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JayC 29th April, 2004 03:08 PM

Need help with BIOS Supervisor Password problem
 
I bought a ready made desktop system from MultiVision Computers UK.
Three months ago the company went bust -- leaving all warranties in the dust.

Epox 8KTA3+, Athlon A Socket 1.2 GHz 266 FSB, 128 MB RAM, Vision Choice RAID XL System 40 Gig RAID 0, Floppy, CD, DVD/CD. Windows 2000 Pro (all the service packs.)

Six days ago my computer crashed while I was using it. I had done a Norton 2001 whole system virus scan -- which completed (successfully), and I was doing some other thing and I noticed that there was a strange sound coming out from my ATX case. Seemed to be from the area of the HDDs.

My computer then showed a blue screen error: INVALID_DISK_(something).

I attempted a Norton Recovery disk which asked to write a new "Boot Block".
I let it. When it finished, I noticed that the Norton Recovery disk was talking about Win ME.

Now when I boot the machine, it only boots to: Verifying DMI Pool Data ......

Invalid system disk
Replace the disk, and then press any key

When I just press "any key" it says:
Boot from CD : Boot from CD :
Invalid system disk
Replace the disk, and then press any key

I then tried the Win 2000 Pro CD as it was saying "Boot from CD".
Then Win 2000 Pro boot CD software process go as far as reporting an error:
Setup did not find any hard disk drives installed.

I 've never touched the hard disk drives before nor the innards of any computer, ever. And I have never changed their "ribbon" connections. The HDDs are visibly there in the tower casing and their ribbon connectors are there too, attached to the two HDDs.

Now, I contacted Microsoft's tech support. And one of their staff said that he needed the BIOS setup to boot from CD. When I went to change the boot sequence in the Award Software CMOS/BIOS setup, I was unable to change any setting because I need a Supervisor Password which is setup on the BIOS setup as security. He said that without the BIOS boot device setting set as CD, he can't have the Win 2000 Pro CD run to diagnose and provide a solution to the whatever error is affecting my computer system.

Now, I can't get the supervisor password because the company (MultiVison) who supplied me with my computer, are out of business.

Guys, what can I do?

Aedan 29th April, 2004 04:15 PM

If, when you put the Win 2000 Pro CD in and started the machine you got "Boot from CD", then the BIOS is already set up to boot from the CD.

As the machine was sold as a 'RAID' machine, then you probably have two hard disks connected to a RAID controller onboard the motherboard. This complicates Windows 2000 a little bit, as Windows 2000 doesn't (I believe) come with the drivers for the RAID controller. Just FYI, the RAID controller is probably a Highpoint HPT370A.

The outcome of all this is that Windows 2000 from the CD will need to be told it needs a driver in order to be able to see the hard disk. The driver would be supplied on a floppy disk, but I don't know if Multivision would have provided it. If not, you can download the driver from the EPoX website, and decompress it to a floppy disk.

Now, that doesn't help you with unlocking the BIOS at all. There are a few ways to do this. The way that will always work involves erasing all the settings in the BIOS. This is fairly drastic, and if you don't know what the settings should be, might turn out to be a lot of work to put right.

There are some alternative methods over at Tech TV, but they may or may not work on your system.

JayC 29th April, 2004 04:40 PM

Aedan,

You said: " ... The outcome of all this is that Windows 2000 from the CD will need to be told it needs a driver in order to be able to see the hard disk. The driver would be supplied on a floppy disk, but I don't know if Multivision would have provided it. If not, you can download the driver from the EPoX website, and decompress it to a floppy disk."

The driver you mention, is it: HPT 370(A) Host Adapter Device Driver
For Win2000/9x/WINNT ?

And how then do I tell the Windows 2000 from the CD about the driver for the hard disk drive?

And yes, I am getting to the point where zero-ing the BIOS settings seems the most likely path that I will take - though I will check-out the Tech TV alternatives you pointed out. (I hope zero-ing the BIOS by removing its battery power supply does nothing to the CMOS !!)

I 'll just take a look at the Tech TV alternatives.
Let me know your further advices. Thanks.

_____________________________________

Epox 8KTA3+, Athlon A Socket 1.2 GHz 266 FSB, 128 MB RAM,
Vision Choice RAID XL System 40 Gig RAID 0,
Floppy, CD, DVD/CD.
Windows 2000 Pro (all the service packs.)

Aedan 29th April, 2004 05:21 PM

Assuming that the label "HPT 370(A) Host Adapter Device Driver For Win2000/9x/WINNT" is on a disk, then that sounds good! Rather than type a whole bunch of stuff off another web page, I'll let Microsoft document it.

My fault for a slight misunderstanding - I've been using the terms BIOS and CMOS a little too loosely. The BIOS password is stored within the CMOS memory, along with a bunch of other settings. The BIOS itself is stored on a FLASH chip that does not require power to keep it's contents. The CMOS memory requires power - if you want to wipe the password, you will have to clear the CMOS. There should be a jumper on the motherboard that allows you to wipe the CMOS clear.

NeVeRmiNd 30th April, 2004 12:28 AM

Aedan, you can simply remove the battery from the mobo and leave it out for about half an hour, and then change the boot sequence. You will not need a Supervisor password at all. Trust me.

NeVeRmiNd 30th April, 2004 12:28 AM

Of course you put the battery back after half an hour THEN change the boot sequence* ;)

Gizmo 30th April, 2004 01:15 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by NeVeRmiNd
Aedan, you can simply remove the battery from the mobo and leave it out for about half an hour, and then change the boot sequence. You will not need a Supervisor password at all. Trust me.

That would effectively be the same thing as setting the CMOS Clear jumper for about 10 seconds or so, though.

JayC 30th April, 2004 02:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by NeVeRmiNd
Aedan, you can simply remove the battery from the mobo and leave it out for about half an hour, and then change the boot sequence. You will not need a Supervisor password at all. Trust me.


Hey guys ... "CMOS clear jumper" what is that?

And what does it look like?

And whereabouts is it on my 8KTA3+ ?

[Look out, look out. There's a green guy about ;) ]

Gizmo 30th April, 2004 03:55 PM

On your board, it should be labled 'JP1' and should be near the diagnostic LED display. It is a little plug that sets on a set of three pins, and joins two of the three pins together (rather like the Master/Slave jumper on your IDE drive). Whatever position it is in, move it to the opposite position for a few seconds (e.g. if it is on pins 1 and 2, move it to pins 2 and 3), and then move it back.

Aedan 30th April, 2004 04:20 PM

If you have the motherboard manual, it should be in there. If not, you can download the manual in PDF format from EPoX UK. It should give you a little picture that will point you in the direction of the jumper.

JayC 7th May, 2004 04:57 PM

For those of you who are following up on how I am doing ...

well, I 'm not a "what's inside the casing?" virgin anymore !

CMOS Jumper incorrectly re-placed !

Well how about that for a ****-up !

This was the very first time I have ever truly looked inside a personal computer's casing. And it was for a serious reason.
The company who had supplied me with my ready built EPoX 8KTA3+, 4 USB1, 4 UDMA Highpoint RAID O, Win2K Pro, had gone out
of business when my precious super PC "blue screened" to error: INVALID_DISK_ARRAY.

Well, part of recovering my PC was I've had to learn all I can about "mobo's", "HDD'S", "CMOS is not BIOS", "Jumpers", "Power Supply", "PIO's", and much, much more. And this is the guy who flunked his Computer Science Masters Degree's computer theory and computer architecture sections.

I got to the stage where I realized that I would have to access the "BIOS" and change the "boot from" settings. Nervous as a virgin, I made anxiety-filled progress up to the stage where I realized that I would have to "clear" the supervisor password which had been set and made a secret by
whoever set my PC up at MultiVision (the bust supplier).

I did the thing with the "CMOS Jumper" and then I went to power up my PC. And ... it would not power up. I checked most of my flat's electrics (to make sure they had a "pulse") before I had enough courage to approach my mobo to see what
surprise it had for me.

12 hours later I FOUND IT !!
I had not correctly replaced the CMOS clear jumper after my virgin manouevre.
Just that tiny little thing not correctly re-placed on its mobo pins stopped the whole show.

But afterwards with my senses returning to me, I realized that a motherboard is really one great big, inter-woven electric circuit. And so, of course, if any one (small or large) part of that circuit is not connected -- then the electricity is not going
to flow at all, is it?

Anyways, I got the darning Supervisor Password cleared ! WHOO HOOO !
But, but nobody told me that clearing the CMOS would wipe enough of my BIOS !
In fact, I am curious as to why not all my BIOS was wiped ?

MOBO new guy.

Gizmo 7th May, 2004 05:00 PM

The CMOS does not wipe the BIOS program, only the settings. Clearing CMOS will cause the BIOS to return the settings to whatever the factory defaults are the next time you start the machine.

Does that answer your question?

JayC 7th May, 2004 05:18 PM

Gizmo,

Yes it does.

I've got a related question: I have seen that some of my BIOS settings have changed to the "factory defaults". And I had a nasty little shock, as I had figured that the BIOS would change (somehow) upon jumper-ing the CMOS, I had written down all the BIOS settings which I could see given that I only had "blue-d out" entries to look at and no ability to scroll the screens.

The nasty little shock was: that now that I could access the BIOS as (Supervisor), I went in and took a look around and I found that the setup screens were scrollable in some instances -- such as the Integrated Peripherals screen (CMOS Setup Utility -- Copyright (c) 1984-2000 Award Software: Integrated Peripherals.)

Now I've found that the scrollable screens hold more BIOS settings which I had not seen before. And I don't know whether they are now showing factory defaults or not.
Please recall that I can't go confirm this with the suppliers of my computer -- MultiVision who went out of business in January.

Can you give me some guidance as to what my situation with the previously not known BIOS settings and their likely consequences of having jumper-ed CMOS on them.

And finally what should I do now? Because pretty soon the guy from Microsoft is gonna contact me and ask me if I have managed to access BIOS setup and changed the "boot (device)" to CD-ROM.

I am concerned that the mystery over whether my BIOS has all setup values correct may affect the outcome of when the Microsoft technical support guy (at £75 per hour) will tell me that Win 2000 Pro from its recovery console or from some sort of install, may not work (well?) in an inadequetly configured BIOS.

What to do guys? What to do ?

JayC

Gizmo 7th May, 2004 05:32 PM

Odds are, the machine was at something very close to the standard BIOS defaults for that machine anyway. Most of the settings in the BIOS exist for the purpose of handling bizarre hardware configurations, which I would tend to doubt that you have. In any case, since you don't know what those settings were to begin with, there is not an awful lot you can do.

Aedan 7th May, 2004 05:32 PM

The BIOS will default to 'failsafe' settings. Those settings will be on the conservative side, favouring stability over performance. If you give an idea of which settings you didn't see before, then perhaps someone here can explain how important or not that setting is.

JayC 7th May, 2004 05:58 PM

Aedan, Okay.

Here are the BIOS name and value settings about which I am worried:

(SetUp Screen: Advanced Chipset Features)

PCI Dynamic Bursting Disabled
PCI Master 0 WS Write Enabled
PCI Delay Transaction Enabled
PCI #2 Access #1 Retry Enabled
AGP Master 1 WS Write Disabled
AGP Master 1 WS Read Disabled

--- --- --- ---

[another screen: Integrated Peripherals ]

Onboard Paralled Port 378/IRQ
Onboard Parallel Mode Normal
x ECP Mode Use DMA 3
x Parallel Port EPP Type EPP1.9
Onboard Legacy Audio Enabled
Sound Blaster Disabled
SB I/O Base Address 220H
SB IRQ select IRQ 5
SB DMA Select DMA 1
MPU-401 Disabled
MPU-401 I/O Address 330-333H
Game Port (200-207H) Enabled


I am looking through the other CMOS Setup Utility screens now. And I will post any more "formerly unknown" BIOS settings that I find.

Thanks guys.

JayC

JayC 7th May, 2004 06:01 PM

And ... oh yes!

You might need this:

Epox 8KTA3+, Athlon A Socket 1.2 GHz 266 FSB, 128 MB RAM,
Vision Choice RAID XL System 40 Gig RAID 0,
Santa Cruz Turtle Beach sound card
Floppy, CD, DVD/CD.
Windows 2000 Pro (all the service packs.)

danrok 9th May, 2004 11:00 PM

JayC, the settings you listed in post #16 should just be left as they are at their default values. The only execption would be those which relate to the onboard sound.

You will want to disable the onboard sound if you have a separate sound card - which I think you do.

Change 'onboard legacy audio' to disabled.

Generally, many PC's will work and boot-up with the factory default settings.

You made need to change the drive boot sequence so that the floppy and CD drive are before the hard disk (often called HD0).

Can you tell us the current CPU settings within the BIOS?

JayC 10th May, 2004 02:23 PM

Danrock,

How do you know which POST it is? You say it is POST #16. I am interested to know this.

And yes, I agree, I need to disable the on-board sound as I have a sound card.

Why are you asking for the CPU settings? Please explain.

Here they are:
DRAM Timing By SPD Enabled
xDRAM Clock 133MHz
xSDRAM Cycle Length 3
xBank Interleave Disabled
DRAM Page-Mode Enabled
Memory Hole Disabled
PCI Master Pipeline Req Enabled
P2C/C2P Concurrency Enabled
Fast R-W Turn Around Disabled
System BIOS Cacheable Disabled
Video RAM Cacheable Disabled
AGP Aperture Size 64M
AGP Mode 4X
AGP Driving Control Auto
xAGP Driving Value DA
AGP Fast Write Enabled
OnChip USB Enabled
OnChip USB 2 Enabled
USB Keyboard Support Enabled
OnChip Sound Auto
[The rest of the Advanced Chipset Features are as in my previous posting.]


As for Boot settings:
First Boot Device CDROM
Second Boot Device HDD-0
Third Boot Device Floppy
Boot Other Device Enabled

Boot up Floppy Seek Enabled


[Finally, these below are more BIOS values I hadn't seen before. So I don't know if these are custom and default, or whether these are all default values when some or all should be custom. Help!]

From the CMOS Setup Utility - Copyright (C) 1984-2000 Award Software
Advanced BIOS Features (options screen)

Video BIOS Shadow Enabled
C8000-CBFFF Shadow Disabled
CC000-CFFFF Shadow Disabled
D0000-D3FFF Shadow Disabled
D4000-D7FFF Shadow Disabled
D8000-DBFFF Shadow Disabled
DC000-DFFFF Shadow Disabled

And if someone could explain what these BIOS name-value pairs mean, that would be an unexpected bonus.

JayC 10th May, 2004 02:27 PM

Oh,

I need to know also, which BIOS setting tells the Windows that there is a RAID 0 system of hard disk drives available?

The reason I ask is: that the Win 2000 Pro Setup which I am using from the Win 2000 Pro CD is saying the it "is not able to detect any hard disk drives" .

Any ideas how to resolve this -- too ?

danrok 10th May, 2004 02:29 PM

The post numbers are next to the exclamation mark, top right corner.

JayC 10th May, 2004 02:38 PM

Oh I get it! Duuuuhh !!

Like this one is post #21

Okay then.

danrok 10th May, 2004 02:38 PM

I was asking about the CPU settings, just to verify that it is set to it's stock speed. Which should be 9 x 133mhz = 1.2Ghz.

Change these as follows:
First Boot Device Floppy
Second Boot Device CDROM
Third Boot Device HDD-0
Boot Other Device Disabled

Boot up Floppy Seek Enabled

Once your machine is up and running it would be a good idea to enable these:

System BIOS Cacheable
Video RAM Cacheable

Leave them disabled for now. Once the OS is installed enable them and if there are no problems leave them enabled for best performance.

How many hard disks do you have and what models are they?

JayC 10th May, 2004 02:43 PM

Danrock,

I don't know what make or model they are.
(If it's any excuse) I bought my computer ready made.

I can tell that the HDDs are 20GB UMDA hard drives (just two of them.)
Is there some way that I can find out what they are, from where I sit now in front of my spare computer (Toshiba 3000 Satellite laptop.)?

JayC 10th May, 2004 02:49 PM

Oh, about the boot device sequence: you've got to know this -- I've been recommended to set my first boot device to the CD drive.

So that I can boot my crashed computer from the Win 2000 Pro CD which has a Win Setup program on it which (apparently) does a whole load of diagnosing and what-have-you as it tries or succeeds to REPAIR my Win2000 Pro installation. I certainly don't want to have to re-install over my not-backed-up paid for other software !! Not to mention my own work that's on my RAID 0 array.

Do I sound a somewhat upset? ....

danrok 10th May, 2004 03:04 PM

Ok, leave CDROM first. Should the OS crash you would still be able to get into the BIOS to change the boot order as need be.

Windows won't be able to 'see' your RAID array because the relevant driver is not on the install CD.

I think Win2000 install is similar to WinXP in that you must have the RAID controller driver on a separate floppy disk. During the very first stage of the install you should see a message on the screen which will read something like "Press [F6] now to install a third party SCSI or RAID driver.". So press the F6 key at this point. It may not ask you for the floppy immediately, but a little later on.

If you don't have the original RAID drivers on floppy you will have to find, download and put them on a blank floppy.

danrok 10th May, 2004 03:11 PM

Also, you should be able to install windows without wiping out your own existing data.

To do this, you must not delete any partitions or format any partitions. Simply install to the existing windows folder. The previous windows system files will be overwritten, but any non-windows files will remain on the disk. You would lose some things such as all registry information, outlook passwords, etc.

danrok 10th May, 2004 03:21 PM

The root of your strife is that RAID was never originally designed for use on home computers by non-techies. It is designed for server use. I have seen system administrators struggle with RAID arrays. I have watched IBMs own guys spend a week getting RAIDed servers up and running correctly. RAID 0 is far from reliable, I would never use it myself.

danrok 10th May, 2004 03:26 PM

Whilst the machine boots does it offer you the opportunity to enter the RAID BIOS set-up utility?

JayC 10th May, 2004 03:28 PM

Phew !!

You are the first person who's told me that it is possible to re-install Windows 2000 without loss of (my) data and software. That is a big, big, big relief.

And the registry settings ... would the loss of these mean that a re-install of the various software which I have which is not Windows, would it mean that these have to be re-installed, or what?

Finally: Window 2000 Pro Setup is having some difficult detecting my hard drives.
I've been made to understand that this problem can be put right by adjusting some BIOS feature which will tell Windows Setup that there are hard drives.

Can you confirm this? And do you (or anyone else) know which BIOS feature I should tweak so that it tells Windows about the existence of my hard disks?

Thanks again.

JayC 10th May, 2004 03:31 PM

About the boot ...

Yes the boot sequence is offering <CTRL> <H>
to access the RAID BIOS Utility.

Which is for setting up RAID configurations, and related matters -- I think.

JayC 10th May, 2004 03:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by danrok
The root of your strife is that RAID was never originally designed for use on home computers by non-techies. It is designed for server use. I have seen system administrators struggle with RAID arrays. I have watched IBMs own guys spend a week getting RAIDed servers up and running correctly. RAID 0 is far from reliable, I would never use it myself.

Okay.

Just as an aside: how do-able is it these days (2004) to get a disk set up other than RAID which provides both impressive speed and possibly, the ability to mirror a disk?
Just as an aside -- 'cos I fully intend to get my RAID array up and running again.

danrok 10th May, 2004 04:08 PM

Do the <Ctrl><H> thing. The answer may well lie there. Unfortunately I am not familiar with that screen on your board. But, the RAID BIOS has far fewer options than the system BIOS. Do you have the manual for it? If not download it.

If you do an 'over the top' install of windows the applications will still be on disk, but may or may not work due to the registry being wiped out. You would either have to install the programs again or attempt to enter the correct keys and values in the registry by hand. The latter is best avoided unless it is essential.

To be honest. I would say that you are best off forgetting about RAID. Hopefully you will be able to get this array back up and your work off it.

You might consider SATA and a Western Digital Raptor drive which is the fastest type of drive. I would reccommend two drives of the same capacity. If you really feel you want mirroring then go ahead. Mirroring only offers protection against a disk physicially failing, any logical data corruptions will be written to both drives. If you do get mirroring be sure that you know how to recover a mirrored disk in the event of a failure. I mean fully understand what it's all about before using it.

You could simply have two drives, say C: and D:. Actual drives that is. Then backup your work from one drive to the other on say a daily basis using drag and drop file copy. Perhaps, once a week you could make an offline backup to CD or tape. This method is nigh on 100% safe provided that you check that the backup is really working and that you are copying all required files.


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