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  1. #31
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    Default Re: Insyde BIOS modding (dv4,dv5,dv6,dv7 at least)

    "Oooh, kinky!" That looks more like a BIOS. One little correction for you though - when the BIOS changes settings it saves them to the CMOS not in the flash memory directly. The flash is never altered by regular use, unless you are upgrading the BIOS.

    What kind of language is the BIOS coded in? Is it regular x86 ASM? I'm not that good but i could try and have a hack at it.
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    Default Re: Insyde BIOS modding (dv4,dv5,dv6,dv7 at least)

    Quote Originally Posted by Th3_uN1Qu3 View Post
    "Oooh, kinky!" That looks more like a BIOS. One little correction for you though - when the BIOS changes settings it saves them to the CMOS not in the flash memory directly. The flash is never altered by regular use, unless you are upgrading the BIOS.

    What kind of language is the BIOS coded in? Is it regular x86 ASM? I'm not that good but i could try and have a hack at it.
    Sorry yes you're right. I believe it is coded in C (++?). I've attached the setup utility. As you can see it is just a regular PE file (I've renamed it to .txt so the forum will let it upload). You really need to look at it alongside the EFI documentation to understand alot of it.

    EDIT: I should mention we cannot just change that SetupUtility as it is compressed inside the BIOS and would end up altering alot of things. Perhaps there is a bit somewhere that can be flipped to hide certain options that can be turned on and off easily.
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  3. #33
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    Default Re: Insyde BIOS modding (dv4,dv5,dv6,dv7 at least)

    Quote Originally Posted by Th3_uN1Qu3 View Post
    when the BIOS changes settings it saves them to the CMOS not in the flash memory directly. The flash is never altered by regular use, unless you are upgrading the BIOS.
    I think you might find you are wrong to assume this. Sure, there are some settings in cmos but having had to hack the Insyde BIOS to enable native IDE as HP seemed to have decided AHCI was good enough for everybody and didn't need to have the option in BIOS to change it, the setting was not found in CMOS.
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  4. #34
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    Default Re: Insyde BIOS modding (dv4,dv5,dv6,dv7 at least)

    Quote Originally Posted by 0.0 View Post
    having had to hack the Insyde BIOS to enable native IDE as HP seemed to have decided AHCI was good enough for everybody and didn't need to have the option in BIOS to change it, the setting was not found in CMOS.
    The setting was not found because it was hidden to begin with. You confuse the setup utility with the actual CMOS memory.
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  5. #35
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    Default Re: Insyde BIOS modding (dv4,dv5,dv6,dv7 at least)

    Quote Originally Posted by Th3_uN1Qu3 View Post
    The setting was not found because it was hidden to begin with. You confuse the setup utility with the actual CMOS memory.
    Well, confused now I am LOL.

    Perhaps I'm missing something here, after all it was late last year that I last played with the InsydeH2O BIOS.

    To my mind cmos is the battery backed up memory that normally is accessed by port 0x70/0x71. On my system I also have an extended cmos area on port 0x72/0x73 which stores the cmos passwords in plain text BTW.

    Changing most of the setup settings does not change the cmos memory. Changing AHCI to IDE once set survives a cmos reset.

    The actual settings live under a section called "setup", there may be several of these as each time changes are made in the BIOS IIRC it updates with a new section until the block is full then it erases them and starts over with a new "setup" section. Don't expect offsets to remain constant. There is also a "custom" section but I don't know how that works but it looks similar to the "setup" layout.

    At the time it was a case of mapping the functions that were available in the setup utility by turning them on and off and checking which bytes changed in the "setup" section and seeing how the checksum worked. After this I went through each of the bytes that were unknown but set to 01 and set them to 00 one at a time, adjusted the checksum, re-flashed and tried to check what had changed. My theory being it was safer to turn things off, that AHCI was set to "on" by 01 and there weren't so many bytes set to 01. As luck would have it I eventually found the byte that caused the machine to boot with AHCI or Native IDE, and that was that.

    The section that contains the "custom" and "setup(s)" plus a few other things, can be found easily enough, at least on my machine, by using IIRC "flash it.exe /pq" (no space between sh & it) which lists the protected areas, specifically "type 2: variables". This section wont always be in the same place with different BIOS versions ie going from f.12 to f.13.

    I only have experience with this on my own notebook so it could very well be a bit different for others but I would hope there is at least some similarity.

    I think it should be possible to update just one or two blocks of the BIOS but not being sure how to do it I just went ahead and re-flashed the lot. There is even a "variable" option with the flash utility which sounds interesting but again I have no idea how it works.

    Now that you guys have some real tools to use hopefully a lot more can be done.
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  6. #36
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    Default Re: Insyde BIOS modding (dv4,dv5,dv6,dv7 at least)

    0.0 that is some great insight. I had also noticed a whole bunch of Setup sections but didn't realize that they rotated around like that. Everything you have said it correct. Now that we have the right tools you can simply look up which offset is ment for which setting (as shown in the bottom of the txt file I posted a few posts up). How did you tell which Setup section to modify? Or did you mod them all? My understanding is that the Custom section is actually the default setting so if you change the setting there it will continue to be set when you choose reset to defaults in the BIOS. As for updating just a few blocks of the BIOS you are correct that this is possible. The people here - http://marcansoft.com/blog/2009/06/e...-aspire-8930g/ - in the comments section have said they have got this working. A more full solution appears to be in the pipeline.

    EDIT: And I have also tried playing with the switches on fla for writing variables with no luck though.

  7. #37
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    Default Re: Insyde BIOS modding (dv4,dv5,dv6,dv7 at least)

    I don't know if this is of any relevance to the topic under discussion; however, it appears that some of the BIOS settings may actually be saved to the BIOS chip itself rather than to a separate NVRAM memory (i.e., what I believe is being referred to as the CMOS memory).

    From a little poking around, it appears that Insyde has been working with SST on parts of their new EFI/UEFI-compliant BIOS, and from an Insyde powerpoint I d/l'd from Intel I found a reference to an Intel reference board using the Insyde H2O BIOS (the ppt was primarily discussing the "benefits" to debugging firmware using Insyde's software), which included an image of the SST chip that was used as the Firmware Hub. In the image, that chip was the SST-49LF004B.

    Digging further along those lines, I came across the datasheet for the SST49LF00xA family of chips, which refers to these chips as "Firmware hubs for Intel 8xx chipsets." Now for the relevant bit - these chips do incorporate the ability to erase and reprogram small sections of the chip rather than the entire chip, and also incorporates a faster write method than alternative flash memories. Thus, it is entirely possible that some of the settings in the Insyde EFI/UEFI BIOS are being written back to the BIOS chip itself rather than being saved to a separate CMOS-based NVRAM. Considering that one of the "benefits" of the EFI paradigm is the ability to have modular drivers that get started up faster, it's possible that the AHCI/IDE switch is actually being saved to part of the code/data for the hard drive driver that would be incorporated into the EFI portion of the Insyde BIOS, and thus would not have to be saved into the traditional CMOS-based NVRAM at all.

    At any rate, if the better-informed are of the view that this is nice, but utterly irrelevant, then I extend my apologies prospectively.

    EDIT: A little more poking (and realizing that I was being dsylexic again and flipping letters), and I found the EOL datasheet for the SST-49LF004B (the chip referred to in that ppt image I found) here. The "B" series was, apparently, the successor to the "A" series (given that the "B" series datasheet discusses backward compatibility with the "A" series), and also refers to the faster flash mechanism as "superflash."
    Last edited by Shyster1; 19th July 2009 at 01:29 AM.

  8. #38
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    Default Re: Insyde BIOS modding (dv4,dv5,dv6,dv7 at least)

    Shyster that is very interesting indeed! It is great to see this is all finally coming together.

  9. #39
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    Default Re: Insyde BIOS modding (dv4,dv5,dv6,dv7 at least)

    dannyres, As far as I know the last "setup" section is the one currently used, you may have 5 or 6 of these before BIOS erases them and starts a new one. As mentioned changing a setting in the BIOS setup, not that there are that many to change, for instance mine has Fan Always on, you can see the change in the last "setup" and of course the checksum. I'll see if I can find an old file where I put some of the settings down and see if it lines up with your file. IIRC I tried modifying the "custom" file but it didn't work as expected or maybe I got something wrong, don't really remember that well, but yes loading defaults in BIOS would undo the settings made in "setup". I just keep a backup which includes the setting I made so if ever I need to do it again it is just a quick re-flash.

    I would imagine the blocks for writing just small parts would be something like 4KB but I'm only taking a wild guess.

    shyster1 FWIW it sounds to me like your on the right track
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  10. #40
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    Default Re: Insyde BIOS modding (dv4,dv5,dv6,dv7 at least)

    I had another look at the "custom" file and the bit that was set to zero in the "setup" file to enable Native IDE is already set to 0, maybe that's why I couldn't see how to get the thing to work. Maybe the setup.txt is for the "custom" file as there seems to be a couple of things that don't line up. Not too sure

    This is what I have got from my notes compared to the setup.txt file you posted. Hope I wasn't suffering from dyslexia when I made them
    Code:
    Setup.txt  |                       |    My setup
    -------------------------------------------------
    0x39       |    AHCI / Native IDE  |    0x39
    0x74       |    Lan boot enable    |    0x74
               |    HDA Enable         |    0x91
               |    Boot devices 1-6   |    0x9A-9F
               |    Language           |    0x84 
    0x1AD      |    VT                 |    0x1AD
    0x1B4      |    C6 states          |    0x1B4
    0x214      |    F10 & F12 delay    |    0x214
    0x215      |    CDROM Boot         |    0x215
    0x216      |    Floppy Boot        |    0x216
    0x258      |    Button sound       |    0x218
    0x25C      |    Fan always on      |    0x258
    EDIT: My bad, I must have jotted the offset down incorrectly, enable AHCI is at offset 0x39 on my BIOS not 0x37.
    Last edited by 0.0; 20th July 2009 at 08:54 AM.
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