I am not responsible if your devices send you back in time, explodes, implodes, bricks or flies into space from the use of any software I put up.


Sunday, October 25, 2009

Acer Phoenix BIOS Emergency Recovery

This is for people who don't listen and interrupt the flashing BIOS for unknown reasons.

This will work provided the BIOS BootBlock isn't screwed up while your Main BIOS Image is gone so remember when flashing DO NOT FLASH the bootblock.

The bootblock is to initialize emergency BIOS recovery for some reason the BIOS screwed up.

Download the CrisDisk here.

Do the following on a spare working computer to prepare the BIOS Recovery Drive:
Rename a working copy of the BIOS to bios.wph.

UnZip & Extract CrisDisk to a folder called CrisDisk.

Copy and Paste the bios.wph inside the folder
(Remember to replace the sample bios.wph in the folder with your working BIOS!).

Plug a USB Floppy Disk with a Floppy Disk inside.

You can try using a Thumbdrive but the chances of working with a Floppy Disk is higher.

Right Click and run and WinCris.exe with Admin Permission.

It will format the floppy, copy the MiniDOS files inside with the bios.wph to create a emergency BIOS Recovery Disk.
I have tried this with Aspire 4530.

Do the following on the Computer which BIOS you need to recover:

Plug in the prepared USB Floppy Drive to the machine you need to recover the BIOS from on the left USB port which is the motherboard main USB (There are 2 such ports on the same side).

Remove battery and AC Adapter.

Press and hold Fn+Esc then plug the AC Adapter in while holding Fn+Esc.

Press the Power Button Once and release while holding Fn+Esc.

You should see the lights flashing meaning the laptop is in BIOS Recovery Mode.

The USB Floppy drive should be lighted up and you should hear the floppy drive reading after that you can release Fn+Esc.

After a while you should see either it power off itself or the laptop lights stop flashing.

Remove the AC Adapter, USB Floppy Drive.

Plug back the AC Adapter your laptop should be working again.

Insyde BIOS recovery is different.
1)EFI doesn't need a bootable thumbdrive because EFI uses GUID Partition Tables just a normal partition will be ok (I think).
2)You need to rename the EFI to the correct name so recovery bootblock will identify the correct firmware.

Windows 7 ISO CD Creator

Windows 7 ISO CD Creator
Using this utility you can create Windows 7 ISO CDs and Bootable Thumbdrive.
Download it here.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Delete Windows System Files

If you play around with Windows System Files sometimes it is not possible to delte them off after you had your fun.
The following commands will make it possible to force their removal:

For Files:

takeown /f file_name /d y
icacls file_name /grant administrators:F

For Directories (will perform action recursively):

takeown /f directory_name /r /d y
icacls directory_name /grant administrators:F /t

Of Course you need admin permission as always.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

RAM SPD Burner

I wish to share with you guys this tool ThaiPhoon Burner, I was introduced to recently by der_mali of Notebookreview.
Quite a guy as he had quite a few tip and tricks up his sleeve.
I will not reinvent the wheel instruction of how to use here.


I did as instructed and flashed both my RAM to PC2-6400 from PC2-5300 but Aspire 4530 only reads 667MHZ as shown in CPU-Z.
But the RAM timings improved and performance improvement for free is considered great.
Only thing I have to warn you is like flashing BIOS it can kill your RAM, so try to flash settings as close to your original RAMs as possible.
Take a look at my upgraded RAM originally it was PC2-5300 at 333MHZ
I even got in an EPP Profile!
In other words this Tool is a must have!

Simple Step by Step Guide:

1)You must run this software on a Compatible Chipset.

Certain NForce Chipset like the one on the Aspire 4530 WILL NOT work.

2)First extract this program to a location you find comfortable to run it in.

Right Click and Run as Administrator.

Agree to the EULA.

3)Click on EPROM, Read SPD at 50H or 52H if you have 2 RAM SLOTS occupied.

If you have 1 RAM SLOTS only either 50H or 52H will be available.
If it is read correctly you should see the Module Specification read correctly as shown above.

An example of incompatible Chipset is shown below.

First notice the numerous SPD displayed.

Next the Module Specification is incorrectly displayed.

Do not proceed if you encountered the above.

4)Next Click on Browser button.

Then Click on Download button.

It will proceed to download all the RAM dumps from the server as shown above.

5)Using the search parameter find the next closest update in RAM Specification

For Example you have a Kingston DDR2-667MHZ find the next closest DDR2-800 based on the

Module Code Number and Parameters.

Click Save Dump and save it to a location on your Harddisk

7)Next Exit the Browser Back to the Main Menu.

Select Open and Choose the Dump File you saved previously.

8)It should open up the Dump File details.

Choose EEPROM Select Full Rewrite.

9)You should see the Full SPD Rewrite Windows as shown below.

Select the correct SPD Device Address and click on write.

Wait for the process to complete and you are done!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Issue For Aspire 4530 Owners on Windows 7

Please take note when installing NForce Drivers
Make sure your Add/Remove Nvidia Driver has the entries below:

Use the 15.45 NForce Drivers I advised (Can be downloaded on Guru3d.com) DO NOT USE 15.37 NForce Drivers from Nvidia except for the AHCI Storage Driver from 15.37.
Note you get SMU Driver and PCI System Management Drivers, otherwise you get a Fatal Machine Check error occasionally in Windows 7 Event Log, you won't see any BSOD but the error log will be there .
In conclusion use the Storage Drivers from 15.37 and SMU and PCI System drivers from 15.45.

Please update the Storage Driver from 15.51 (from Guru3D) the driver from 15.37 causes occasional freezing issue.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Western Digital 320GB BEKT vs 320GB BEVT

Western Digital Scorpio WD3200BEVT

  • Unfortunately my drive has failed so no direct comparison will be available. However I will run pretty commonly available tools (No Downloads required), to get the benchmark score so you can compare it to the BEVT in your laptop.

  • 5400 RPM
  • SATA 3 Gb/sec
  • 12 millisecond seek time
  • 8-megabyte buffer

Western Digital Scorpio WD3200BEKT

  • 7200 RPM
  • SATA 3 Gb/sec
  • 12 millisecond seek time
  • 16-megabyte buffer
First lets look at the built in test results for the Nvidia harddisk controller

Go Device Manager, under IDE controller you should see a Nvidia NForce SATA controller if you didn't then you did not install the SATA driver.
Go Nvidia website to download and install their Storage Controller Driver.

Test 1

Test 2

You can roughly gauge the performance by looking at the scores.

Next we run the WinSAT Detailed Test for more information how to run it see this post.

Note that I am running on Windows 7

> CPU LZW Compression 100.80 MB/s
> CPU AES256 Encryption 41.59 MB/s
> CPU Vista Compression 297.90 MB/s
> CPU SHA1 Hash 459.58 MB/s
> Uniproc CPU LZW Compression 49.88 MB/s
> Uniproc CPU AES256 Encryption 20.91 MB/s
> Uniproc CPU Vista Compression 148.67 MB/s
> Uniproc CPU SHA1 Hash 230.29 MB/s
> Memory Performance 5024.46 MB/s
> Direct3D Batch Performance 53.83 F/s
> Direct3D Alpha Blend Performance 48.67 F/s
> Direct3D ALU Performance 31.23 F/s
> Direct3D Texture Load Performance 25.06 F/s
> Direct3D Batch Performance 54.56 F/s
> Direct3D Alpha Blend Performance 56.36 F/s
> Direct3D ALU Performance 31.81 F/s
> Direct3D Texture Load Performance 22.06 F/s
> Direct3D Geometry Performance 41.83 F/s
> Direct3D Geometry Performance 19.16 F/s
> Direct3D Constant Buffer Performance 19.80 F/s
> Video Memory Throughput 2831.65 MB/s
> Dshow Video Encode Time 8.18464 s
> Media Foundation Decode Time 1.24666 s
> Disk Sequential 64.0 Read 67.82 MB/s 5.9
> Disk Random 16.0 Read 1.58 MB/s 4.0
> Responsiveness: Average IO Rate 3.65 ms/IO 5.9
> Responsiveness: Grouped IOs 10.44 units 7.1
> Responsiveness: Long IOs 15.29 units 6.9
> Responsiveness: Overall 159.52 units 6.6
> Responsiveness: PenaltyFactor 0.0

The values in red is what we are interested in.
So do the same on your machine to compare the results.

Windows 7 Boot Optimization Error

I am not sure if you guys know you can manually invoke Windows 7 defragmentation Tool to do boot optimization by using the /b flag.

When you run defrag.exe, you get the following
Microsoft Disk Defragmenter
Copyright (c) 2007 Microsoft Corp.

The parameter is incorrect. (0x80070057)


Locates and consolidates fragmented files on local volumes to
improve system performance.


defrag | /C | /E [/H] [/M | [/U] [/V]]
defrag | /C | /E /A [/H] [/M | [/U] [/V]]
defrag | /C | /E /X [/H] [/M | [/U] [/V]]
defrag /T [/H] [/U] [/V]


Value Description

/A Perform analysis on the specified volumes.

/C Perform the operation on all volumes.

/E Perform the operation on all volumes except those specified.

/H Run the operation at normal priority (default is low).

/M Run the operation on each volume in parallel in the background.

/T Track an operation already in progress on the specified volume.

/U Print the progress of the operation on the screen.

/V Print verbose output containing the fragmentation statistics.

/X Perform free space consolidation on the specified volumes.


defrag C: /U /V
defrag C: D: /M
defrag C:\mountpoint /A /U
defrag /C /H /V

Notice there is no /B flag but it is there.
However on a fresh Windows 7 installation when you try to do this with Administrative Permission in a Command Prompt Window.
C:\Windows\system32>defrag C: /B
You get some message saying it cannot be done like the following:
Microsoft Disk Defragmenter
Copyright (c) 2007 Microsoft Corp.

Invoking boot optimization on (C:)...

Analysis: 100% complete.

Some registry entries were missing from the boot optimization section of the reg
istry. (0x89000017)

How to resolve this?
The issue is the idle tasks Windows is scheduled to run hasn't run once yet hence it cannot initialize boot optimization.
So to resolve simply open a Command Prompt Windows with Administrative Permission again and run the following commands to invoke the idle task.
C:\Windows\system32>Rundll32.exe advapi32.dll,ProcessIdleTasks
After that the error message will be gone and you can run boot optimization manually. Why doesn't this happen sometimes? Because RunIdle task is scheduled to run eventually after sometime of idle usage if you do boot defrag immmediately after installation, RunIdle task hasn't got a chance to run at all so you have to invoke it manually if you want to start the operation immediately.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Acer Harddisk Failure

Firstly, if the Harddisk came from an integrated OEM System, the warranty is honored by the OEM.
The warranty is not going to be the responsibility of the Disk Manufacturer unless the Harddisk is bought separately in a retail store, so if you run out of warranty you will have to buy a separate harddisk replacement by yourself.

Symptoms of Harddisk Failure:
  • Windows hangs while Booting or takes a unusually long time.
  • Windows hangs while shutting down.
  • BIOS hangs while booting. (To restore normal booting from a normal harddrive simply enter BIOS and set Clear NVRAM to yes, Save and exit)
  • Windows Event log report S.M.A.R.T(Self-Monitoring, Analysis, and Reporting Technology) Failure. (A S.M.A.R.T Failure report definitely predicts a drive failure while not all drive failure will definitely be detected by S.M.A.R.T)
  • Linux Desktop suddenly colour corrupts and doesn't respond at all.
How to resolve:
  1. Boot from a Linux Live CD and copy all your important data to an external harddisk. (Do not attempt to boot from the failing harddisk, it only makes thing worse)
  2. If you have a desktop and the notebook harddrive uses a SATA connector you can simply plug your notebook harddrive to a connector, boot from the desktop harddrive and copy the data off the notebook harddrive.
  3. If the notebook harddrive uses a PATA connector then you need a bridge.
  4. If the harddisk has failed totally it is impossible to retrieve any data unless you go to a specialized data retrieval centre which usually cost a bomb.
  5. Do not go to those small computer shops that claims they can retrieve data, because they do not have the actually tools to do a platter swap to retrieve the data or recondition the harddisk, they are only out to cheat your money)
Yes I was unlucky enough to encounter a harddisk failure however I managed to salvage all the data I needed to a new Laptop Harddisk.
The new harddisk is considered a upgrade from WD BEVT Scorpio Blue to WD BEKT Scorpio Black.

The new harddisk spins at 7200RPM instead of 5400RPM and has a 16MB Disk Buffer instead of a 8MB disk buffer.
It also comes with a 5year warranty instead of a 3 year warranty.
The slight price difference justified the upgrade purchase.
Oh, and by the way the BEKT reports a 5.9 score in Windows Experience Index.



Friday, October 2, 2009

How To Choose What Laptop System To Get?

Basically there are only a few questions you need to ask.

How big you need your laptop to be?
Keep in mind size is related to weight, the smaller the laptop the lighter it usually is.
13.1 inches (Mainstream Laptops)
14.1 inches (Mainstream Laptops)
15.1 inches (Mainstream Intensive Gaming Laptops)
16.1 inches (Desktop Replacement)
>16.1 inches (Desktop Replacement)

Usually if you need to move it around 14.1 -15.1 inches would be around the max for mobility.




For Intel Processor typically it is easily identified
Intel Core i (Processor Class Number) - (3 Digit SKU Number)(Alphabet 1)(Alphabet 2)

The Processor Class Number is either 3/5 or 7.
3 refers to the low end Processors
5 refers to the mainstream Processors
7 refers to the high end Processors
The 1st Digit SKU Number refers to the instruction set in the Processor.
3X0 means
  1. No Intel® Turbo Boost Technology,
  2. No Intel® Virtualization Technology for Directed I/O (VT-d), 
  3. No Intel® Trusted Execution Technology, 
  4. No AES New Instructions
4X0 means
  1. No Intel® Virtualization Technology for Directed I/O (VT-d), 
  2. No Intel® Trusted Execution Technology, 
  3. No AES New Instructions
5X0 and above
  1. All Instruction Set Supported
The 2nd Digit refers to the different Frequency of the Processor Family

For the alphabet there are a number of fixed Alphabets
M - Mainstream
Q - Quad Core (4 Cores, 8 Threads, No Intel HD Graphics due to high TDP)
X - Xtreme (Unlocked Multiplier)
U - Ultra Low Voltage (Low Frequency + Low Voltage)
L - Low Voltage (Low Voltage only)
E - Embedded (Not Upgradable)

For AMD Processor it is not as easy.

Generation Griffin
AMD (Model) X(No. of Cores) (SKU Alphabet)-(Frequency Identifier No.)(Odd/Even Last Digit)
  1. Turion refers to high end model
  2. Athlon refers to mainstream model
  3. Sempron refers to low end model
X2 refers to Dual Core

Ultra refers to Total 2MB L2 Cache otherwise 1MB L2 Cache or less.

ZM refers to Turion Processor with 3 Power State
RM refers to Turion Processor with 3 Power State
QL refers to Athlon Processor with 2 Power State
SI refers to Total 512 KB Cache with 2 Power State
Frequency Identifier No. starts from 4X to 8X.
  1. RM-70 starts from 2GHZ (Every 2 increase Frequency Increase by 100MHZ ) Odd Last Digit refers to an increase in HyperTransport Frequency from the Even Digit SKU  
  2. RM-80 starts from 2.1GHZ (Every 2 increase Frequency Increase by 100MHZ ) Odd Last Digit refers to an increase in HyperTransport Frequency from the Even Digit SKU  
  3. V refers to Low Voltage Processor
Generation Caspian
AMD (Model) (Generation II) Ultra (No. of Cores) (Type Alphabet) (3 Digit SKU No.)
  1. Turion refers to high end model
  2. Athlon refers to mainstream model
  3. Sempron refers to low end model
Generation II refer to K10 Architecture

Ultra refers to Total 2MB L2 Cache otherwise 1MB L2 Cache or less.

Type Alphabet
  1. M refers to Mainstream
  2. L refers to Low Voltage
3 Digit SKU
6XX refers to Turion Ultra Series Starting from 2.4 GHZ, every increment in 20 increase by 100MHZ with 5 Power States
5XX refers to Turion Series Starting from 2.2 GHZ, every increment in 20 increase by 100MHZ with 5 Power States
3XX refers to Athlon Series Starting from 2.0 GHZ, every increment in 20 increase by 100MHZ with 3 Power States
Note Starting Frequency of L Series differ from M Series

Generation Champlain
The Generation Caspian adds Quad Core Mobile Processor to the market.

Identifier: X NNN
X is either X for Black Edition (Unlocked Multiplier 45 Watt TDP ), N for MainStream (35 Watt TDP) & P for MainStream Lower Power Consumption (25 Watt TDP), V for Low End (25 TDP Single Core).

1st Digit refers to SKU
9 - Quad Core with 21.3GB/s HyperTransport
8 - Triple Core with 21.3GB/s HyperTransport
6 - Dual Core with 21.3GB/s HyperTransport
5 - Dual Core with 17GB/s HyperTransport
3 - Dual Core with 64bit Floating Point Unit (I suspect it is the old Caspian Refresh) (All the new Champlain should have 128Bit Floating Point Units) 17GB/s HyperTransport
1 - Single Core with 64bit Floating Point Unit

All Champlain Generation has 0.5 MB L2 Cache per CPU Core.

Graphics (For Gaming GPU > CPU)

For occasional gaming get at least some decent graphics from Nvidia, ATi.
For Intel Graphics if you must at least go for 3150,4500MHD or the new Intel HD Graphics.
They have Video Codec Decoding Abilties for Adobe Flash 10.1.
For ATi any Radeon HD will do, DO NOT go for Radeon Xpress they are obselete.
For Nvidia, go for anything below 8000 Series. 7000 series are obselete.
Both Nvidia 7000 Series and Radeon Xpress do not support GPU computing and DirectX 10
Use Notebookcheck as a rough guide for gaming performance.
Class 3, Class 2, Class 1 are suitable for occasional gaming.

For more intensive gaming consider getting Class 2 and Class 1 Graphics however they are most available only on 14.1/15.1 inch and above laptops.
Reason being more powerful graphics requires more powerful fansink these contributes to size hence usually they can only be found on 14.1 inch and above systems.

I don't really bother as it is very easy and cheap to upgrade laptop RAM.
You get more cost saving upgrading RAM yourself than buying a high RAM laptop.

Size is of no concern as they come with at least 120GB and that is more than sufficient.

With regards to how good a laptop is in terms of quality you have to look at the design layout.
1) Google the motherboard prints of the particular laptop
2) Heatsink size must be sufficiently large enough particularly for AMD Processor Laptops and those with Nvidia/ATi GPU, larger mass allows higher heat capacity so temperature will not be too high.
The GPU, CPU and Northbridge must not be too close to each other.

3) The capacitors must be of high quality

High Quality Capacitor
Lower Quality Capacitor

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Some Interesting Modding Ideas

I modded my Aspire 4530 AGAIN to control resultant temperature.
Below are some ideas and pictures.

Another mod idea

This time a black anodized Aluminium heat sink (Can be found in any hardware store) is added to increase the mass.
I had to cut and file it to size.
On the plus side it had thermal adhesive tape under it which makes attaching it an easy task.