This procedure should work for most laptops and desktops that have a conventional Phoenix BIOS. If you have an older system, you should be able to follow the same procedure with a floppy drive.
- Download CRISIS Recovery Disk Tool (WINCRISIS). The version in our repository is 126.96.36.199, but your OEM may have a newer or older version if they provide their own recovery tools.
- Format your USB flashdrive as FAT. Do not put anything on the drive after formatting.
- Run WINCRIS.EXE in XP SP3 compatibility mode. Select your USB flashdrive and click start. Do as the prompt instructs when it asks you to disconnect and reconnect your USB flashdrive. Click “yes” at the next prompt if it asks you to format another disk and then re-select the start button. When this is done, close the program and disconnect the USB flashdrive.
- Reconnect the USB flashdrive and copy over MINIDOS.SYS, PHLASH16.EXE, and BIOS.WPH to the root directory. In some cases, BIOS.WPH may not be the correct name. You can verify this by following the steps mentioned in this third paragraph. If the tool comes back with a different recovery name, make a COPY of your BIOS image and rename it to what the recovery tool specifies. That way, your drive has these contents: MINIDOS.SYS, PHLASH16.EXE, BIOS.WPH, and [returned recovery name].WPH. Make sure that all of these files are in the root directory and that you do not have any other files or folders on the drive.
- If you are unsure of how to get your .WPH BIOS image, chances are you need to download the latest BIOS update from the manufacturer and extract the .EXE upgrade archive they provide (use 7-zip or similar). Then, look for a .WPH, .ROM, or similar file that is typically a standard file size of 1024KB, 2048KB, etc. This will be the file you make copies of and rename to BIOS.WPH and the custom recovery name reported by the tool mentioned in step 4 (if any).
- Remove the battery from the laptop and unplug the AC power cord. Then, plug in your USB floppy drive (with the CRISIS Recovery Disk in it and ready to go). Next, with the AC still unplugged, press and hold the Fn (Function) and B buttons. While still holding them, plug the AC power in, then press the power button.
- The system should power on, but there should be no LEDs lit up, and the fan should not slow down like it normally does. If that is not what happens, and you get LEDs that light up, and the fan slows like normal, unplug the AC power and try using the Win and B keys instead. Once the system has booted into the BIOS recovery mode, the floppy light will flash as it reads the BIOS file from the disk. You can then release the Fn+B keys (or Win+B). After a minute or two, the floppy light will stop flashing.
- DO NOT shut the computer off, as the process is only half complete. The system is now flashing the BIOS.
- After the USB or floppy light goes off, leave the computer on for two or three minutes; more if you want to be sure, and if the system does not reboot itself (mine did not), unplug the AC power. I let mine go for five minutes or so and pulled the plug (the power button would not shut the system off no matter how long I held it; I suspect this is normal). Five minutes should be plenty; however long you wait, try to be patient. My five minutes of waiting seemed to take forever, but paid off. Better to be without the laptop an extra minute or two than two weeks while it’s back to wherever it came from having a new chip installed or the old chip re-flashed. Plug the AC power back into the laptop and fire it up.
- If all goes well, you’ll have made a very expensive paperweight into something useful again.
- It seems this works for most newer models of laptops with Phoenix BIOSes (from what I’ve seen). Forums I’ve read have said that it may be either Fn+B or Win+B to boot into BIOS recovery mode.
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