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HP zv5160us laptop apparent bad BIOS update

Tags:
  • BIOS
  • Hewlett Packard
  • Laptops
  • Product
Last response: in Laptop General Discussion
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February 17, 2009 3:17:10 AM

Hey all,

I've just been handed a HP zv5160us that shows no display. The owner reports that he had a failed attempt at a BIOS update. He says that he installed the incorrect graphics firmware and has had this problem since. Here are the symptoms:

- No display at all. No visible POST, no faint image when light is shone onto the screen, no flicker when the lid open button is pressed, no image out to an external monitor.

- I can hear the laptop attempting to boot up, but not finding a properly installed operating system (Owner took out his hard drive out of paranoia). System does create a different set of sounds when a boot CD is inserted.

Here's what I've tried:

- Removed, cleaned and reseated RAM, Hard drive, Processor. Cleaned a (rather thick) layer of dust out of the heatsink fins.
- (Pretty sure I) Cleared CMOS by shorting the two small copper jumpers underneath the SODIMM. Also tried removing the battery and holding the power button for 30+ seconds.

Is there anything I can do to flash the BIOS and firmware back to factory settings without being able to see a display? Is there anything else that could be the issue?

Sorry for the long post, but I prefer to be thorough the first time through. :) 

Thanks in advance
Ben

More about : zv5160us laptop apparent bad bios update

a b D Laptop
February 17, 2009 4:13:23 PM

Incorrect BIOS installed = dead motherboard.
Nothing you can do.
February 17, 2009 4:35:43 PM

Quote:
Incorrect BIOS installed = dead motherboard.
Nothing you can do.


Well, it's technically the right bios, but for the wrong graphics card. The computer still boots up, I just can't see the POST. If I had access to a duplicate laptop (or a very detailed set of instructions), I could blindly install the correct bios.
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a b D Laptop
February 17, 2009 5:10:16 PM

I'm not understanding you, I guess.

If they incorrectly update the graphics drivers, the screen should still display - the graphics drivers only loads in windows, not in the BIOS.

I doubt they updated the GPU BIOS, so I'm going to skip that.

If they incorrectly updated the BIOS on the motherboard, the notebook is bricked. You need a new motherboard, then.

Which is it?
February 18, 2009 1:38:02 AM

The owner of the laptop said that he installed the bios that supports the wrong video card. This leaves me to believe that the rest of the computer is still functional, even with the 'incorrect' BIOS installed. i.e. I can hear the computer trying to boot up, I get hdd activity indicator lights.

My hope at this point is to reflash the currently gimped BIOS, or pay out the nose to have a properly equipped professional pull the bios chip and reprogram.
a b D Laptop
February 18, 2009 8:35:42 PM

I don't know how you'll reflash it unless you make some self-executing program to do so.

I also don't know why any particular BIOS would 'support' any type of graphics card. I've never heard of that. In my experiences, the BIOS could care less if you even don't have a graphics card.

As for the chip pull - I doubt it. Generally BIOS chips are hardwired nowadays.
February 19, 2009 8:25:13 PM

I've successfully resurrected the laptop.

TONS of useful information here

Any Phoenix BIOS based machine can enter a crisis recovery state, in which it looks for a crisis recovery floppy disk, and automatically attemps to load the bios stored on that disk.

So I got my hands on a USB floppy drive, made the crisis disk on my desktop computer, and after some trial and error, I am currently re-installing windows.

:sol: 
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a b D Laptop
February 20, 2009 2:51:01 PM

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February 21, 2009 10:33:20 PM

come on man don't listen to these guys who don't have a clue let me tell you the truth
never ever upgrade or downgrade your bios as long as your laptop is working who ever says "yeah do it, it improves your speed" is dead wrong , lotta people do it just to make them selves feel like they can do something technical..

now the important part: YES there is a fix if you did the wrong bios but it's tricky! the bios for that laptop is stored in a chip "the bios chip" no matter what you do you can not clear it even if you leave it without power for 10 years. any laptop made since 2003 has this feature.

how to fix??? you need the bios chip replaced, or EEPROM cleared using a programmer this should be done by a professional who will just remove the chip and put another one FRESH or just EEPROM yours. these guys are everywhere and they do it on ebay for like £30 or $50 you send them your motherboard, with the link of the correct driver and leave the rest to them. so no need to buy a new board

now who's right? ..peace and come to my website for future questions like these
February 22, 2009 2:58:22 AM

Quote:
never ever upgrade or downgrade your bios as long as your laptop is working who ever says "yeah do it, it improves your speed" is dead wrong

If there was no reason to update a BIOS, the manufacturers wouldn't bother making new versions. While an updated BIOS does not in itself increase speed, they can eliminate bugs, increase system stability, increase device compatibility and capabilities, including the ability to detect and utilize larger hard drives, newer processors, various additional peripherals, etc.

You're right in the "if it ain't broke don't fix it" mentality, but if you know what you're doing, there's no reason not to update your BIOS. Unfortunately the owner of the laptop that I repaired didn't.

Quote:
how to fix??? you need the bios chip replaced, or EEPROM cleared using a programmer this should be done by a professional who will just remove the chip and put another one FRESH or just EEPROM yours. these guys are everywhere and they do it on ebay for like £30 or $50 you send them your motherboard, with the link of the correct driver and leave the rest to them. so no need to buy a new board

Please read the post 2 posts above yours, and have a look at the link I posted there. It is possible to reflash a Phoenix BIOS that had the incorrect BIOS installed...I did it and the laptop has been restored to full functionality...at zero cost.

So...who is right?
a b D Laptop
February 22, 2009 4:49:36 AM

BIOSs sure are rather wonky these days.

At any rate, BIOS updates are critical to machines and should be updated at all times.

On some boards, leaving them unpowered for a few minutes is enough to overwrite the BIOS soft settings (passwords, clockspeeds, etc.) but not enough to remove things like BIOS upgrades.

On this BIOS, apparently Phoenix has made a utility to flash it - I've never heard of this before, but it sure is something I'll keep in mind in the future.
February 22, 2009 9:10:12 PM

for a pc that's fine do what ever you like with the bios, because if you mess it up just remove the battery or short the bios jumper and it's back to normal but on a laptop damn I'd think about it 10 times before doing it. it should be the last resort! but in the end we're glad your laptop is fixed! and only you figured it out.
!