed.

The machine I have now has a recovery option. I'll flash it without a second thought.

Flashing is risky. No two ways about it.
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08-Dec-2005, 12:37 PM #5
If it works, don`t break it.
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08-Dec-2005, 12:43 PM #6
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rukee
If it works, don`t break it.
What he said.

I will flash this thing in a heartbeat, but I do have the option to go back to square one if it fails.

The recovery option is the best thing since sliced bread.
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08-Dec-2005, 12:51 PM #7
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skivvywaver
What he said.

I will flash this thing in a heartbeat, but I do have the option to go back to square one if it fails.

The recovery option is the best thing since sliced bread.
I'm new to this sort of thing.

How do I do a "recovery"? And what do I need to do before doing the update so that I can do a recovery if things go sour?
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08-Dec-2005, 01:16 PM #8
Like stated earlier, it is highly unlikely your board supports recovery. Its a pretty new feature...
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08-Dec-2005, 01:31 PM #9
as long as it`s working fine, don`t flash.
You only want to flash if your having serious issues that the new BIOS has fixes for.
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08-Dec-2005, 01:39 PM #10
When you replaced the hard drive, you removed the hidden Compaq partition, I'm guessing.

Flashing the bios isn't going to fix that.
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08-Dec-2005, 01:39 PM #11
^^^^^

Listen to Rukee here, its one of those not worth the risk things, unless you can get compaq to promise it won't kill your machine, and if it does to replace your Mobo for you.
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08-Dec-2005, 05:27 PM #12
To all who helped:

I've decided NOT to tinker with the BIOS, at least not as long as the computer is working well.

Instead, I'm going to try this (any comments/tips/advice/guidance will be appreciated):

I'll put back the old HDD and try to access BIOS as before. If it doesn't work, I'll just assume there's something wrong with the computer, but I won't go chasing it. I'll put back the new HDD and continue to use the computer, without accessing BIOS.

If, with the original HDD I am able to enter setup and BIOS, I'll then look for the Compaq files that apparently control this sort of thing; and copy them to the new HDD, in similarly named folders. If it then works, fine. If it doesn't, I'll just ignore the whole situation and pretend I don't know there's a problem. If someday I need to enter BIOS, I'll just deal with it then. Or smash the computer.

Thanks for all your help.
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08-Dec-2005, 05:31 PM #13
Did you clone the drive, or did you do a total reinstall on the new drive?

:edit: I see you did a reinstall. Maybe cloning the drive would work IF the computer will enter the bios with the old drive. I am not sure at all.

If you can see the bios on the old drive and don't want to mess with it right now, put the old drive in an anti static bag and store it some place safe.
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08-Dec-2005, 05:40 PM #14
Did you try pressing F10 at the post data screen (skip pressing ESC)?

Try booting with no hard drive. You should be able to access the BIOS without one...
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08-Dec-2005, 06:57 PM #15
http://webpages.charter.net/dperr/compaq.htm

That may explain the 'hidden' partition I mentioned earlier.
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