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Beginners Guide: Flashing a Video Card BIOS

Beginners Guide: Flashing a Video Card BIOS - PCSTATS
Abstract: While not something for the novice to undertake, flashing your video card BIOS may lead to performance and feature enhancements.
Filed under: Beginners Guides Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: PCSTATS Aug 24 2004   Mike Dowler  
Home > Reviews > Beginners Guides > PCSTATS

The procedures for Flashing an nVidia BIOS

Now let's look at the procedure of flashing your nVidia video card's BIOS. Please keep in mind that this procedure can render your card useless if something goes badly wrong. Proceed at your own risk, and make a BIOS backup as detailed below.

! Warranty And Safety Issues !
Be aware that flashing your video card BIOS in an attempt to change or upgrade the card will certainly void any warranty you may have with the manufacturer, so perform this procedure at your own risk. Certain manufacturers consider any attempt to flash the BIOS as a violation of warranty terms and will withdraw support even if you were not attempting to change the card's capabilities. Also note that if you attempt to considerably increase the performance of your video card by this method, as in overclocking, you are increasing the stress on the hardware, which may cause it to fail sooner.

BIOS Flash for Nvidia video cards

What you will need:

  1. At least one blank 1.44 HD floppy disk.
  2. A copy of the NVFLASH utility
  3. A compatible BIOS file for your video card. Here's a link to get you started. Remember to do your research first. Just because a BIOS file is available does not mean it will work with your card.
  4. Any drivers that may be required. If you are attempting to change your BIOS to that of a different video card, you should check to see if it requires different drivers.

1. Making an Nvidia BIOS flash boot disk

All video BIOS flash operations need to be performed in DOS, so we will need to make a DOS boot disk first. There are two easy ways to do this; the first is to go to bootdisk.com and download one of the DR DOS disk image files they link to on the website. Run the .exe file to create a clean DOS boot disk in your A:\ drive.

Otherwise, you can create a boot disk from within Windows XP by inserting a floppy and opening 'my computer' then right clicking on the 'A:\' drive and choosing 'format.' From the format window, check the 'create an MS-DOS startup disk' option and click 'ok.' Now that you have a DOS boot disk, copy the BIOS file you downloaded and the NVFLASH.exe file onto the disk.

2. Making a backup of your Nvidia video card BIOS

Before you flash your video card with the new BIOS version you downloaded, you should always make a backup of the current BIOS, in case you run into trouble later on.

To do this boot your computer with the BIOS flash disk we just created. At the 'A:\' prompt, type 'nvflash.exe -b backup.rom' and press ENTER. The FLASHROM utility will create a backup of your video card's BIOS (backup.rom) on the BIOS flash disk. We can use this to restore your card's original BIOS if necessary.

3. Flashing the BIOS on your Nvidia card

Once you have made the backup file of the old BIOS, it's time to overwrite it with the new value we downloaded. Here's what to do:

From the 'A:\' prompt, type 'nvflash -p -u -f (name of the new BIOS file including the file extension)' and press ENTER. NVFLASH will now overwrite your old BIOS information with the new values. If you see any error messages or odd results, do not restart your system. Consult the troubleshooting section below for further instructions.

If everything seemed to work correctly, restart your system and watch the video card information as it flashes on screen during the POST process (it will be the first thing on the screen after you power on). Make sure it is correct and that your operating system loads correctly. You may need to install drivers if you have changed the BIOS to that of a different type of video card.

Congratulations! You have just achieved another step on the way to mastering your computer... :-)

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Contents of Article: PCSTATS
 Pg 1.  Beginners Guide: Flashing a Video Card BIOS
 Pg 2.  The procedures for Flashing an ATI BIOS
 Pg 3.  — The procedures for Flashing an nVidia BIOS
 Pg 4.  Troubleshooting Section - What If Something Went Wrong?

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