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I Refuse To Pay for a BIOS Update

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I've had a fun last couple weeks.

In my spare time, I've been assembling some old hardware I've been holding onto. I was in need of a dedicated Linux box for some home development and why not use what I had lying around? Decent, but older hardware (ranging from 2003 onwards), what could possibly go wrong?


In one box's past life it was a Compaq Presario desktop, a POS. Point of sale...right. It used to house Windows XP Home and had been sitting around unused. I've never had more trouble booting a Live CD in my life.

The BIOS in this machine was a product of Phoenix Technologies. Who, in their infinite wisdom, provide a link to BIOS updates on their site. Unfortunately, said updates require the download of a proprietary utility which scans your system, tells you what's out of date (I can figure that out myself thanks), doesn't say what the update will be or if it's compatible with X, and then has the audacity to charge $29.95 for a one year subscription to this service.

Are you kidding me? I could buy a whole new motherboard for that price. AND IT SUPPORTS WINDOWS ME? Kill me now.

I had started this post with the intention with raking Phoenix over the coals, but to their credit I don't think this particular incompatibility is their fault. You see, Compaq, in their infinite wisdom, took the BIOS delivered by Phoenix and dicked around with it before putting it into the system. As you can tell by their support page, no other operating system is supported. Fantastic.

I hadn't noticed before, but Phoenix products are also present in my laptop and a really old system I got for five bucks a couple years ago. This old system has a Pentium I (yes, that's a one) with 256 MB of RAM and it has no problems installing a non-Windows OS and running somewhat decently for low level development work.

Good times.

2 Comments On This Entry

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26 June 2011 - 11:39 AM
Good times indeed my father used his Pentium II-500Mhz 512MB RAM for about just 2 months ago. He used it for Skype, Internet if it wasn't me bitching about it and finding a PC for about 100$ that btw is AMD 64 X2 5200+ with 80GB HDD and 1GB RAM. So 30$ for that tool is outrages maybe its because its antique :D


26 June 2011 - 05:26 PM
and that's why I never buy a Compaq
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