Could a BIOS update affect the boot records in the hard disk?


M

Mr. Man-wai Chang

I supposed it should not happen....

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M

Mr. Man-wai Chang

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/INT_13H

The question would be, why would the BIOS be doing
writes ? What would the objective be ?

UEFI????

The motherboard in question is Asrock M350M1.

The old BIOS did not have UEFI if *and only if* I remember correctly.... :)

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P

Paul

Mr. Man-wai Chang said:
UEFI????

The motherboard in question is Asrock M350M1.

The old BIOS did not have UEFI if *and only if* I remember
correctly.... :)

When you look at this article, it's pretty hard
to say anything definite. As UEFI can have a
fair number of components added to it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uefi

"Compatibility Support Module [edit]

The Compatibility Support Module (CSM) is a component
of the firmware that emulates a BIOS environment;
allowing legacy operating systems and some option ROMs
that do not support UEFI to still be used."

So that's the equivalent of some of the legacy BIOS code.

Paul
 
M

Mr. Man-wai Chang

When you look at this article, it's pretty hard
to say anything definite. As UEFI can have a
fair number of components added to it.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uefi
"Compatibility Support Module [edit]
The Compatibility Support Module (CSM) is a component
of the firmware that emulates a BIOS environment;
allowing legacy operating systems and some option ROMs
that do not support UEFI to still be used."

So that's the equivalent of some of the legacy BIOS code.

I did NOT enable UEFI before and after BIOS update...

So the MBR (and relevant data) should not be affected... But then, I
dunno ... Could it be the BIOS update program altered the MBR? Again, I
dunno... :)

--
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M

Mr. Man-wai Chang

More horrible stuff here...
http://www.zdnet.com/linux-on-windows-8-pcs-some-progress-but-still-a-nuisance-7000010697/
Apparently, each manufacturer is free to "make a mess" :-(

The Win 8 Secured Boot... Yeah, it's horrible to lose control of your
BIOS. :)

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M

Mr. Man-wai Chang

The Win 8 Secured Boot... Yeah, it's horrible to lose control of your
BIOS. :)

It's fine for corporate PCs, but what about we home users?

Should home users be forced to adopt corporate security features?

Ultimatley, should the US government enforce this new "law"? :)

--
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P

Paul

Mr. Man-wai Chang said:
It's fine for corporate PCs, but what about we home users?

Should home users be forced to adopt corporate security features?

Ultimatley, should the US government enforce this new "law"? :)

You would have to be a pretty knowledgeable consumer, to
completely escape the clutches of Microsoft.

I guess if I wanted a truly trouble free PC now, for
family or friends, I'd have to build one. Buying one
comes with too many "what if" risks. In the past,
I bought retail computers, because they came with
local service options.

That would be one way of escaping from "secure boot"
equipped gear, completely. While some manufacturers
provide a means to boot whatever you want, as you can see
in that ZDnet article, there are no guarantees something
stupid was not done.

Paul
 
M

Mr. Man-wai Chang

I guess if I wanted a truly trouble free PC now, for
family or friends, I'd have to build one. Buying one
comes with too many "what if" risks. In the past,
I bought retail computers, because they came with
local service options.

That explained why the Window$ OS in those branded PCs are always
cheaper ....
That would be one way of escaping from "secure boot"
equipped gear, completely. While some manufacturers
provide a means to boot whatever you want, as you can see
in that ZDnet article, there are no guarantees something
stupid was not done.

Hope for the best, plan for the worst... :)

--
@[email protected] Remain silent. Nothing from soldiers and magicians is real!
/ v \ Simplicity is Beauty! May the Force and farces be with you!
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F

Flasherly

I supposed it should not happen....

Shouldn't.

Seems it would two or multi-staged. Auto detect or ID unity is broken
with respect to the HD, and onward to a USER mis-defined, auto
generated or assisted, for a geometry definition or facsimile which
does the actual damage to a preexisting correct record.

Without which, then it's a matter of how far off the geometry provided
by the manufacture on a cleanly distributed disc, for an hypothetical
BIOS condition to effect an affect. If any.

Kind of circular as without the BIOS function as a systematic
implementation true to a nature of its function, there's neither a
need for the MB, being it's not actually within realms of a functional
computer. (Never personally owned and stupid dumbass terminals).

Had one like that, though. Had to file a credit complaint against the
company that sent it. Defective sales and product representation. The
BIOS simply lost it every time it booted and it wouldn't function
until all the parameters were correctly reinstated, which implies some
level of failsafe assurances coded into it for protection of a
peripheral interface.
 
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V

VanguardLH

Mr. Man-wai Chang said:
I supposed it should not happen....

So what is the REAL problem you are actually having? That the kernel
loader cannot be found? If not then WHAT? Are you planning on doing
a BIOS update (you haven't done it yet and want to find out what might
happen) or have you done the BIOS update and now something doesn't
work?

And, if you haven't done the BIOS update yet and are just asking about
vague possibilities on what might happen, why are you even considering
a BIOS update? What hardware isn't working now with the old BIOS
version? What new features are added in the BIOS that you are
currently experiencing as missing or will actually use when they
become available? Why is the old code you know works well
insufficient for your needs that you need to introduce untested (by
you) and new unknown code? What is broke that you have to fix with a
BIOS update?
 
M

Mr. Man-wai Chang

So what is the REAL problem you are actually having? That the kernel
loader cannot be found? If not then WHAT? Are you planning on doing
a BIOS update (you haven't done it yet and want to find out what might
happen) or have you done the BIOS update and now something doesn't
work?

I had updated the BIOS and right after that, Win 7 failed to boot. It
stopped at the Win 7 logo screen. Strangely, I could enter Safe Mode,
but not the normal Win 7. I then inserted the Win 7 Insatllation DVD
into the DVD drive and ran Startup Repair. Problem fixed!!!

So my question was why this BIOS update affected the Win 7 in the hard
disk? Did the update alter the MBR or maybe the Active bit of the Win 7
partition?

I have never had such problems updating a motherboard BIOS.

--
@[email protected] Remain silent. Nothing from soldiers and magicians is real!
/ v \ Simplicity is Beauty! May the Force and farces be with you!
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A

Alan Larsson

I had updated the BIOS and right after that, Win 7 failed to boot. It
stopped at the Win 7 logo screen. Strangely, I could enter Safe Mode,
but not the normal Win 7. I then inserted the Win 7 Insatllation DVD
into the DVD drive and ran Startup Repair. Problem fixed!!!

So my question was why this BIOS update affected the Win 7 in the hard
disk? Did the update alter the MBR or maybe the Active bit of the Win 7
partition?

I have never had such problems updating a motherboard BIOS.


Perhaps it changed the mode of your disk interface.

Like IDE>ACHI or something. The startup repair fixed the driver.

I have had windows not boot when a setting like this changes.
 
M

Mr. Man-wai Chang

Perhaps it changed the mode of your disk interface.
Like IDE>ACHI or something. The startup repair fixed the driver.

I knew the mode was AHCI before updating the BIOS. So it should not be
related....
I have had windows not boot when a setting like this changes.

Somewhere in the process the MBR and/or other boot records were altered.
Maybe the partition's Active Bit was altered... but it should not have
happened....

--
@[email protected] Remain silent. Nothing from soldiers and magicians is real!
/ v \ Simplicity is Beauty! May the Force and farces be with you!
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V

VanguardLH

Mr. Man-wai Chang said:
I knew the mode was AHCI before updating the BIOS. So it should not be
related....


Somewhere in the process the MBR and/or other boot records were altered.
Maybe the partition's Active Bit was altered... but it should not have
happened....

Your right in that the *BIOS* update should not have altered the MBR.
In fact, you can flash the BIOS with no hard disks present. I've
never bothered to backup the MBR (partition tables & bootstrap code)
because I've never encountered a BIOS update that touched the hard
disks; however, that EEPROM flash to put in new code for the BIOS may
require a CMOS clear (so the CMOS copy matches on the new BIOS
settings) as well as reactive effects, like hardware not working the
same as perform or changes in behavior of software. You changed the
settings in the new BIOS that didn't match the settings from before
that caused Windows to not want to load in normal mode. When you
flash the BIOS, all your customized settings are lost. What were
defaults before might be different after the flash. You're committing
brain surgery on the hardware (and apparently for no critical cause).

The MBR contains the partition table with 4 records (partitions), the
disk signature, and the MBR bootstrap code (446 bytes). I don't see
that the MBR got modified at all. How do you know it did? If the
partition table or its records got changed then you wouldn't have been
able to boot any OS even in its safe mode. The pointers to the
partition would be gone or corrupted so they point to the wrong
offsets into the hard disk. The disk sig can change but can cause
problems later (the boot.ini file doesn't use the disk sig from the
MBR to find the OS partitions). It's unlikely the MBR bootstrap code
got changed. While there are multiple variations of it, the
"standard" ones all do the same function: read the partition table to
find with record (partition) is marked active and go to that offset to
load the first track into memory as the boot sector for an OS in that
partition and lastly to pass control to that boot sector code in
memory.

If you saved a copy of the MBR before the BIOS flash and then saved a
copy after the BIOS flash to compare the two and found them different,
the question is what changed. You said the new version of the BIOS
added support for UEFI. Well, Windows 7 also support UEFI so it
seeing newly added UEFI support might have Windows 7 make changes to
the MBR even if UEFI mode isn't implemented. I would suspect a new
version of the "standard" bootstrap code got put into the 446 bytes in
the MBR by Windows 7 but that's insignicant and irrelevant to the MBR
bootstrap process. Win 7 might've put in a new standard bootstrap
loader but it performs the same functions as many older ones.

I suspect the BIOS flash that wiped all old customized or
automatically adjusted settings and that affected the load of Windows
7. Windows isn't passive about BIOS settings or changes to them. For
example (this may not be true for you in this case), it's possible the
BIOS now reports a different machine type. You said it was configured
for AHCI before and after the BIOS flash but how about the hardware
platform announced by the BIOS to Windows? When you go into Device
Manager (devmgmt.msc) and look under the "Computer" tree node, is the
same type of computer reported there after the BIOS flash that was
specified before the flash? A change in the hardward platform may
require a change in the HAL (Hardware Abstraction Layer) in the kernel
or the [included] drivers selected by Windows to support that [now
changed] hardware platform. There are so many settings in the BIOS
that affect operation of Windows that wiping them out with a BIOS
flash can result in having to reinstall Windows.

Besides problems with Windows operation, incompatible default settings
for the hardware, and other major effects from changing the BIOS
version, upgrading the BIOS is *not* a trivial operation. You just
did a brain transplant on your hardware.
 
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F

Flasherly

Hope for the best, plan for the worst... :)

Not necessarily overly worse, so far as worst case scenarios go, if in
the case Occam's razor, but the most succinct means to economize and
contain such probabilities. If to say I thought you were even
considering asking me whether effectively Microsoft pulled their plug
on you for resembling a computer other than for the one that disc you
mentioned is associated with, well, then . . . might not I should then
appear rather silly for a liar if I didn't admit I wouldn't put it
past you? ...Bearing in mind the natural operative supposition that
money is invariably to be paid to Microsoft within such orders as are
consensual for borrowing that disc at some stipulative purpose.
 
M

Mr. Man-wai Chang

added support for UEFI. Well, Windows 7 also support UEFI so it
seeing newly added UEFI support might have Windows 7 make changes to
the MBR even if UEFI mode isn't implemented. I would suspect a new
version of the "standard" bootstrap code got put into the 446 bytes in
the MBR by Windows 7 but that's insignicant and irrelevant to the MBR
bootstrap process. Win 7 might've put in a new standard bootstrap
loader but it performs the same functions as many older ones.
....
Besides problems with Windows operation, incompatible default settings
for the hardware, and other major effects from changing the BIOS
version, upgrading the BIOS is *not* a trivial operation. You just
did a brain transplant on your hardware.

It's lucky that the partition table was NOT altered or wiped. But to
find out what happened, I would need to rollback the BIOS and do the
upgrade again... No...

I better be careful next time when doing BIOS update.

--
@[email protected] Remain silent. Nothing from soldiers and magicians is real!
/ v \ Simplicity is Beauty! May the Force and farces be with you!
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M

Mr. Man-wai Chang

past you? ...Bearing in mind the natural operative supposition that
money is invariably to be paid to Microsoft within such orders as are
consensual for borrowing that disc at some stipulative purpose.

I don't think that PC's BIOS (motherboard Asrock E350M1) would get
another update in the near future. So .... :)

--
@[email protected] Remain silent. Nothing from soldiers and magicians is real!
/ v \ Simplicity is Beauty! May the Force and farces be with you!
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F

Flasherly

I don't think that PC's BIOS (motherboard Asrock E350M1) would get
another update in the near future. So .... :)

Honestly, wouldn't think so, & 9/10th the time it wouldn't [be an
issue];- but, and it's happened to me, sometimes a BIOS fix does take
care of problems. Although, shutting down the show because a Windows'
licensing clause says - you're trying to run a Windows copy illegally
on other than just one machine - got me, as I've never run into, just
heard of it. A mess, though, a BIOS or MB swap/update and when it
sort of becomes a constant nag that there's *NIX to consider. Guess
why MS has a phone support center and ways to work around such. (Come
to think of it, had a friend's office I'd build computers for who
mentioned he'd called MS for activation issues, possibly related, on a
3-user NT license. Reason I always stressed builds only - he'd have
to do his own or hire out for IT.)
 

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