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The following information is based on one person's opinion. This information may be considered accurate or inaccurate by any given reader. I am not making or implying any specific claims against any company or entity. All company names and trademarks are the property of their perspective holders.

Toshiba - HP - Sony - Acer - Compaq - Lenovo BIOS Failures

I've been in the flash programming industry for over a decade. I've seen various BIOS update failures from pretty much most of the major laptop manufacturers. "Bad BIOS Flashes" are not limited to any one manufacturer. I know it may seem that way when your flash goes "wrong' but trust me, you're not alone and there have been many MANY victims ahead of you.

The general concencious when it comes to BIOS flash updates is and always has been: "If it's not broke, dont fix it".. meaning, just because a BIOS update has been released dosn't mean that you should perfrom the update.

Note: Please don't send emails requesting assistance with the Crisis Recovery Process. We don't use it.

Unless you are having a specific problem that a specific BIOS update is going to resolve (and it's a problem that you cannot live with) then it may be worth taking the risk of updating the BIOS. Then and only then should you consider it.

"Boot Block" crisis recovery has been around for a while. The Boot Block in the older parallel flash memory was present on the ROM chip itself. The boot block on modern day SPI flash devices is located on the SPI controller chip or EC. The EC may also be updated with the BIOS update package.

..."when things go wrong"

I've noticed that with the newer SPI flash memory, that it's not only the SPI flash chip that becomes corrupt but problems with the EC may also be present.

EC programming is NOT an easy thing to resolve. If you suffer from a bad BIOS update and the "Crisis Recovery" doesn't seem to work for you, this may be because of a few reasons:

#1 Corruption in the Flash chip is severe.
#2 The flash chip is defective
#3 There's corruption in the EC.
#4 The Flash failure may have been due to the EC itself not updating properly, or not controlling the update function of
the Flash chip properly.

.... continued

I've been asked quite frequently: "Do you guys simply do a crisis recovery when I send in my laptop to have a BIOS repair done?".

Great question, the answer is: No. We are a hardware level repair facility. We have the ability to remove the BIOS chip from the motherboard and work with it. We have the ability to re-program the EC as well ( this is a rare service ). We not only have stand alone programming equipment but also In-Circuit Emulation technology that we utilize to control the motherboard's processor function and program the flash memory and EC without removing them from the motherboard. This is the same method that the ODMs (motherboard manufacturers) use at the time of the POST assembly stage when preparing the motherboard for POST assembly testing.

BIOS repair is not always an easy task. For those of you who have had success with "Crisis Recovery".. congratulations, but please be aware, that the Crisis Recovery option may not always be an option in a failed BIOS flash situation.

- Joe Kabalan
Feb 26 2010