The AwardBIOS Repository

Discussion in 'BIOS Mods' started by drewbug, Nov 16, 2012.

  1. drewbug

    drewbug MDL Member

    Aug 15, 2010
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    #1 drewbug, Nov 16, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: May 23, 2017
    The AwardBIOS Repository
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    Welcome!

    This step-by-step tutorial will show you how to modify an Award BIOS for free and safely in 3 simple steps. You'll learn how to backup, modify, and flash an Award BIOS using the safest and most reliable method available. The philosophy behind this guide is to promote universal access to knowledge for every human being. Free software is also being slightly introduced throughout the guide.



    Part 1 of 3: Backup your BIOS

    A BIOS is a hardware dependent piece of code stored on the motherboard itself. Every different motherboard has a custom BIOS written for it, so it would be impossible to provide a link to a generic BIOS. Instead, you'll have to backup your specific motherboard's BIOS.

    The software you are going to use to backup your BIOS is Universal BIOS Backup Toolkit. This program was created by an MDL Member named davidxxw. Some anti-virus programs might report that this application is a virus, but this is a false positive that you can safely ignore.

    Once you have the Universal BIOS Backup Toolkit, run it and press Read. Once you see a message that states that it is finished reading the BIOS, press Backup and save your BIOS backup as AWD.BIN.

    Note: Oftentimes a newer version of your BIOS is available at your motherboard manufacturer's website.



    Part 2 of 3: Modify your BIOS

    When an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) such as Dell or Acer builds a lot of computers, they don't have time to go around to each system and enter a product key to activate Windows. To solve this problem, Microsoft created the Software Licensing Description Table, better known by its acronym: SLIC.

    With this method, an OEM only needs to add a copy of a small bit of code (their SLIC table) to the BIOS of every computer they make. Then, they add a copy of their certificate and a copy of their product key to an image of Windows that gets installed automatically to each computer.

    Microsoft thought that this would allow OEMs activate Windows en masse in a way that would be impossible for an individual to do with their personal computer. Unfortunately for them, they were wrong.

    Hackers and other enthusiasts have figured out how to add OEMs' SLIC tables to their own computers, and that is what this step of the guide is all about.

    First, you'll need to choose which OEM's SLIC table you want to add to your BIOS. You can download the collection here: http://forums.mydigitallife.net/posts/514521&viewfull=1#post514521

    Next, you'll need to download Award SLIC Mod Tool. This program was created by an MDL Member named andyp.

    Unzip that file, and then run the AwardTool.exe file. Choose your BIOS backup from Step 1, choose a SLIC Table from the collection you download earlier, and then choose a Method:

    1. Pubkey - This is the best method for ASUS motherboards.
    2. SSV3 - This is the best method for Gigabyte motherboards.
    3. FACS - This is the best method for newer Gigabyte motherboards that don't work with SSV3.
    4. ISA - This method can be used for motherboards that weren't manufactured by ASUS or Gigabyte.
    5. 0+2 - This method can be used for motherboards that weren't manufactured by ASUS or Gigabyte.
    › For more information on the different methods, take a look at part 6-A below.

    Once everything is ready, press Go! The resulting file should be called AWD_SLIC.BIN. This is your modified BIOS file!



    Part 3 of 3: Flash your BIOS

    WARNING: This step involves flashing your BIOS. If the flash fails or the modified BIOS is corrupted, your computer will stop working.

    While it is possible to flash your BIOS from within Windows, you are strongly urged not to do so. BIOS flashing is a very low-level process. A complex operating system like Windows only interferes with this. If Windows crashes during flashing, you could have a bricked motherboard.

    So, instead of using Windows, you can flash the BIOS from within FreeDOS, an MS-DOS compatible operating system with no enhancements or advanced features such as multitasking.

    One of the wonderful things about FreeDOS is that you can boot it from a USB flash drive. To install FreeDOS to a flash drive, you can use a fantastic piece of open-source software called Rufus. Just run it, select your device, and press Start!

    Once Rufus is finished, you'll need to copy two things on to your freshly-formatted flash drive: your modified BIOS file from Step 2 (AWD_SLIC.BIN) and a utility called AWDFLASH.EXE.

    This utility allows you to flash an Award BIOS from within an MS-DOS compatible operating system, such as FreeDOS. You can download it from:


    Once you have copied AWD_SLIC.BIN and AWDFLASH.EXE to your flash drive, you must reboot your computer and tell it to boot from USB. The way you do this will vary from BIOS to BIOS, but it generally involves pressing some key when the computer is first booting up.

    If you've properly booted from your flash drive, you should see the FreeDOS command prompt. Type
    Code:
    AWDFLASH.EXE AWD_SLIC.BIN
    and press the Enter key, and flashing should begin! Assuming everything goes according to plan, you've successfully modified your BIOS! Good job!

    Note: At this point, you might want to check the SLIC status. (see section 6-B)



    __________________________________________________



    4. Recover your BIOS

    Flash chips used to store BIOS on system motherboards are divided into multiple segments. Some segments are for general data storage, while others have special purposes.

    The boot block segment of a flash chip contains critical BIOS code, including memory detection and “recovery” code used to flash a new BIOS image in case the main BIOS image is corrupted.

    The BIOS boot block code executes first when the system is powered on. Once the boot block code has completed execution, the main BIOS code completed system initialization.

    1. Using a different computer, copy your BIOS backup file (AWD.BIN from earlier) to the root of a DOS-formatted floppy diskette. if you no longer have access to your BIOS backup file, you can usually find a copy of your BIOS on your motherboard manufacturer's website.

    2. Use a text editor to create a file with the following contents:
      Code:
      @ECHO OFF
      AWDFLASH.EXE AWD.BIN /py/sn/f/cc/r
      and save it as "AUTOEXEC.BAT". Copy this file to the root of the DOS-formatted floppy diskette.

    3. Copy AWDFLASH.EXE to the root of the DOS-formatted floppy diskette.

    4. Insert this floppy disk with the BIOS file in the root directory into the floppy drive.

    5. Turn the power to the computer on.

    6. When the flash ROM has successfully been programmed, the computer will reboot. Please do not interrupt the BIOS flash process until it has fully completed.



    __________________________________________________



    5. Frequently Asked Questions

    Coming soon.



    __________________________________________________



    6. Advanced stuff

    A. More information on Award SLIC Mod Tool methods
    1. ISA: An ISA module with a special program is added to the end of the bios. This program overwrites the existing SLIC with the new SLIC. If no SLIC already exists, this method adds the new one. This method is a good choice for BIOSes that already have an active SLIC. It is also safer than most methods because it doesn't modify any existing modules. It doesn't work with most newer Gigabyte BIOSes.
    2. Pubkey: The SLIC is written to the BIOS as two parts (the Public Key + the Marker). This method only works reliably with Asus. It is also safer than most methods because it doesn't modify any existing modules. To flash a BIOS modified with this method, you have to use the EZ-Flash utility that is built-in to the BIOS. If you attempt to use AWDFLASH.EXE, you will get an "Invalid Windows License" error.
    3. SSV3: The SLIC is appended to the the inside of the system module. This makes the compressed system module much bigger, causing a lot of the other modules to have their offsets (their location in the BIOS file) shifted to make room. It works fine with most systems, but it can brick an MSI motherboard. To prevent all the modules from shifting, we black out the EPA logo, making it highly compressible. This helps ensure that all the modules below the EPA logo remain at their original offsets. For Gigabyte Award BIOSes, this method is usually the best choice.
    4. Dynamic: The existing SLIC is overwritten with the new SLIC. For a BIOS with a SLIC that isn't enabled, this won't do anything. This method is hit and miss. It has worked well sometimes, but on some occasions it has bricked motherboards.
    5. 0+2: This method adds an uncompressed module to the end of the BIOS. The system module (module "0") is shrunk by the same amount that ACPITBL increases. This keeps the offsets the same for all the modules under ACPITBL. This is a good option for BIOSes that don't have an active SLIC in their ACPITBL already. If your BIOS already has an active SLIC in its ACPITBL, this method will add a second SLIC that won't activate.
    6. OEM7: This method adds an uncompressed "OEM" module to the end of the BIOS. The OEM module usually takes the location in the bios that the EPA or ACPITBL was using, and the EPA or ACPITBL is then readded at the end. This works well for older Award bioses like Abit. This is an all right option for BIOSes that don't have an active SLIC in their ACPITBL already. If your BIOS already has an active SLIC in its ACPITBL, this method will add a second SLIC that won't activate.
    7. SSV1: This method adds an uncompressed module to the end of the BIOS. This is the way all mods were done originally.

    B. Check for the existence of a SLIC table
    1. Download the SLIC DUMP ToolKit and run it as administrator (Right-click > Run as administrator). This is another program that was created by davidxxw
    2. Select the tab "Advanced".



    __________________________________________________



    7. Updating & Spreading the word!

    A. Updating often is the secret for reliable information
    Please help me keeping this post up-to-date by posting any new information that you've got. Also, please let me know if you've seen any mistake or any dead link so I can correct it as soon as possible — contact me.

    B. Spread the word!
    You can help a lot of people by simply adding a link to this thread in your signature.


    Thank you! :)

    ---------------------------------------------------------------
    This guide is in the Public Domain. Feel free to copy, modify and share this guide as much as you want.
    The formatting of this guide borrows heavily from the The Official Windows 7 Repository by Opa.