MSI's "BIOS Flashback+": Can it restore bricked motherboards?

jwburks1976

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I'm curious about this "Flashback+" feature on the motherboard I am about to build a new PC with.

It looks like you can put a BIOS file on a FAT32-formatted thumb drive, put that in a specific USB port on the back, and then push a button... then presto! Your BIOS is flashed (after 5 minutes)...

I can't seem to find a definitive answer, though... what if the motherboard has been bricked? Can this feature restore a bricked motherboard?

If so, I'll get an extra thumb drive and set it up for the future, as a better-safe-than-sorry measure. It beats having to RMA a bricked board.

If not, I won't waste the money. I'll just cry instead.
 


It really sounds like you're stressing it too much. Modern systems are much more reliable about proceeding safely through BIOS updates, so much so the old 'dual bios' systems are much rarer now. Even Gigabyte's 'ultra-durable' boards are a joke as people have found there's no reliable way to make it work on demand (except on the high-end where there are switches) when they want to use an original BIOS instead of the flaky update they just burned.

I don't really stress much about USB sticks: I have a handful of those cheap sticks they have at the counter at Microcenter. Maybe not the fastest but they've been reliable for my purposes All I do is put an update BIOS on an empty one, run a chkdsk then go do a burn. All the boards I've updated have an update utility that provides a little count-down bar of some sort: I sit patiently while it progresses. Maybe 1 min's, maybe 5 min...maybe 20. It doesn't matter.

The only thing I'm obsessive about is I don't do it during a thunderstorm. Most of the failed burns I've heard of were people who got impatient, the second category were people who lost power for some reason.

Just let it sit, overnight if necessary. In a case like this time is cheap.
 


Bricked how? The type of bricked boards I'm familiar with are either recoverable by doing a CMOS reset with pulled battery or have a hardware defect that must be first repaired if it's possible. A third possibility just isn't very common to me; if I were experiencing bricked boards from an interrupted BIOS update I'd look at getting a good UPS.

 

jwburks1976

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Um... yeah... can't say I've heard that one before. If you can recover a motherboard by resetting the CMOS, then it's not really bricked. It just has broken or incompatible BIOS settings. The only "bricked" I'm aware of is when the BIOS firmware is corrupted due to a power outage or a failure caused by some other reason (bad USB port, bad USB thumb drive, wrong BIOS version, corrupted BIOS file, etc.).

 


I guess they more correctly refer to that as 'soft bricking', when you have to pull the battery to get a proper CMOS reset so it will even POST.

I don't think this constitutes a 'dual-BIOS' type arrangement. It's all semantics but technically i guess, if that's available, even then it wouldn't be "bricked" if it can be recovered from it. Thankfully, I've never had that kind of thing happen. I'm careful about having solid power, patient throughout the process, use only known-good and tested sticks and NEVER use the In-Windows BIOS update 'feature'. I guess that helps. Still, I do know s**t can happen.
 

jwburks1976

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It's not dual-BIOS, unfortunately. Flashback+ is something I've never seen or used before, but it seems to imply you can flash the BIOS of a bricked board.

But it doesn't exactly make it clear, one way or another.

I've been shopping for components for a new PC for the last 2 weeks, and that's pretty much been my experience. Vague descriptions, missing information, and no real way to get real answers because every company in existence runs and hides from other human beings.

I've pretty much given up on trying to figure out which USB flash drive is "the best" for flashing a BIOS. If you have a recommendation, I'd like to hear it. The power, as I've learned, can go out when you least expect it, even on a day without any trace of bad weather. It would be just my luck that this would happen while flashing a BIOS, and from all I've seen, flashing a BIOS takes fricken forever (5 minutes or more). Maybe if I'm lucky the sheer strain of it will cause me to have a heart attack so I can finally leave this godforsaken world.
 


It really sounds like you're stressing it too much. Modern systems are much more reliable about proceeding safely through BIOS updates, so much so the old 'dual bios' systems are much rarer now. Even Gigabyte's 'ultra-durable' boards are a joke as people have found there's no reliable way to make it work on demand (except on the high-end where there are switches) when they want to use an original BIOS instead of the flaky update they just burned.

I don't really stress much about USB sticks: I have a handful of those cheap sticks they have at the counter at Microcenter. Maybe not the fastest but they've been reliable for my purposes All I do is put an update BIOS on an empty one, run a chkdsk then go do a burn. All the boards I've updated have an update utility that provides a little count-down bar of some sort: I sit patiently while it progresses. Maybe 1 min's, maybe 5 min...maybe 20. It doesn't matter.

The only thing I'm obsessive about is I don't do it during a thunderstorm. Most of the failed burns I've heard of were people who got impatient, the second category were people who lost power for some reason.

Just let it sit, overnight if necessary. In a case like this time is cheap.
 

AllanGH

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The "Flashback+" feature of MSI motherborads receives better treatment over at the MSI forums. You might want to start with this thread (Bios Flash Question), and branch-out from there if it doesn't satisfy your curiosity.

I have used the feature on two motherboards in systems that were given to me by smirking owners, because the system was 'only good for the trash bin'. (Presumably because the owners didn't want to hassle with the e-waste ordinances in our region.)

True to their word, neither system would POST, or enter setup.

Suffice it to say that the feature does work as advertised.
 

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