Now let's look at the actual
procedure of flashing your 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, most notably ATI, 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.
BIOS Flash for ATI video
What you will need:
- At least one blank 1.44 HD
- A copy of the FLASHROM
- A compatible BIOS file for
your video card. Try here or search the web for other compatible BIOS files and
- 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 ATI BIOS flash
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 FLASHROM.exe file onto the disk.
2. Making a backup of your
ATI video card BIOS
Before we flash the card with
the new BIOS version or type, you should always make a backup of the current
BIOS, in case of disaster.
To do this boot your computer with the BIOS flash disk we just created.
At the 'A:\' prompt, type 'flashrom.exe -s 0
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
3. Flashing your ATI video
To flash the BIOS of your ATI
card, type the following from the 'A:\' prompt:
'flashbios -p 0 (the name of
the new BIOS file you downloaded including the file extension)' then press
FLASHROM will proceed to
overwrite your old BIOS with the contents of the new file. If you see any error
messages, make sure not to restart the system. Instead, consult the
troubleshooting section at the end of this article.
Note that in certain cases
(such as if you are trying to replace your video card's BIOS with that of
another card) the procedure may halt if the BIOS types do not match.
In this case, you can use a separate switch
(-f) to force FLASHROM to do the operation despite the potential problem. You
should only do this if you are absolutely sure that the new
BIOS file will work with your card.
To force the BIOS
'FLASHROM -f -p 0 (the name of
the BIOS file you downloaded including the file extension)'
If everything seems to have
gone correctly, restart your system. Watch the post screen for the video card
information (it will be the first item displayed on the screen after you boot).
Make sure the new BIOS has taken hold and that your operating system boots
correctly. Depending on the BIOS version you used and the video card, you may
need to install new drivers too.
Congratulations! You have
successfully changed your video card's BIOS. Next, PCstats.com looks at the
procedure for flashing the BIOS of an nVidia based videocard.