[Techtalk] FreeBSD on ancient Pentium BIOS upgrade question

Amanda Babcock Furrow alb at quandary.org
Fri Apr 7 04:01:03 EST 2006

I have a FreeBSD machine running on a generic reseller's Pentium (no 
roman numerals after that) dating to 1998 or so.  (The motherboard "manual"
(leaflet) is around here somewhere but not located at the moment.)  I 
needed more disk space (was on 3.2 GB) so I can ignore my email for 3-6 
months (baby coming!)  So I got a new 120GB disk.

Guess which BIOS doesn't support it?  Apparently things bigger than 32
GB are Right Out.  The drive even has a jumper setting to mimic 32 GB,
but (ominously) this does not correct the BIOS hanging while trying to

The drive, chosen to be at least somewhat compatible with my old IDE
controller, is a Seagate Ultra ATA/100.  The BIOS is Award v4.51 PG,
1997 copyright date.  I guess my first question is, anybody know how I 
can get the full BIOS info string?

My next question - if I need a whole new BIOS, how can I safely upgrade
it?  Is there any way to safely fall back to the old BIOS?  Right now it's
a working machine, and I'm loathe to risk losing that.

I've never messed with a BIOS before.  We don't have a budget for a new
computer.  I have three weeks and about $50 to resolve this situation.


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