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Posts Tagged ‘Phoenix’

BIOS Spotlight: (UEFI) Dell XPS 15z L511z

This article documents the exciting work being done by some of our top contributers in our forum. The modifications performed on systems like the Dell 15z reflect the most advanced examples of BIOS modifications done within our  community.  For more information, please visit the thread.
Phoenix SecureCore Tiano, used by Dell, is a tough nut to crack – we came to what we have today by taking little steps on a road that wasn’t smooth to begin with. Phoenix nor Dell have provided any information regarding SCT 2.0 and to this day the BIOS on these machines has not been upgraded to 2.3.1 which allows for ME v8 (brings IVB CPU support) and SecureBoot capabilities.

The number one utility in all of our research is without a doubt AndyP’s Tool, which can be found here. Huge props to him – without his tool our work wouldn’t be possible. Please note, that for some reason later versions of this tool such as 2.11 don’t seem to unpack the BIOS.wph’s capsule properly, so use versions prior to that if you are going to attempt doing some *magic* on your own. There have been a new Phoenix Tool release v2.12 but I have yet to try it, I personally still use 2.02 and it has been producing stable and working output.

The BIOS chip structure is the following:

Platform: Intel(R) HM67 Express Chipset

— Flash Devices —

W25Q32BV    ID:0xEF4016

Size: 4096KB (32768Kb)

00000000h – 00000FFFh: Flash Descriptor Region

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What is a Bios? A BIOS is defined as a Basic Input Output System.The BIOS is boot firmware, designed to be the first code run by a PC when powered on. The initial function of the BIOS is to identify, test, and initialize system devices such as the video display card, hard disk, floppy disk and other hardware. The BIOS sets the machine hardware into a known state, so that software stored on compatible media can be loaded, executed, and given control of the PC. This process is known as booting, or booting up, which is short for bootstrapping. One of the most important elements of the BIOS for the user is the setup screen, where users can configure startup options and push PC hardware to its limits.

BIOS ChipWhere do we come in? As the modern age of technology exponentially grows in complexity, so does the BIOS. Bioses become more complex, larger in size, and harder to understand. Not only do they become more complicated, but OEM manufacturers (HP, Dell, Acer, etc.) attempt to limit their BIOSes capabilities, to prevent users from running their computer at specifications that could be dangerous to the system. This includes disabling Overclocking abilities, CPU Microcode Updates, uncertified wireless cards, and much more.