April 7, 2002

bios checksum error


No interpretation of that message could ever imply something good. Further research into the matter proves it.

It’s been a wild, wild weekend. Saturday we drove up the North Shore, and got as far as Arrowhead before we turned around to go to an estate sale. I got two pairs of bamboo ski poles and a stack of LPs. Chris got a squeaking backscratcher that is topped with a fine female hand rendered in plastic.

After a stop near Iona’s Parking Lot to watch a juvenile bald eagle we ended up at Tettegouche. We tromped around for a few hours and I shot a whole bunch of excellent footage for my philosophy video project. We got back to Duluth around 6:00 and amidst numerous phone calls that requested my presence at social functions for the evening, I copied video from the camera to my computer and slowly threaded together a music video to a Matt Pond PA song. Right when it was complete I got a message from Jen demanding that I go to the Nerd House, and I accepted her conditions.

This morning I thought it would be a good idea to clean the dust out of my computer, so I took it apart and cleaned all the little nooks and crannies where funk collects. The processor heat sink was surprisingly dirty and took many Q-Tips to relieve it from its prison of filth. When finished I threw everything back together and booted up the computer to finish importing video. Might as well get somtin’ done today, ahyuk!

And was then greeted by the notorious checksum.

What could have caused this problem? Sadly, any number of things. Motherboards and cases are poorly designed such that there is no support under the processor. As you fight to get the heatsink on (whose bracket is made of cheap, flimsy plastic), the board twists and flexes under your burly man strength. Didst I bend something that not want be bended?

Or maybe it was the grain of dust caught under the heatsink, that had actually ground a small corner of the processor away.

I reset the BIOS jumper to restore the factory settings. No luck. Being ever so resourceful I booted up my laptop to download the latest BIOS so I could flash a clean version onto the computer. No luck. To flash the BIOS I need to disable the BIOS Guardian, which can only be disabled by accessing the BIOS. The whole reason I need to flash is because I can’t access the BIOS. Computers are not without a sense of irony.

So this entry is being written on my laptop as the computer sits in the corner and thinks about what he’s done. I even took away his BIOS battery to teach him a lesson.

Later: After lunch I gave back the BIOS battery, booted up the computer and got a chirp and a blank screen. No checksum error, no BIOS, no nothing. Poking around in the computer I saw I forgot to put the heatsink on the processor, but that shouldn’t be a problem because the system had only been on for about 15 seconds and AMD Duron processors naturally run cool. Right? Right?

I touched the processor and burned my finger.


Well, judging by my post I obviously don’t know how to fix a BIOS checksum error. I do know, however, how to toast a CPU in about 1.2 seconds.
In the end, I bought a new motherboard. That cleared up the problem.
(and I’m gonna need to figure out a way to block comments on really old posts… this is friggin’ weird. It’s like talking into a beer pitcher to myself, one year ago.)