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$250 BOUNTY: Intel Compute Stick BIOS mod needed

I have a request to either unlock or add the ability to boot to Legacy BIOS mode on my STCK1A8LFC which natively supports only UEFI.

These shipped with Ubuntu 14.04 LTS 64-bit, but the problem with this product is that the stock OS is such a tight fit that there's no room for even updates!!!

Windows 8.1 Pro 32-bit is installable as well but it is an even TIGHTER fit without any updates, so that's why Intel doesn't support it.

I wiped the internal eMMC so that I have 7.2GB available and have been experimenting with different smaller Linux versions.

Though I can install another version of Linux if I want to, I would love to use this for DOS and older Windows versions without using a VM which the memory capacity (1GB) on this probably would never accommodate anyway.

If I can boot a FAT32-formatted FreeDOS USB stick, then that is the immediate goal and indicates to me I can do what I want with this.

Right now, that is not possible.

I'm willing to pay someone $250 to hack this for me so that I have a flash-able BIOS file.  Intel uses *.BIO format on these.

It's worth it as I'm going to have 12 of these for a hobby/project I'm doing.  I may buy more and sell them as mini Legacy PCs for a small premium to pay the cost of getting this done. These can be had brand new in shrink wrap for $30 each.

If software tools can work, I  can dump the BIOS on my compute stick and email to someone to do the unlock or do a module add so I can use Legacy Boot, but I'm not particularly comfortable doing a hardware dump.

If you're in the U.S. I can just ship you one of these Intel Compute Sticks to modify and test with so you know for sure it works, then you can send back the unit with the *.BIO file which I can use to do an F7 method flash update on the others.  The person who does this for me is welcome to immediately donate the modified *.BIO file to the community once it's proven to work.

The UEFITool I ran on the last version of the BIOS (0038) indicates the possibility a Legacy BIOS already exists but is merely disabled/hidden.

Thank you kindly!

Steve Sybesma
Brighton, CO USA
I'll give this a few more days and cancel due to lack of interest. Lots of lookers I see.

If this can or can't be done for certain either way, hope someone can tell me.

I figured the bounty would make it worth someone's time. I don't want anyone working for me for free.

My thinking is Legacy might be built in but it's locked down and not available in the interface.

Using UEFI tool I saw the word Legacy many times including a longer word containing Legacy and BIOS.

So the CSM module might possibly be in there. I'm not an expert at using UEFITool but it's apparently something modders use.

This is the link to the latest version of the BIOS for the STCK1A8LFC that I have so you can check for yourself:

You can't mod .BIO file and flash it, well you can (sometimes) but it's pointless as that is only a partial update. Usually you can't even flash it due to signature check is done. I can edit one for you to test and see what happens, but I doubt you can flash it, that's the norm for Intel (Dump and edit only)

You need flash programmer and SOIC8 test clip cable, and then dump the BIOS itself and upload for someone to modify. YOu can dump it now using other tools possibly, but you need the flash programmer and test clip to program back anyway so order now (CH341A + SOIC8 test clip cable = $2.50 each on ebay)

You may be able to disable

Select Operating System, VarStoreInfo (VarOffset/VarName): 0x78, VarStore: 0x1, QuestionId: 0x273C, Size: 1, Min: 0x0, Max 0x1, Step: 0x0 {05 91 9B 00 9C 00 3C 27 01 00 78 00 14 10 00 01 00}
Default: DefaultId: 0x0, Value (8 bit): 0x1 {5B 06 00 00 00 01}
One Of Option: Ubuntu 14.04 LTS 64-bit, Value (8 bit): 0x0 {09 07 9D 00 00 00 00}
One Of Option: Windows 8.1/10 32-bit, Value (8 bit): 0x1 {09 07 9E 00 00 00 01} << Default

Checkbox: Internal UEFI Shell, VarStoreInfo (VarOffset/VarName): 0xB5, VarStore: 0x1, QuestionId: 0x15 {06 8E A5 00 A6 00 15 00 01 00 B5 00 10 00}
Default: DefaultId: 0x0, Value (8 bit): 0x0 {5B 06 00 00 00 00} << Default = disabled, so that is good sign
One Of Option: Disable, Value (8 bit): 0x0 {09 07 60 00 00 00 00} << Default
One Of Option: Enable, Value (8 bit): 0x1 {09 07 61 00 00 00 01}

USB Boot, VarStoreInfo (VarOffset/VarName): 0xB8, VarStore: 0x1, QuestionId: 0x16 {06 8E A9 00 AA 00 16 00 01 00 B8 00 10 00}
Default: DefaultId: 0x0, Value (8 bit): 0x1 {5B 06 00 00 00 01}
One Of Option: Disable, Value (8 bit): 0x0 {09 07 60 00 00 00 00}
One Of Option: Enable, Value (8 bit): 0x1 {09 07 61 00 00 00 01} << Default

Checkbox: UEFI Boot, VarStoreInfo (VarOffset/VarName): 0xC9, VarStore: 0x1, QuestionId: 0x1B {06 8E AF 00 B0 00 1B 00 01 00 C9 00 10 00}
Default: DefaultId: 0x0, Value (8 bit): 0x1 {5B 06 00 00 00 01} << Default = 01, you want 00=disabled, correct?
One Of Option: Disable, Value (8 bit): 0x0 {09 07 60 00 00 00 00}
One Of Option: Enable, Value (8 bit): 0x1 {09 07 61 00 00 00 01} << Default

Checkbox: Secure Boot, VarStoreInfo (VarOffset/VarName): 0xE1, VarStore: 0x1, QuestionId: 0x2740 {06 8E E1 00 E2 00 40 27 01 00 E1 00 14 00}
Default: DefaultId: 0x0, Value (8 bit): 0x0 {5B 06 00 00 00 00}
One Of Option: Disable, Value (8 bit): 0x0 {09 07 60 00 00 00 00} << Default = Good!
One Of Option: Enable, Value (8 bit): 0x1 {09 07 61 00 00 00 01}

So, from those related settings shown above, the only one you really need changed is "UEFI Boot" correct?
I can change this, and maybe you can flash, but I doubt it. Best thing is for you to send me a dump to edit, then you program back.
Hardware details for STCK1A8LFC:

(believe it or not, only 8GB eMMC and 1GB RAM)

Latest BIOS download for this model (older versions available):

Links to pictures of four BIOS screens showing vital information:
STCK1A8LFC Intel Compute Stick BIOS 1 of 4
STCK1A8LFC Intel Compute Stick BIOS 2 of 4
STCK1A8LFC Intel Compute Stick BIOS 3 of 4
STCK1A8LFC Intel Compute Stick BIOS 4 of 4

Please let me know if you need anything else. I'll scrape up any more info I can find.

There is a $200 bounty for this. It's important to me this resource-starved stick supports DOS and older Windows boot ability because I want to use it that is, it only supports Linux. I plan to buy 10 more of these and at least a couple I'll use with older DOS/Windows games and applications. I'm extremely stubborn and don't give up easily, but my full intent is to make it completely worth your time. I'll need to set up the bounty with a 3rd party if that's possible because it's a good chunk of money and I don't want someone taking it and leaving me with nothing.

I think the CSM may already be in there but simply locked down and/or hidden based on what I saw in UEFITool (which I find difficult to use since I'm not knowledgeable enough).

If the CSM module is not in there, then I guess I have to find ROM module and a menu entry in the BIOS has to be adjusted to show it.

I have no idea if there are different CSM modules...I would think there's just one that's generic created by AMI for Intel (and everyone else as they were apparently the original creator).

I did happen to find this if it's useful to anyone:

Since the BIOS file is a *.BIO, I understand that the BIOS has to actually be dumped to work on it and I don't have that ability.

I can send one of my Intel Compute Sticks to you if you can do the dumping, modification and reflash part for me.

Thanks everyone!!!

Steve Sybesma
Thank you for that EXCELLENT reply!!!

The BIOS chip I believe is soldered onto the tiny motherboard, so not sure that method can be used to dump the BIOS.

Below is a Youtube video showing a similar product's insides front and back (STCK1A32WFC - more memory, storage and compatible with Windows):

Yes, what I need changed is to add the option for Legacy Boot/CSM because the BIOS menu has no option for that.

The BIOS file itself when viewed in UEFITool seems to indicate the presence of Legacy because that word is all over the place.
Not sure if that means very much.

I put more information into the AMI BIOS mod request forum because I found out AMI made this for Intel. When I did this post, I wasn't certain.

It's located here:

(Should have known that all along since my original Intel PC from 1991 was an AMI BIOS!!!)

Anyway, if I have to crack open the case on this Intel Compute Stick I'm getting a little nervous.

I don't even mind shipping you one of these if you want to do that part because I will have a dozen of them anyway and they only cost me $30 a piece.

You will get the $200 if you test this and it's successful and send back the unit along with the modified BIOS so I can flash all my other units.

I'll pay you at that time you get this done and then you ship that back to me. Does that seem like a fair deal?

If you get this working and I don't pay the $200, then obviously I don't get back what I desperately want!

If you cannot get this working then I'll certainly still give you something for your effort (likely $50) plus pay you to ship the unit back to me.

You can send a PM to me with your shipping address, email and phone number details if you agree to do this.

BTW: I did happen to find this if it's useful to anyone:

Thank you my friend.

Steve Sybesma
Brighton, CO
You're welcome. Yes, that method is for soldered to board BIOS too, that is why the SOIC8 test clip cable. However, I've not seen these boards, show me an image of them front and back so I can show you which chip is the BIOS. CH341A + SOIC8 test clip cable are only $2.50 shipped each on ebay, let me know if you need links.

I need good camera image, front and back, video isn't ideal. A review or someone else's images would be fine, but yes, for you to dump you will need to open them up anyway so might as well.

Yes, I did see your other thread, unsure why you'd make two threads for same thing?

No payment or shipped around etc, I'll help you do this from here and your there with device Big Grin

I can edit BIOS now, but for a mod to be able to be used on your end you need to dump BIOS and send me dump, then I edit as mentioned above to whatever you want set as default, then you program it back into the chip.
OK, I see what you mean. The clip will touch all the leads even though it's soldered on the board.

The Youtube link I posted is of a later model and the only difference I could find is just more 2x more RAM and 4x more eMMC (storage).

I'm just not comfortable doing that kind of work. I don't mind someone else opening up one of the ones I have.

In fact I can let you have it after you're done as long as I get the dumped BIOS and the modified and recompressed BIOS to image the others with.

That's all I care about.

This is why I was happy to pay someone. Believe me I'll be so excited if this works out that I'd pay more even. I see the potential of these things for people who remember using DOS and older versions of Windows. It would be quite usable for those!!!

Yes, SOIC8 clip is meant to be used on regular soldered on BIOS, if that is the type used here, I need to see images to be sure.
You can do it, using the programmer is easy once you get familiar with it all, here's a guide with lots of images on setting it up

However, I can't find any good images of one of these opened up and naked, I see one image at Tomshardware in a review he opened and showed the back removed but didn't take off the heatsink and show either side of the board. Since you have so many, and would have to eventually open it up to apply the mod BIOS to each one anyway, you might as well open one now and remove the heatsink and take some images for me of both sides of the board. That's the only way we'll know if this is possible, and how to do it (BIOS-wise I mean).

I'm happy to help and do the mod for free, but I'm not willing to have something sent to me, so if you want my help on this you'll have to start with some internal images so I can see if the SOIC8 test clip is what you need or some other, or if we can even identify a BIOS on there or not. Or, you can wait on someone else that is willing to take you up on the $$ you're offering and will take shipment.
The Youtube video shows a very zoomed in close up of the STCK1A32WFC and the only difference between that and mine is I have 1/4th the storage and half the RAM.

The rest is the same. There's even a CMOS battery on it.

I think you can trust that video for what's in it...just less memory and eMMC size on mine.

The fact it's really zoomed in gives you a lot of detail.

This picture shows another zoomed in STCK1A32WFC and you can see the Winbond BIOS chip below the Atom CPU (4 legs on each side of the chip).

This is almost certainly what I have as well. They didn't vary a lot on the hardware for these.
Does the video show the device taken apart with heatsink removed? Ohh, image, thanks!

Yes, that is SOIC8 BIOS, you'll need CH341A ($2.60 on ebay) + SOIC8 Test clip cable ($3.50 on ebay)
Or, you can find these similar at other places like Newegg and Amazon etc that may be closer to you or ship faster for more $$

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