[SOLVED] Success or failure of a BIOS update seems to depend on the USB drive ?

Jul 2, 2016
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Hello everyone. I am using the MSI B450 Gaming Pro Carbon AC.
I have read MANY forum replies of different users expressing their concerns over failed BIOS updates even though they followed the motherboard vendors' suggested process to the book.

Many have even said that when they retried the BIOS update using different USB sticks, the results were different. While one 'perfectly functioning' USB drive didn't allow the BIOS update to be successful, another 'perfectly functioning' USB drive got the job done.

Now, my question is, why is it, that one USB drive which performs completely alright doesn't allow the BIOS update to be installed properly while another USB drive does?
The usual complaint is, that the compatible CPU LED is on after an update.
 

Karadjgne

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Ahh, well then there's a difference there. MBR/GPT is how the drives are Organized, format Fat32/ntfs etc is how the files are Organized

Windows is ntfs. That's the filing system it uses. Prior to WinXP, windows was DOS based, not ntfs based. Floppy drives used Fat32 file system. Ntfs is New Technology File System, first used in Win NT server, and basically replaced File Allocation Table 32bit (FAT32) in standard windows based on 64bit (x64) processing.

Floppies, USB, other portable media still uses Fat32 because it's simple, small and universal. Just like most hdd and Sata ssd under 2TB still use MBR instead of using GPT.

It's like how a book is written. Most smaller books have an index page, lists all the Chapters. That's MBR. GPT is built for bigger books, so would just have an index page listing all the Parts. At each Part has its own index page listing all the contained Chapters.

Fat32 would be like those Chapters listed in Bullet Point, double spaced, NTFS would be numbered, single space instead. Fat32 bullet point, double spaced is very simple and easy to read, but can contain only so many Chapters listed on a page. NTFS being single spaced and numbered is a little more complex, but can contain far more Chapters listed per page.

About as simple as I can break it down lol.
 
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Colif

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It could be drivers. i suspect there are low level drivers the BIOS uses to access USB sticks and some drives use chips the BIOS cannot read from. Its likely it only has standard ones, and there are probably lots of different chips to use.

That is reason why some WIndows installs fail at the partition creation stage.

drive size is also a factor, if its over 32gb it uses Exfat and I don't think BIOS can flash from that format.
Most bios manuals would say what to format drive as
 
....
Now, my question is, why is it, that one USB drive which performs completely alright doesn't allow the BIOS update to be installed properly while another USB drive does?
...
I can't answer that with any certainty...but I do believe the problem is more prevalent when using the BIOS flashback feature.

I do have to think it's probably related to how simplistic the processor and routine is that reads data off the USB and then processes the update onto the E-PROM. Remember that BIOS flashback has to work even with no CPU in the system so any 'driver' is going to be as simple is it can possibly be. With a proper CPU to do the processing it only makes sense that a properly robust driver working on it could more effectively (or speedily at least) process error correction data if the USB stick drive is borderline.

I've personally updated BIOS on each of my boards multiple times and never had a problem one. That's using both BIOS flashback and the in-BIOS utility. I'm personally confident the number of successful updates vastly outweighs that of unsuccessful but we never hear of them. You can't overlook "problem bias" in what you see posted. That is: you really only see posts in forums by those who have a problem doing it and rarely, if ever, from those who've never had a problem.
 
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Karadjgne

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Most ppl don't follow the rules exactly, if they read them at all. The drive should not be larger than 16Gb, should be Fat32 formatted, should be free of any other files or folders, Disable Antivirus! etc.

Asus, for instance, also goes one step extra by giving you a rename tool to use, to rename the included bios file, simply because many Antivirus will pick up on bios files as a possible attack, and can and will quarantine any part of the update it feels is malicious. The rename allows for a full download, unmolested by Antivirus. You just need to change it back to a bios acceptable format.

Ppl skip that part all the time and the update fails.

Or they get stupid, and impatient and believe there's something wrong when the pc takes 4 minutes to respond and starts multiple boots, so they pull the plug mid ram training and brick the update.

99% of failed bios updates are user error, now. Not so in the past, Asus had some automated issues, those were bypassed by manual installation.
 

dwd999

Honorable
Hello everyone. I am using the MSI B450 Gaming Pro Carbon AC.
I have read MANY forum replies of different users expressing their concerns over failed BIOS updates even though they followed the motherboard vendors' suggested process to the book.

Many have even said that when they retried the BIOS update using different USB sticks, the results were different. While one 'perfectly functioning' USB drive didn't allow the BIOS update to be successful, another 'perfectly functioning' USB drive got the job done.

Now, my question is, why is it, that one USB drive which performs completely alright doesn't allow the BIOS update to be installed properly while another USB drive does?
The usual complaint is, that the compatible CPU LED is on after an update.
The easy solution is don't use a bios update method that relies on a usb. With your motherboard, you have the Live Update 6 app that performs the update without a usb. Other motherboards such as the ones from ASUS have a bios update function built right into the bios itself where you just point to any drive location including internal drives where the new bios file is stored.
 
Jul 2, 2016
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The easy solution is don't use a bios update method that relies on a usb. With your motherboard, you have the Live Update 6 app that performs the update without a usb. Other motherboards such as the ones from ASUS have a bios update function built right into the bios itself where you just point to any drive location including internal drives where the new bios file is stored.
Hi, thanks for the reply.
I have read online in many places also and they discourage to use the live update feature of a motherboard so I didn't even mention at in the post as an alternative.
 
Jul 2, 2016
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I can't answer that with any certainty...but I do believe the problem is more prevalent when using the BIOS flashback feature.

I do have to think it's probably related to how simplistic the processor and routine is that reads data off the USB and then processes the update onto the E-PROM. Remember that BIOS flashback has to work even with no CPU in the system so any 'driver' is going to be as simple is it can possibly be. With a proper CPU to do the processing it only makes sense that a properly robust driver working on it could more effectively (or speedily at least) process error correction data if the USB stick drive is borderline.

I've personally updated BIOS on each of my boards multiple times and never had a problem one. That's using both BIOS flashback and the in-BIOS utility. I'm personally confident the number of successful updates vastly outweighs that of unsuccessful but we never hear of them. You can't overlook "problem bias" in what you see posted. That is: you really only see posts in forums by those who have a problem doing it and rarely, if ever, from those who've never had a problem.
can you please tell me what partitioning technique you have done on your usb drive always?
Like, ntfs or fat32 formatting?
 
can you please tell me what partitioning technique you have done on your usb drive always?
Like, ntfs or fat32 formatting?
Any USB stick drive I use for BIOS updating gets formatted FAT32 in one single partition.

One other thing is that should the update fail because the update can't read the BIOS file from a bad or unreadable USB drive it doesn't 'brick' your board. The update is a staged process, each stage concluding successfully before proceeding to the next. One of the first stages is to read in the BIOS from the USB stick drive and run error checks to ensure it's both a BIOS intended for that board and not corrupted (CRC checks at least). If it fails, whether because it can't read the USB drive or data is corrupted, it stops there leaving the current BIOS untouched and fully operable.

I'm sure something similar happens with BIOS Flashback. But because of it's simplicity it will just stop what it's doing with no obvious indications something's wrong beyond possibly flashing it's LED differently.
 
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geofelt

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Karadgjne ^^ has good advice.


Failure during the flash can be difficult to recover from.
Updating via internet may seem simple, but interned failure during the process is not good.

One other thing.
Do not update a bios unless it is to fix a problem that is impacting you.
I may only do this on a new motherboard where the impact of failure is minimal.
 
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Colif

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True, Don't update a BIOS simply because an update exists.
I would only do it if you have a problem you cannot fix any other way.
I did one a few weeks ago as I have/had a latency spike that only happens once a week and after updating all other drivers and repair installing windows, bios update was one of my last choices.
I am still not sure if its fixed or not.
 
Jul 2, 2016
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Karadgjne ^^ has good advice.


Failure during the flash can be difficult to recover from.
Updating via internet may seem simple, but interned failure during the process is not good.

One other thing.
Do not update a bios unless it is to fix a problem that is impacting you.
I may only do this on a new motherboard where the impact of failure is minimal.
understood
 
Jul 2, 2016
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True, Don't update a BIOS simply because an update exists.
I would only do it if you have a problem you cannot fix any other way.
I did one a few weeks ago as I have/had a latency spike that only happens once a week and after updating all other drivers and repair installing windows, bios update was one of my last choices.
I am still not sure if its fixed or not.
I hope you got your latency problem fixed.
But for the rest of the advice, gotcha.
 
Any USB stick drive I use for BIOS updating gets formatted FAT32 in one single partition.

One other thing is that should the update fail because the update can't read the BIOS file from a bad or unreadable USB drive it doesn't 'brick' your board. The update is a staged process, each stage concluding successfully before proceeding to the next. One of the first stages is to read in the BIOS from the USB stick drive and run error checks to ensure it's both a BIOS intended for that board and not corrupted (CRC checks at least). If it fails, whether because it can't read the USB drive or data is corrupted, it stops there leaving the current BIOS untouched and fully operable.

I'm sure something similar happens with BIOS Flashback. But because of it's simplicity it will just stop what it's doing with no obvious indications something's wrong beyond possibly flashing it's LED differently.
It's true only with older MBs and Flashback features. My MB can find and use BIOS file even from internal HDD in GPT and NTFS format, also from internal or external CD/DVD.
 
Jul 2, 2016
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It's true only with older MBs and Flashback features. My MB can find and use BIOS file even from internal HDD in GPT and NTFS format, also from internal or external CD/DVD.
hello! How can I check if any of my ssd, hdd is on gpt or mbr?
My mobo is B450 Gaming PRO Carbon AC.
How can I select HDD or SSD as drives from which to take the BIOS file from during M-FLASH from inside BIOS during bios update?
 
It's true only with older MBs and Flashback features. My MB can find and use BIOS file even from internal HDD in GPT and NTFS format, also from internal or external CD/DVD.
I'm aware my boards will also read off the system drives but I prefer to use a USB stick...and formatting in FAT32 is simply a habit for how I use USB sticks. I keep folders with different BIOS rev's and their BIOS settings. A copy of the currently used BIOS is in the root and named for flashback.

The reason I like USB sticks is I'm able to flatten the system, update the BIOS even by flashback, restore settings and then (from another USB stick) clean install the OS with a minimum of set-up.
 
Jul 2, 2016
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I'm aware my boards will also read off the system drives but I prefer to use a USB stick...and formatting in FAT32 is simply a habit for how I use USB sticks. I keep folders with different BIOS rev's and their BIOS settings. A copy of the currently used BIOS is in the root and named for flashback.

The reason I like USB sticks is I'm able to flatten the system, update the BIOS even by flashback, restore settings and then (from another USB stick) clean install the OS with a minimum of set-up.
it's good technique to have.
Could you advice me on one more thing?
If I have multiple BIOS versions in one USB drive, is that a problem during BIOS updates when doing it from inside the system?

What I have seen is, the BIOS allows you to select which specific BIOS file to update from. So, having multiple BIOS files shouldn't be a problem in one pen drive, right?

And, I totally am gonna adopt your strategy of keeping a win OS in one pendrive.
 

Colif

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hello! How can I check if any of my ssd, hdd is on gpt or mbr?
if windows is working
  1. open command prompt (admin)
  2. type Diskpart and press enter
  3. type List Disk and press enter
  4. any GPT drives will have an asterix under GPT header
close cmd once finished.

if you can't get into windows
  1. boot from installer
  2. on screen after languages, choose repair this pc, not install.
  3. choose troubleshoot
  4. choose advanced
  5. choose command prompt
  6. enter same commands as above
its possible your board doesn't let you dl direct to bios
it shows this on bios page

just use USB, I feel its safer.
 

Karadjgne

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MBR and GPT are similar, but different. MBR is very old, but works well, so is a staple format for drives 2TB or smaller. That's a hard limit, something the original coders had little idea would happen, as drives back then were 100GB or less. MBR keeps all info of all 4 partitions on the drive in one spot, right at the very beginning of the drive.

GPT came about much later as drives started approaching the 2TB MBR limits. Instead of keeping all records at the beginning of the drive, they keep all records at the beginning of each partition, so the only info at the beginning of the drive is a list of the partitions themselves. This allows for many more partitions, and a maximum of 9,400,000,000 TB drive (basically unlimited single drive size).

That only applies to Sata ssd and hdd. NVMe is setup differently because of its association and basis in RAID drivers and to get maximim read/write speeds from a Gen3 or Gen4 NVMe basically requires it be setup as GPT under UEFI, not MBR under legacy.

Changing a windows installed legacy-MBR to Uefi-GPT is a Royal P.I.T.A.
 
Jul 2, 2016
61
1
10,535
0
MBR and GPT are similar, but different. MBR is very old, but works well, so is a staple format for drives 2TB or smaller. That's a hard limit, something the original coders had little idea would happen, as drives back then were 100GB or less. MBR keeps all info of all 4 partitions on the drive in one spot, right at the very beginning of the drive.

GPT came about much later as drives started approaching the 2TB MBR limits. Instead of keeping all records at the beginning of the drive, they keep all records at the beginning of each partition, so the only info at the beginning of the drive is a list of the partitions themselves. This allows for many more partitions, and a maximum of 9,400,000,000 TB drive (basically unlimited single drive size).

That only applies to Sata ssd and hdd. NVMe is setup differently because of its association and basis in RAID drivers and to get maximim read/write speeds from a Gen3 or Gen4 NVMe basically requires it be setup as GPT under UEFI, not MBR under legacy.

Changing a windows installed legacy-MBR to Uefi-GPT is a Royal P.I.T.A.
I have to do a LOT of researching to understand most of what you've said. But thank you for informing me on this.
I just was conscious if my USB drive would be formatted the correct way for a successful BIOS update.
 

Karadjgne

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Ahh, well then there's a difference there. MBR/GPT is how the drives are Organized, format Fat32/ntfs etc is how the files are Organized

Windows is ntfs. That's the filing system it uses. Prior to WinXP, windows was DOS based, not ntfs based. Floppy drives used Fat32 file system. Ntfs is New Technology File System, first used in Win NT server, and basically replaced File Allocation Table 32bit (FAT32) in standard windows based on 64bit (x64) processing.

Floppies, USB, other portable media still uses Fat32 because it's simple, small and universal. Just like most hdd and Sata ssd under 2TB still use MBR instead of using GPT.

It's like how a book is written. Most smaller books have an index page, lists all the Chapters. That's MBR. GPT is built for bigger books, so would just have an index page listing all the Parts. At each Part has its own index page listing all the contained Chapters.

Fat32 would be like those Chapters listed in Bullet Point, double spaced, NTFS would be numbered, single space instead. Fat32 bullet point, double spaced is very simple and easy to read, but can contain only so many Chapters listed on a page. NTFS being single spaced and numbered is a little more complex, but can contain far more Chapters listed per page.

About as simple as I can break it down lol.
 
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