TideLog Archive for April, 2011

Uniwill don’t provide BIOS’es on their website, and neither do Novatech. My P55IM is officially a Novatech Alpha R Pro, and you’ll remember from my last experience with Novatech trying to get a BIOS for my Novatech branded Clevo M670 that it was a nightmare, and also that Clevo do not provide BIOS files, they instead referred me to Novatech.

Well, Uniwill build the vast majority of Fujitsu Siemens laptops (now just Fujitsu since Siemens sold their stake back to Fujitsu), and that includes the P55IM, which is badged as the Amilo Xi2428, and the Novatech Alpha R Pro. The best bit of it is that Uniwill nor Novatech have BIOS updates, but Fujitsu do, and regularly. There’s been a few releases for the Xi 2428 P55IM, and they can be flashed on to all versions of the machine, including the P55IM-1, and P55IM-5.

To do it, download the update from FSC by looking for the Xi 2428, boot from a Hiren’s Boot CD into the Mini Windows XP environment, and run the EXE from there. I couldn’t get it to run under Win 7 or Vista, nor could I on my old Amilo Li 1818. You’ll then have a Fujitsu Siemens Amilo BIOS boot screen, and the machine referred to as an Xi 2428 in the BIOS and DXDiag!

Your drivers will re-install as the IRQ maps are changed by the update, so don’t panic when your system looks weird on reboot!

Further to that I’ve edited the BIOS file using Kassie’s Phoenix BIOS Editor, and have replaced the Manufacturer and Model string to a Kitamura one, and put our splash screen on it! Don’t ask me how, I’m experienced at it, and it isn’t easy doing a BIOS chip desolder and Willem chip wipe and program if it goes wrong, thankfully I know how, and have the facilities.

NOTE: Don’t download the 1.16C version. FSC set the CPU fan on permanent full to try to counter the nVidia GPU problems. It doesn’t make a difference, and is annoying. Download the 1.14C instead.

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I need to do software development for iPhone, as Kassie and me are working on several apps, but I don’t want to have to shell out £800 – £1,000 for a Mac just for that purpose, and the occasional OS X use that I have done previously on my old Clevo and my Amilo Li1818 in the past.

I’m trying out two routes. One is a virtualized Mac, and the other is doing it natively. My P55IM (I called her Midori, after Kassie’s mum) has the same Intel 965 chipset that my Amilo did, and has better graphics than the Clevo previously. I’ve just tried out the virtualized route using VMWare. I hate it, find it bloated and a resource hog, but Kass swears by it, she’s a certified VMWare chick, and has massive VMWare virtual server farms, so, she’s the expert. It’s running 10.6, and runs pretty well, but does use 40% CPU just ticking over. I’m gonna run it like this for a couple weeks, testing updates and software, mainly the development stuff I’ll need.

Then, I’ll try it native, first on a separate guinea pig hard drive, then on a dual boot system on my 320GB HDD taken from my PS3 Slim. You’ll remember I did this on my Amilo, so it will be plain sailing (hopefully) and Midori the laptop will live happily ever after, given that there’s no more GPU failures. I fixed the no screen problem, I re-balled the chip myself, and it’s working again, exactly for how long though we’ll have to see.

Mac adventures aplenty ahoy! I ain’t lining Apple’s slimy brand locking pockets, buying a Mac because they say I have to!

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I found this out the hard way, but fixed my problem myself, being an advanced techie. I installed Race Driver 3 under Windows 7 64bit on my P55IM, and ever since it asked for a reboot and tried to install a StarForce driver, the system wouldn’t start on it’s own. The Starting Windows screen comes up and sticks for ages, and the Windows animation doesn’t appear, instead the machine boots straight into Startup Recovery.

This finds a problem, but cannot fix it, so the system will still NOT START. Here’s how to fix it:

1. Turn off your computer, and as Windows is about to start, hit F8

2. Hit enter on “Disable Driver Signature Enforcement”. The system will now start normally, but slower than usual, and you might get a warning from Windows that the StarForce driver is corrupt and/or incompatible, and it has been disabled. This won’t fix it permanently, we now need to delete the driver.

3. Open a command prompt, and one by one, right click the window and paste each of these lines in, hitting Enter after each one. You won’t get confirmation, it’ll just go to a new prompt:

DEL c:\windows\system32\drivers\sfsync03.sys
DEL c:\windows\system32\drivers\sfdrv01.sys
DEL c:\windows\system32\drivers\sfhlp02.sys

4. Uninstall Race Driver 3. You can do this anytime, either before or after this step, but the game doesn’t work anyway without the driver, and doesn’t uninstall it as part of the uninstall routine, so do it anyway round.

5. Reboot, and you’re done!

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