BIOS Gone Bye-bye
March 30, 2008 11:06 PM   Subscribe

How can I flash my BIOS without paying HPs exhorbitant tech support fee? Details down under ...

HP Pavilion m7960n Media Center PC. So I go to upgrade my BIOS using the files supplied by HP. I get a dialog box saying "update in progress, don't turn off the computer." After a VERY long time, I decide that something must be wrong, and I discover that the computer is completely frozen. This is the harbinger of very bad things. The BIOS boots into some sort of "rescue mode" that allows for floppy booting, and I can get it to boot DOS from a CD, but the regular BIOS has gone bye-bye. HP wants $299 to fix the problem--far less than a better case, power supply and motherboard, so I ain't gonna pay that.

Is there any hope? The upgrade files supplied by HP did have one file with a .rom extension. I wonder if there is a way to make a bootable CD that will flash the BIOS with this. I'd like to try something before I shell out my hard-earned.
posted by Crotalus to Computers & Internet (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
There is some information here:

There's also this method:

However, they both hinge on having a floppy drive available. Could you just attach one for the purpose?
posted by Magnakai at 3:36 AM on March 31, 2008

You are correct, it is in a recovery mode. If it'll boot a CD, you should be good and don't need to install a floppy drive.

I tried looking up that PC on and didn't have much luck. Did you get the model number right? Look on the sticker where the serial number is, there should be a product number that looks something like this:


Use another PC, try typing that (the first 6 digits) number into HP's driver download box and see what comes up.

There *should* be downloadable files for flashing the BIOS. You want a bootable CD or bootable floppy. Burn the CD at the slowest possible setting. If you can only get a floppy image, create the floppy disk. Then, either install a floppy drive (might be impossible), or use Nero or Roxio to create a bootable CD using floppy emulation mode. Use the floppy you made when it asks.

From there, you should be able to boot the PC and reflash the BIOS.
posted by gjc at 6:15 AM on March 31, 2008

The rom file is probably jsut a binary, so you need the loader to put it on. Does HP even offer an a boot disk with the loader?

The 299 may not be for just a simple flash, but to pull the chip out and replace it with another. I imagine it would be a lot cheaper to price out the motherboard and replace it at home.
posted by damn dirty ape at 10:48 AM on March 31, 2008

There are lots of third party bios flashing utilities, like UniFLASH, that will work from DOS, though most seem to be a little out of date. If you can boot from CD, you could also try booting to BartPE and using the HP utility again.

I think hot flashing is a bit out of date nowadays, but depending on the type of flash ROM, it may be a possibility.
posted by Chuckles at 2:06 PM on April 2, 2008

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