P4R800-VM motherboard - keyboard problem


S

steve.chambers

I need help!

My PC has an ASUS P4R800-VM motherboard. Ever since I bought it it's
been having big problems when it is rebooted - it often either
completly crashes when trying to detect the USB devices or the PS/2
keyboard doesn't work in Windows XP home.

After a bit of scouring the Internet I think I've tracked it down to a
problem with the BIOS pre version 1005 - the version 1005 update has
the comment "Remove bug PS2 Keyboard sometimes locked up by itself
after booting into Windows." Bingo! Sounds simple - all I need to do is
upgrade the BIOS to the latest version (1007). But when I tried this
either through Windows (ASUSUpdate v6.07.01) or booting from DOS
(AFUDOS v1.19), it doesn't work.

It says "The model of the BIOS image doesn't match the BIOS ROM
currently present." The BIOS ROM Type is PMC 49FL004T LPC, the model is
"P4R800-VM(P4R800-VM-NEC)" and the version is 1001.012. For an example
BIOS Image the model is P4R800-VM(P4R800-VM) and the version is
1007.003. Could it be the "-NEC" in my computer's BIOS that is causing
the problem???

I've also tried the "download BIOS from the Internet" option and I get
the message "Sorry, there's no proper BIOS images on the server!". This
happens with all versions of the BIOS I've tried including earlier
ones.

Can anyone help??? I feel like I'm frustratingly close to fixing my
computer but can't get any further than this...
 
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P

Paul

I need help!

My PC has an ASUS P4R800-VM motherboard. Ever since I bought it it's
been having big problems when it is rebooted - it often either
completly crashes when trying to detect the USB devices or the PS/2
keyboard doesn't work in Windows XP home.

After a bit of scouring the Internet I think I've tracked it down to a
problem with the BIOS pre version 1005 - the version 1005 update has
the comment "Remove bug PS2 Keyboard sometimes locked up by itself
after booting into Windows." Bingo! Sounds simple - all I need to do is
upgrade the BIOS to the latest version (1007). But when I tried this
either through Windows (ASUSUpdate v6.07.01) or booting from DOS
(AFUDOS v1.19), it doesn't work.

It says "The model of the BIOS image doesn't match the BIOS ROM
currently present." The BIOS ROM Type is PMC 49FL004T LPC, the model is
"P4R800-VM(P4R800-VM-NEC)" and the version is 1001.012. For an example
BIOS Image the model is P4R800-VM(P4R800-VM) and the version is
1007.003. Could it be the "-NEC" in my computer's BIOS that is causing
the problem???

I've also tried the "download BIOS from the Internet" option and I get
the message "Sorry, there's no proper BIOS images on the server!". This
happens with all versions of the BIOS I've tried including earlier
ones.

Can anyone help??? I feel like I'm frustratingly close to fixing my
computer but can't get any further than this...

AFUDOS has some command line arguments. Asus may have disabled
these, so you'll nave to test them. In particular, /n looks
promising, as it can disable the ROM ID check. (I've looked with
a hex editor, at the copies of AFUDOS on my computer, and I cannot
see this help text in the file - if these options actually
still exist, they are well hidden.)

http://www.ami.com/support/doc/AMIBIOS8_Flash_Recovery_Whitepaper_v10.pdf

"afuXXX /i<ROM filename> [/o<save ROM filename>] [/n] [/p[n][c]]
[/r<registry_path>] [/s] [/k] [/q] [/h]

/n - don't check ROM ID
/pbnc (/p followed by up to three options)
- b - Program Boot Block
n - Program NVRAM
c - Destroy System CMOS
/r - registry path to store result of operation (Windows version)
/k - Program non-critical block only
/s - leave signature in BIOS
/q - silent execution
/h - print help "

Your board is likely to be an OEM version of the retail product
by the same name. You would have to be very certain the boards
are identical, before "force flashing" the Asus BIOS. You may
find, for example, if you were to screw up the flash, that
the product is no longer covered under warranty, for that
failure. (Check the warranty terms.)

The flash command would look like this. Running the AFUDOS
program interactively first, and making a backup copy of
the current file, would be useful if you find this command
doesn't work properly. Don't shut off the computer or reboot
if this command does not appear to have worked properly!
Both the archived file and the new file should have the same
size, so having the archived file in hand is a good check.

AFUDOS /iP4R800.ROM /n /pbnc

There are some other ways to experiment. One is to go to badflash.com
and get a new flash chip. Have it programmed with the retail Asus
flash image. Unplug the old EEPROM and plug in the new EEPROM.
If it doesn't boot, simply go back to the old EEPROM chip.
If the product from badflash doesn't come with a EEPROM puller,
you can get a tool from Radio Shack for pulling socketed PLCC
chips. (This assumes the EEPROM is not soldered to the motherboard.)

A second toy useful for flashing, is a "BIOS Savior" (ioss.com.tw).
That product is an adapter that plugs into the flash EEPROM socket.
You take the original EEPROM and plug it into a socket on the BIOS
Savior. The end result, is the computer gets two flash chips, and
a switch selects between them. Boot the computer into MSDOS, with
the good chip. Flip the selector switch, then use AFUDOS to program
the blank chip. Shut down and unplug. Clear the CMOS (usually with
CLRTC jumper). Start the computer again using the new BIOS image.
At that point, you have the switchable option to use your NEC BIOS
image, or the Asus retail image. If your OEM board needs warranty
work, simply remove the BIOS Savior and put the original chip back.

A BIOS Savior should cost about $25. A flash chip programmed by
badflash.com costs about $25. (A blank flash chip is worth about
$3, so most of the money is for flashing the image.)

You could try the EZFlash option, but the last time I tried
surgery on an Asus BIOS, the code module inside the flash chip
that drives EZFlash, was identical to the downloadable tool
(which in this case is AFUDOS). Still, EZFlash is worth a shot
if the MSDOS boot + AFUDOS is not working out.

Good luck (and hope you have a spare computer for emergencies),
Paul
 
M

Mercury

If its an NEC machine, you could try their web site for an update.
A friend had an NEC laptop with an odd issue and much to my surprise I
managed to find a bios that fixed the problem - probably another asus OEM
board ...:)
 
S

steve.chambers

Brilliant!!!
Thanks very much Paul, this is exactly the info I was looking for. Will
probably try this tomorrow when I've got a clear head. Just a couple of
points in your email I'm not quite sure about though. What is the
command for running AFUDOS "interactively"? Do you mean as in to test
out whether the flashing would work without actually performing it?? (I
guess it doesn't mean this but it's the only thing I can think of).
Also why did you recommend using the /pbnc command? I'm a bit scared of
this as as I understand it it will overwrite the boot sectore and
possibly make the whole bios useless (especially since I'm in the UK so
don't think it would be very easy to get hold of a BIOS saviour or
flash chip. Is this right? I know it's a "crash free bios" but I'm
guessing this means crash free UNLESS you overwrite the boot sector.
Also not sure about what destroying the System CMOS means but am
guessing it would go hand in hand with overwriting the boot sector?
Wouldn't it be better to try it without this option first and then if
that works try overwriting the boot sector afterwards? Or is the old
boot sector not likely to be compatible with the rest of the new BIOS?
As you can tell I'm a bit confused!! Sorry, will stop waffling now.
Again, cheers for the help & pointing me in the right direction to
hopefully having a fully working PC soon.....
 
S

steve.chambers

Thanks for the advice Mercury. It's actually a PackardBell PC (think
it's an iMedia) but I tried looking and couldn't find any ASUS updates
on their site.

I just tried running the Motherboard Identification Utility (found link
in the white paper Paul mentioned) and it gave the following:

AMIBIOS Motherboard Manufacturer Identification
Version 1.4 (01/12/2004) Copyright 2003 American Megatrends, Inc.

This file has recorded information useful in identifying the
manufacturer
of this motherboard. The information is listed below:

ALERT: This BIOS has been identified as NEC BIOS!
Please contact NEC for motherboard support ... http://www.nec.com

NO STANDARD AMIBIOS IDENTIFICATION STRING DETECTED. PLEASE DO NOT
CONTACT AMI TECH SUPPORT CONCERNING THIS PRODUCT.

For more information on upgrading your BIOS go to
http://www.ami.com/support/bios.cfm?refer=mbid
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

SMBIOS info:
Manufacturer : ASUSTek Computer INC.
Product Name : P4R800-VM
Version : 1.02
Serial Number: MB-1234567890
 
P

Paul

Brilliant!!!
Thanks very much Paul, this is exactly the info I was looking for. Will
probably try this tomorrow when I've got a clear head.
Just a couple of points in your email I'm not quite sure about though.
What is the command for running AFUDOS "interactively"?

Typing "AFUDOS" when sitting at the MSDOS prompt, should run
AFUDOS interactively. You'll have to experiment a bit, to see
just how well behaved AFUDOS is.
Do you mean as in to test out whether the flashing would work
without actually performing it?? (I guess it doesn't mean this
but it's the only thing I can think of). Also why did you recommend
using the /pbnc command? I'm a bit scared of
this as as I understand it it will overwrite the boot sectore and
possibly make the whole bios useless

Salt as desired :) You could do a flash upgrade of the main body
of the BIOS if you want. I would not expect the boot block to be
clever enough, to be checking that the main BIOS code is for the
same motherboard as the boot block. That would be too clever.
(especially since I'm in the UK so don't think it would be very
easy to get hold of a BIOS saviour or flash chip. Is this right?

Try here: http://www.eksitdata.com/_uk/index.asp
You still have to select the correct product, and perhaps they
can help you.
I know it's a "crash free bios" but I'm guessing this means crash
free UNLESS you overwrite the boot sector.

You are correct. It would not be "crash free" if you go about
erasing the boot block. The BIOS Savior would take the risk out
of the equation.
Also not sure about what destroying the System CMOS means but am
guessing it would go hand in hand with overwriting the boot sector?

"Destroying the CMOS" would be the equivalent of using the "clear
CMOS CLRTC" jumper.
Wouldn't it be better to try it without this option first and then if
that works try overwriting the boot sector afterwards? Or is the old
boot sector not likely to be compatible with the rest of the new BIOS?
As you can tell I'm a bit confused!! Sorry, will stop waffling now.
Again, cheers for the help & pointing me in the right direction to
hopefully having a fully working PC soon.....

There was one famous experiment on Abxzone, where the overclockers
used a boot block from one product, with the main body code from
another product. This allowed "PAT" to be enabled on a certain
motherboard (a memory performance optimization). They forced the
full BIOS first, then programmed the main body code from the original
BIOS. I guess your idea, of just flashing the main body code, is
not that risky, as both codes are for the same board. So, yes,
just doing the main code first should be OK. (I checked the download
page, and don't see any warnings listed in the BIOS section.)

I don't think you are confused, and you understand the concepts.
Without the BIOS Savior, there is always some risk associated with
flashing, as even if you tell the flashing tool to only do the
main body code, there is always the possibility the entire
chip could be erased. Only if the flash chip had a hardware
lockout (a jumper that protects the boot block), could I give
you a guarantee that there would be zero risk to the boot
block. Maybe we could call it, "the same risk as crossing
the street" :)

Paul
 
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S

steve.chambers

I bit the bullet today. Went the route of only flashing the main part
of the BIOS and not adding any of the /p options. Crossed my fingers
when rebooting and it worked fairly seamlessly with only one slight
hiccup - had to reactivate Windows and the original key didn't work but
a fairly quick phone call to Microsoft fixed that. Really pleased to
have a computer that now seems to work whenever I reboot it ...so far
at least.

Many thanks for the detailed replies Paul, couldn't have done this
without the advice you gave. It's great that there are people like you
out there that not only know your stuff but are willing to help others
that don't know quite as much. Hope you get some good karma back from
somewhere else...

Cheers,
Steve
 

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