BIOS updates

For tech wizards and n00bs alike. Questions, answers, or just general hoo-haa.

Moderator: Moderators

Post Reply
Message
Author
User avatar
Bellhead
Templar Inner Circle
Posts: 3443
Joined: Wed Oct 23, 2013 11:17 pm
Location: New England, US
Favorite Character: Keith and Natani

BIOS updates

#1 Post by Bellhead »

As many of you know, I am running off of XP on an old Gateway. Installed on other partitions are a valid copy of Windows 10 and two copies of Vista, none of which will boot. 10 freezes, and both Vistas automatically restart the system.

One suggestion was to update the BIOS settings, as 10 is supposed to work on older machines. I went to the gateway site, and there appears to be only one option for versions.

My questions:
Would this fix my 10 problem?
Would this destroy my working XP situation?

Gateway E-6500D,

If this helps:
cmd systeminfo wrote:System Manufacturer: Gateway
System Model: E-6500D
System type: X86-based PC
Processor(s): 1 Processor(s) Installed.
[01]: x86 Family 15 Model 4 Stepping 4 GenuineIntel ~
2799 Mhz
BIOS Version: GATEWA - a3
Windows Directory: D:\WINDOWS
Gearhead in the digital world, who will probably grow up to be a very grumpy old man.

User avatar
RevZ
New Citizen
Posts: 30
Joined: Tue May 21, 2013 12:19 pm

Re: BIOS updates

#2 Post by RevZ »

First of all, what kind of problems are your Vista and 10 installs even experiencing? You'd have to have some kind of error for it to be attributable to any external cause.
If it's an instant-reboot loop without any specific error code: that's something which is usually caused by a HAL breach, meaning you simply swapped a running Windows install into another computer entirely, which is designed to never work for anti-theft reasons, basically.

If the Windows Vista and 10 installations were initially made on that very PC and yet they don't work anymore: Did you install XP last? In that case: run a repair install on a Vista boot medium, followed by a repair install of Windows 10. This should fix both installations and grant you a boot menu which provides access to XP, Vista and 10.

Otherwise: Reinstall 10 and Vista.

BIOS-wise, if it worked before it will work now. There is no reason to do anything to the BIOS itself unless you're experiencing problems attributable to the functionality of the BIOS itself.
Swapping boards is -as I've noted before- a huge no-no for Windows. You can update the BIOS with an OEM one but if there is an SLIC table in the BIOS and it's an XP-era computer, it will lose its SLIC table in most cases.
In later years BIOS updates tend not to do that anymore but either way an SLIC-based Windows activation will only work for Vista or XP, not both. (Windows 10 doesn't rely on it any more in the traditional sense so never mind that..)

I personally suspect you didn't do some of the required things the correct way and assumed you could just whack everything together and expect it to work, so could you please be a bit more clear on how this mix of systems came to be? :)

User avatar
Bellhead
Templar Inner Circle
Posts: 3443
Joined: Wed Oct 23, 2013 11:17 pm
Location: New England, US
Favorite Character: Keith and Natani

Re: BIOS updates

#3 Post by Bellhead »

Well, I had an Inspiron 530, which came with Vista. The harddrive failed on that, so I went back to my Dimension 8250, and its copy of XP.

The Dimension was later taken off the internet where it stands to this day, with no web and no antivirus, running faster than any other machine I've ever had.

In place of that, I used a Gateway machine given to me by my aunt, who was going to throw it out in favor of a newer computer. This had Vista, on one of the harddrives I am currently using.

That Gateway suffered an unknown hardware failure that I just couldn't fix, so I put that Vista harddrive in the Inspiron shell. After some finagling with some codes, I got it to work quite well.
I recieved a 1000 Gb HDD as a gift, and installed that as well, with two 20 Gb boot partitions and two larger partitions. One small partition got the Insipiron's install disk version of Vista, the other got XP. One of the large ones was for movies, and the other I was saving for 8.1, for the 10 upgrade.

The original Vista worked but had driver issues (there's a thread about that here somewhere), the new Vista worked, XP did not, 8.1 installed adn I hated it, and 10 installed and worked well.

The Inspiron suffered hardware problems as well, so I moved both to the Gateway E-6500D that I have now, about two weeks before classes started. When I select one of the Vistas, the screen goes blank, and the computer reboots and tells me to select an OS. When I selected 10 the first time, I got the normal loading screen which froze. Now I get the "Launching startup repair..." message, and it freezes there.

When I boot to XP, I get the usual XP loading screen fowllowed by a request for a disk check on the first Vista partition, and the 10 partition. I skip those, since the first several checks found nothing.

This machine was designed for XP, the others were designed for Vista.


In short, yeah. It's a Frankenstein. But I've never had trouble like this before and had it not be drivers.
Gearhead in the digital world, who will probably grow up to be a very grumpy old man.

User avatar
RevZ
New Citizen
Posts: 30
Joined: Tue May 21, 2013 12:19 pm

Re: BIOS updates

#4 Post by RevZ »

the HAL is directly tied to the Windows driver frameworks, so in a way you're correct in that it is related to drivers. It is however not the drivers themselves causing this, but the fact that you've made an 'illegal' modification to the system compared to when it was installed, which upsets the protection system of Windows.
Reinstalling the systems that display the issues will make them work regardless of other options being available. It saves an immense amount of work to get a system properly running after a (motherboard-related) system move and personally, I don't even bother with it anymore if a simple reinstall also fixes it. This is 2015, every sane person has personal data backups on some sort of device by now..

I'm sorry if this sounds a bit rude but I grew to have this mindset about unnecessary lengthy system fiddling ever since I finally got into my IT engineering job a few years back.. I used to love tinkering with PCs in this kind of way but now I see it merely as a waste of my valuable time. :roll:

User avatar
Bellhead
Templar Inner Circle
Posts: 3443
Joined: Wed Oct 23, 2013 11:17 pm
Location: New England, US
Favorite Character: Keith and Natani

Re: BIOS updates

#5 Post by Bellhead »

Eh. Time marches on.

I'm outdated, and I know it, and I have the budget of zero. That's why I'm using a computer older than some of my family, with a CRT (Vivitron 21 for life) hooked up to a DMS-59 monitor plug, and attempting to run 10 on something nobody ever thought it would run on.

But either way, reinstalling 10 isn't really an option here. All I have is the 8.1 disk, and I'm a little paranoid that it might install on the wrong partition and/or screw up the one working OS I have right now, an hour's drive from home. And I don't have the disk with me, and 10's probably not even compatible with the system to boot. No pun intended.

I was just hoping that I might get lucky and be able to fix everything by downloading one file. Eh. One can hope. :)

Who knows- Maybe this year Santa will bring me a new shell, with great graphics and a really fast processor. For reference, I'm currently at 2.8 Ghz, and that's the fastest clock speed I've ever used. :P
Gearhead in the digital world, who will probably grow up to be a very grumpy old man.

User avatar
RevZ
New Citizen
Posts: 30
Joined: Tue May 21, 2013 12:19 pm

Re: BIOS updates

#6 Post by RevZ »

1: Clock speed says nothing because CPU designs vary immensely in instruction pipeline length, caches, instruction sets, number of physical and/or logical cores and other factors which greatly affect the actual I/O rate of the unit.

2: If you give your partitions custom names, you can safely install any other OS without having to worry about deleting or formatting the wrong one, because you can see which is which from the labels you just gave them. :)

3: As long as you have a legitimate license (for legality reasons, of course), getting the installation media itself isn't a big issue on the world wide web. :wink:
In fact, you're sort-of allowed to do so because it requires one to be able to make a bootable USB flash drive for installing Windows, for example.

It's really not too complicated. If you ever need help or pointers at all just say so :)

User avatar
Bellhead
Templar Inner Circle
Posts: 3443
Joined: Wed Oct 23, 2013 11:17 pm
Location: New England, US
Favorite Character: Keith and Natani

Re: BIOS updates

#7 Post by Bellhead »

RevZ wrote:1: Clock speed says nothing because CPU designs vary immensely in instruction pipeline length, caches, instruction sets, number of physical and/or logical cores and other factors which greatly affect the actual I/O rate of the unit.
This always perplexed me... I though Ghz meant calculations per second.
2: If you give your partitions custom names, you can safely install any other OS without having to worry about deleting or formatting the wrong one, because you can see which is which from the labels you just gave them. :)
When I installed the second Vista, it didn't give me the names I gave it, just the partition sizes.
3: As long as you have a legitimate license (for legality reasons, of course), getting the installation media itself isn't a big issue on the world wide web. :wink:
What is considered a "legitimate license" when it was an upgrade from another OS? The product key I used with 8.1, on another machine?
Gearhead in the digital world, who will probably grow up to be a very grumpy old man.

User avatar
Myperson54
The Imagineer
Posts: 1508
Joined: Thu Jan 31, 2013 10:26 pm
Location: An infinite sea of salt

Re: BIOS updates

#8 Post by Myperson54 »

Bellhead wrote:
RevZ wrote:1: Clock speed says nothing because CPU designs vary immensely in instruction pipeline length, caches, instruction sets, number of physical and/or logical cores and other factors which greatly affect the actual I/O rate of the unit.
This always perplexed me... I though Ghz meant calculations per second.
Processor calculations are measured in IPS (Instructions per second) or FLOPS (floating-point operations per second). A processor running at 3.50GHz like mine simply runs its "clock" at that frequency. Since most processes take more than one cycle to complete, a more powerful chip or a more efficient instruction set determines processor quality more than clock speed does. Frequency was only really important back when all chips were roughly the same.

Now that we have technologies like Hyperthreading, for instance, my FX processor will be beat out by an i7 running at a lower frequency; Hyperthreading allows the i7 to feed the processor instructions in a more efficient way, meaning that one could have half the cores and only run at 2.6GHz, and still be a "faster" processor than mine. Clock speed is basically irrelevant.
Image

I am become salt, destroyer of memes

Join the Unofficial 2k Discord Channel!

User avatar
Bellhead
Templar Inner Circle
Posts: 3443
Joined: Wed Oct 23, 2013 11:17 pm
Location: New England, US
Favorite Character: Keith and Natani

Re: BIOS updates

#9 Post by Bellhead »

Myperson54 wrote:Clock speed is basically irrelevant.
Umm.. what?

Okay, I think I sort of understand. But I also think you're forgetting how old my stuff is. At what point did clock speed become irrelevant? Anything I've used would probably be older than that.
Gearhead in the digital world, who will probably grow up to be a very grumpy old man.

User avatar
Myperson54
The Imagineer
Posts: 1508
Joined: Thu Jan 31, 2013 10:26 pm
Location: An infinite sea of salt

Re: BIOS updates

#10 Post by Myperson54 »

Bellhead wrote:
Myperson54 wrote:Clock speed is basically irrelevant.
Umm.. what?

Okay, I think I sort of understand. But I also think you're forgetting how old my stuff is. At what point did clock speed become irrelevant? Anything I've used would probably be older than that.
The Pentium 4 or D in your computer is actually after that point. I shouldn't say it's completely irrelevant, but it's not the sole factor you should use to determine what processor to get. I'm just being nitpicky, really. Not saying you shouldn't get an upgrade.
[video]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bcVBqwlnmlM[/video]
Image

I am become salt, destroyer of memes

Join the Unofficial 2k Discord Channel!

User avatar
Bellhead
Templar Inner Circle
Posts: 3443
Joined: Wed Oct 23, 2013 11:17 pm
Location: New England, US
Favorite Character: Keith and Natani

Re: BIOS updates

#11 Post by Bellhead »

Oh, I know full well that I need an upgrade. I'm just used to speed being a number.

That said, is there anything I can do about this without a reinstall or a new machine?
Gearhead in the digital world, who will probably grow up to be a very grumpy old man.

User avatar
Myperson54
The Imagineer
Posts: 1508
Joined: Thu Jan 31, 2013 10:26 pm
Location: An infinite sea of salt

Re: BIOS updates

#12 Post by Myperson54 »

Bellhead wrote:Oh, I know full well that I need an upgrade. I'm just used to speed being a number.

That said, is there anything I can do about this without a reinstall or a new machine?
I'm probably not the best guy to ask about an upgrade for such an old system, nor do I understand your errors. There's probably information that could help diagnose your specific issues, but I don't know what that would be off the top of my head, sorry. I updated my previous post with a nice video on CPUs and why I said what I did about speed.
Image

I am become salt, destroyer of memes

Join the Unofficial 2k Discord Channel!

User avatar
RevZ
New Citizen
Posts: 30
Joined: Tue May 21, 2013 12:19 pm

Re: BIOS updates

#13 Post by RevZ »

Since my passion lies in cars, I'll try explaining it like this:
You shouldn't consider CPU clock speed to be the top speed of a car, but the power it produces.

As such, a theoretical 150 horsepower 1991 Mazda MX-5 will be a lot faster than a 175 horsepower 2006 Ford Fusion, simply because there are other factors that have to be taken into account when considering acceleration and top speed (in this example, the 520 kilogram weight difference between the two)

Returning to the topic at hand:

Reinstalling is the only viable way if you can't at least get your OS booting to safe mode or anything, or lack recovery points on it.
Windows 10 takes the unique hardware ID of your computer (BIOS signature and encoded motherboard serial number, specifically) and stores that on its servers for when your PC needs reactivation. A re-installation should enable reactivation to work as intended by Microsoft, but I have personally not tried it out yet because I've been too busy with my job to do so. I don't expect any pitfalls you can't overcome or circumvent.

As long as you pay attention and name your existing partitions beforehand, it'll be impossible to 'overwrite' your existing partition(s) you don't want it to overwrite or remove. Install it to a partition you can freely wipe or reinstall onto and it'll be fine.

Post Reply