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Flashing the ROM

December 29, 2009

Flash ROM chips can be reprogrammed to update their contents. With Flash ROM, when you need to update your system BIOS to add support for a new technology, you can simply run a command-line program, combined with an updated file, and voila, you’ve got a new, updated BIOS! Different BIOS makers use slightly different processes for flashing the BIOS, but in general, you must boot from a floppy diskette and then run the relevant updating command from the A:\> prompt. This command shows how simple it can be: A:\> aw athxpt2.bin

Some motherboard makers even provide Windows-based flash ROM update utilities that will check the Internet for updates and download them for you to install. Most of these utilities will also enable you to backup your current BIOS so you can return to it if the updated version causes trouble. Without a good backup, you could end up throwing away your motherboard if a flash BIOS update goes wrong, so you should always make one! Finally, one final piece of advice: Don’t update your BIOS unless you have a compelling reason to do so!

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