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Thread: BIOS Flashing - A "How To ~ Qflash Guide"




  1. #1
    Lsdmeasap's Avatar
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    Default BIOS Flashing - A "How To ~ Qflash Guide"

    BIOS Flashing With Qflash



    Please DO NOT USE @BIOS!!

    This cannot be stressed enough. I cannot recommend using it AT ALL with all other available options

    I have seen many Boards killed (IE: Bricked, that is your motherboard is now a brick and you will have to RMA your board) by using @BIOS. I would guess that more then 90% of RMA's due to a bad flash, were because of @BIOS alone.

    Yes it may work for you once or twice but if you keep using it you will find out the hard way it is not a good idea. Windows based flashing has always been looked down on and likely will never be a accepted or recommended method to flash a BIOS

    A few @BIOS "Bad flash" notes will be below

    Now that the Much needed warning is out of the way, onto the subject at hand

    BIOS is a Acronym for "Basic Input/Output System"

    Here is Nice BIOS FAQ, by BIOSMAN. Not particularly related to Gigabyte BIOS's but I thought it may answer some simpler questions someone may have someday

    :: BIOSMAN Inc :: BIOSMAN's BIOS FAQs


    Gigabyte's Information Page for Flashing Motherboard BIOS

    GIGABYTE - Support - Motherboard - BIOS - How to Reflash Motherboard BIOS


    You have 4 available Options when flashing the BIOS with Qflash.

    1. Floppy Disk Drive
    2. USB flash drive
    3. FAT32/16/12 Partition on your disk (FAT32 Is best)
    4. A Bootable FAT32/16/12 USB Flash drive (Only needed if you have issues with a normal USB/Qflash Method)

    A bootable USB Drive is Useful if you have issues with a normal USB type Qflash flash, or are trying to recover from a bad flash.........otherwise making a Bootable one is not necessary. However you may still make and use it if you find it easier for you.


    For this Guide Extracted BIOS files will be represented by .Fxx

    The actual BIOS file itself is 1MB and has a File extension that follows the format as described below >>>

    Board_Name_Example.F10, with the .F10 being the BIOS file extension in question, thus .Fxx will be used to discuss BIOS files below.


    First thing you MUST be sure to do is manually download the correct BIOS for your board model and board revision from Gigabyte Web Site Below.
    GIGABYTE Boards

    Be SURE to choose the correct Model and Board Revision #. The board Revision is printed on the bottom of the board in the corner under the PCI Slots if you are not sure of your boards Revision #. Here is a page with a example of this below
    http://www.gigabyte.com/support-down....aspx?fid=2234


    Getting the actual BIOS file

    The BIOS file you download is a SFX.EXE which is a Self Extracting EXE made to extract the BIOS files (Autoexec.bat File, a Flash895.exe/FlashSPI.exe file, and a Bios.Fxx File) to the folder of your choice to be used to flash from DOS

    You will need to Extract the BIOS file you need, the .Fxx file, from the Downloaded .exe (SFX.EXE) file to be used in Qflash.

    The below method is for users who already have Winrar, or do not mind installing a trial program. Linux users will also need to use the .Rar extraction program "Unrar", or whatever program you know that will extract a Rar file

    As for the rest of the Gigabyte users, I have recently noticed that the actual files from gigabyte can be extracted from windows with no additional programs needed. Simply click "Install" (Which Means Extract) and the files will be extracted to the folder you have the exe in. Or you may also use the "Browse" Button and choose where to extract the files.

    You can get the BIOS .Fxx file Extracted out of this .exe file to flash with Qflash by using Winrar to extract the files as well if you like. Or may now simply double click and extract the BIOS files without Winrar. Linux users and those who have Winrar or 7Zip installed, may use the method below using Winrar to extract if you like

    Download Winrar Trial here (Scroll down to Winrar 3.71 and download) and then install and right click the BIOS.exe file and choose "extract here". The files will be extracted to the folder you have the exe located in >>>
    WinRAR archiver, a powerful tool to process RAR and ZIP files


    Put the .Fxx file onto a FAT32/16/12 USB drive, or in your FAT32/16/12 partition and enter Qflash.

    You may also make a new 1GB FAT32 partition on your disk if you like and keep BIOS files there as well.

    You may also make a USB Bootable drive, covered below, if you have issues with your board seeing your formatted USB stick.

    Flashing With Qflash

    To Get into Qflash Select "END" at bootup, or F8 Within the BIOS to enter Qflash.


    To use USB in Qflash you need "Legacy USB Storage Detect" Enabled in the Integrated Peripherals Page of the BIOS. You also need to leave the USB drive plugged in when you reboot to Qflash.


    Once inside Qflash you will be presented with Floppy, or Drives/Disks, or HDD's options depending on what you have available, look thru each until you find your BIOS file and then flash it.


    *NOTE*
    Once you have flashed and rebooted back into the BIOS choose Load Optimized defaults and save and apply. This is a required step for the flash process to complete, and for the new BIOS to be properly loaded into the chip.

    Then reboot Back into the BIOS again before you go into windows. You will need to set your hard drive settings again in the Advanced BIOS page. MOST IMPORTANTLY do not try to load Windows if you are using a RAID setup without setting these disk settings again or you will corrupt your RAID Array.

    Please do not skip the above steps and try to load windows, this is for anyone who is reading this who is using RAID, which alot of us do.

    These are the steps needed using the Intel Controller to assure your Array will not be lost post flash. PM if image is missing >>




    Making a Bootable USB Flash Drive

    FlashSPI mentioned above as being included on the USB stick is only necessary when flashing via DOS.
    It is not needed when using Qflash


    *NOTE*

    Your USB drive will be formatted During this process, all Data on it will be lost!!

    So copy or Move any Data on your USB stick you need to keep for now, you may add it back later if you like


    1. Make a USB bootable drive using this USB Bootable USB Creation Program "HP USB Disk Storage Format Tool - v2.1.8" >>>
    USB Boot drive (HPUSBFW)

    Also Available here as a Installable File >>>
    HP USB Disk Storage Format Tool | Peripherals Download | PC World

    Or
    HP USB Disk Storage Format Tool - v2.1.8 Download - EXTREME Overclocking

    2. Next download the boot files and extract them to your desktop

    3. Run the HPUSBFW program.



    Select the correct USB device from the drop-down menu, set file system to FAT32/16/12 and check Create a DOS startup disk.

    4. Then browse for the extracted boot files (now in the folder on your desktop from above extraction) and press start to begin formating it.

    5. Once the device is done, download the BIOS file from the Gigabyte website for your board model and revision as well as the DOS based BIOS flashing tool which is included inside downloaded BIOS .exe files from Gigabyte.

    6. You will need Winrar to extract these files from the downloaded .exe file. Download Winrar Trial from the below link (Scroll down to Winrar 3.71 and download)
    WinRAR archiver, a powerful tool to process RAR and ZIP files

    7. Install Winrar and right click the BIOS.exe file and choose extract "here". Three files will be extracted, Autoexec.bat, Flash895.exe, and a .Fxx Bios File. You will need the Flash895.exe and the BIOS.Fxx File only

    8. Place Flash895.exe and the BIOS .Fxx file onto the USB stick

    9. Plug in your USB drive and reboot to enter bios.

    10. Load Optimized Defaults, set the ram voltage to the specified Voltage for your ram

    11. Go into the Hard Disk Boot Priority Option In Advanced BIOS Features Page and select your USB drive as the first bootable drive.

    12. Reboot.

    13. Once it boots to the USB, you will see a Windows 98 screen, and then the DOS prompt.

    14. Run flash utility by typing "flash895 p35ds4.fxx" without the quotes at the DOS prompt

    *NOTE*
    You will need to change the ^^ p35ds4.fxx ^^ in the above command to the exact name of the BIOS file you have.
    Last edited by Lsdmeasap; 04-27-2011 at 01:59 PM.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: BIOS Flashing - A "How To, Qflash Guide"

    Flashing with a Floppy Disk from DOS


    You will need 2 blank floppy disks to flash using this method. Using Qflash is advised if you do have a Floppy Installed, and you will need only one floppy disk with Qflash.

    If you do not wish to use Qflash with a floppy or otherwise, please continue to follow the below directions for flashing in DOS with a floppy

    1. Format a Floppy disk, and choose "Create MS-DOS Startup disk as shown below. (Must be Windows XP SP 1 or greater to use this method)


    2. Remove the MS-DOS bootable Floppy disk you just created from the floppy disk drive.

    3. Insert a new floppy disk, and format it in the normal manner.

    4. Copy the 3 extracted (.Fxx, Autoexec.bat, and Flash895.exe/flashSPI.exe) BIOS files onto this second floppy

    5. Reboot to the BIOS

    6. Load Optimized Defaults, set the ram voltage to the specified Voltage for your ram

    7. Go into the Hard Disk Boot Priority Option In Advanced BIOS Features Page and select your Floppy drive as the first bootable device.

    8. Save and Apply (F10)

    9. Reboot the system with the MS-DOS boot disk inserted in the floppy drive

    10. Once it boots to the Floppy, you will see a Windows 98 screen, and then the DOS prompt.

    11. Remove the MS-DOS floppy disk and Insert the BIOS floppy disk you created in step 4

    12. Run flash utility by typing "flash895 p35ds4.fxx" without the quotes at the DOS prompt

    *NOTE*
    You will need to change the ^^ p35ds4.fxx ^^ in the above command to the exact name of the BIOS file you have.



    Clearing the CMOS

    CMOS is a Acronym for "Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor"

    Clearing the CMOS will erase the settings stored in the CMOS. It does not remove or change the BIOS itself, it only clears the user defined settings within the CMOS.

    This is a very useful thing to do, that everyone needs to know how to properly use . It can often help if you are having overclock issues, if your PC will not stop the booting cycle, Or some people choose to clear CMOS when they plan to flash. All of the above are normal times for you to use this function

    When you clear the CMOS you will often likely see the error message "CMOS Checksum Error" on the next reboot. Do not worry this is a normal thing, please enter BIOS at this stage and Load Optimized Defaults, set your DDR2 voltatge and reboot again to the BIOS. The error will be gone after that.

    Incase anyone is confused by that error message statement above, the Corrupt BootBlock/Scanning for BootBlock Error is the one you do not wish to see, the checksum error is fine and will be gone on a reboot or with one setting change in the BIOS as the board will update the DMI pool to match the CMOS and the checksums will then be matched

    First thing to do is to shut down your System, and let it rest for 30 seconds to a minute.

    Then it is wise to unplug the Power Supply from the wall. Be sure to also Unplug the USB cables of any powered USB devices!

    Open your case and find the "Clear CMOS" jumpers. It is a 2-pin jumper normally located just under the or between the PCI-E slots in P35 boards and under the last PCI-R Slot in P45 boards. Once you have found these jumper pins you will need to get a Hard Drive or Optical Jumper (The same type you used to use on IDE Drives) and place this jumper on the "Clear CMOS" pins. Then press and hold the Case Power on switch for a minute.

    Boards with A Clear CMOS button you may also Press and hold this for a minute as well after you do the power button. Sometimes this Clear CMOS button alone will work, other times it will not. So this FULL method is just to BE SURE it gets cleared for those users who have issues with other methods

    You may also want to remove the CMOS battery. This is optional and not Always necessary, but you may want to try it if you are having issues getting the CMOS Cleared.

    Below is a Example from P45-DS4P & P35-DS3R Gigabyte Manuals



    Now let the computer rest with this jumper on for 10-20 Minutes, this will ensure that the battery gets drained, and the CMOS is cleared. Some people will tell you it will only take a few seconds or a minute or two, but I find that to be false and it may indeed lead to a corrupt BootBlock and or a Bricked motherboard.

    So best to not try to cut corners when it comes to Clearing the CMOS, wait the full 20 Minutes

    When the 20 minutes is up, remove the jumper from the "Clear CMOS" pins, put the battery back in if you removed it, and close your case up. Plug the Power Supply back into the wall and restart the system. Then please follow above advice and Load Optimized Defaults, set DDR2 Voltages and Reboot.


    Attempting to Recover From a Bad Flash or Corrupt BootBlock

    Corrupt BIOS BootBlock? It can happen to the best of us!!

    There is but only a FEW things you can try to do before you will have to RMA your board if you get a Bad BootBlock or Scanning Hard Drive for BIOS error message.

    This can be causes by any number of things, @BIOS, a Bad Flash, a Flash to the incorrect BIOS, a Power interruption during a flash... The list goes on.

    Here is a few things you can try in a attempt to recover your BIOS.

    *NOTE*
    You MUST have a Floppy Disk Drive installed and set as First Boot Device, BEFORE your system failure. It will not help you at all to try to install one after a BIOS error in a attempt to fix it with these methods.

    1. Make a bootable floopy disk by formatting a floppy disk and choosing Create a MS-DOS startup disk in the format options

    2. Copy the Award flash utility (Flash895) & BIOS file (.Fxx) to the floppy disk

    3. Create an autoexec.bat with “flash895 bios_file_example_name.Fxx” in the content of the batch file, (without the quotes “ ”).

    Yes the space is there and is necessary!
    (Example: flash895 gap35ds4.F12)

    4. Boot the system with the floppy (it will take a few minutes before screen comes out)

    5. Re-flash the BIOS & reboot.

    Here is how to create an autoexec.bat File
    1. In Windows, open NotePad
    2. In NotePad, write “flash895 gap35ds4.F12″ (without the quotes “ ”)
    3. Save the file as autoexec.bat


    Or

    The AWARD BIOS does not automatically restore the BIOS information to the BootBlock. You will need to write the commands necessary to flash the BIOS into the Autoexec.bat file.

    The system will run the Autoexec.bat file, which contains the flash instructions.

    How To:

    1. Create a bootable floppy disk as noted above

    2. Copy the BIOS file (.Fxx) and flash utility (Flash895) to the disk

    3. Create an text file with any standard text editor and add the following lines (Name it Autoexec.bat after editing)

    @ECHO OFF

    flash895 gap35ds4.F12 /py/sn/f/cc/r

    The AWDFLASH.EXE (Flash895) command switch modifiers used above are explained below:
    /CC = clear CMOS data after programming.
    /CD = clear DMI data after programming.
    /CP = clear PnP (ESCD) data after programming.
    /QI = use BIOS I.D. string from BIOS .bin file.
    /R = reset system after programming.
    /PY = program flash memory.
    /F = Flash BIOS
    /SN = don't save existing BIOS.

    * FYI FlashSPI Switches *
    /C - Clear DMI pool data
    /D - Load CMOS defaults
    /E - Clear CMOS
    /R - Reboot System
    /S - Save Original
    To view all of the modifiers for AWDFLASH.EXE, type the following at a DOS prompt:

    AWDFLASH.EXE /?

    And finally, if all of that fails here is one last page, with similar but more in depth methods, keep in mind you will need to change some of the commands listed on this page to match the files you will be using. Change them similar to th above ones. Like if .BIN is discussed it means use .Fxx in it's place, if awardflash is discussed use Flash895 in it's place. The page was written for older BIOS's but all of the same still applies in this instance of Flash Recovery

    (*Note* I have this webpage on my hard drive should it ever go down, if so someone please PM me and let me know)

    Award 6.0 BIOS - BootBlock Recovery


    Suggestions are more then welcome if you guys think I missed anything or need to address something further.

    Hope this at least will help some people a bit, and HOPEFULLY save a few from a BAD @BIOS Flash or Otherwise!


    BIOS Recover Method Via Manually Invoking BACKUP BIOS Auto-Recovery
    Using Power Supply - On/Off Switch

    It is possible to make the BIOS Auto-Recovery kick in (Dual BIOS) and re-flash the MAIN BIOS with the contents of the BACKUP BIOS.

    This is a simple and easy method for anyone to try before having to resort to other more difficult methods, or a RMA.

    1. Shut off the power supply using the switch on the back of the PSU, wait 10-15 seconds.
    2. Press and hold the case Power On swtich, then while still holding turn on the power supply from the switch on the rear.
    3. Still holding the case power on switch, the board will start, once it does release the case power on switch and shut off the power supply via the switch on the read of the unit. (Do the latter two parts as quickly as you can once the board starts)
    4. The board will shut down.
    5. Turn the power supply back on using the switch on the rear of the unit.
    6. Turn on the motherboard by pressing the case power on button.

    Once the board starts this time you should see the Gigabyte splash screen, or POST page, then the Auto-Recovery from Dual BIOS will kick in. You will see a checksum error, and then recovery from BACKUP BIOS will begin. Once it is done reboot your machine and enter the BIOS and load optimized defaults then save/apply/reboot back to BIOS.

    Now you are done, and will be using whatever BIOS was in your BACKUP BIOS, From there you can attempt whatever you were previously trying, or update your BIOS to the latest version.

    If updating please use Qflash!!

    This only applies to Dual BIOS Motherboards.
    Last edited by Lsdmeasap; 01-07-2011 at 05:56 PM.

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    Default Re: BIOS Flashing - A "How To ~ Qflash Guide"

    Important Note: Where FLASH895.exe has been replaced by FLASHSPI.exe by Gigabyte

    Anyone who flashes their bios "the good old way" , with a created floppy boot disk and the relevant bios, flash app and autoexec.bat file copied over, that Gigabyte have started to use (at least for my board and latest bios) a New Flash utility (FLASHSPI.exe).

    At first it can be a bit disconcerting, because from the moment you boot the PC, with of course the floppy drive set as a bootable drive in the bios, the new Flash Bios Update Application (dos) needs NO input from you.

    Normally on "traditional" Flash Bios update applications (dos) when booting from a floppy, you would be presented with the loaded Flash Bios Update application screen and would have to manually select the bios image and initiate the flash by "OK". Also some of these Flash Bios Update applications would allow you to save a copy of the current bios image file.

    However this new GB Flash Bios update Application requires no user input whatsoever - so don't remove the floppy disk after boot until the Flash has completed. It's not as though you would be just stopping a Flash Bios update Application from loading, ie before loading up the bios image manually.

    Gigabyte should have warned users about this, as for years I've always been used to seeing the loaded up Flash bios update Application waiting for me to select a bios image and initiate the flash process manually (as per FLASH895.exe). If i wanted to change my mind, or realised I had the wrong bios image on the floppy disk, I could just stop right there and close the Flash bios update application - no harm done.
    However their new Flash bios update application/utility doesn't allow that. It appears to be supplied and configured in "silent" mode.
    So be careful!

    Info:-
    FLASH895.exe dated 27 june 2006
    FLASHSPI.exe dated 23 may 2008
    Last edited by VorLonUK; 09-06-2008 at 02:16 AM.

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    Default Re: BIOS Flashing - A "How To ~ Qflash Guide"

    Great info VorLonUK, Thanks for the comment for sure!

    I had NO idea of this, and while I think it maybe is a very good idea, perhaps it should for sure be noted not only on the BIOS download page also added into the Manuals. I will forward this information/suggestion to Gigabyte

    I would also like to add this comment about the above post by VorLonUK >>>

    You can still extract the BIOS .Fxx file as mentioned above, and use a Flash895.exe utility as mentioned above to flash with. The Flash895.exe can be downloaded from any P35 board's BIOS package (Flash895.exe is here incase someone needs it and cannot get otherwise) >>>
    FLASH895.sfx.exe
    Last edited by Lsdmeasap; 09-06-2008 at 05:42 AM.

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    Default Re: BIOS Flashing - A "How To ~ Qflash Guide"

    Although this FLASHSPI.exe utility is setup to run "silently/unattended" and obviously works with "older boards" that first saw the FLASH895.exe, such as my GA-P35C-DS3R. - I wonder as it's a new utility, ie 2 years newer than the flash895.exe it is being used now not just for convenience, but as a possible recommendation on the latest boards which may use different/revised (newer) bios chips?

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    Default Re: BIOS Flashing - A "How To ~ Qflash Guide"

    Ya, I am not sure either why it is made to be silent, I guess maybe to Prevent User interruption? But like you said, sounds like that may be more likely with it not asking you anything now

    They both have a Autoexec.bat to Automatically run them, but I can see just as you said with the new one being silent far more users rebooting mid-process thinking nothing is going on

    I really do not think the BIOS chip matters much, and both programs would just clear DMI Pool and flash in the New BIOS.

    I am not so sure about all of this, maybe I can get Gigabyte to give me a good answer on why the change of the program itself, and why silent now.

    I will for sure be pointing out the issue you have brought forward, as I see it as a very valid point of failure. And possible point of Increased RMA's due to a interrupted flash. Especially with no words of warning on how things have changed from the Previous Flash Utility Process, and no explanation to new or old users to expect a silent unattended flash.

    As a side note to my above comment about Flash895. You can use the new app FlashSPI as well for the USB Bootable method, just change the command name to the program which you plan to use FlashSPI or Flash895. Both will work as I see the autoexec.bet file is the same in each package, it just runs the flash command same as you would do in DOS. But expect a silent Unattended flash as noted above if you use FlashSPI with a USB Bootable

    WOW, Really! How are "New To Flashing" users supposed to know how long it takes, and when it is done with the new method being silent and unattended?

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    Default Re: BIOS Flashing - A "How To ~ Qflash Guide"

    As far as I can remember, there is minimal onscreen information given, but that might not be enough for the novice user.

    The Flash process information is shown just at the top left of the screen and consists of something like this:-
    Erasing.....
    Copying....
    Verifying.....

    with a countdown of bytes to go.

    But it wasn't the lack of information/feedback that concerned me as much as there is no user input (where there has always been before). The moment you boot the PC with new bios media ready to be flashed, the whole operation is out of your hands - so basically don't touch that media until it is finished.

    In the past you booted straight to the Bios Flashing utility, where you choose the bios image, initiate the flash or if you wish, simply abort the Utility and exit - you had choices. Now when you boot with the flash utility, you have no choices (which could be seen as ok).
    My concern is people like myself where normally expecting to interact with the Flash utility software screen, might have a peer over the screen think it's locked up or not booted properly into the flash utility and inadvertently halt the Flash procedure.

    There is information, ie a few lines of short text in the top left of the screen during the flash - it is possible (I would think) to miss it if you are not aware things have changed and are automatic.
    Last edited by VorLonUK; 09-06-2008 at 09:46 PM.

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    Default Re: BIOS Flashing - A "How To ~ Qflash Guide"

    Ahh, well that is a little better then nothing.

    I still think they should at least notify users of the new process on the site, or at the very least include a FAQ or How To with the download (Something I have ALWAYS thought they lacked)

    I will be pointing out thoughts out here to Gigabyte in hopes to save others

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    Default Re: BIOS Flashing - A "How To ~ Qflash Guide"

    Thank you for this section. I could not find anything in the manual apart from the floppy technique. I don't have a floppy, not because of the $10 it costs to buy them but because I don't trust them when they are only used for emergencies. I find they fill up with dust and fluff and dirt and then don't work on the rare times you need them - such as a flash. Anyhow, I made myself a bootable CD and it all worked going from F4 to F8 (I had destroyed the BIOS, so I needed to flash). The next time I found this guide and it was so much easier to just use a USB stick from F8 to F9. I got to use it a second time moving to F10g beta - which works well BTW, and I will now make a bootable USB for next time. The only comment on the instructions is that I don't recall needing to manually extract anything with winrar, I think the current .exe downloads automatically extract, so it is even easier than your instructions.

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    Default Re: BIOS Flashing - A "How To ~ Qflash Guide"

    Ya, I thought it was about time We had some good info on BIOS flashing, it was very much needed.

    Glad to see it is already Helping some!!

    Well it is always good to have one, and have it hooked up and set as first boot device, like you said for emergency's. Having one and not having it hooked up and set as first boot does not help you any in a emergency.

    Ya they may self extract now for P45 boards I am not sure, just so used to using winrar as I use it all the time so I just out of habit right click files off the bat.

    P35 BIOS .exe's though will only extract to the A drive, unless you have winrar or 7zip or some other similar extractors

    Anyhow, very nice to see you approve of the manual, and found some use for it. I hope it will help save many from headaches and bad @BIOS flashes in the future

    *EDIT*

    You are correct, it is only (Well so far, only) the P45 BIOS's that are normal SFX files and can be extracted without winrar.

    Thanks for the Tip, will add a sidenote in the above for P45 BIOS

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