Guide to Video BIOS flashing

Author: W1zzard
Date: 2004-05-24 06:59:26

Required Tools

You will need the BIOS which you want to flash on the card. A good place to search is our ATI BIOS Collection.

Next, you will need a flashing utility. A list of ATI flashing utilities can be found at the end of the ATI BIOS page.

[todo: add table with utils here]

How to boot into DOS

BIOS flashing is a very low-level process. A complex operating system like Windows only interferes with this. The hardware abstraction layer of Windows does not allow direct access to the hardware, except for system drivers. Also multitasking poses a risk. During flashing the BIOS chip wants a new piece of data every certain timeframe. What if Windows now switches execution to another process and puts your flashing on-hold? *poof* BIOS code inside flash is bad. If this is not detected, your card will be unusable. Even worse, what if Windows crashes during flashing? Good luck trying a reboot with only 50% of BIOS code.

Video card manufacturers have recently released Windows utilities which can flash from within Windows. Still, the more reliable method to flash a BIOS by booting into DOS.

The most common ways to boot into DOS are (in no particular order):
  • Floppy
  • CD/DVD
  • USB stick
  • HDD Partition with DOS installed
  • bypass startup files on Windows 9x

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