Thursday, May 13, 2010

Restore BIOS in Gigabyte GA-8SIMLH Rev 3.x

My colleague could not use her new widescreen LCD since her built-in SiS graphics card in Gigabyte GA-8SIMLH Rev 3.x does not support the resolution. It didn’t help either, after installing the LCD driver and updating the graphics driver. So I downloaded a patched BIOS for this board to support widescreen resolutions.

I ran the Gigabyte atBIOS tool in Windows, selected the patched BIOS file, and confirm the update. At the stage when the tool showed ‘Erasing…’ or something, here came the blue screen of death. What could I do? I rebooted, only to find out that the machine could no longer boot. There was no display on the screen either.

The next step was naturally Google. This motherboard uses Award BIOS. Some pages suggested to create a boot floppy disk and put this command in autoexec.bat.
awdflash 12345678.BIN /py/sn/f/cc/r
Some pages also warned to carefully select the version of awdflash to use. I don’t know which version of awdflash that I should use, but I have a flash893 by Gigabyte. I changed the above command to flash893 but the machine still wouldn’t boot. Maybe flash893 did not understand the parameters?

I figured that 893 could be a version number. So I downloaded awd893 (awdflash version 8.93) and uses the above command line. After I rebooted, the machine did access the floppy for a while, but then nothing happen and the machine was still in bad condition.

So I ran that awd893 in a Windows 98 machine (luckily we still have an old machine with a floppy drive!) with this command
awd893 /?
I could not find /f in the output. Could this be the problem? So I modified the line in autoexec.bat to this:
awd893 bios.bin /py /sn /cc /R
I don’t know whether the parameters should be case sensitive. I just followed the cases from the /?. But the above line works!

To summarise, here’s what I did to save the old machine:
  1. Create a boot floppy disk using Windows 98:
    1. Insert the disk
    2. Open Windows Explorer.
    3. Right-click the disk
    4. Click “Format”
    5. Tick “Copy system files”
    6. Click “Start”
  2. Copy awd893 to the floppy.
  3. Copy the bios file to the floppy.
  4. Create a file called autoexec.bat in the floppy. You can use Notepad.
  5. In the file, put this line (bios.bin is the BIOS file, change it to the name of your BIOS file):
  6. awd893 bios.bin /py /sn /cc /R
  7. Save the file. When you save the file in Notepad, make sure you choose “All Files (*.*)” in “Save as type”. Name the file as autoexec.bat
  8. Insert the disk to the affected machine.
  9. Start the machine.
  10. If everything goes smoothly, the machine will flash the BIOS and reboot itself.
The final floppy disk should have the following files. You may have one extra file called drvspace.bin. I deleted it since a page said the boot disk should have minimal bootup files.
    • io.sys
    • msdos.sys
    • awd893.exe
    • bios.bin
    • autoexec.bat
I didn’t use the patched BIOS, I used the BIOS from Gigabyte, so the widescreen still didn’t work, cause we decided to give her a new machine.