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#1 Problem: DX79TO not booting properly by ItxLeo 29.07.2018 14:53

Hello guys, first of all I'm not sure if this is the right section in which I should post, so I apologize in advance.
I have this Intel X79 motherboard, whose exact model is DX79TO. It has a strange problem, if you turn it on, it will display the POST screen, but then will go black screen with the "E7" message in the bottom right corner. It is a generic error message.
If I go to the bios, in various ways, like pressing del/F2 or using the "Back to bios" button, it will turn itself off automatically after 5-10 seconds.
And there comes the strange: if I do the bios recovery flash procedure (Similar to the Asus BIOS flashback), removing the jumper to activate it and then reinserting the jumper at the end of the procedure, it will update the bios and will not turn itself off. At this point I can click the reset button to PROPERLY BOOT into windows. And it will work perfectly, even under 24h of prime95 and even overclocked. But then, if I turn the board off, and I'm not saying if I switch off the power supply, just shutting the pc down and then trying to boot it, it won't boot, presenting the problems I've already written at the beginning of this post. And the only way to make it boot will be to do once again the flashback procedure.
With that said, I noticed in the BIOS it will say "Unknown management engine Version", so I figured I'd have to flash via an SPI programmer a new bios, or to replace the bios chip. I'm REALLY noob on both theese arguments, so I would like to ask:
since the bios chip is soldered, how am I supposed to replace it? Withourt replacing, is it possible to flash it while still on the motherboard? If yes, how? And is flashing the bios this way the only way to solve the issue?
Little note: The problem isn't related to RAM, CPU or anything else than the MOBO. I tried various graphics cards, ram sticks, CPUs, SSDs and power supply. I tried replacing the CMOS battery. I tried moving the CMOS jumper. I tried flashing all the existing BIOS revision.
Thanks in advance, and sorry for my english :P

#2 RE: Problem: DX79TO not booting properly by Lost_N_BIOS 30.07.2018 07:36

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Sounds like corrupted ME region of the BIOS, thank you for your highly detailed report. ME region needs reprogrammed, that can by done by itself, or via entire BIOS flash using certain methods, but we need to check if write to ME region is possible first.

First, do you know what version ME is currently in the BIOS, what did that used to say for ME version in that BIOS area? If you are unsure, for now, lets assume 8.1 since that is ME driver version on support site.
Download this Intel System Tools package - https://mega.nz/#!CF1l1LJK!K2l6_74FPsGig...Rvp8Efj8a5drZSc

Inside the folder find MEInfo folder go into that and select the "Win" folder and open a command line from that folder location (Hold down shift, and right click on WIN folder and select run command window here).
In the command window that opens run the following command at the prompt and put image of the output in zipped folder with files mentioned below >> MEInfoWin.exe

Next, back out of those folders to main folder with all the other folders. Go to Flash Programming Tool, and inside select WIN folder again, and do the Shift+Right click, open command window here.
Run the following command >> fptw -d backup.bin
If error 26 w/ above command, run the following to see if still error 26 >> fptw -me -d me.bin
And same, also run this if first two error, this way we have all three output attempts >> fptw -desc -d desc.bin
While at command prompt from this FPT folder, also go ahead and run this command and include image of the output in the zip folder w/ above files >> fptw -i

Put all three files and the images from the above into a zip folder and upload to any free file host and post a link here. Sendspace.com is a good free host, if you aren't familiar with any, or any other you know of is fine too

All of that is to see if you are locked out of writing to the ME region of the BIOS, if you are then probably best to get the programmer below so we can fix. If you are not, then we can fix by reflashing the ME region.
There are other ways to unlock ME to write to, but it involves shorting some board pins out, or possibly an EFI Boot method I can link you to but have never personally used Method Here
Shorting method is outlined here - [Guide] Unlock Intel Flash Descriptor Read/Write Access Permissions for SPI Servicing

I checked stock BIOS from download, and it usually matches what the board already has locked in flash descriptor, so I assume we'll see the following from your two above image outputs and you'll get some errors with fptw commands 1+2 above, since flash descriptor has FD locked from write and ME locked at read/write.


Confirming the above is true can also be done by adding this command to the 3 above, this will backup "BIOS Region" only, which is unlocked for read/write, it should complete without error
fptw -bios -d biosrgbk.bin

This all means you will need to use one of the mentioned solutions, try EFI unlock method, shorting pins, or order and wait on flash programmer

If it comes to this, it is possible to reprogram the board while the BIOS is soldered to the board, and it's cheap tools. So you could go ahead and order now if you wanted, since it takes 2-3+ weeks to get, unless you pay more to a local seller.
You need USB flash programmer CH341A
https://www.ebay.com/itm/263458010112 - Choose "Blue" model, if you get from another seller don't get black/gold, no black/gold from this seller either, you want green or blue version

Since your BIOS is soldered to the board, it's beside top left corner of the SB heatsink (SPI label) if you weren't sure, grab one of these too
https://www.ebay.com/itm/263708580560

Due to the SB heatsink location, you might need to remove that in order to use the clips, not sure but it looks like it will be a tight fit.

#3 RE: Problem: DX79TO not booting properly by ItxLeo 13.08.2018 20:56

Zitat von Lost_N_BIOS im Beitrag #2
Sounds like corrupted ME region of the BIOS, thank you for your highly detailed report. ME region needs reprogrammed, that can by done by itself, or via entire BIOS flash using certain methods, but we need to check if write to ME region is possible first.

First, do you know what version ME is currently in the BIOS, what did that used to say for ME version in that BIOS area? If you are unsure, for now, lets assume 8.1 since that is ME driver version on support site.
Download this Intel System Tools package - https://mega.nz/#!CF1l1LJK!K2l6_74FPsGig...Rvp8Efj8a5drZSc

Inside the folder find MEInfo folder go into that and select the "Win" folder and open a command line from that folder location (Hold down shift, and right click on WIN folder and select run command window here).
In the command window that opens run the following command at the prompt and put image of the output in zipped folder with files mentioned below >> MEInfoWin.exe

Next, back out of those folders to main folder with all the other folders. Go to Flash Programming Tool, and inside select WIN folder again, and do the Shift+Right click, open command window here.
Run the following command >> fptw -d backup.bin
If error 26 w/ above command, run the following to see if still error 26 >> fptw -me -d me.bin
And same, also run this if first two error, this way we have all three output attempts >> fptw -desc -d desc.bin
While at command prompt from this FPT folder, also go ahead and run this command and include image of the output in the zip folder w/ above files >> fptw -i

Put all three files and the images from the above into a zip folder and upload to any free file host and post a link here. Sendspace.com is a good free host, if you aren't familiar with any, or any other you know of is fine too

All of that is to see if you are locked out of writing to the ME region of the BIOS, if you are then probably best to get the programmer below so we can fix. If you are not, then we can fix by reflashing the ME region.
There are other ways to unlock ME to write to, but it involves shorting some board pins out, or possibly an EFI Boot method I can link you to but have never personally used Method Here
Shorting method is outlined here - [Guide] Unlock Intel Flash Descriptor Read/Write Access Permissions for SPI Servicing

I checked stock BIOS from download, and it usually matches what the board already has locked in flash descriptor, so I assume we'll see the following from your two above image outputs and you'll get some errors with fptw commands 1+2 above, since flash descriptor has FD locked from write and ME locked at read/write.


Confirming the above is true can also be done by adding this command to the 3 above, this will backup "BIOS Region" only, which is unlocked for read/write, it should complete without error
fptw -bios -d biosrgbk.bin

This all means you will need to use one of the mentioned solutions, try EFI unlock method, shorting pins, or order and wait on flash programmer

If it comes to this, it is possible to reprogram the board while the BIOS is soldered to the board, and it's cheap tools. So you could go ahead and order now if you wanted, since it takes 2-3+ weeks to get, unless you pay more to a local seller.
You need USB flash programmer CH341A
https://www.ebay.com/itm/263458010112 - Choose "Blue" model, if you get from another seller don't get black/gold, no black/gold from this seller either, you want green or blue version

Since your BIOS is soldered to the board, it's beside top left corner of the SB heatsink (SPI label) if you weren't sure, grab one of these too
https://www.ebay.com/itm/263708580560

Due to the SB heatsink location, you might need to remove that in order to use the clips, not sure but it looks like it will be a tight fit.


First, thanks a lot. I wasn't expecting such a detailed and well explained guide. I ordered 2 weeks ago the programmer, I already have the clips and I should receive the CH341A itself in the next two days. Since in order to verify if I am able to flash the ME without programmer I would have to go into the trouble of half an hour to make the board start and I would need to setup a quick test bed, I prefer to flash via programmer directly. I see you are really experienced in this kind of thing, could you explain me what I will have to do with the programmer once I have it? I read the guide on this site but if you have time to explain me again it would help a lot. Thanks again and sorry if I'm late. Have a good day!

#4 RE: Problem: DX79TO not booting properly by Lost_N_BIOS 14.08.2018 06:34

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You're welcome! Once your programmer arrives and you get it all setup, the first thing you must do and make sure is done 100% proper before writing to the chip is to find a working software version for your setup and get a verfified backup made. That way if anything goes wrong you wont loose your boards details (UUID, serial, LAN MAC ID etc)
You may need to try several versions of the software until you find one that works correctly for your BIOS chip. Sometimes older is better, sometimes latest version is best. Sometimes you can pick exact match to you chip, other times close match works better than exact. So you may have to play around with that a little bit first, until you can get a verified backup.

To get verified backup connect the programmer to the chip and click identify once it says connected. then pick either exact match to your current BIOS chip, or close enough match (Like last 3-4 digits can be left off sometimes, example instead of W26Q64FVSIG you may only need W26Q64)
Click read, then once that is done click verify. If it says buffer/main memory and chip match 100% (may not be exact wording, but similar to that) then this is verified, click save and then put two copies of this file somewhere for safe keeping and do not edit those. When you need to edit one, copy it to another folder and then edit there, that way your backup stays safe.

Here is package of several versions of the software, and driver, install the driver first then you can test all the software versions once your programmer arrives. I always start by trying to get latest version to work properly with problem system BIOS first
https://www.sendspace.com/file/gtcmvd

Then upload copy of your verified BIOS backup here and I can fix ME region for you and send back for you to program to your chip with the write function. When I do that, I can also update the CPU microcodes for you if you want, let me know.

And yes, this may possibly be fixed without programmer, but not easily, and as you mentioned you would need to setup the board and do some of the testing I mentioned.
Since you have programmer on the way you can not do that if you want, but you'll want to get the board setup eventually so you can test functionality once you reprogram.

#5 RE: Problem: DX79TO not booting properly by ItxLeo 14.08.2018 13:21

Zitat von Lost_N_BIOS im Beitrag #4
You're welcome! Once your programmer arrives and you get it all setup, the first thing you must do and make sure is done 100% proper before writing to the chip is to find a working software version for your setup and get a verfified backup made. That way if anything goes wrong you wont loose your boards details (UUID, serial, LAN MAC ID etc)
You may need to try several versions of the software until you find one that works correctly for your BIOS chip. Sometimes older is better, sometimes latest version is best. Sometimes you can pick exact match to you chip, other times close match works better than exact. So you may have to play around with that a little bit first, until you can get a verified backup.

To get verified backup connect the programmer to the chip and click identify once it says connected. then pick either exact match to your current BIOS chip, or close enough match (Like last 3-4 digits can be left off sometimes, example instead of W26Q64FVSIG you may only need W26Q64)
Click read, then once that is done click verify. If it says buffer/main memory and chip match 100% (may not be exact wording, but similar to that) then this is verified, click save and then put two copies of this file somewhere for safe keeping and do not edit those. When you need to edit one, copy it to another folder and then edit there, that way your backup stays safe.

Here is package of several versions of the software, and driver, install the driver first then you can test all the software versions once your programmer arrives. I always start by trying to get latest version to work properly with problem system BIOS first
https://www.sendspace.com/file/gtcmvd

Then upload copy of your verified BIOS backup here and I can fix ME region for you and send back for you to program to your chip with the write function. When I do that, I can also update the CPU microcodes for you if you want, let me know.

And yes, this may possibly be fixed without programmer, but not easily, and as you mentioned you would need to setup the board and do some of the testing I mentioned.
Since you have programmer on the way you can not do that if you want, but you'll want to get the board setup eventually so you can test functionality once you reprogram.

Okay, there I am. I couldn't find exactly "Identify" but I had "Chip Search" which made me look for the ID I needed, and it matched perfectly, if what I had to search was the ID that appeared under "name" in the left side of the program. Making the board working is moe than enough for me, if you have time to update microcodes I would love to, but you already helped mea lo mate. I wait for the fixed version of the bios, could you explain me what will I have to do in order to flash it once you sent it to me? Thanks again, see you soon!
https://www.sendspace.com/file/cog7u1

#6 RE: Problem: DX79TO not booting properly by Lost_N_BIOS 14.08.2018 13:41

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Microcode updating is easy for me, so no problem on that! So this BIOS backup verified 100% for you, match memory/buffer and chip? If yes, great, thank you and I will have update BIOS for you soon to program back onto the chip.
Will probably take me until tonight, sorry I am leaving shortly and wont be back until later tonight (15+ hours from now)

@ItxLeo - *Edit * this is not valid backup, please keep trying until you get it to say 100% match chip and memory/main buffer. Read, then verify, that is all until you see it says 100% match after verify, then you hit save. If you don't get verify, try another software version.
This is blank file, 100% FFFFFFFFFF open in hex editor you will see what I mean.

There is "Detect" chip, right beside "Search" you don't want to use search, although you can, you want to use detect, then pick from it's choices when they pop out to you.
If you cannot press the detect button, then the programmer is not hooked up properly (ie not connected, you will see either connected or not connected in the bottom corner)
But really that is only for the USB plugged in on the programmer or not, see below for actual "is the chip connecting properly or not" examples

And if it's not detecting the chip you will get access violation usually
This either means cable backwards, PCB backwards into the programmer, or both ect, check all cable and pin orientations.


Red wire in the gray bundle goes towards pin #1 on the PCB into Pin #1 on the programmer, and then red wire goes to Pin#1 on the BIOS chip on the board
There's usually a little circle or dot on the Pin #1 corner of the BIOS chip, also a white triangle on the board right at pin #1 too.
Watch some videos on using CH341A with motherboard on youtube if you need too, that may help easier than me trying to explain.

And here's how it looked when you have chip connected properly, and hit detect. See choice menu pops up, and correct chip ID info shows on bottom area


To program back is just as easy, open the software and ID the chip, then choose write and it will let you browse to the file you want to write, and that is all let it write and verify then you are done.

Since this is an ME fix, once you write the new BIOS to the board, unplug the power supply and remove the CMOS batter for 1+ minute, during that time you can also press and hold the power on button or short the power on pins for 10-15 seconds.
This ensures the ME state is cleared and reset due to no power for 1+ minute.

#7 RE: Problem: DX79TO not booting properly by ItxLeo 14.08.2018 14:14

Thatís my situation. Iím not sure if it is hooked up properly but I canít make the ď1Ē of the PCB going on top the ď1Ē of the programmer.

#8 RE: Problem: DX79TO not booting properly by ItxLeo 14.08.2018 14:41

Okay, sorry for the double post but I imagine the problem is in how i hooked it up. I will attach pics of what I have, so that you can tell me if I am right. Oh, during all this time I had the board unplugged and without CMOS battery. Is it okay?

#9 RE: Problem: DX79TO not booting properly by Lost_N_BIOS 14.08.2018 15:24

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Yes, that is the issue then, I see all FF in your chip detected as section. For the cable end on the motherboard, I can't quite see it clearly, but it looks like you have the red wire going to the pin 1 corner of the chip with the little white triangle on the motherboard PCB itself, correct? If yes, that is correct.

You have the red wire going into the little green PCB correctly, at pin #1.

The green PCB, connected into the programmer is at the correct slot (Inner-most set of pins, towards USB connection), but it is in the slot backwards.
Rotate the green PCB where it connects to the programmer, so that the #1 pin on the PCB is diagonal from where it is now, rotating 180 degrees so pin #1 on PCB and the red wire is on the lever side but still in the same slot you have it in now (inner socket)

Those numbers on the back of the programmer are for the pins along the side, nothing to do with the flash rom slot pins.
Here is example of BIOS chip, same as you see on the back of the programmer, see where pin one is on example.


On the flash rom socket side, this pin#1 is 2-3 pins above where you have the yellow jumper (Almost right above "RXD" on the backside)

And yes, OK with board unplugged and no CMOS battery, that means ME will be all reset state and ready once you reprogram BIOS.

#10 RE: Problem: DX79TO not booting properly by ItxLeo 14.08.2018 16:02

Okay, thatís how I have it now. I still get the access violation. This time I think it is because Iím not hooking up the clip properly to the bios chip itself, because of some capacitors that make it a tight fit. Do you think it is because of it? Any suggestion?

#11 RE: Problem: DX79TO not booting properly by Lost_N_BIOS 14.08.2018 16:17

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Please smaller images, thanks - 1000-1200px OK - next time, if needed I mean

I cannot tell, if red wire at motherboard is matched up to the pin 1 white triangle, if it is OK, that is good and we don't need to worry about that anymore.

Everything looks good. Try reseating everything again carefully to make sure it's connecting and not shorting, especially at the motherboard pins/clip area.
I find it's easiest to hold pins open over the chip, connect one side by touching it into place, and then slowly let go of other side so it clamps down into it's place

In the programmer, where you connect the PCB, you are using only the last set of 4/8 inside correct? Making sure, it has to be in those last inner pin set of 4/8, can't be some pins in there and some pins in the other 4/8 slot.

If all else fails leave it connected and try all other versions of the software and see if they all give the same error. If they do, put back in CMOS batter and see if that changes anything, if not, connect the power supply 24 pin and 8 pin and see if that changes anything (Don't power on board, just connect power)

#12 RE: Problem: DX79TO not booting properly by ItxLeo 15.08.2018 18:11

Quick update, after spending around 5 hours trying to figure out what was wrong I see that one of the cables going inside the clip wasn't making contact properly. I tried fixing it but nothing to do. I ordered in another clip, I will have it for saturday.

#13 RE: Problem: DX79TO not booting properly by Lost_N_BIOS 16.08.2018 07:21

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That sucks, hopefully they will send you refund! Did you notice, the cables don't go inside the chip, there is pins that come out from the clip and cables simply slide over them?

#14 RE: Problem: DX79TO not booting properly by ItxLeo 18.08.2018 15:48

Yeah I got the refund...
I'm also having troubles with the 6 core coffee lake mod on Z170, I see you are really experienced in this kind of thing, until we wait for the clip could you give me a hand in that? [GUIDE] Coffee Lake CPUs on Skylake and Kaby Lake motherboards (30)

#15 RE: Problem: DX79TO not booting properly by Lost_N_BIOS 19.08.2018 19:24

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Good they refunded you without hassles, and hope your new cable arrives soon!

I can do that entire mod, but I have no experience with using it personally. Do you need it all done, or are you stuck on a certain part of the mod process?

If you need it all done, please give me all info.
1. Link to BIOS you want modified, + dump of your current BIOS if you have.
2. ME version you want used and if you know from research if you need chipset changed or not.
3. Which CPU microcodes do you want put into the BIOS, and which are you OK with removing if you can only keep one older microcode.

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