Flashing a ROM

Dennis Faas's picture

Have you ever flashed your BIOS?

The BIOS is a chip built onto a circuit board that contains a set of instructions. The instructions are responsible for controlling the device and how it interacts with other peripherals. For example: a main board (motherboard) contains a BIOS (CMOS) which stores information about your computer, such as the size of your hard drive, COM ports, buffers, and the like.

Flashing a BIOS simply means to update the code of the BIOS instruction. This is done with two separate pieces of software: the BIOS flashing program, and the BIOS update itself. The BIOS flashing program reads the BIOS update from disk and writes the update to the BIOS chip.

Since the BIOS is responsible for the device behavior, a BIOS flash must complete the update without interruption. If the flash is interrupted, the device will cease to work. Reasons for an incomplete flash might include: a hardware failure, the wrong BIOS type, or loss of power during the flashing process.

I decided to flash my RAID controller

Since I upgraded to Windows XP, I decided to update my RAID controller's BIOS. The RAID controller in my system controls how my hard drives interact with the main board. The hard drives in turn hold all of my files, including the operating system (Windows XP).

For an unknown reason, the flash program did not complete. Shortly after the commencement of the burning process, I received an error message from the DOS command line that there was an error reading drive D.

In an instant, all 120 gigabytes disappeared

Since I was no longer able to access ANY of my files from the command line, I decided to reboot the system. I noticed that the RAID controller BIOS screen did not appear during the regular boot process. Shortly after that, I received the dreaded error message "Operating system not found".

I wanted to pull my hair out.

Long story short

I was supposed to be working on redesigning the web site and a few other things which are on my hard drive, but that is going to be put on hold since I cannot access ANY of my files. I had to restore Windows 98 on an old 6.4 gig hard drive just so that I could get access to the Internet and write my newsletter. Yes, I have backups -- but only for the essential stuff. Since I wasn't finished installing all my files for Windows XP, I didn't bother to make a backup yet.

Since the controller was still under warranty, I called Promise IO (the manufacturer) and was told that they would send me a card within a few days using their preferred service. Overall, I was quite impressed with their support.

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