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[ The PC Guide | Systems and Components Reference Guide | Motherboard and System Devices | System BIOS | BIOS Components and Features ]

The Boot Block

The preceding section discusses updating the program code in the system BIOS by flashing it (replacing it under software control). If the flash procedure is done improperly, the BIOS code can become corrupted, which will cause the system to go into an unbootable state. Many newer systems come with a feature where a 4 KB "boot block" program is included as part of the BIOS. This is a tiny piece of code whose job it is to recover from a situation where the BIOS code is incorrect or corrupted.

If your motherboard supports this feature, when the PC tries to boot and finds the BIOS code corrupted, the boot block will try to recover the BIOS code, usually by reading it from a specially-prepared floppy disk. You may have to change a jumper on the motherboard to enable this capability, and you may need to make use of a "plain vanilla" ISA video card. The boot block will load the BIOS code and then when you next reboot, the regular BIOS code should be in place and the problem resolved.

You will need to follow the special recovery procedure outlined by your motherboard manufacturer if you want to take advantage of this feature.

Next: Plug and Play

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