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Specific Tests to Determine Whether Your BIOS Needs an Update

To determine whether your BIOS needs to be updated because of hard drive capacity limitations, see Chapter 4, "SCSI and IDE Hard Drives and Optical Drives."

To determine whether your BIOS needs to be updated because of operating system or CPU-upgrade issues, consult the technical-support Web sites for the operating system or CPU upgrade.

If your computer was built before 1999 and you have not performed a BIOS upgrade or loaded year-2000 patches for your operating system and applications, you might have Y2K-related problems with accurate date handling. Because the RTC (Real-Time-Clock) on most computers doesn't track centuries, the system BIOS must accurately add this information before handing the date to the operating system and applications, and the BIOS/RTC must also accurately handle leap years such as 2000 and beyond. A BIOS upgrade is the best way to handle RTC/BIOS issues, but software patches in the AUTOEXEC.BAT or CONFIG.SYS can also be used.

Consult your operating system and application vendors for appropriate solutions, including software updates or replacement versions.

Fixing BIOS Limitations—BIOS Fixes and Alternatives

Use Table 3.1 to determine which options you can follow if a BIOS update isn't possible, depending on the BIOS problem noted.

Table 3.1 Alternatives to BIOS Upgrades

Problem

Alternative Fix

Benefits of Alternative Fix

Limitations of Alternative Fix

Y2K date rollover

Install Y2K- compliant BIOS card.

Provides hardware solution to non compliant BIOS;- can be combined with fix for hard disk capacity limitations.

Uses an ISA slot; doesn't handle problems with direct access to RTC that might be performed by some operating systems and applications.

 

Install Y2K- compliant BIOS and RTC card.

Provides hardware solution for both BIOS and RTC Y2K.

Uses an ISA slot; someversions require that drivers be installed for the operating system in use.

 

Install Y2K- compliant TSR or device driver.

Low-cost or free solution that avoids opening system.

Can be bypassed by booting off floppy; might not handle allY2K clock rollover problems; can be removed from boot process; not available for all operating systems.

IDE hard disk capacity limitations

See Chapter 4 for details of these fixes.

 

 

Complete solution

Replace motherboard.

Provides both brand-new BIOS and new motherboard features at a price often just slightly higher than a third-party BIOS upgrade.

System must use standard MB form factor; mix of ISA and PCI/AGP slots might mean some existing cards won't fit because latest motherboards have more PCI than ISA slots; time-consuming hardware install; requires time-consuming redetection and configuration of hardware drivers in operating system.


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