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Modifying BIOS on a laptop

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Anonymous
a b D Laptop
June 29, 2005 9:53:22 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.laptops (More info?)

My laptop, like many others if I'm not mistaken, has a very limited
number of user-changeable options in the BIOS.

Can I assume that all or most typical options are present in the BIOS,
and that they are simply not being displayed? If so then I imagine I
should be able to zap a few entries, if I can find and identify them.
Any comments on this? Any tools one would recommend for doing this?

Needless to say, this would be a somewhat risky undertaking, especially
in the absence of a map of the BIOS. So, if I screw up, should there be
anything preventing me from relfashing my BIOS, or is it in fact
possible to screw up in such a way that even the normal, working flash
utility would not work?

Thanks for any feedback.

More about : modifying bios laptop

Anonymous
a b D Laptop
June 29, 2005 10:09:53 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.laptops (More info?)

Sorry, I should have been more specific. My intention is to make a copy
of the last CD I've used to flash the BIOS and apply my changes to this
copy, and then try to flash. If I cause a problem, I hope to be able to
reflash with the original CD.
Anonymous
a b D Laptop
June 29, 2005 12:32:22 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.laptops (More info?)

bxf wrote:
>
> <snip>
>
> Well, try changing some memory settings, maybe increase the FSB or
> multiplier a touch.
>
> I admit there are no practical motives here. I am using a laptop
> because I work away from home, so the more obvious choice from a
> flexibility perspective, i.e. a desktop, is not an option. I simply
> like to experiment with the machines performance for its own sake.
> Overclockers, for example, do not overclock their machines just so that
> it will then perform a task faster.

There are plenty of tweaks you can do, in an effort to increase your machine's
performance, with screwing with the BIOS.

It's one of those things, if you have to ask, you shouldn't be doing it! <g>

Notan
Related resources
Anonymous
a b D Laptop
June 29, 2005 12:40:14 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.laptops (More info?)

Notan wrote:
> bxf wrote:
> >
> > <snip>
> >
> > Well, try changing some memory settings, maybe increase the FSB or
> > multiplier a touch.
> >
> > I admit there are no practical motives here. I am using a laptop
> > because I work away from home, so the more obvious choice from a
> > flexibility perspective, i.e. a desktop, is not an option. I simply
> > like to experiment with the machines performance for its own sake.
> > Overclockers, for example, do not overclock their machines just so that
> > it will then perform a task faster.
>
> There are plenty of tweaks you can do, in an effort to increase your machine's
> performance, with screwing with the BIOS.

Well, for all you know, I may have already tried or applied all of
these, and now I'm trying to get to those that are not so easily
accessible, No? In reality, I find most tweaks provided by the various
tweaking products to be of questionable value.
Anonymous
a b D Laptop
June 29, 2005 12:46:53 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.laptops (More info?)

J. Clarke wrote:

> If you've got enough information about BIOS code to be able to enable those
> features at a binary level, you'd be doing a lot of folks a service (not to
> mention beginning to develop a reputation as an ubergeek) if you could post
> that on a Web site somewhere.

Well, I must admit I have no familiarity with BIOS code at all. I
believe the fact that I found it necessary to post the question I did
is sufficient indication of this.

I do however, have more than enough experience reading machine code,
much of it without having to use a manual. Have been doing it for years
and years. True, I am talking about mainframe code, but you get the
point.

Just a short time ago I tried to post (in another group) a question on
where I could locate a description of PC machine code: opcodes,
operands, description of function. Post appears to have failed,
unfortunately, so I will have to retry.
Anonymous
a b D Laptop
June 29, 2005 1:11:06 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.laptops (More info?)

Notan wrote:

> I, too, used to write in machine/assembly/etc. code, but that was long
> enough ago, that I wouldn't even *think* of attempting a BIOS "fix."
>
> Are you actually trying to improve something, or is your tweaking just
> for shits and giggles?
>
> Notan

Most definitely the latter!
Anonymous
a b D Laptop
June 29, 2005 2:01:45 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.laptops (More info?)

bxf wrote:
>
> J. Clarke wrote:
>
> > If you've got enough information about BIOS code to be able to enable those
> > features at a binary level, you'd be doing a lot of folks a service (not to
> > mention beginning to develop a reputation as an ubergeek) if you could post
> > that on a Web site somewhere.
>
> Well, I must admit I have no familiarity with BIOS code at all. I
> believe the fact that I found it necessary to post the question I did
> is sufficient indication of this.
>
> I do however, have more than enough experience reading machine code,
> much of it without having to use a manual. Have been doing it for years
> and years. True, I am talking about mainframe code, but you get the
> point.
>
> Just a short time ago I tried to post (in another group) a question on
> where I could locate a description of PC machine code: opcodes,
> operands, description of function. Post appears to have failed,
> unfortunately, so I will have to retry.

I, too, used to write in machine/assembly/etc. code, but that was long
enough ago, that I wouldn't even *think* of attempting a BIOS "fix."

Are you actually trying to improve something, or is your tweaking just
for shits and giggles?

Notan
Anonymous
a b D Laptop
June 29, 2005 6:21:38 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.laptops (More info?)

bxf wrote:

>
>
> J. Clarke wrote:
>
>> If you've got enough information about BIOS code to be able to enable
>> those features at a binary level, you'd be doing a lot of folks a service
>> (not to mention beginning to develop a reputation as an ubergeek) if you
>> could post that on a Web site somewhere.
>
> Well, I must admit I have no familiarity with BIOS code at all. I
> believe the fact that I found it necessary to post the question I did
> is sufficient indication of this.
>
> I do however, have more than enough experience reading machine code,
> much of it without having to use a manual. Have been doing it for years
> and years. True, I am talking about mainframe code, but you get the
> point.
>
> Just a short time ago I tried to post (in another group) a question on
> where I could locate a description of PC machine code: opcodes,
> operands, description of function. Post appears to have failed,
> unfortunately, so I will have to retry.

You can find the official docs at:
<http://www.intel.com/design/pentium4/manuals/index_new....;
<http://www.amd.com/us-en/Processors/TechnicalResources/...;

If you're used to IBM 3x0, I think you may find the Intel processors to be
surprisingly complex--they had to make many compromises in the instruction
set to maintain backward compatibility with processors that were not
designed to accommodate future developments, with the result that it's
something of a hodgepodge.

If you don't have a purpose made ROM burner/copier that can handle the chip
in your laptop, something you might want to consider if they have one that
matches is a "BIOS Savior"
<http://www.ioss.com.tw/web/English/RD1BIOSSavior.html&g...; for 20 bucks or so
(froogle "BIOS Savior" for prices)--you'll have to open your machine to use
it and probably will have to run it open while you're fiddling the BIOS as
I don't think the device will fit into a laptop case, but for what you're
describing it's almost mandatory--no matter how good you are you're going
to blow your first few attempts at BIOS hacking and a blown BIOS without a
backup already burned into a chip means either a dead machine or a delay
while someone with a ROM burner burns you a new one from a downloaded
image--I've used <http://www.biosman.com&gt; for that and he's done fine for
me but he charges as much as a BIOS Savior would have cost me.


--
--John
to email, dial "usenet" and validate
(was jclarke at eye bee em dot net)
Anonymous
a b D Laptop
June 30, 2005 7:44:21 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.laptops (More info?)

J. Clarke wrote:
> bxf wrote:
>
> >
> >
> > J. Clarke wrote:
> >
> >> If you've got enough information about BIOS code to be able to enable
> >> those features at a binary level, you'd be doing a lot of folks a service
> >> (not to mention beginning to develop a reputation as an ubergeek) if you
> >> could post that on a Web site somewhere.
> >
> > Well, I must admit I have no familiarity with BIOS code at all. I
> > believe the fact that I found it necessary to post the question I did
> > is sufficient indication of this.
> >
> > I do however, have more than enough experience reading machine code,
> > much of it without having to use a manual. Have been doing it for years
> > and years. True, I am talking about mainframe code, but you get the
> > point.
> >
> > Just a short time ago I tried to post (in another group) a question on
> > where I could locate a description of PC machine code: opcodes,
> > operands, description of function. Post appears to have failed,
> > unfortunately, so I will have to retry.
>
> You can find the official docs at:
> <http://www.intel.com/design/pentium4/manuals/index_new....;
> <http://www.amd.com/us-en/Processors/TechnicalResources/...;

Thanks for the links. I'l check them out.

> If you're used to IBM 3x0, I think you may find the Intel processors to be
> surprisingly complex--they had to make many compromises in the instruction
> set to maintain backward compatibility with processors that were not
> designed to accommodate future developments, with the result that it's
> something of a hodgepodge.

I'm hoping, perhaps with unjustified optimism, that I will be able to
relate the function of most instructions to some corresponding 3x0
instructions. I accept that I may be disappointed. In addition to my
queries about the BIOS, I have one or two programs I would like to
modify slightly. Perhaps I will manage to make enough sense out of the
code to succeed with that.

> If you don't have a purpose made ROM burner/copier that can handle the chip
> in your laptop, something you might want to consider if they have one that
> matches is a "BIOS Savior"
> <http://www.ioss.com.tw/web/English/RD1BIOSSavior.html&g...; for 20 bucks or so
> (froogle "BIOS Savior" for prices)--you'll have to open your machine to use
> it and probably will have to run it open while you're fiddling the BIOS as
> I don't think the device will fit into a laptop case, but for what you're
> describing it's almost mandatory--no matter how good you are you're going
> to blow your first few attempts at BIOS hacking and a blown BIOS without a
> backup already burned into a chip means either a dead machine or a delay
> while someone with a ROM burner burns you a new one from a downloaded
> image--I've used <http://www.biosman.com&gt; for that and he's done fine for
> me but he charges as much as a BIOS Savior would have cost me.

This is interesting to know, John, but it is certainly overkill, given
the non-essential nature of my pursuit.
Anonymous
a b D Laptop
June 30, 2005 12:47:01 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.laptops (More info?)

"bxf" <bill@topman.net> wrote:
>I'm hoping, perhaps with unjustified optimism, that I will be able to
>relate the function of most instructions to some corresponding 3x0
>instructions. I accept that I may be disappointed.

Let us know how that comes out, I found the 8086 family to be
needlessly complex after years of Z80 assembly language programming,
with overlapping segment and offset registers, and I can't imagine
that their endless quest for backwards compatibility has clarified
things.

>I have one or two programs I would like to
>modify slightly.

Be aware that compiled C code, for instance, can be a real conceptual
nightmare to untangle from reading the machine code.

[warnings from John about improper settings and/or corrupted BIOS
rendering the machine inoperative]

>This is interesting to know, John, but it is certainly overkill, given
>the non-essential nature of my pursuit.

So you're OK with permanently destroying your laptop, or generating a
potentially very expensive repair? Wow...
Anonymous
a b D Laptop
June 30, 2005 12:47:03 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.laptops (More info?)

"bxf" <bill@topman.net> wrote:
>Silly. Your question implies that computers are delivered with all
>settings at optimum values. I believe there are thousands of
>overclockers who would laugh at this statement.

The competitive nature of the market would tend to force the
manufacturer to set optimum values. While I agree that the
manufacturer's definition of optimum and that of overclockers might
differ, the manufacturer's values would be optimum for a given
reliabilty.

>I already indicated that I have no practical motive for
>wanting to investigate this subject. I do things out of curiosity and a
>sense of accomplishment.

This is a good thing, really, though the wisdom of doing it on a
laptop has been covered...

>Not every parameter is inherently risky. What if I upgrade my memory
>with some that may benefit from latency settings other than those that
>were correct for the original sticks?

Then the laptop would read the SPD from the new memory stick and set
the timings appropriately.
Anonymous
a b D Laptop
June 30, 2005 1:34:01 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.laptops (More info?)

William wrote:
> "bxf" <bill@topman.net> wrote:
> >I'm hoping, perhaps with unjustified optimism, that I will be able to
> >relate the function of most instructions to some corresponding 3x0
> >instructions. I accept that I may be disappointed.
>
> Let us know how that comes out, I found the 8086 family to be
> needlessly complex after years of Z80 assembly language programming,
> with overlapping segment and offset registers, and I can't imagine
> that their endless quest for backwards compatibility has clarified
> things.
>
> >I have one or two programs I would like to
> >modify slightly.
>
> Be aware that compiled C code, for instance, can be a real conceptual
> nightmare to untangle from reading the machine code.

The way you are making it sound, I may be tempted to just leave it
alone. I'm getting too old to put much effort into anything:-).

But, while we are here, do you have any suggestions on how a
no-longer-so-ambitious-or-motivated person should tackle the task of
learning how to program PCs? My background is mostly Assembler and
PL/1. What useful(!) language am I most likely to find easiest to pick
up?

> [warnings from John about improper settings and/or corrupted BIOS
> rendering the machine inoperative]
>
> >This is interesting to know, John, but it is certainly overkill, given
> >the non-essential nature of my pursuit.
>
> So you're OK with permanently destroying your laptop, or generating a
> potentially very expensive repair? Wow...

Nope. I'm OK with not trying the damn thing in the first place if it's
too risky.

Having said that, let me give you an example of something that I would
consider reasonably safe. I am aware that this example may not have
much practical benefit, given the fact that memory specs can be read by
the BIOS, but you'll get the picture.

Suppose I look at an image of the BIOS and I find a string of
characters that anybody would be able to identify as latency figures
(I'm just pretending these things are readable). I would expect that
zapping a 3.0 to 2.5 is not likely to screw up anything. I cannot tell
you how many things, let alone USEFUL things would be so readily
identifiable, but this is just an example.
Anonymous
a b D Laptop
June 30, 2005 2:09:41 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.laptops (More info?)

bxf, as a fellow assembler, I am sympathetic. In another life, I wrote
firmware for S100 boards. Ah those were the fun days.

U may have better luck asking this question on a extreme-modding
forum. This newsgroup is, well, mainly for Street Joe end user.

In order for the eprom to be re-flashable, either you will have access
to the chip directly, like an old desktop where u can pull the BIOS
chip off its socket and put in your eprom flasher, or.....

Thanks for miniaturization though, everything is surface mounted on
the Mobo these days, so only if the vendor build in such flexibility
and placed a mini-boot code in rom, and the flashable bios on a
separate chip. Will they go into the trouble of doing that when they
want u to buy a new machine every coupla of years...... tough.

But do check with those extreme modding forum and come back to tell us
your success.






---------------
If your business is looking for quick free consulting,
please ignore my replies. I only wish to reply to other
engineers/administrators and home users who are stuck
and not interested to give your business free consulting.

Thank you.
Anonymous
a b D Laptop
June 30, 2005 2:50:10 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.laptops (More info?)

bxf wrote:

>
> J. Clarke wrote:
>> bxf wrote:
>>
>> >
>> >
>> > J. Clarke wrote:
>> >
>> >> If you've got enough information about BIOS code to be able to enable
>> >> those features at a binary level, you'd be doing a lot of folks a
>> >> service (not to mention beginning to develop a reputation as an
>> >> ubergeek) if you could post that on a Web site somewhere.
>> >
>> > Well, I must admit I have no familiarity with BIOS code at all. I
>> > believe the fact that I found it necessary to post the question I did
>> > is sufficient indication of this.
>> >
>> > I do however, have more than enough experience reading machine code,
>> > much of it without having to use a manual. Have been doing it for years
>> > and years. True, I am talking about mainframe code, but you get the
>> > point.
>> >
>> > Just a short time ago I tried to post (in another group) a question on
>> > where I could locate a description of PC machine code: opcodes,
>> > operands, description of function. Post appears to have failed,
>> > unfortunately, so I will have to retry.
>>
>> You can find the official docs at:
>> <http://www.intel.com/design/pentium4/manuals/index_new....;
>>
<http://www.amd.com/us-en/Processors/TechnicalResources/...;
>
> Thanks for the links. I'l check them out.
>
>> If you're used to IBM 3x0, I think you may find the Intel processors to
>> be surprisingly complex--they had to make many compromises in the
>> instruction set to maintain backward compatibility with processors that
>> were not designed to accommodate future developments, with the result
>> that it's something of a hodgepodge.
>
> I'm hoping, perhaps with unjustified optimism, that I will be able to
> relate the function of most instructions to some corresponding 3x0
> instructions. I accept that I may be disappointed. In addition to my
> queries about the BIOS, I have one or two programs I would like to
> modify slightly. Perhaps I will manage to make enough sense out of the
> code to succeed with that.
>
>> If you don't have a purpose made ROM burner/copier that can handle the
>> chip in your laptop, something you might want to consider if they have
>> one that matches is a "BIOS Savior"
>> <http://www.ioss.com.tw/web/English/RD1BIOSSavior.html&g...; for 20 bucks or
>> so (froogle "BIOS Savior" for prices)--you'll have to open your machine
>> to use it and probably will have to run it open while you're fiddling the
>> BIOS as I don't think the device will fit into a laptop case, but for
>> what you're describing it's almost mandatory--no matter how good you are
>> you're going to blow your first few attempts at BIOS hacking and a blown
>> BIOS without a backup already burned into a chip means either a dead
>> machine or a delay while someone with a ROM burner burns you a new one
>> from a downloaded image--I've used <http://www.biosman.com&gt; for that and
>> he's done fine for me but he charges as much as a BIOS Savior would have
>> cost me.
>
> This is interesting to know, John, but it is certainly overkill, given
> the non-essential nature of my pursuit.

It's not the nature of your pursuit that is the issue, it's the consequences
of screwing up. Screw up the BIOS in any major way and your machine
becomes a doorstop until such time as you can get a BIOS image burned into
a new ROM.

If you're not going to burn your own backup ROM, then make _sure_ that you
have an image of your BIOS on diskette or CD or downloadable from the
computer manufacturer's Web site before you make _any_ mods to the
BIOS--when you need to get a new ROM burned, whoever is doing the work for
you is going to need access to the correct BIOS image for your machine.

And before you do _anything_ make sure that your BIOS chip is actually
socketed--if it's soldered down and you screw it up you've got a mess on
your hands--you're going to have to unsolder the chip, find somebody who
will burn you a new surface mount chip (_that_ may take a good deal of
research--all the services that I know of only work with socketed chips)
then solder down the new chip. And if you've never done surface mount
soldering before, you're likely to break something beyond your ability to
repair in the process.

--
--John
to email, dial "usenet" and validate
(was jclarke at eye bee em dot net)
Anonymous
a b D Laptop
June 30, 2005 3:38:10 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.laptops (More info?)

J. Clarke ha scritto:

> The bottom line is that he wants to hot rod his Honda and seems to
> understand the risks and you don't believe in hotrodding. Fine, don't
> believe in it, but unless it affects you personally somehow there's little
> percentage in criticizing others for doing something that seems pointless
> or misguided to you.

That about sums it up, John, though I would mention that I am not
determined to do anything. I was investigating possibilities, which, as
you people well point out, are not fantastic. The risks, coupled with
limited benefits (if any), simply mean that I'll have to find something
else to play with, I suppose.
Anonymous
a b D Laptop
June 30, 2005 3:45:36 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.laptops (More info?)

J. Clarke ha scritto:
> bxf wrote:
>
> >
> > J. Clarke wrote:
> >> bxf wrote:
> >>
> >> >
> >> >
> >> > J. Clarke wrote:
> >> >
> >> >> If you've got enough information about BIOS code to be able to enable
> >> >> those features at a binary level, you'd be doing a lot of folks a
> >> >> service (not to mention beginning to develop a reputation as an
> >> >> ubergeek) if you could post that on a Web site somewhere.
> >> >
> >> > Well, I must admit I have no familiarity with BIOS code at all. I
> >> > believe the fact that I found it necessary to post the question I did
> >> > is sufficient indication of this.
> >> >
> >> > I do however, have more than enough experience reading machine code,
> >> > much of it without having to use a manual. Have been doing it for years
> >> > and years. True, I am talking about mainframe code, but you get the
> >> > point.
> >> >
> >> > Just a short time ago I tried to post (in another group) a question on
> >> > where I could locate a description of PC machine code: opcodes,
> >> > operands, description of function. Post appears to have failed,
> >> > unfortunately, so I will have to retry.
> >>
> >> You can find the official docs at:
> >> <http://www.intel.com/design/pentium4/manuals/index_new....;
> >>
> <http://www.amd.com/us-en/Processors/TechnicalResources/...;
> >
> > Thanks for the links. I'l check them out.
> >
> >> If you're used to IBM 3x0, I think you may find the Intel processors to
> >> be surprisingly complex--they had to make many compromises in the
> >> instruction set to maintain backward compatibility with processors that
> >> were not designed to accommodate future developments, with the result
> >> that it's something of a hodgepodge.
> >
> > I'm hoping, perhaps with unjustified optimism, that I will be able to
> > relate the function of most instructions to some corresponding 3x0
> > instructions. I accept that I may be disappointed. In addition to my
> > queries about the BIOS, I have one or two programs I would like to
> > modify slightly. Perhaps I will manage to make enough sense out of the
> > code to succeed with that.
> >
> >> If you don't have a purpose made ROM burner/copier that can handle the
> >> chip in your laptop, something you might want to consider if they have
> >> one that matches is a "BIOS Savior"
> >> <http://www.ioss.com.tw/web/English/RD1BIOSSavior.html&g...; for 20 bucks or
> >> so (froogle "BIOS Savior" for prices)--you'll have to open your machine
> >> to use it and probably will have to run it open while you're fiddling the
> >> BIOS as I don't think the device will fit into a laptop case, but for
> >> what you're describing it's almost mandatory--no matter how good you are
> >> you're going to blow your first few attempts at BIOS hacking and a blown
> >> BIOS without a backup already burned into a chip means either a dead
> >> machine or a delay while someone with a ROM burner burns you a new one
> >> from a downloaded image--I've used <http://www.biosman.com&gt; for that and
> >> he's done fine for me but he charges as much as a BIOS Savior would have
> >> cost me.
> >
> > This is interesting to know, John, but it is certainly overkill, given
> > the non-essential nature of my pursuit.
>
> It's not the nature of your pursuit that is the issue, it's the consequences
> of screwing up. Screw up the BIOS in any major way and your machine
> becomes a doorstop until such time as you can get a BIOS image burned into
> a new ROM.
>
> If you're not going to burn your own backup ROM, then make _sure_ that you
> have an image of your BIOS on diskette or CD or downloadable from the
> computer manufacturer's Web site before you make _any_ mods to the
> BIOS--when you need to get a new ROM burned, whoever is doing the work for
> you is going to need access to the correct BIOS image for your machine.
>
> And before you do _anything_ make sure that your BIOS chip is actually
> socketed--if it's soldered down and you screw it up you've got a mess on
> your hands--you're going to have to unsolder the chip, find somebody who
> will burn you a new surface mount chip (_that_ may take a good deal of
> research--all the services that I know of only work with socketed chips)
> then solder down the new chip. And if you've never done surface mount
> soldering before, you're likely to break something beyond your ability to
> repair in the process.
>
> --
> --John
> to email, dial "usenet" and validate
> (was jclarke at eye bee em dot net)

As I mention in my brief reply to your previous post, I understand that
any benefits I am likely to achieve would be of limited value.
Certainly not enough to justify the effort of going through all the
precautions you point out. I expect we can consider the matter dropped,
so sorry guys, I suspect I'm not going to have any exciting news for
anybody on this particular subject.
Anonymous
a b D Laptop
June 30, 2005 3:53:35 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.laptops (More info?)

bobb ha scritto:
> bxf, as a fellow assembler, I am sympathetic. In another life, I wrote
> firmware for S100 boards. Ah those were the fun days.

We all have somewhere along the way...

> U may have better luck asking this question on a extreme-modding
> forum. This newsgroup is, well, mainly for Street Joe end user.

Oh, I don't know. People here can be helpful. Sometimes one gets too
many varying responses, but a bit of filtering often does the trick.
Anyway, one can find some easy conversation and even pleasantly mild
arguments on occasions.

My intrenet access is being taken away (I'm doing all this from the
office, and no internet at "home"), so I suspect my days here are
numbered, unfortunately.

> In order for the eprom to be re-flashable, either you will have access
> to the chip directly, like an old desktop where u can pull the BIOS
> chip off its socket and put in your eprom flasher, or.....
>
> Thanks for miniaturization though, everything is surface mounted on
> the Mobo these days, so only if the vendor build in such flexibility
> and placed a mini-boot code in rom, and the flashable bios on a
> separate chip. Will they go into the trouble of doing that when they
> want u to buy a new machine every coupla of years...... tough.
>
> But do check with those extreme modding forum and come back to tell us
> your success.

Nah, those guys would be way over my head, I think. And I've already
been scared off the task.
Anonymous
a b D Laptop
June 30, 2005 4:05:15 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.laptops (More info?)

J. Clarke ha scritto:
> bxf wrote:
>
> >
> > William wrote:
> >> "bxf" <bill@topman.net> wrote:
> >> >I'm hoping, perhaps with unjustified optimism, that I will be able to
> >> >relate the function of most instructions to some corresponding 3x0
> >> >instructions. I accept that I may be disappointed.
> >>
> >> Let us know how that comes out, I found the 8086 family to be
> >> needlessly complex after years of Z80 assembly language programming,
> >> with overlapping segment and offset registers, and I can't imagine
> >> that their endless quest for backwards compatibility has clarified
> >> things.
> >>
> >> >I have one or two programs I would like to
> >> >modify slightly.
> >>
> >> Be aware that compiled C code, for instance, can be a real conceptual
> >> nightmare to untangle from reading the machine code.
> >
> > The way you are making it sound, I may be tempted to just leave it
> > alone. I'm getting too old to put much effort into anything:-).
> >
> > But, while we are here, do you have any suggestions on how a
> > no-longer-so-ambitious-or-motivated person should tackle the task of
> > learning how to program PCs? My background is mostly Assembler and
> > PL/1. What useful(!) language am I most likely to find easiest to pick
> > up?
>
> If you can handle PL/1 then any other language shouldn't be a major
> challenge--the hard part will be getting your mind twisted into the
> appropriate mindset. Most popular language is probably C++ at this point.
> Bruce Eckel has generously put his excellent text online with free access
> at <http://www.mindview.net/Books/TICPP/ThinkingInCPP2e.htm...;. I believe
> that right now Microsoft is holding an open beta on their next release,
> which gives you the current compiler and environment with probably a few
> bugs (none so major as to prevent learning the language) for free for a
> year or so. If you're running a Unix variant then the GNU compilers which
> are quite good are included in nearly all of them--they can also be
> installed on Windows but the libraries aren't targetted at Windows so you
> don't have a lot of access to the API.
>
> Beyond the language with C++ you need to learn standard template library and
> if you're going to work with Windows the Windows template library as
> well--the standard reference for the standard template library is Plauger,
> but Josuttis appears to be a better learning tool. For the Windows API
> Petzold is the classic.

I'd downloaded some C++ compiler a few weeks ago. Now if I could only
get off my ass and try to do something constructive with it, maybe I'd
learn something in the process. It does have some similarity to PL/1,
but I suspect the difficulties would be in the areas of overall
philosophies and conventions rather than specific instruction syntax.

> >> [warnings from John about improper settings and/or corrupted BIOS
> >> rendering the machine inoperative]
> >>
> >> >This is interesting to know, John, but it is certainly overkill, given
> >> >the non-essential nature of my pursuit.
> >>
> >> So you're OK with permanently destroying your laptop, or generating a
> >> potentially very expensive repair? Wow...
> >
> > Nope. I'm OK with not trying the damn thing in the first place if it's
> > too risky.
> >
> > Having said that, let me give you an example of something that I would
> > consider reasonably safe. I am aware that this example may not have
> > much practical benefit, given the fact that memory specs can be read by
> > the BIOS, but you'll get the picture.
> >
> > Suppose I look at an image of the BIOS and I find a string of
> > characters that anybody would be able to identify as latency figures
> > (I'm just pretending these things are readable). I would expect that
> > zapping a 3.0 to 2.5 is not likely to screw up anything.
>
> Beware the software guy with a screwdriver <grin>. Likely, no. Possible?
> Yes. And if your RAM doesn't work your machine doesn't boot. And that
> assumes that you guessed right on what the particular data means.

One thing one learns over the years is that it is very easy to make
simple errors, even a simple typo that goes unnoticed can make the
difference between success or failure. It is virtually impossible to
say "impossible".
Anonymous
a b D Laptop
June 30, 2005 4:18:12 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.laptops (More info?)

Notan ha scritto:
> bxf wrote:
> >
> > <snip>
> >
> > As I mention in my brief reply to your previous post, I understand that
> > any benefits I am likely to achieve would be of limited value.
> > Certainly not enough to justify the effort of going through all the
> > precautions you point out. I expect we can consider the matter dropped,
> > so sorry guys, I suspect I'm not going to have any exciting news for
> > anybody on this particular subject.
>
> Don't give up, that easily! <g>
>
> If you're bound and determined to do some BIOS tweaking, why not
> purchase a junker and experiment.
>
> If it works, you might have the knowledge to go further and tweak
> your working system.
>
> If not, no harm, no foul, just a little money down the drain.
>
> Notan

Well, I already have one of these (though it is located at a place I
don't see very often) and I've already played with that one. I thought
I would explore new, more dangerous, less fruitful horizons...
Anonymous
a b D Laptop
June 30, 2005 4:20:35 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.laptops (More info?)

Well, guys, it's after 21:00 here, time to go home.

Thanks to all participants. I suspect that after today I will not be
able to use the machine. So, it was short and sweet while it lasted.

Good luck to all.

Bill
Anonymous
a b D Laptop
June 30, 2005 4:57:19 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.laptops (More info?)

bxf wrote:
>
> <snip>
>
> As I mention in my brief reply to your previous post, I understand that
> any benefits I am likely to achieve would be of limited value.
> Certainly not enough to justify the effort of going through all the
> precautions you point out. I expect we can consider the matter dropped,
> so sorry guys, I suspect I'm not going to have any exciting news for
> anybody on this particular subject.

Don't give up, that easily! <g>

If you're bound and determined to do some BIOS tweaking, why not
purchase a junker and experiment.

If it works, you might have the knowledge to go further and tweak
your working system.

If not, no harm, no foul, just a little money down the drain.

Notan
Anonymous
a b D Laptop
June 30, 2005 5:27:16 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.laptops (More info?)

bxf wrote:

>
> William wrote:
>> "bxf" <bill@topman.net> wrote:
>> >I'm hoping, perhaps with unjustified optimism, that I will be able to
>> >relate the function of most instructions to some corresponding 3x0
>> >instructions. I accept that I may be disappointed.
>>
>> Let us know how that comes out, I found the 8086 family to be
>> needlessly complex after years of Z80 assembly language programming,
>> with overlapping segment and offset registers, and I can't imagine
>> that their endless quest for backwards compatibility has clarified
>> things.
>>
>> >I have one or two programs I would like to
>> >modify slightly.
>>
>> Be aware that compiled C code, for instance, can be a real conceptual
>> nightmare to untangle from reading the machine code.
>
> The way you are making it sound, I may be tempted to just leave it
> alone. I'm getting too old to put much effort into anything:-).
>
> But, while we are here, do you have any suggestions on how a
> no-longer-so-ambitious-or-motivated person should tackle the task of
> learning how to program PCs? My background is mostly Assembler and
> PL/1. What useful(!) language am I most likely to find easiest to pick
> up?

If you can handle PL/1 then any other language shouldn't be a major
challenge--the hard part will be getting your mind twisted into the
appropriate mindset. Most popular language is probably C++ at this point.
Bruce Eckel has generously put his excellent text online with free access
at <http://www.mindview.net/Books/TICPP/ThinkingInCPP2e.htm...;. I believe
that right now Microsoft is holding an open beta on their next release,
which gives you the current compiler and environment with probably a few
bugs (none so major as to prevent learning the language) for free for a
year or so. If you're running a Unix variant then the GNU compilers which
are quite good are included in nearly all of them--they can also be
installed on Windows but the libraries aren't targetted at Windows so you
don't have a lot of access to the API.

Beyond the language with C++ you need to learn standard template library and
if you're going to work with Windows the Windows template library as
well--the standard reference for the standard template library is Plauger,
but Josuttis appears to be a better learning tool. For the Windows API
Petzold is the classic.


>> [warnings from John about improper settings and/or corrupted BIOS
>> rendering the machine inoperative]
>>
>> >This is interesting to know, John, but it is certainly overkill, given
>> >the non-essential nature of my pursuit.
>>
>> So you're OK with permanently destroying your laptop, or generating a
>> potentially very expensive repair? Wow...
>
> Nope. I'm OK with not trying the damn thing in the first place if it's
> too risky.
>
> Having said that, let me give you an example of something that I would
> consider reasonably safe. I am aware that this example may not have
> much practical benefit, given the fact that memory specs can be read by
> the BIOS, but you'll get the picture.
>
> Suppose I look at an image of the BIOS and I find a string of
> characters that anybody would be able to identify as latency figures
> (I'm just pretending these things are readable). I would expect that
> zapping a 3.0 to 2.5 is not likely to screw up anything.

Beware the software guy with a screwdriver <grin>. Likely, no. Possible?
Yes. And if your RAM doesn't work your machine doesn't boot. And that
assumes that you guessed right on what the particular data means.

> I cannot tell
> you how many things, let alone USEFUL things would be so readily
> identifiable, but this is just an example.

--
--John
to email, dial "usenet" and validate
(was jclarke at eye bee em dot net)
Anonymous
a b D Laptop
July 3, 2005 9:47:27 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.laptops (More info?)

The only changes you can make to BIOS is from the interface that your
laptop documentation should show. At worst, your documentation will only
tell you how to get to the BIOS interface screen. At best, your
documentation should tell you what each setting changes since it varies
by system board.

Flashing the BIOS should not be taken lightly. If the BIOS gets messed
up, you'll wind up with an expensive paper weight. Typically, if the
BIOS needs upgrading the manufacturer will have a Flash Utility
available already programmed with the updates. All you'd have to do is
run the update software. Even then, it's recommended that you be careful
about power outages or interruptions during the flash process.

If you're interested in re-configuring the BIOS, you need to know more
about the system board and what it can/can't do. So, unless you're an
engineer, it's not worth it to play around with fire.


bxf wrote:
> My laptop, like many others if I'm not mistaken, has a very limited
> number of user-changeable options in the BIOS.
>
> Can I assume that all or most typical options are present in the BIOS,
> and that they are simply not being displayed? If so then I imagine I
> should be able to zap a few entries, if I can find and identify them.
> Any comments on this? Any tools one would recommend for doing this?
>
> Needless to say, this would be a somewhat risky undertaking, especially
> in the absence of a map of the BIOS. So, if I screw up, should there be
> anything preventing me from relfashing my BIOS, or is it in fact
> possible to screw up in such a way that even the normal, working flash
> utility would not work?
>
> Thanks for any feedback.
>
Anonymous
a b D Laptop
July 3, 2005 9:50:18 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.laptops (More info?)

Unless you're an engineer or software/hardware guru, you can't make
changes to the flash utility to apply ANY changes. Changing your BIOS
setting is always a manual process for the user.

bxf wrote:
> Sorry, I should have been more specific. My intention is to make a copy
> of the last CD I've used to flash the BIOS and apply my changes to this
> copy, and then try to flash. If I cause a problem, I hope to be able to
> reflash with the original CD.
>
!