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Gigabyte Backup BIOS

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WonkeyDonkey

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I decided to make this post after experiencing problems with the Gigabyte Dual Bios system, which can be found on the majority of Gigabyte motherboards.

The brief from the Gigabyte website on this states the following :
GIGABYTE DualBIOS™ is a patented technology that automatically recovers BIOS data when the main BIOS has crashed or failed. Featuring 2 physical BIOS ROMs integrated onboard, GIGABYTE DualBIOS™ allows quick and seamless recovery from BIOS damage or failure due to viruses or improper BIOS updating. In addition, GIGABYTE DualBIOS™ now supports 3TB+ (terabyte) hard drive booting without the need for partitioning, and enables more data storage on a single hard drive.

Basically, you have 2 bios chips installed on the motherboard. One is the main bios, the second is a backup system to take over when things go wrong due to, for example, incorrect overclocking, bios flashing gone wrong, power failure during a bios update etc.

What happened in my particular case was that I had updated to the most recent version of the bios which had a DSDT file available. I then experienced a relatively minor software problem which caused the system to reboot. When it rebooted, I got a message on screen stating that the system had failed to boot correctly due to improper bios settings due to overclock (Which was actually incorrect in any case). When this message appears, it is a signal that your system has booted up using that backup bios instead of the main one.

What then made it worse is that the version of the backup bios was different to the main one. My main bios version was F4; my backup bios was version F2.

As some of you will know, the earlier version Gigabyte bioses can often cause reboot loops and all manner of problems getting your system to run correctly.

My next step, then, was to go and update the backup bios to a newer version. The issue here of course is that the motherboard manual states that the end user can not update the backup bios and that this is a safety feature. The theory behind this is a good one, but what happens if, as in my case, that backup bios is causing more problems than it is solving ?

Well, a quick search on the web revealed how to do this, even though the manual says otherwise, and the procedure itself is quite simple. We simply use a certain key combination at boot time, which tells the system to copy the contents of the main bios to the backup bios.

The key combination we are interested in is <Alt> and <F12> together, and needs to be done early on in the boot process. If these keys are pressed in time, a one line message will appear on your screen, which says this :

'Press ENTER to copy contents of the main bios to backup bios :'

Ive tried this on several Gigabyte boards, and the wording does seem to vary slightly between the boards, so yours may appear slightly different to the above.

At this point, we simply hit Enter, and the work is done for us. It will commence a block by block copy of the main bios into the backup bios. At the end of the procedure, the system will prompt you to power down or reboot your system.

Having spent some time working on this and checking the end result, the points you need to consider are :

1. Do not carry out this procedure if your existing main bios is buggy or does not work correctly. There is no point in copying a buggy bios to the backup one.

2. To make this work effectively, your existing bios settings must all be set correctly and your system should be booting up without any errors or problems.

3. When the procedure above is carried out, it will copy not only the bios itself, but also all of your actual settings as well, hence the need for those settings to be correct BEFORE carrying out this procedure.

4. If the above points are followed and your system does reboot into the backup bios for whatever reason, it will now boot up into the same version bios as your existing main one, and therefore prevent issues due to differing bios versions.

5. If you have a DSDT loaded on your system, it is normally compiled for a specific bios version. By keeping both your main and your backup bios versions the same, this should stop issues occurring due to having a DSDT file for one version and an actual bios with a different version.

Because of the need to have a fully working and configured bios before this procedure is carried out, this is more of a preventative measure than anything else. But for those of us who have experienced the reboot loops and subsequently booting up into a different version of the bios, the above procedure is what worked for me.

:thumbup:

PS. I couldnt immediately see which forum was the correct place for this post, mods please feel free to move it if approrpriate.
 

RTK

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The write up was great. Flashed my backup to a non-overclocked F9.

Now...about those "in stock" P55M-UD4 boards you mentioned in your last "Stork's 2nd Build" post. Where?
 
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WonkeyDonkey said:
Wow! Over 130 views and not a single comment.

Are my write-ups that bad ?

o_O
Actually no. That was exactly what I was looking for recently. Too bad it doesn´t work with that combination on my Z68X-UD7-B3.
Tried different wired USB Apple keyboards as I used to have problems to enter the BIOS during POST, also tested different USB ports due to that issue just to make sure the keystrokes are recognized in time - but no success.
Could other boards require different combinations? Gigabyte doesn´t seem to be keen on giving any official information about it...
 

WonkeyDonkey

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They dont post much about this, no. The only thing I have found in some of their user manuals is that the user can not update this backup bios.

The key combo has worked for me on the following boards :

P55M-UD4
P55-UD6
H61M-D2-B3
P67A-UD3P-B3

So it is clearly in use across several platforms. The common thing when updating is that you have to press the key combo very early on in the boot process otherwise it doesnt 'catch'. I actually started pressing it before the screen had even come to life, but knowing the board was powering up, so the earlier the better.

FWIW I always plug my keyboard and mouse into the USB connectors next to or underneath the PS2 connectors. Whether that makes a difference or not I dont know.

Too bad it doesn´t work with that combination on my Z68X-UD7-B3.

Are you able to try this with a standard USB keyboard ?

:idea:
 
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WonkeyDonkey said:
Are you able to try this with a standard USB keyboard ?

:idea:

The only other one I have is an older Apple USB from around 1997 or so (with the good old apple iso "cmd"-key...). Guess it should be ok.
But I read somewhere that there could be another technique required to update the backup BIOS. I haven´t understood it yet, something complex requiring to start and stop via the power button, which should lead into activating the backup somehow. That should allow to update via q-flash, but so far there are some uncertainties how to make shure to update the correct one.
If I should find a source describing it more clearly and precisely I´ll post it here.
 

WonkeyDonkey

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I would be cautious about stopping and restarting too many times with your power button in rapid succession. Power surges and spikes come in all forms, as I found out recently to my misfortune.

But please post away if you find the article again :)
 
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