|Well thanks for that!|
Too often we don't get an explanation of what worked, making the thread useless to others, and our answers wasted effort.
Some things stay the same - in order to get video, sometimes you must remove an AGP video card and use a PCI one, or on older mbords with ISA slots, remove an AGP card or a PCI card and use a PCI one or an ISA one.
Question - please answer - did you have to rename whatever the update filename was to p4pe.rom ??
If you did, then AMI bioses still require a specific name, though it may now be specific to your mboard model.
Question - please answer -
"Also install the BIOS bootdisk from bootdisk.com, it's not hard to find."
What did you mean by that?
Or did you mean to say "OR install the BIOS bootdisk from bootdisk.com, it's not hard to find."
Usually having a bootable floppy of whatever operating system (it doesn't matter which one) with the flash utility and a bios update on it, and possibly an autoexec.bat file with a specific line in, and/or having the update file named to a specific name, is all you need.
Some things are different.
Bioses have gotten larger as time has gone by.
Smaller bioses didn't have the room for more sophisticated code, so the bios designers came up with the boot block bios idea, and AMI came up with the autoflash idea using a specific name you had to rename the update to. I expected you would see some sort of boot block bios message if you saw anything at all when you have video.
The code in a boot block bios, at least in older bioses, is minimal and only recognizes a floppy disk and you often get only error messages if you do see video - being able to also recognize a bootable CD is something I wasn't aware modern bioses could do - but you could use the recovery procedure specific to your bios brand even if you didn't have video. It sounds like there is now a lot more code in the boot block.
Now that the bioses are larger they have the room for more sophisticated bios recovery methods.
Whether you run Aflash or any flash utility manually like you did or run it automatically by using command line switches, normally you should NEVER flash the boot block - it almost always doesn't change for a particular mboard model, and it is a emergency backup that is there so that even if you use the wrong bios update or something goes wrong during a normal flash procedure or a recovery flash procedure, you will be able to use a recovery procedure to flash your bios again. If you have the wrong bios update and aren't aware of that, or if something goes wrong during the flash procedure, if the boot block potion of the bios update you use is different, your mboard will not probably boot after the flash and you will definately have to get a new flash chip, already flashed before you install it.
So you shouldn't answer YES to flashing the boot block if you use the flash utility to flash manually, or use a command line switch to flash the boot block.
Once you have a working bios, THEN you have the option of also re-flashing the boot block, with less risk because you then know it probably must be the right one since the rest - the majority of the bios code - of the bios update works with your mboard model and with the existing boot block, but personally I wouldn't risk it just to flash the boot block too.
"My hypothesis is that I'm missing a file on the recovery disk and the CrashFree BIOS can't perfrom without this file, ..."
According to the information I've seen, recovering the bios cannot depend on external files - you have to be able to recover the bios regardless of whether you even have a hard drive with an operating system on it. The ability to recover the bios has to be built into the boot block portion of the bios, and the boot block must be there and be the proper version, specific to the I/O chip on your mboard and often specific to other chips on the mboard, often the ones in the main chipset - different mboard versions or revisions of the same model may have different I/O chips even if every other chip on the mboard is the same. Older boot blocks cannot recognize anything except the proper files on a floppy. The abilty of yours to recognize a bootable CD is a bonus, especially for recent systems that don't come with a floppy drive, though the mboard usually has the header for one and I've never seen a bios that doesn't have the support for a floppy drive.