Recovering from BIOS failure on Gigabyte GA-EP45-UD3P

After installing a new motherboard – a GA-EP45-UD3P – and successfully booting into Vista without issue, I got foolhardy and ran Gigabyte’s @BIOS update utility – for no good reason but the sheer heck of it, to upgrade from “F6” to “F7” BIOS.

@BIOS runs in Windows. I really should’ve known better. It completely hosed my BIOS, to the point where all I would see upon boot was

Award Bootblock BIOS 1.0

scanning bios image in hard drive

And a little bit more text that I did not bother to write down. I did manage to recover from this.

The TL;DR version is: Do not clear CMOS. Use a SATA CDROM with the BIOS image on it. [ Edit 2012-12-3: Or a USB HD with the BIOS image on it ]

The longer version, and lessons learned:

– @BIOS is the pits. The likelihood of rendering your machine a doorstop is high. Don’t use it; flash from within the BIOS itself if you have to flash.

– Gigabyte’s “Dual BIOS” on these boards is “virtual”. That means it tries to write a BIOS image to the hard drive, and recover from that. According to various tech forums, this recovery process usually fails. Maybe it’s the backup that fails in the first place, who knows. I could not find any information on where the BIOS image is kept on HD. Gigabyte documents the BIOS recovery process.

– Gigabyte removed the usual Award BIOS “boot from floppy” recovery routine – so the “easy” recovery of creating a boot floppy is out

– Every single thread I could find on this issue ended with “and I had to RMA the board” or “and we never fixed it”

I managed to recover by grabbing the F7 BIOS off the Gigabyte site, burning it to CD, and connecting a SATA CD-ROM to my machine. I had disconnected my hard drives at this point. This did recover my machine – to a BIOS that calls itself “F6”. I do not profess to understand that, and will not question my lucky star. I thought I had to RMA, which would have been Not Pleasant. At this point, I am going to leave well enough alone – there really is nothing in “F7” that I want or need, and for all I know, I have an F7 that calls itself F6. Unless there is a miraculous BIOS recovery mechanism that kicks in when a SATA CDROM is connected but doesn’t actually read from CDROM, which sounds more like black magic than IT to me.

[Update 2009-03-13]

I did have one more thought on the “black magic”, as I upgraded to F7 through the BIOS proper by now after all, and it does call itself F7. It’s possible that there was a copy of the old BIOS in CMOS, but that for reasons only known to GigaByte, that backup is only brought in if there is a SATA CD-ROM with a BIOS image on it present. If that’s the case, it would explain why so many people on the forums who, as a first step, cleared their CMOS, were never able to recover and had to RMA. So don’t clear your CMOS if you have this issue, just in case the backup BIOS is kept in there. Clearing CMOS won’t help anyway: This is not an issue with corrupted BIOS settings, it’s an issue with a corrupted BIOS image.

[Update 2012-12-03]

People in comments had success by copying the BIOS files to the root of a “USB hard drive”. I’m assuming that’s an actual hard drive in a USB enclosure.

Also, one person who cleared CMOS was not able to recover, giving weight to the idea that CMOS needs to remain intact for this recovery to work.

 

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33 thoughts on “Recovering from BIOS failure on Gigabyte GA-EP45-UD3P

  1. I have a Gigabyte GA-M57sli-s4, and used @Bios as well after backing up the original bios from Qflash to a floppy disc. Just curious as to what files you burnt to a disc, as I have access to a Sata Dvd drive and I really dont want to give up on this motherboard. (been using the ole lappy to get by)

    1. Gary, I just downloaded the BIOS file from Gigabyte’s site, unpacked it, and burnt everything that had been in there to disk. I didn’t really care at that point whether I needed the autoexec.bat and flashspi.exe – my money is on “no why would you need those, there’s no DOS to run them in” – but that seemed beside the point. Just download the BIOS package from GigaByte, unpack it, and burn the unpacked files to a CD in the CD’s root directory – no subdirectories. Good luck!

  2. Yeah, this needs a SATA CDROM. Might work with a SATA DVD, haven’t tried that. I did try it with a regular CDROM, and that did not work.

    Why?!? I don’t know, it doesn’t make any sense to me, either.

    1. Interesting. Any idea what might have been different for you? Which model of SATA CD drive did you use? Which controller did you use it on – the Intel ICH ports or the GA ports? Had you cleared CMOS before trying the SATA CD (which may or may not scupper your chances at recovery, jury’s out on that), or was CMOS still intact? Which files had you burned to the root of the CD you used?

  3. unfortunatly i had my cmos cleared and probably won’t be able to recover , im out of warranty as well so no RMA either !!

    the non-stop boot cycle im getting is weird. its like not even 1 second and it restarts again. the harddrives won’t even half enough time to spinup !! so i think my mobo is pretty much bricked.

    1. Interesting. Did you try a SATA CD, and that did not work? Are you seeing the messages on the screen telling you that the board is looking for a backup BIOS?

      1. no screen no nothing , board powers on then off , on and off !!

        last visual thing I’ve seen was when it said that my mobo was recovering the bios then following restart was where I’m at now !!

        as i mentioned, you won’t have time to even open the cd bay because the board turns off right away after 1 second from coming on .

        and yes i am using a SATA CD.

      2. Wow. I’ve seen that behavior only once before, and there it was actually a bad PSU. But since yours started acting this way after flashing BIOS – I guess this thing can get itself into so much of a funk it won’t even try to recover.

        Sorry to hear that. More luck with the next one!

      3. well funny you say PSU !! because that what I Was thinking too , but the reason why I took the PSU theory out because it happend right after the bios recovery issue, the whole thing started about a week prior to the breakdown I was getting the msg “loading bios from disk ” or the msg you were getting and all I had to do is just restart the pc and it worked fine until it got to the point where it started recovering after each power up the next day so im not sure if the mobo was dying or something was happening in the bios itself.

        I might try a different PSU before giving up completly on this board. you just don’t know sometimes. i will keep you updated how things go after the PSU retry 🙂

  4. Thanks so much for this post. It saved me today.

    One thing I’d like to add is that a USB hard drive with the BIOS files on it will also work!

  5. Just discovered this website, too late! I’ve a GA-8I915P-G I’m working on with this problem. I’d already cleared the CMOS as part of a standard procedure when anything goes amiss with the BIOS/CMOS/in-built mainboard software. I burned all available BIOS onto a disk for this model, (F2 through to F7), as I didn’t know which one the machine was looking for. I even got hold of a SATA CD-ROM to connect to the machine, but still nothing. It does do one thing, though, and that’s if the hard disk is connected, it will say that it’s, ‘auto-restoring from hard drive’, and then proceeds to fill screen after screen full of fullstops. I’ve left it to do this for the best part of 6 hours and nothing changes. Any idea of how long it takes, or whether there is anything else I can try?

  6. this saved the day for me. THANKS SO MUCH! also, to verify i used the USB harddrive. i downloaded the f6 bios and extracted the files onto the root directory of the harddrive. connected it in the back and turned the pc on. everything else was automatic.

    take care.

    ALSO THIS WAS FOR REV v1.1

  7. I had a bad flash, possibly the bios was built incorrectly by the modder. It would keep doing the 2 light beeps and not post! I tried the usb/ cd trick no dice as it wasn’t even getting past the point of turning on the cpu fan even! No ram would bring the loud beeps for no ram. Using another video card made no difference. Cleared CMOS, same issue.

    Fixed it by reading someone’s post on another gigabyte board.
    You boot the board and short the pins on the bios chip with a flat screwdriver near the usb/front buttons/led’s header. One says B Bios, one says M bios, short the one called M bios. I did it a few times on both sides until the board would shut down and reboot. After maybe 3 times, it beeped normally and posted with the older bios!

    Methinks the backup bios doesn’t get called unless something catastrophic happens. Because my bios was able to see missing ram, or have basic diagnostics, it probably never saw a need to jump to the backup bios.. perhaps it was acting like a failed OC, where the system keeps loading defaults?

  8. did everyone who cleared the cmos try with a cdrom drive.. I just wanted to clarify as I have also tried with a sata dvdrom, sata dvd writer, ide dvdwriter, ide cdrom with both dvd’s and cd’s to no avail!! I’m about to try an ide cdwriter with a sata to ide converter, keep your fingers crossed for me!! 😉

      1. oh yeah and I did try the usb hdd too, note my board is GA-8I848P-G 😦 any help would be greatly appreciated wanted to save the board!

      1. don’t bother your board is dead and there is no way to recover it anymore. its time for a new one.

  9. thanks for that most insightful and helpful information overburn! Its the principle of fixing it.. i have many a new board “_”

    1. I didn’t try to take your hopes down but I had a similar issue and none of the above worked :/ so I had to go with a new mobo in the end.

  10. The only way you can recover from Boot Block error is connecting a floppy drive with motherboard bios bin image, dos and flash the motherboard booting with floppy.

    1. That really depends on the exact BIOS being used by the manufacturer. Happily, this post is no longer that relevant. Both the board and the concept of a BIOS are old tech by now. I have no idea how UEFI machines handle these type of issues, and I have no desire to find out 🙂

  11. hello i have a problem with , propably BIOS, my mainboard detects Graphic card shows Award BootBios Block and says:
    Searching Bios image in hard drive ..

    and rebots couple times then powerOFF,

    please help me or give me any solution guys

    Mathew
    lampik@me.com

  12. mine too is something like mathew.. it goes in an endless loop of auto-recovering after going through the scanning bios image for hd with 3 dots. my mobo is 945gcmx-s2. i got this after a power outage when booting up.

    any ideas?

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