Is flashing the BIOS wise?

Microsoft Windows 3.11
June 30, 2010 at 07:59:16
Specs: Windows 3.11, 256
I have a GA-586T2 with a i430tx chipset. My system clock will not maintain the correct time.

I have done some googling about the problem and the first troubleshoot thing is to change the battery.

Done that.

The battery is new but the clock still won't keep time. It tends to hold the last clock time from shutdown. At least I can know the time when I last shutdown. I use an internet server to keep resetting the time when I start up.

I found an updated flash driver for the motherboard which I downloaded. There's no doubt - I have downloaded the correct and latest BIOS for this board. But there is one thing stopping me from doing the job. Fear itself.

There are those who say that I shouldn't flash the BIOS especially on an old hobby system for something minor like a clock problem - which I can fix on startup anyway. BIOS flashing can cause unrecoverable damage. On the other side there are those who tinker with the BIOS regularly and say stop worrying so much.

But even Gigabyte who made the board say flashing the BIOS is risky and should not be used if the system works.

Please discuss these points of debate so I can make a final decision.

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June 30, 2010 at 08:08:15
Is the clock problem listed as one of the updated bios fixes? If not why do it, if it is do it, if it is important to you and is driving you nuts..

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June 30, 2010 at 08:12:45
It is not listed as one of the fixes.

I am glad you mentioned that, because I thought since it wasn't in the fixes - it might not make any difference anyway.

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June 30, 2010 at 11:46:20
Is this the Mobo you have...

If so then flash away because if you Brick it you can just throw it away and get a way better one.

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Related Solutions

June 30, 2010 at 12:20:41
The old schoolers will tell you to never flash a BIOS unless it
is absolutely necessary. That's because of the old ways that
were required in order to flashing a BIOS. You had to make a
bootable DOS floppy disk, then add the firmware/Bios update
to the floppy disc, sometimes it didn't fit on the 1.44 Mb
floppy disk and you had to remove some DOS files. Then you
would boot up to the floppy. The A:\ drive would grind away,
brrrrrd brrrrd, brrrd brrrd...and most times the flash was
successful. The issues were that floppy disks were/are very
volatile media formats, and they were very slow.

Modern firmware flash methods are much easier. There are
downloadable *.exe files that can be used in an OS
environment to flash BIOS's, or you can make bootable
DVD/CD iso flash disks to update systems - it's pretty safe &
easy. One Dell System (I think it was a Latitude C600 laptop
series) had like 23 BIOS revisions!

You'll still want to use common sense, and to be really safe:

- Think twice before you flash a BIOS on a sick PC with
possible sick components (like bad PSU or RAM or HDD or MB level
component), unless the BIOS update specifically fixes an
issue you're seeing.

- Don't flash BIOS's w/o a PC being on a UPS (ultra safe).

- Don't flash BIOS's on laptop w/o using AC adapter (many
flash utilities will not even let you flash a bios w/o AC power

- You might NOT want to flash a BIOS's during uncertain electrical periods like mid day when it's 90 degrees outside and everyone has their air conditioners blasting away.

- Don't flash BIOS's during a bad weather or thunderstorm.

I've had two bad experiences with firmware updates going
wrong in about 12 yrs. One was on an old Quantum 5.25"
BigFoot HDD, the other was on an HP Pavillion PII p.o.s. PC.

Just my 2 ยข

Just another stupid saying...

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June 30, 2010 at 12:37:12
Flashing any bios is no big deal... so long as you plan ahead and follow ALL the directions. In my years of flashing bios's I can't remember messing one up. That's not to say that one hasn't gone bad on me during flashing, but I simply can't recall an exact event. Also we had a universal flash/eeprom/eprom programmer to re-flash ROM's when something went wrong. Heh, we even had a UV ROM eraser back when ROM's were erased with light instead of current, makes me feel old.

Anyways, on a board like that, even if you brick it, you can simply pull the flash ROM out of the socket and place it into a working machine(or programmer in my case) and re-flash the bios back to the original. Have re-flashed bios chips without a programmer on other PC's many times before.

PowerMac 9600(1 ghz G4)
512mb RAM
50gb SCSI
ATi 9200 PCI

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June 30, 2010 at 13:58:29
I think I understand the risks much better now. Thank you everyone for the quick and comprehensive and answers on my query. Very helpful.

First of all, I want to keep the board. It's a good legacy system running broadband, DosLynx, Windows 3.11 and astonishes me how well it holds up with the text-side of the internet. I can even use DOS to send email.

Weighing up the comments, I have decided to not flash the BIOS at this time and look for perhaps another solution for the CMOS clock. There's nothing more unnerving as the BRRR BRRR of the diskette when you are waiting for something good or something bad. It would be wasteful for me to throw away all the work of getting this old system to sneak into the 21st century effectively. Besides, I like it. Nothing like the real thing for abandonware DOS games and utilities - it beats an emulator in my opinion.

I have two other computers I am currently working on that are vintage 1990s. One will be Win95 and the other will be OS2 Warp version 4. I am particularily interested in Warp 4 because in the near future I am looking toward being an EComStation user.

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June 30, 2010 at 17:11:50
It is almost impossible that the bios would affect the clock. Like a billion to one chance.

Timers, voltages, bios battery maybe, usually it is part of the real time clock circuit or RTC chip.

I support the 'Everybody Draw Mohammed Day'. A religion doesn't deny my freedom.

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