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Admin Know-IT-All Question #1

Admin Know-IT-All Question #1

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"U-Boat I was!"

Today's Know-IT-All answer is:
d. all of the above

Learn more:

Upgrading a system's BIOS requires direct access to a system's hardware. In the days of DOS and 16/32-bit Windows, this was easy: all someone had to do to flash the BIOS was boot to a command line and run the BIOS-flashing utility. Since Windows NT, Windows 2000 and now Windows XP don't allow direct access to hardware, this is no longer possible.

If you are dealing with a machine that has one of the aforementioned operating systems loaded onto it and need to flash the system BIOS or the BIOS of one of the controller cards in the system, there are a couple of ways to approach the problem. Here are just a few:

  1. Download a bootable floppy image and use that. The site contains repositories of various DOS-disk images that can be unpacked and created in 32-bit Windows. Many of these disks contain nothing more than the minimum of files needed to boot a system into DOS mode, with plenty of space left over for BIOS images.

  2. Keep a spare manufacturer's copy of DOS handy. Obviously this only works if you have a manufacturer's copy of DOS. Make several backup copies of the disks if you do have a spare copy, since DOS itself is hard to come by.

  3. Create a bootable DOS CD. This is a very slick and elegant solution -- if you have a CD-R/W drive and the right tools, you can create a bootable CD with as many of the needed utilities on it, plus access to the floppy drive. There are several ways to go about doing this, depending on the tools at hand -- some CD-R/W programs allow the creation of bootable CD-ROMs and some don't. This site -- -- contains detailed information and tools for creating a bootable DOS CD.
If this quiz has left you yearning for a little more information, please check the links below for related articles and tips:

>> Check the Admin Tip Top Ten

>> Learn how to build your own boot floppy from Expert Serdar Yegulalp

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