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Thread: Three BIOSes same version - which one to use?




  1. #1
    simplymike is offline Junior Member
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    Default Three BIOSes same version - which one to use?

    Hello, what is the safest way to flash BIOS? I can see three BIOSes of the same version on ASRock's site.
    They are: Instant flash, DOS and Windows.
    The Instant flash version E350M1USB3(1.80)ROM.zip contains just one file E35MU31.80 exactly 4MB in size which I think is BIOS itself.
    DOS and Windows versions contain exe-files called E35MU31.80.EXE, I guess each exe-file contains a flashing utility along with the ROM contents to flash.
    The DOS flashing utility is called AFUDOS, the Windows is called AFUWINGUI, the Windows package contains two sys-files, they are
    possibly drivers for 32-bit and 64-bit Windows.
    To start flashing, the Instant Flash variant needs just booting to BIOS, the DOS variant needs a USB pen drive, the Windows variant is happy with any disk storage accessible by Windows.
    After all the investigations, I can't figure out what is the best (safest) way of flashing.
    I was sure the safest was flashing from BIOS. Why then there are two other packages (DOS and WIN)?
    What makes DOS and WIN flashers equally safe (if not safer) than the BIOS flasher?
    Are there situations when flashing from BIOS is not possible?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Three BIOSes same version - which one to use?

    Personally, I wouldn't use a Windows based flasher if my life depended on it!

    It's Instant Flash here.
    #1 - Please, when seeking help, enter the make and model of ALL parts that your system is comprised of in your Signature, or at least the model #'s in your System Specs, then "Save' it.
    ____If you are overclocking, underclocking, or undervolting any parts, informing us of this and their values would prove beneficial in helping you.

    #2 - G.Skill RAM Configurator for your boardSamsung Memory for your boardLatest AMD Chipset Drivers/WindowsLatest AMD Graphics Drivers/WindowsLatest Intel Drivers

    #3 - Please use the eXtreme Outer Vision Power Supply Calculator found HERE to determine if it might be your PSU at issue.
    ____Consider your PSU to be the foundation from which all else is built upon. Anything built upon a weak foundation is poorly built.

  3. #3
    simplymike is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Three BIOSes same version - which one to use?

    Well, there were three but only one remains for me.
    After some internet reading, the WIN flasher was rejected - too many sad stories about BIOS
    becoming non-functional after flashing it in Windows. Au contraire, many good opinions
    about flashing in DOS. However, I wanted to try the Instant Flash first.

    And I could not make it to function. I can get the ROM file selection box (F6 or F2/Advanced - both work),
    and I can see the ROM file with my new BIOS, but that's about it.
    No matter what I click in that box - "Refresh device", "Reboot", "Configure", close the window, or just click
    on that file - my machine will either reboot, go to BIOS or start loading Windows from HD, but will never
    flash anything.

    Not sure if it was me or the hardware - after trying all possible combinations (USB-stick size/port/speed/format)
    I gave up on Instant Flash, I made me a DOS-bootable USB-stick and started the DOS flasher from it.
    Works perfectly. I've always loved DOS.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Three BIOSes same version - which one to use?

    Sometimes usb problems while flashing are due to a particular brand, model or size of the flash drive.
    Using a usb 3.0 port is a no-no.
    My preference is to use one of the usb 2.0 ports in the rear I/O panel.
    Glad to hear that good old DOS worked for you.
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  5. #5
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    Default Re: Three BIOSes same version - which one to use?

    Prof Jim and wardog are right, Instant Flash is the best, and you must use a USB 2.0 port on the rear I/O panel. If you fool around in Instant Flash, instead of just clicking the displayed BIOS file, things can get weird. I've flashed two Z77 EX 4 boards using Instant Flash, with almost every BIOS file ever available on my oldest board, and never had a problem.

  6. #6
    simplymike is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Three BIOSes same version - which one to use?

    Quote Originally Posted by parsec View Post
    Prof Jim and wardog are right, Instant Flash is the best
    These noble citizens did not not say it is the best. If you think that Instant Flash is better than DOS flasher please give us the facts, thanks.

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    Default Re: Three BIOSes same version - which one to use?

    Quote Originally Posted by - wardog - View Post
    Personally, I wouldn't use a Windows based flasher if my life depended on it!

    It's Instant Flash here.
    Quote Originally Posted by simplymike View Post
    These noble citizens did not not say it is the best. If you think that Instant Flash is better than DOS flasher please give us the facts, thanks.
    Allow me to be more clear then. I(me, mysyself) feel Instant Flash is better as it is flashing in a more pure environment because:

    1. As you just recently discovered, "After some internet reading, the WIN flasher was rejected - too many sad stories about BIOS becoming non-functional after flashing it in Windows.". As flashing from within Windows it is certainly not to be confused with a "pure environment' while performing such a low level process. Windows itself has too too many processes running while at the same time relegating it to flashing you BIOS also. IMHO, and flame away all that read beyond here, windows flashers are around for one or two reasons. Noobs who don't have a clue, and those that call in to tech support the tech has an easy way with which to carry out flashing while over the phone. Again, noobs.

    2. Flashing using DOS programs on a floppy, CD, or USB stick to flash introduces less than from flashing from within Windows, but again is prone to other faults that may crop up. Mainly that the flashing program itself running from an external I/O somehow fails Be it from being improperly produced with missing files, improperly unpacked when obtained from a 3rd party site, a bad CRC is generated and transmitted during, user error in writing out the batch file line with the / \ switches, that now ancient floppy drive motor picking a bad time to burp or fail, that ancient floppy you've had laying around in the bottom of that box has unknown bad sectors, a loose fitting should have been discarded usb cable decides to disconnect in the middle of, etc etc. A litany of possible disastrous things leading to failure are possible.

    3. Yet as the progression of the means and or methods with which to flash BIOSes matures, ie DOS program w/batch files for years and now with the new(er) Instant Flash, there are fewer and fewer possible obstacles, ie hardware and software, to deal with and or overcome that in and of itself leads to a higher rate of users successfully flashing their BIOSes.

    I am truly disheartened that you so easily dismiss discovering why it is that you could not make use of Instant Flash. To each their own I guess. You did however obtain the results you set out to do, that being successfully flash your BIOS without hosing it in the process. Congratulations.
    Last edited by - wardog -; 02-13-2013 at 06:52 PM.
    #1 - Please, when seeking help, enter the make and model of ALL parts that your system is comprised of in your Signature, or at least the model #'s in your System Specs, then "Save' it.
    ____If you are overclocking, underclocking, or undervolting any parts, informing us of this and their values would prove beneficial in helping you.

    #2 - G.Skill RAM Configurator for your boardSamsung Memory for your boardLatest AMD Chipset Drivers/WindowsLatest AMD Graphics Drivers/WindowsLatest Intel Drivers

    #3 - Please use the eXtreme Outer Vision Power Supply Calculator found HERE to determine if it might be your PSU at issue.
    ____Consider your PSU to be the foundation from which all else is built upon. Anything built upon a weak foundation is poorly built.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Three BIOSes same version - which one to use?

    ^^+1^^ Well said

    When you simplify a procedure and minimize things that can go wrong, you are far better off.
    Using a windows flasher? NO WAY!! And the same goes for flashing the bios under any other o/s.

    Whatever can go wrong, will, in the worst possible way and at the most inconvenient time.

  9. #9
    simplymike is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Three BIOSes same version - which one to use?

    Sorry for long quote

    Quote Originally Posted by - wardog - View Post
    2. Flashing using DOS programs on a floppy, CD, or USB stick to flash introduces less than from flashing from within Windows, but again is prone to other faults that may crop up. Mainly that the flashing program itself running from an external I/O somehow fails Be it from being improperly produced with missing files, improperly unpacked when obtained from a 3rd party site, a bad CRC is generated and transmitted during, user error in writing out the batch file line with the / \ switches, that now ancient floppy drive motor picking a bad time to burp or fail, that ancient floppy you've had laying around in the bottom of that box has unknown bad sectors, a loose fitting should have been discarded usb cable decides to disconnect in the middle of, etc etc. A litany of possible disastrous things leading to failure are possible.
    Thanks for the explanations. However, I don't see how BIOS flasher (Instant
    Flash) is any better than DOS flasher.

    You are right that flashing in single-tasking is better than in multi-tasking.
    But we are trying to compare BIOS and DOS flasher which both run in
    single-tasking environment. So no advantage for BIOS flasher so far.

    Your comments about floppy drives and batch files are irrelevant. Floppies
    are not in common use anymore as well as batch files. ASRock's DOS flasher
    is a single exe file with embedded BIOS while BIOS flasher is part of BIOS
    itself.

    Suppose we try to upgrade our BIOS using a USB stick.
    When flashing from BIOS (Instant Flash), we start flasher from BIOS menu or
    with F6. In fact, control is passed to flasher executable (which is part of BIOS)
    after is was read into RAM. The executable reads ROM contents from USB port
    and flashes them to the BIOS chip.
    When flashing with DOS flasher, we boot the machine from USB port and manually
    start the flasher exe file. In fact we command to read flasher executable into
    RAM and pass control to it. The executable reads ROM contents from memory and
    flashes them to the BIOS chip.
    In both cases the process of flashing takes up all CPU time and resources
    which means no other process intervenes and spoils the process of flashing.

    Suppose now the USB port with our new BIOS is faulty and read operation had
    errors. In this case, both flashers check that ROM contents are intact.
    Checksum error - no flashing. We are safe. Again, no advantage for the BIOS
    flasher.

    I'd rather say DOS flasher has advantages over BIOS flasher, because it has
    better functionality. BIOS flasher is part of machine BIOS and flashing chips
    is not the main function of BIOS. Therefore, the programmer is restricted
    in his desire to put a lot of functions in the flasher - no room enough.
    In the case of DOS flasher, there are no such restrictions.

    Actually, we can see this when flashing. Instant Flash just displays a progress
    bar, while the DOS flasher "ASR01 AMI Firmware Update Utility (APTIO)" tells
    us a lot about how the process is going on (checking file, erasing, writing,
    verifying, etc.). Besides, it has a number of command line switches, like
    "Save current BIOS into file".

  10. #10
    simplymike is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Three BIOSes same version - which one to use?

    Some more info about BIOS flashing I think could be of use to someone, which is missing on ASRocks site. Everything is from my own experience so the usual 'use at your own risk' disclaimer applies.

    The DOS flasher for AMI/Aptio BIOS listed for many ASRock MBs is a modified AFUDOS "AMI Firmware Update for DOS" utility, it contains BIOS contents for the respective MB. Which means you can not use the utility made for one MB on a different MB. Flashing your BIOS with the wrong contents means just a waste of time if not bricking it.
    DOS flasher is launched manually from a DOS-bootable USB stick after booting from that stick.
    "HP USB Disk Storage Format Tool" will help you to prepare the stick. Be sure to copy the exe file unzipped from "MB_name(BIOS_version)DOS.zip" to the USB stick before reboot. I'd recommend to rename the file to something like AFUDOS.EXE to conform to the DOS 8.3 naming convention.

    The list of command-line switches can be obtained with
    AFUDOS /?

    When started without parameters
    AFUDOS
    the flasher upgrades your current BIOS to the new version. This is the same as
    AFUDOS bios.rom /P /B /N /ASR
    where bios.rom is the file with new BIOS.

    To save current BIOS into a file
    AFUDOS oldbios.rom /O
    where oldbios.rom is the file to save to

    To automatically reboot after flashing
    AFUDOS /REBOOT

    P.S. I was not able to use Instant Flash on my MB with factory BIOS v1.40 no matter what I tried. After I updated to v1.80 using AFUDOS, the first attempt to use Instant Flash was successful. Then I tried different USB sticks and different USB ports that did not work in 1.40 - they all work in 1.80 now. Then I tried a 7-year old 512 MB Transcend and used the front panel USB port as the worst possible case - and again it works with Instant Flash. Then I downloaded BIOS 1.40 from asrock.com and was about to downgrade back to 1.40 to figure out what was wrong with Instant Flash - but stopped. I thought to myself: what are you doing? teasing Mr.Murphy? you don't have UPS, even the 5 or 6 times that you have flashed your BIOS without battery backup is too much. Besides, who told you that this MB allows downgrade in the 1st place? Case closed.
    Last edited by simplymike; 02-15-2013 at 10:30 PM.

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