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This chapter is from the book

When a BIOS Update Is Necessary

The following list shows the primary benefits of a ROM BIOS upgrade:

  • Adds LS-120 (120MB) floppy drive support (also known as a SuperDisk drive)

  • Adds support for other ATAPI removable drives, such as Iomega Zip drives

  • Adds support for hard drives greater than 8.4GB

  • Adds support for Ultra-DMA/33, UDMA/66, UDMA/100, or faster IDE hard drives

  • Adds support for bootable ATAPI CD-ROM drives (El Torito)

  • Adds or improves Plug-and-Play support and compatibility

  • Corrects calendar-related bugs

  • Corrects known bugs or compatibility problems with certain hardware and software

  • Adds support for newer or faster processors

In general, if your computer is incapable of using all the features of new software or hardware, you might need a BIOS upgrade.

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 ATA 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.

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


Alternative Fix

Benefits of Alternative Fix

Limitations of Alternative Fix

IDE hard disk capacity limitations

See Chapter 4 for details of these fixes.



Complete solution

Replace motherboard.

Provides both brandnew 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; time-consuming redetection and configuration of hardware drivers in operating system.

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