MX6920 Gateway Laptop BIOS FLASH FAILED XP

Gateway Mx6920 laptop/notebook battery (...
November 22, 2010 at 09:39:55
Specs: Windows XP, 1 GB
MX6920 Gatway Laptop Windows XP Service Pack 3

I was updating all my drivers and I came across the bios update version from 77.09 to 77.12. My computer was running amazingly perfect for the past month and then one day i realized I forgot to do the bios update which (wasn't really needed). I started the winphlash program that came with download. It started flashing the bios. The computer restarted and passed the F2 F10 screen. As soon as it gets passed that screen it ends up on a black screen where there is only a "_" blinking in the top left corner. I checked PheonixUtility and it says it is version 77.12. I tried reseting default configurations; it does nothing significant. The utility I am provided with is very very limited. There is no restore options or anything.

I tried slip streaming a bootable MS dos program, adding the 77.12 bios download from gateway and then executing it in dos. It still gave me the same results. I even tried downgrading to 77.09 again. The result when i checked in PheonixUtility said that it was now version 77.09. But still i get stuck on that black screen with blinking "_".

Please Help.
The computer worked perfectly until i made this stupid move by updating the BIOS. They should put some dang warning labels on that download on the Gatways site for rookies.

Anyways any advice will be much appreciated. If theres nothing i can do, ill have to make a trip to the computer store and pay $45 for diagnostics. dang it....

See More: MX6920 Gateway Laptop BIOS FLASH FAILED XP

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November 22, 2010 at 10:10:51
You must use one of the RIGHT bios updates and the RIGHT flash utility version (or one of the flash utilty versions that will work but that's a lot harder to determine) when you flash the bios. If the flash utility came with the bios update, it's the right version; if it didn't, it may NOT be the right version, or one of the versions that will work.

The safest way of flashing your bios is by you booting your computer with a bootable disk that has the right bios update and right flash utility version on it. Many things can go wrong if you use a Windows or other operating system on the hard drive based flash utility, especially if the operating system is not working properly.

You are taking a big risk when you flash your bios - if the flash fails, and/or the flash chip physically fails while flashing (this is COMMON - these cheap flash chips can only be flashed an unpredictable small number of times), you will have a mboard that will not boot.

If the flash fails, but the flash chip is physically okay, you can follow a specific Recovery procedure, according to the brand of your bios.

If the flash chip physically fails you will have a dead mboard until that is fixed, and you may need to obtain a new flash chip, already flashed.

In most cases, the bios chip is soldered into a laptop's mboard - the bios chip can be replaced with another one that is already flashed only by experts, and usually you must ship the mboard to them, have it shipped back - that can easily cost more than a good used mboard for your model.

You could look in the User's or Owner's manual , or the Service manual if you can find one, for your model or model series to see if there is info about recovering from a failed bios flash, but there's usually nothing like that in a brand name system's manual. You could go to the Gateway web site and look up the procedure for recovering from a failed bios flash.

"I tried slip streaming a bootable MS dos program, adding the 77.12 bios download from gateway and then executing it in dos."

That won't work unless you follow a specific Recovery procedure - a normal bootable disk flash procedure won't work if the present bios version is not working - and the flash utility must be the right version and must be able to run in Dos.

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November 22, 2010 at 11:37:52
If you are able to boot, see the Gateway splash screen & enter the BIOS setup menu, the flash was successful. Your problem lies elswhere. Check the boot order in the BIOS, make sure the CD drive is listed before the HDD. Boot off the XP disc, press R for the recovery console, then type chkdsk /r & press ENTER. After that, type fixboot & press ENTER. When it's done, type exit & press ENTER. The system will reboot & hopefully Windows will start.

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November 23, 2010 at 11:17:29
I'll try your guys' advice tonight. thanks for the quick responses. Haven't tried the check disk method yet.

Thank you!

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November 23, 2010 at 11:47:45
Hey, I did the chkdsk method and it found "one or more errors on C volume." I then typed fixboot and it asked me if wanted to create a new boot sector on C drive. I typed yes, at it finished in about 10 seconds and said it was successful. I restarted the computer and ended up at the same screen with the flashing "_"

Heres something interesting. I removed the harddrive to confirm that it was indeed trying to access the harddrive. It gave me the message no media cable plugged in. No operating system found. This is a typical message that confirms that the computer is looking for the harddrive. Once the harddrive is plugged in, it gives me the "_." Im starting to think i need to reinstall the whole operating system. do you guys think this will be a smart move? Even if the BIOS is f---ed up as well? Some say that my recovery BIOS backup file is in my root directory. If i reinstall the operating system wont that delete everything including the BIOS backup file?

But then again, i could always get the only BIOS version from gateway.

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November 23, 2010 at 12:43:52
"What we have a failure to communicate !"
(Cool Hand Luke)

There is NOTHING WRONG with your bios version if you can boot from a CD, and the bios is seeing the hard drive, otherwise you would not have found the Windows installation has "one or more errors on C volume."

(By the way, you are supposed to load bios defaults, save settings, after you flashed the bios to a different version, because usually flashing the bios DOES NOT load the Cmos contents that go along with the changed bios version automatically, and in that case, the bios may not work properly until AFTER you loaded them.)

Your problem is Windows is not loading from the hard drive properly.
That's a completely different problem !

You must have normal video before Windows is supposed to load, or you wouldn't see anything when you booted from a CD.

"one or more errors on C volume."

Did it find any bad sectors ?

If it did, OR IN ANY CASE, you should test your hard drive with hard drive manufacturer's diagnostics, because that, or major problems with Windows, often indicates your hard drive is in the process of failing.
If it IS failing, you'd be wasting your time trying to repair Windows

Check your hard drive with the manufacturer's diagnostics.
See the latter part of response 1 in this:

(thanks to Dan Penny for this link:)
Hard Drive Diagnostics Tools and Utilities

If you don't have a floppy drive, you can get a CD image diagnostic utility from most hard drive manufacturer's web sites, but obviously you would need to make a burned CD, preferably a CD-R for best compatibility, on another computer if you need to.

Seagate's Seatools will test any brand of hard drive.
Do the long test.

If the hard drive itself tests okay, any data problems found can be fixed, one way or another.

If the hard drive itself DOES NOT test okay, you need to replace the hard drive. If you can still access it by booting with something other than the hard drive, you can usually copy any personal data you don't want to lose to elsewhere before you can't access the hard drive at all.

Then you need to load the replacement hard drive.

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November 23, 2010 at 19:44:19
It did not mention anything about bad sectors. It just gave me that really vague comment.

Okay I hope thats the case because the harddrive I bought is brand new and still has 30 days warranty on it. Are these harddrive diagnostics usable in DOS? I do not have a floppy drive so I will have to make it into a CD format.

So i will have to burn a CD with MS dos on the disc, along with the executable dos diagnostics program to check the harddrive?

Does the program have to be a specific one for my Western Digital 250 GB Sata Drive?

IM going to look into these diagnostics programs right now. Should I (for the hell of it) just wipe everything out and see if I can install a fresh Operating system? Theres nothing I need on the computer.

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November 24, 2010 at 07:10:42
"It just gave me that really vague comment."

CHKDSK usually lists what it found when it displays "one or more errors on C volume."
Cross-linked files, bad sectors, etc.

"..harddrive I bought is brand new and still has 30 days warranty on it"

New laptop hard drives have a 3 year warranty. It may be newer than the laptop, but it isn't brand new.
Laptop hard drives tend to malfunction a lot sooner than desktop hard drives, and they're much more vulnerable to damage from physical jolts .

"Are these harddrive diagnostics usable in DOS?"

The bootable ones use Dr. Dos or similar, or sometimes Linux.

"Does the program have to be a specific one for my Western Digital 250 GB Sata Drive?"

No. E.g. the Seagate SeaTools will test any brand.
However, if it does NOT pass the long test, most if not all brand names require that you use the brand's own diagnostics to generate codes or error messages that you need to quote in order to be able to make a warranty claim and RMA the hard drive online (Return of Merchandise Authorization - get permission to send it to them for a warranty claim).

"Should I (for the hell of it) just wipe everything out and see if I can install a fresh Operating system?"

As I have said, you'd be wasting your time doing that if the hard drive is in the process of failing. It takes far less time to test the hard drive, when you take into account that you would need to install drivers, update Windows, etc., etc. after Setup is finished.

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November 24, 2010 at 09:57:23
Okay, I downloaded the Western Digital diagnostics program specific for my harddrive. The hard drive tested with ZERO errors. Both the quick test and the extended test. which took about an hour. I wished it found at least one error... ugh...

So now I'm back to the drawing board. Any ideas guys? This is a nasy pickle. All thanks to that dang BIOS update.

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November 24, 2010 at 10:00:20
I appreciate everyones help !!! Thanks so far! You guys are great!

I guess my next option is re-installing the operating system?

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November 24, 2010 at 10:43:46
"The hard drive tested with ZERO errors. Both the quick test and the extended test."

Good !

Your problems have nothing to do with the bios update ! (Assuming you installed one that is actually for your exact model).
Did you load Bios defaults, Save settings yet ?

You could try booting from the CD , loading the Recovery Console, and type: fixmbr - answer Yes to any prompts.
type: exit to reboot

If that doesn't help you could run a Repair installation of Windows - that may fix whatever is wrong, although it can't fix all problems, and it won't delete the personal data and updates and personal settings you have added to the partition Windows was installed on.
It only takes a little less time than it takes to run a regular Setup from scratch to find out if it fixes your problems.

For a Repair installation of Windows you must use an XP CD of the same version - Home or Pro - as your Windows installation (if that's wrong the second Repair choice will NOT show up) , and you must provide an acceptable Product Key. The Product Key that's on the official Microsoft label is an OEM one and will only be accepted by Setup if the CD is an OEM CD - either the Windows re-installation CD that you may have gotten with the laptop, or a regular Microsoft OEM XP CD - it has "For Distribution with a new PC only." printed on it.

The XP re-installation CD does not have any drivers built into it that are not built into a regular Microsoft XP CD.
(If you run Setup from scratch, you need to load drivers for your system that were not included on the XP CD, and that usually includes you must load the main chipset drivers.)

How to do an XP Repair installation of Windows, step by step:

If the XP CD does not have SP3 updates included, you will probably have to re-install them in Windows.

Tips here about how to do that without having problems (disable your resident modules of anti-malware programs, etc.):

See Response 6
starting at
"If your XP CD does not have SP3 updates included, the best time to load them is right after you have installed Windows from scratch...."

Most brand name computers that have XP on them that I've come across, if they have the Recovery disks, have a CD labelled XP re-installation CD or similar and possibly a Drivers and Applications disk or similar as well.
The XP re-installation CDs I've examined have identical files on them when compared to a Microsoft OEM XP CD (Home or Pro, whatever the version on the re-installation CD) with the same SP updates ( or no SP updates) included, except the brand name provided disk has a few small folders and their files missing that aren't essential, and at least some of the *.OEM files are different internally. They can be used the same way as a regular Windows CD, except the different data in the internally different *.OEM files may prevent you from loading Windows on a computer that does not have the brand name's bios version or possibly if the mboard model is not found to be one of the acceptable models - so you probably can't use an XP re-installation CD that came with a different brand name computer with your brand name computer, or with a generic system (the bios is the mboard manufacturer's version), to run a Repair installation of Windows procedure, or install Windows from scratch.

NOTE that I have found that at least some (all, so far) Microsoft OEM XP CDs with NO SP updates included DO NOT have the second Repair choice available that's needed to run the Repair installation.

If you're sure the XP CD you're booting with is the same version as the Windows installation on the computer - Home or Pro - if you don't see the second Repair choice , then you need to make yourself a "slipstreamed" CD (preferably a CD-R) that has at least SP1 updates integrated into the original CD's contents - if you need to do that, you might as well integrate SP3 updates into it, and SATA controller drivers if your mboard has SATA controllers - and then you boot using the "slipstreamed" CD, rather than your original one.

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November 24, 2010 at 15:16:04
GOOD NEWS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



All I did was deleted the C: Drive that contained the operating system and then Reinstalled Windows XP Home. Everything is good to go now! Installed all the drivers. Everything is working 100%.

*****REVIEW**** for people who run into the same problem.

After updating the BIOS on my computer from 77.09 to 77.12 my computer got screwed up. I guess some how the BIOS flashing tweaked with the Operating system or boot sectors which were undetected.' My computer kept getting stuck on a black screen with flashing/blinking underscore "_." I thought all along the BIOS was messed up but it in fact was the operating system. I ran diagnostics on the harddrive and errors were undetected. I even tried repairing the OS.

After deleting the Operating system C: drive, my computer became fully functional again and I still have all my files on my other partitions. ALSO NOTE: I am downgraded to 77.09 Bios version again. I downgraded prior to deleting the operating system.

I was scared my computer had a "fried motherboard" and my comptuer was now a "paperweight" like so many people were telling. Everythings good now.

Thanks to all you guys in the forum for leaving me advice and especially tubesandwires who stuck with me to the end. Thanks alot!! I was so close to taking my computer in to the shop, where they would have just told me to reinstall the OS.

Hope this information helps others who had A BAD FLASH!!!! DONT FLASH UNLESS YOU NEED TO!!!!!

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November 24, 2010 at 15:20:29
heres my email if anyone ever runs into the same problem

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November 24, 2010 at 16:47:36
We're glad to hear you solved your problem,
re-installing Windows from scratch is only the first step. You also need to load the drivers for your system that XP did not have built into it, load a lot of Windows Updates, install programs that did not come with Windows that you like to use, install programs necessary for many web sites such as Adobe Flash, etc., install Adobe Acrobat Reader, etc., etc., etc., etc., etc. .
See above if your XP CD does not have SP3 updates integrated into it.

If you had run the Repair installation of Windows procedure, it would probably have worked fine, and the only thing you may have needed to install again is the SP3 updates.

It is NOT a good idea to show your email address anywhere on the internet !
We who answer here would not abuse using it, and we're unlikely to use it, but there are bad people and there is malware trolling the internet looking for email addresses they can abuse using.
As you may already know, you can Edit your own posts on this web site by clicking on the icon that looks like a notepad at the right top corner of your posts, except possibly the first one in a subject if you started the subject. You should DELETE your email address.

This site has the PM - Private Message - feature. Anyone who wants to get in touch with you can send a PM to you without either of you being shown the other person's email address, unless you or they show it in the text.
When someone has sent you a PM, you will get a message in your IN email box (for the email address you used when you registered on this site) that there is a PM for you on this site.

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November 24, 2010 at 19:44:57
Thanks for the info...........UMMMMM

I MIGHT HAVE A PROBLEM..................

Im currently using the MX6920 as I type this...

I've been installing drivers here and there and restarting the computer ever so often when needed. the Last 5 times i restarted the computer it got stuck at the black screen with the flashing underscore "_" for about 3 minutes and the last time it took almost 5mins!!!! the last 3 times i restarted the computer it was because i noticed the slow down. Something must be failing. On the screen with the underscore I here a noise inside the computer like its accessing something,Sounds like the CD rom. It sounds exactly how when you put a bootable CD in the rom to boot up DOS or windows from the CD. It makes that noise, but repetitavely. i dont think its the harddrive noise but something else.
I didnt even think it was gonna start up. But when the computer does startup in flies and works perfectly.

Any thoughts? I'll check the BIOS to make sure its set to check the harddrive 1st.

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November 25, 2010 at 07:09:58
If your optical drive were malfunctioning, that can sometimes cause problems while booting, but you would probably have had many problems while running XP's Setup in that case.

Your flashing cursor on a black screen symptom could be caused by a poor connection of the ram in it's slot(s), but in that case when Windows did load you would probably have obvious problems in Windows as well, and that would not cause the noises you describe.
"On the screen with the underscore I here a noise inside the computer like its accessing something,Sounds like the CD rom."

There are only two things that noise can commonly be coming from - the optical drive, or the hard drive. The optical drive probably won't make any noise when it has no disk in it.

You probably don't have a CD-rom - only - drive. Remove any disks you have in the optical - CD burner or combo CD burner / DVD drive, reboot.
If it still makes the noise, then it's the hard drive, despite the fact that it passed the diagnostics tests.
I've seen that situation several times when a hard drive is in the initial stages of failing.

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November 25, 2010 at 12:35:48
Your not going to believe this my computer had eaten my windows xp bootable disk. it was inside the rom slot. but when ejected it there was no cd in the was lodged inside somehow and i took it out lol omg. I barely saw it floating around in there when i opened it.

heewww alls good now.

Thanks tubesandwires

I guess i just got a keep a closer eye on things. i dont know how it got stuck in there. must have not set it in right.

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November 25, 2010 at 13:17:22
I've heard you can get the disk stuck in the wrong place when it's in some laptop optical drives, but only a few times. That could certainly cause oddball sounds coming from it.

Sometimes when an optical drive is dying - e.g. the first thing that kills most of them is the bearings in the motor deteriorate to the point that motor no longer spins or spins at less than the 1X original audio CD speed - you can get strange symptoms while booting, sometimes even when there is no disk in the drive.

If the blinking cursor on a black screen thing happens again, if the optical drive has been used a lot, the most likely thing is that's what's happening and you need to replace it - there are lots of clone models on the web at a reasonable price, and often you only need to remove one screw externally on the bottom of the case when the tray is extended, then you just pull it out.

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