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 BIOS Upgrade for IBM PC XT View next topic
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Anonymous Coward

Joined: 20 Nov 2004
Posts: 589
Location: Shandong, China

PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2008 2:42 am Reply with quoteBack to top

I was searching around when I pulled this information from a PDF on the web. It seems that version 11C of AWARD bios has built in support for 1.44meg floppies and 101 keyboards. Does anyone know where to get an image of this BIOS?

by Robert Parkinson
(Continued from April)

After searching almost every Ottawa
computer store in vain, I turned to mail order
again. After a number of negative replies, I
hit it lucky. A firm called Computerwerk Inc.
handles a BIOS called the Award 8088/86
Modular BIOS Version 11C.
If you write them, they will send you a
catalogue and an instruction sheet which
explains how to determine the BIOS chip
configuration you need. The BIOS is a bit
expensive, so if you can find one locally, buy
This BIOS supports the enhanced
keyboard and the 1.44M floppy drive.
Judging by the ASCII strings embedded in
the BIOS, it is a combination of the original
Award XT BIOS and some AT BIOS code
additions. It is larger than the original XT
BIOS and will not fit in one 2764 EPROM
chip. However, the firm will supply it in the
configuration to match your particular
motherboard. In my case, it came in two
chips, the master chip to replace the original
2764 EPROM chip, and a 27256 EPROM
chip to go into the ROM BASIC socket.
It took five minutes to install the chips. I
crossed my fingers and booted the system.
Success! I disabled the on-board BIOS on my
floppy drive controller and let the new
motherboard BIOS take over. There was now
no need for any DRIVER.SYS or
DRIVPARM entries in my CONFIG.SYS.
All programs, with one exception,
recognize Drive B as a 1.44M drive. The one
exception, strangely enough, is the
FORMAT-F program from Mace Utilities,
which still refuses to see Drive B as anything
other than a 360K drive. DOS, Norton, PC
Tools and MAXI Disk will all format Drive B
correctly, either in 720K or 1.44M. System
analyzers, such as SYSID or Quarterdeck's
MANIFEST, fully recognize the drives.
What about the keyboard? Well, programs
that check the BIOS now see support for the
enhanced keyboard and work perfectly. The
exception is DOS itself, and its ANSI.SYS.
DOS does not check the BIOS area, assuming
that an XT
The Ottawa PC Users' Group
will not have an enhanced keyboard. The
motherboard keyboard controller chip is
the same original XT version and when
IBM introduced the enhanced keyboard, it
started only with later models of the AT
and chose different interrupt 16h functions
for the new extended keyboard codes.
My previous KBDR.COM would not
work with the new BIOS. What now? The
solution turned out to be a small TSR
called NEWKEYS.COM that PC Magazine
published for use on AT computers. With
my original BIOS, this utility hung my
system, but it worked perfectly with the
new BIOS. So all is now well in the
keyboard department.
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Joined: 19 Apr 2006
Posts: 261
Location: WisConSin

PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2008 3:29 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Lies, Damn lies and Statistics?? Journey into strangeness

Hmm if they are still in business in some form??, never know stranger things have happened.

Anyway, when I have a quandry such as yours I stroll on over to and go to the forums.

You might find (in fact you probably would find) someone willing to help you make your own 1.44mb XT bios if a bios programmer there doesn't already have it. I have used them several times to upgrade older socket 7 boards to have k6 support and large HD support. Nice folks when they aren't too busy doing something else.

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Joined: 03 Feb 2006
Posts: 488
Location: pennsylvanai

PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2008 3:38 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

based on what I remember from xt days.
I worked for a company they had a lot of xt's used by customers as part of their system
some ibm xt's had masked bios ( not eproms) and some had eproms ( rare / unusual) the guys tried to make copies that they could run in a clone mb and were unsucessful, implying that the ibm xt used a different chip.
the ibm poc used a 2332 not a 2732 it i recall correctly. different pinout.

the Ibm xt and clones required a floppy controller with a bios to support 1.2m or 1.44m floppies.
the hard disk controller also had a bios as there was no drive table or cmos setup in any xt system bios.
a 1.2m floppy drive was totally useless on an xt unless you had the updated controller.
a 1.44 floppy could be used as a 720 if the dos used supported it, otherwise you could use it as a 360k drive.

I have made a 3.5" 360k disk with dos 2.10 AND A 1.44 DRIVE. it is useful as the old drives and disks are often hard to find. Many old 360k drives used a rubber.cloth belt.
the original ibm xt would support a 720k drive if the dos, (think ver 3.2) supported that size drive, but a statement had to be added to config.sys to fiormat a 720k floppy. It could read or boot from a 720k disk with no problem. both driver.sys or drivparm could be used.

the earliest Ibm AT did not have this 3.5" support on early bios'/ later bios for the AT did.

easrly ibm pc's dis not support a hard drive, a bios update fixed this. TYhe reason was the first IBM PC bios did not look for any "bios extensions" at bootup.
that also meant that an ega or vga card could not be used. either card in an updated pc/xt required that switches be set for NO VIDEO or ega ( same setting)
there was a short time when there were XT ide equipped systems, some used specific controll4ers mated to a drive. Compuadd made an xt clone that had ide and 1.44 support on the motherboard.
I bought one of the later Phoenix bios ( 2.52) but it didn';t support f11 f12. The tandy clones did .
but the tandy machines were not true "compatibles"

Good luck on your search, but it may be an impossible dream.
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IBM Portable PC

Joined: 23 Dec 2007
Posts: 60
Location: Melbourne, Australia

PostPosted: Thu Mar 27, 2008 12:12 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

There is a copy of the Award Version 11 BIOS here, however its for a specific ASUS motherboard:
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Anonymous Coward

Joined: 20 Nov 2004
Posts: 589
Location: Shandong, China

PostPosted: Fri Mar 28, 2008 6:42 am Reply with quoteBack to top

I am guessing that at some point AWARD must have started a new series of BIOS, because it's pretty obvious Modular BIOS V. 11C is much different from the one in the link you supplied which is for a modern PC system.
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Joined: 27 Jan 2007
Posts: 274
Location: USA

PostPosted: Fri Mar 28, 2008 8:50 am Reply with quoteBack to top

yea, thats what i was thinking too.. how long have ASUS been making mobos, i cant recall any 8088 ASUSes
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