IS "BIOS Patcher"?
BIOS Patcher is a kind of software that can find
and fix errors in your system BIOS (only AWARD BIOS
for now) and also it can add or open new features,
i.e. some features that your BIOS has but they are
closed by manufacturer of your motherboard.
DOES IT MAKE?
BIOS Patcher scans rom file. If it finds any known
errors it fixes the errors. If it finds any closed
features it opens it. Also if it is started with any
keys for add new features than it should add it.
DOES IT WORK?
As we know AWARD BIOS consists of several LHA-packed
parts. For scan patcher extracts parts that it needs
into RAM and looks for parts of code that it knows
and that contains errors. If it finds something looks
like an error it should check this error by several
other signals and if all is allright patcher will
signalize about it. If patcher has some mishmash about
this error it shouldn't fix it.
DOES IT WORK?
It is rather big question. I'll try to tell about
shortly. Programmers who writes AWARD Bios sells it
to motherboard manufacturers, who can change and/or
add new features. It seems clear that nobody will
write BIOS from the very beginning (Simple not every
company has their own programmers and money for them
That's why BIOSes of most motherboards looks like
others. That is why all that motherboards has seldom
updates of their BIOSes. And that's why most of them
has identical errors and that's why patcher works
more effective with this BIOSes.
"Adult" companies make changes (a lot and
serious). Patcher can distinguish brand BIOSes such
as Gigabyte or Asus.
I haven't information but it seems to me that Asus
has rights to AWARD BIOSes and it writes their own
BIOSes (with AWARD logo). It means that Asus has their
own standarts and often has no any connection with
"normal" AWARD BIOSes. So that is why such
tools as cbrom or modbin can't work with Asus BIOSes.
And also I want to stress that Asus has no problem
with programmers and their BIOSes often seems like
an art. (that is why almost a third part of patcher
is a database of all features of Asus BIOSes).
And as an answer to this question - patcher works
because of most general roots of all Award BIOSes
(a great part of them hasn't changed since 1990).
IS CHANCE OF FAILURE?
Possibility of failure presents every time. But
as I told above for identification of errors patcher
uses many signals and error can't be because of work
PARTS OF ROM IT MAKES CHANGES?
"Know How" of this patcher is in that....
it fixes nothing! I.e. that all parts of rom doesn't
changes. Changes only microcodes and other changeable
parts. Simply all changes makes in stand-alone file
and it loads in progress of POST. It means that as
a result of work there are two files - file of changes
(modul.tmp) and file of start (start.tmp) - to load
changes. This two files add to rom with standart tool
- cbrom (automatically - it is integrated into patcher).
As a result of such way of making changes we make
- all manipulations with BIOS makes by AWARD tools;
- we can make no changes;
- flashing of BIOS can be with out flashing BootBlock
and that's why this procedure is more reliable.
Only Asus BIOSes has their own non-standart structure
of extracting modules while POST, that is why we should
change BootBlock too.
Also we need to change a Boot Block in case of adding
several features such as "+PCI" for VIA-based
motherboards and also support of 256Mbit memory modules
(while in progress) and so on. In all this cases we
have no 100% reliability of patcher and that's why
it is only for tests.
Also I'd like to note, that in case of editing of
BootBlock in rom patcher will signalize a message
like that "Warning! BootBlock was changed!
Flashing BIOS only WITH BootBlock!"
HOW SAFE IS IT?
Patcher has several features against failures.
1. Virtual "DUAL-BIOS"
Because of keeping changes in one file patcher can
load both BIOSes - original and fixed. This Roll Back
starts if you'll press "-" on keyboard during
BOOT. Module of changes reads pressed key and in case
of minus simply skips fixed BIOS and loads old BIOS.
2. Roll Back without keyboard.
Unfortunately, there is no universal initialization
of keyboard controller for all motherboards, that
is why sometimes doesn't work read of pressed key.
In this case BIOS uses absence of keyboard. If module
of changes can't get signal from keyboard (DIN or
PS/2) it should load old BIOS. Afterwards you can
connect keyboard and flash your old BIOS. But I think
that you shouldn't use this case.
As I count minimal reliabity of patcher
is about 95%. IMHO this figure shows reliability and
a question about reliability solved (for people who
has little practise in flashing BIOSes).
WHAT CAN THAT PATCHER DO?
Patcher works with BIOSes:
- 1Mbit (128kB), 2Mbit (256kB), 4Mbit
- Award 4.5x, Award(Phoenix) 6.xx
- Pentium - Socket5, Socket7, SuperSocket7;
Pentium II/III - Socket8, Slot1, Socket370
(PPGA/FC-PGA/FC-PGA2), AMD K7 - Slot-A, SocketA;
Pentium 4 (Socket423/Socket478)
- "Asus standart" of packing BIOS
modules (in CUSL/TUSL etc)
Patcher can add support of CPU:
- AMD K6/K6-2/K6-III/K6-2+/K6-III+
- Intel Pentium Pro/Pentium II/Pentium III/Celeron
- AMD K7/K75/Athlon/Duron/Athlon 4/Athlon MP/Athlon
- Intel Pentium 4/Celeron-478 (in progress)
Support means not only names of CPUs (which shows
with kernel name and can be change) but correct init
of L2-cache, FSB, Multiplyer, support of different
steppings. There are many thing that patcher makes,
and all of them that the manufacturer didn't make
for correct support of CPU.
Note: It doesn't mean that you shouldn't
modify your board for electric compatibility with
Patcher can make support of big HDD (up to
Patcher can add much more choice of frequencies
in BIOS SETUP
Patcher can add ASYNC mode of memory on VIA
693A,694X,694T (+PCI) and on VIA 693 and less
(-PCI), Interleaving (2/4 way), minimal timings (2-2-2-5-2),
IOQ Depth (8) and so on.
Also patcher changes default choice on exit from
BIOS (from N to Y) in old (AWARD 4.5x) BIOSes, default
date is 2003 and others little but useful thing for
people who work with a great quantity of boards (people
like me :-)).
Also for P4 BIOSes which has Hyper-Threading
patcher can unlock the choice of this menu in BIOS
Setup for ANY CPU.
Note: It doesn't add but it's unlock
(open) this menu.
Other things that are in progress
- support of 64/128 Mbit memory on P1 platform (Via
VPX and i430TX), 256 Mbit on P2/P3 platform (VIA 693A
and some of VIA 694X)
- add load by hot key from proper device
- support editing of AMIBIOS and so on.
HOW TO WORK WITH PATCHER?
All is very simple - just copy patcher and rom file
to any directory and run:
bp name_of_rom [keys]
/c - force name of CPU (it will be shown
for ANY CPU PLUGGED INTO THIS BOARD)
/d - don't delete temporary files
/e - show rom file info. This is like cbrom.exe
/d (only info and no patch)
/h - help
/m - manual choosing of things to patch. By
default patcher fixes all errors.
/p - add "+PCI" (RAM_freq>CPU_freq)
for VIA 693A/694X/694T (testing)
/s - turn off roll back
/v - overcloking (speed optimization) of memory
for VIA-based motherboards P1/P2/P3 (testing)
"bp 6130.bin /e"
"bp 6via86p.bin /p/c/d"
After patching you should flash your BIOS. HOW?
If you don't know how, maybe you shouldn't have to
do it? :-)
based patcher version is 4.00.rc7.1
All questions, requests and offers - forum
More thanks to Andrew (aka mamyx)
for translate to english.