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Discussion Starter #1
I need some help flashing a BIOS, or maybe something else, I don't know.

Here's my situation:

MB: ASUS A7A266
CPU: AMD Athlon 1GHz/266 SocketA
BIOS: rev.1004
OS: Win2K Pro
RAM: 1 GB PC2100 266MHZ DDR SDRAM

Primary Master: 200 GB Maxtor HDD
Primary Slave: 120 GB Maxtor HDD

RUNNING:
AVAST ANTIVIRUS 4.6
KERIO PERSONAL FIREWALL 4

I recently purchased the 200 GB Maxtor, partitioned it into logical drives all < 70 GB, and started using 2 of the bigger ones for large captured DV files. The other night, the 2 larger drives (also the last of logical drives) that hold my DV files both disappeared. After a little research online, it seems that other people occasionally have similar troubles and blame it on either file size limits in Windows 2000 or drive size limits (127 GB) with older BIOS. However, there are supposedly virtually no file or drive size limits with NTFS and Windows 2000, and if my partitions are all < 70 GB, why would I be having problems with the BIOS?

I didn't have any problems until I had a significant amount of the the larger partitions filled up (I'm guessing about 50% or more, but I can't tell now since the drives are invisible). I was most recently creating files on the next to last drive when they both disappeared, so I suspect it has something to do with the partition tables. Maybe the parameters are out of bounds regarding the size of certain files, I don't know. If the next to last partition had a problem of this sort that kept it from being addressed properly, this might keep the last partition from being seen properly as well since the partitions are linked.

Since my BIOS does not support 48-bit LBA, I figured that the BIOS must be the culprit here. I created a registry value (EnableBigLba = 1) as per instructions on Microsoft's site, but I also have to update my BIOS. There are BIOS updates for large capacity drives on ASUS' website, so I downloaded the one prior to the beta release, but I can find no way to actually flash my BIOS. With Windows 2000 you can't get a true DOS to flash from, and I couldn't figure out a way to do it in the recovery console (it wouldn't let me run the AFLASH utility executable). I don't know of any utilities that work from within Windows that ASUS supports (WinFlash is useless here), and ASUS' EZ-Flash utility is not available for the A7A266. Can I flash from a Windows 98 boot disk?

I'm not even sure flashing the BIOS will help on this problem. There are some other suspicious events occurring now after the mysterious disappearance of the drives, but temporal proximity does not guarantee causal relationships. Apps seem to launch much more slowly, and I had 2 funny cases of major apps re-requiring license verification. I guess there could be some lurking virus (I will run a scan tonight and see what it finds), but I don't think it's a virus.

Any help will be much appreciated.
 

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What you would probably need to do is format a floppy disk on Win2K, when you format it create a boot disk. After you format the disk, copy the AWFLASH utility and the new BIOS file to the floppy. Boot the computer to the floppy and run the AWFLASH utility.

Note on 48 bit LBA.
The only way Win2K will see a drive larger than 127GB is if you have SP3 applied. WinXP needs SP1. You BIOS also needs to support 48 bit LBA. You can get around this by using DDO (Dynamic Drive Overlay). DDO 'fakes' the OS in seeing a larger drive by a combination of different partitioning and changing the OS registry. The big downfall of DDO is if anything happened to the OS, the data on the drive may be unrecoverable.

Another option to installing a large drive to a system that doesn't support 48 bit LBA would be to install a PCI IDE controller card. Since the separate controller card will have it's own BIOS to support large drives.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
thanks for the help

I appreciate the advice.

However, I'd already tried the win2K boot floppy approach. All that can be attempted is to go through the repair process (recovery console or emergency repair) where you are prevented from running executables that would update the BIOS. But I'm thinking of trying a win98 boot disk.

Thanks.

mr.brien.
 

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Confused,
When you create a boot floppy in Win2K or WinXP, it will create a WinME DOS boot disk. All you are doing is adding the executible flash program and BIOS .bin file to it. When you boot to the disk, it does not know anything about the Win2K OS or boot to Win2K. Is your computer not booting to the floppy?
 
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