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    SubjectRe: Direct access to hardware
    On Wed, 26 Jul 2000, Thomas Dodd wrote:

    > Michael Poole wrote:

    > Take a look at motherboard warranties.
    > If you flash the BIOS with the tools
    > THEY provide and the BIOS files THEY
    > provide you assume the risks if it fails.
    > The warranty only covers the board AS IT
    > WAS SHIPPED, even if the BIOS is buggy.
    > Weather you use their BIOS files or files
    > from somewhere else, weather you use their
    > tools or tool from somewhere else, If
    > you try to flash the BIOS and it kills
    > the board, the warranty will NOT cover
    > the replacemet Flash chip with the
    > correct BIOS, and will never include the
    > shipping and installation fees that getting
    > the new chip on yiou board will add.
    > I know, I asked 4 different manufacturers
    > and 20 retailers/distributors about it.
    > This includes retail and OEM versions of
    > the boards.
    > -Thomas

    FYI, both modern motherboards and modern disk-drives have their
    BIOS 'flashed' with a JTAG port. The NVRAM chips are soldered onto
    the boards and are installed blank. If the chip is bad, it would
    have to be replaced, and therefore proves that you didn't break
    it by flashing it. If it's good, it is readily flashed.

    Other provisions, both front-door and back-door are often provided to
    upgrade these BIOS. A bad BIOS on a motherboard, although often treated
    as a major event by a vendor (where they tell you the board is trashed
    and you need a new one), becomes a minor event when it is sent
    to the distributor or manufacturer. They just flash a new BIOS with
    a 'Raven' connected between a working PC's printer port and the JTAG port
    on the board. In the case of a motherboard, it just has to be powered
    up with the 'reset' clear. No existing BIOS need be functional.

    Dick Johnson

    Penguin : Linux version 2.2.15 on an i686 machine (797.90 BogoMips).

    "Memory is like gasoline. You use it up when you are running. Of
    course you get it all back when you reboot..."; Actual explanation
    obtained from the Micro$oft help desk.

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