Is the 6-yr old BIOS on my Biostar mobo - simply too old for Win-7?


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Dear Win-7 Forum Users:

DaveC here, a first-time Windows7 Forums user!

As I've been attempting to get back to work (unemployed since the recession started!), my PC's aging Biostar A770 motherboard - purchased in January 2009, with a January 2008-date BIOS - has been running Win-XP just fine through a two year business degree earned in June 2012 with Firefox as the browser (needed for online classwork for that degree) and with the "XPocalypse" coming up in five-six weeks from now, I felt it was time to TRY to get my admittedly "ancient" PC updated with Win-7 Pro to help keep my generally XP-"friendly" apps and CAD software going for at least a few more years.

Here's the basic specs on my system...

Mobo: Biostar A770 A2+ v.6.x (BIOS in use for system from January 2008, last available BIOS update from Biostar's website dated October 2008)
CPU: AMD Athlon 64 X2 5400+ 2.8 GHz "Windsor" w/512 kB L2 cache
Memory: 4 GB Mushkin memory
Hard disk system: Adaptec 2940U2W dual-channel Ultra2 SCSI running:
Maxtor Atlas10K4_36WLS 36 GB drive (C:\ & D:\)
Seagate ST373455LW 74 GB SCSI (E:\)
Yamaha CRW2100S CD-RW (only part-functional)
HP ScanJet 3C flatbed scanner
Video: EVGA/Nvidia GeForce 8400 GS w/512 MB memory
DVD drive: Sony Optiarc AD-7200A DVD-RW
Monitor: Iiyama ProLite E1906S 19" flatscreen LCD
Generic multiport card reader in floppy drive case-space (includes USB port)

Well, after upgrading my C:\ & D:\ drive volumes earlier this Sunday with a brand-new 146 GB Seagate ST3146807LC drive, fitted out with a generic 80-to-68 pin UltraSCSI cable connector adaptor card, I tried the Win-7 Pro DVD in the Optiarc drive, and made it through the two progress bars to the "Starting Windows" screen, then the apparently common problem of the "ACPI problem Blue Screen of Death" shows up as Win-7 aborted the install.

I'll be calling up a local computer store that I've had my system serviced before in past years to ask them IF I've got a "simply too old" mobo for Win-7 to "easily" run with. The two most important factors in getting Win-7 running in my situation are:

* to do it for the least funds (unemployment checks ran out on Labor Day week of 2010)
* to get it resolved as quickly as possible, to get Win-7 running my system and get the "Windows XP Compatibility Mode" upgraded as far as possible BEFORE the "XPocalypse" hits in early April.


I DO have some financial help available to get a brand-new Biostar mobo through Directron, the A85W unit, if a new motherboard is the recommended way to go. I'd have to stick to just 4 GB of hardware RAM (have Win-7 Pro 32-bit for the install) and most likely an under-$50 level for the CPU, which would most likely mean an AMD A4 family unit, both choices being a bit "underwhelming" to save on funds while I'm still out of work. Directron still lists the exact same Geforce 8400 GS-based video card as I've already got as a video card choice for the A85W, with a planned purchase of a higher performance Adaptec 39320A-R dual bus SCSI card also HAVING TO WAIT for a while until I'm back at work.

So, as a firm believer in the saying "the only stupid question is the one that never gets asked", do I have too old a motherboard with the A770, or should I take the plunge with a minimally-equipped A85W from Biostar to have even a decent chance of getting Win-7 to install before the end of March 2014 gets here?

Could really appreciate some help on this...

Thanks in advance and Yours Sincerely,

DaveC
 
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TrainableMan

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The instant I hear SCSI, or AGP, or Firewire I think old technology that is being passed by; do not invest money in that direction. Personally I think it was even a mistake to spend good money on a hard drive and adapter that was under 500GB (unless it is a solid state drive SSD).

It looked like there is a beta BIOS available from BIOSTAR from October 2009 for your motherboard which is about the right timing for Windows 7 so you could try that if you really need Win7, but honestly I think you would be better off simply staying with WinXP until such a time as you buy a new computer.

From a corporate standpoint it might matter, and let's face it that is where Microsoft makes the bulk of its' money, but for individuals, SO WHAT if Microsoft stops putting out security updates? Do you have a lot of issues with viruses right now? If so then you should consider changing your browsing and downloading habits rather than your OS, and if not, then even if a few new exploits are found, hackers are usually trying to do the most damage or steal the most data they can so that means they aim for the most common tech, not the oldest. Instead of upgrading your OS, just make sure your anti-virus is up-to-date, schedule or manually run full scans on a consistent basis, and the best protection of all: maintain an external hard drive on which you create a backup of your OS, settings and data (or even a cloned image) and shut off or disconnect that external drive except during back-ups (you might see about an inexpensive USB hub to plug in that new hard drive you bought and instead use it as your external backup).

And if your computer currently meets your needs then I wouldn't spend money on a new motherboard/CPU/RAM at a point where you don't have it.
 
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Dear TrainableMan:

DaveC here again...I will admit I've been a bit occupied the past few months once again with my job search, and unfortunately last Wednesday (April 24th) I had my most recent "Thanks for applying..." job application rejection :( Email message arrive in my inbox, for what would have been a really decent AutoCAD 2D drafting job within a 30 minute driving distance from home,and for which I had a decent interview for back on the 9th of April.

As I DO have a quartet of SATA v.2 sockets on my current Biostar A770+ mobo that can be brought into play, perhaps all I might have to do to get Win7 to even load, when the funds eventually become available, would be to use two smaller capacity (up to 250 GB) SATA drives, a SATA/IDE adaptor I spotted online to allow my IDE-interface Sony DVD drive to plug into a third SATA socket on the Biostar mobo, and then...as my PC has been running open-cased since I got it going...replace the old two-wire 5 inch "system cooling fan" (connected DIRECTLY to the power supply!) with one that CAN be directly connected to the A770's "SYSFAN" header instead to power it, and then temporarily remove the Adaptec 2940U2W SCSI card to load Win-7 onto the first SATA drive (the C:\ and D:\ drive). The second SATA drive would be the E:\ "applications and data files" drive, maintaining the twin-disk HD storage setup that's allowed me to keep my applications & data from being disrupted in any way for many years, when working with major operating system changes of any sort.

I'm fairly certain that I'd be able to use the old Adaptec SCSI card again after the Win-7 install is stable and running well, for solely running my HP flatbed scanner, as I DO have the software driver to use the Adaptec 2940U2W SCSI card in Windows 7...and for using a vintage SCSI HP flatbed scanner in Win-7 (mine is a 1996 vintage ScanJet 3C), a post on a different forum showed me how it can be done.

One old hardware peripheral that my system was set up to use when I started this thread, was what turned out to be a late-1990s vintage :eek: Sound Blaster Live 5.1 card...:oops:...that's since been successfully removed, and I'm using the surprisingly decent-sounding audio circuitry that came with the A770+ mobo instead for my audio output these days, as it's likely to be much more compatible with Windows 7.

As expected (and as you'd already recommended), I'm keeping my Norton System Security software up-to-date, and check my system weekly for viruses and other such nastiness...Comcast, my ISP, seems to do a rather decent job in "keeping the bad stuff away" for the most part, while I'm still having success in sticking with WIndows XP, which was fully re-installed with all available updates before the April 8th, 2014 "drop-dead" Microsoft date. I've even got the Win-XP Service Pack 3 installable package saved here at home, too, should I ever need to re-install Win-XP in the interim.

I definitely have the data connections to use SATA drives with my existing Biostar mobo, and even the Enermax 500 watt supply's power cables on my system have a number of the different-looking SATA drive power connectors intact...so perhaps, when the funds are available, only a pair of smaller-capacity SATA hard drives, a SATA-IDE adaptor for the DVD drive (to allow it a SATA connection instead of an IDE one) and also the three or four-wire connection system fan (to hook directly to the A770) might be needed to suit the apparently "fussy-about-one's-system-hardware" Windows 7 install process. It could be some time before I can actually try it all out, but I thought I'd tell you what I've been thinking of to allow the mobo I DO still have, to work with Win-7 when the funds become available.

Hope to hear back when your time permits...

Yours Sincerely,

DaveC..;)..!!
 
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TrainableMan

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There would be no advantage to buying an adapter to connect your IDE hard drive to a SATA connection, just leave it on the IDE cable. Investing money to use any of those old hard drives you have is a mistake. If it won't work from the IDE cable then toss it, but it should work just fine.

If you want a SATA drive for the OS etc, then you should buy something like a 1TB SATA hard drive for about $80; it will hold 4 times more data than all your current hard drives combined. I wouldn't even consider putting a drive less than 240GB in a computer these days.

As for the SCSI adapter, that driver is strictly for the 32-bit version of W7; if you install 32-bit then you waste about 700mb or your RAM because 32-bit can only address about 3.3GB. That may not be a huge deal because I don't know if your processor supports 64-bit anyway, run the advisor below to find out. But, at some point, you should consider buying a new USB printer/scanner combination for around $100 and say goodbye to SCSI completely.

I suggest before you buy anything else, you run the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor. Turn on all your hardware - scanners, printers, etc and run the advisor.
 
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Well, I DID run that "upgrade advisor", and HERE are the results...

Dear TrainableMan:

DaveC here again...I warmed up my ScanJet 3C, and my ancient, but still VERY useful (especially :D for smaller CAD proofing printouts! Canon BJ-330 monochrome, 17" wide carriage inkjet printer, and the results are showable in the screenshots I took of the results as shown starting with the "base" screenshot:

Base Screenshot.jpg

This "base" screen includes supplementary "system", "devices" and "programs" screens as well, and in addition offered a chance to test my existing hardware for the Windows XP "compatibility mode" in Win7, something I HAVE to depend on for much of my existing CAD and graphics software titles. The "system" screen I did the capture of told me that I DO have a sufficiently fast CPU, 3.3 GB of working RAM, and if I was to add Win7 to my XP install, there's 117 GB of free space to do a "multiboot" confguration with Win7 on the 146 GB SCSI "first" hard disk. The "needs attention" items on that "system screen" indicated that "custom install" would be required for Windows 7, but that's something I'm COMPLETELY used to with Windows editions of the past, going back to Win-95. Also, I long ago stopped using Outlook Express for my Email inbox — Comcast already has a very nice online interface to check my Email already, and if I WAS to go for an "on-my-PC" Email program again someday, I'd be using Mozilla Thunderbird. That's as I'm already using their Firefox software as my main browser, as I changed over to it from IE-anything to attend my online college business degree courses in 2011-12 on the way to a 3.59 final grade point average :cool: for the two-year degree. Firefox has proven to be VERY versatile and useful ever since, so the Thunderbird app is the natural choice for an "Email app" to use within Win-7 going forward, when I'm ready for it.

The "devices" screen only indicated a "problem" in supporting the "oldest" device that was listed on it...the aforementioned 1993-vintage Canon BJ-330 wide-carriage monochrome printer. Everything else on it, including the Nvidia video card, the A770's on-board sound hardware, and the mobo's NIC hookup all checked out fine. The PCI/parallel-port adaptor card I've got for the BJ-330 would need a new Win7 install to look for the up-to-date driver for it online...this worked for Win-XP, and it could very well work for Win-7 as well.

The "software" screen couldn't give me a definite compatibility confirmation on my copy of AutoCAD 2009 LT, but as my most recent job interview revealed that the place I was hoping to work was, in fact, running AutoCAD LT 2008 on Win-7 ALREADY with no issues, I can't imagine my copy of ACAD LT 2009 having any. CorelDRAW Suite 12 can run all right as a Win-7 native app from the screen's results, and I'd bet that just about every software title I've got installed that runs on my existing Win-XP install, should work all right within Win-7's "WIn-XP compatibility mode" (more about that in the next paragraph)...WITH the possible exception of SolidWorks 2000, which I've heard (understandably!!) might not want to run in WinXP compatibility mode within Win-7.

The "Win-XP compatibility mode" screen came up "all-greens" :p for my hardware, as my PC already HAS the RAM and hard disk space needed for it, as well as the "virtualization technology" being enabled for my GeForce 8400 GS video card that further supports it.

I AM hoping that the older Windows driver for the BJ-330 printer, that's worked well in XP, MIGHT still be usable in Win-XP mode to at least install it in Win-7...failing that, I could "temporarily retire" it for a smaller format Kodak color printer (that I'd need SERIOUS help in paying for!), until I can manage to find out more about a VERY promising, third party CAD plotter driver — said to be good for either inkjet OR pen output plotters (I've got one of those, too) — even in Windows 7, that apparently comes from"down under", named WinLINE.

So, as I've already got the driver for my Adaptec SCSI card for Win-7, and the drivers that allow my A770 mobo to run in it as well, I COULD be able to be able to run it "as is" with a Win-7 install. There IS that nagging memory of the "ACPI hardware issue" blue screen of "stop" that came up the last time I tried to install Win-7 on my PC in February-March 2014...but that WAS before my old 1990s-vintage sound card had been removed, and if it's at all needed, perhaps a new system fan (an under-$20 purchase) that PLUGS INTO THE MOBO might be "the item" that could banish my 32-bit copy of Win-7 Professional's demonstrated "fussiness" behavior so far as regards simply installing it. Now, I don't "really" know IF I'd need anything extra in software OR hardware to be able to do a multi-boot install with Win-7 Pro, and leave Win-XP intact on my 127 GB capacity SCSI hard drive. Perhaps the twin 250 GB SATA hard disks as described in an earlier post of mine COULD be a great future option to continue the use of the VERY useful "twin disk approach" that's proven so useful, in keeping my applications and data SAFE from any problems with operating system "hiccups" in the past, and that I have EVERY INTENT OF CONTINUING TO DO whenever a new hardware configuration is needed.

For the present, I'd plan on keeping on with the job search, and I'll be applying with Social Security for SSI income...with EVERYTHING concerning employment and jobs in the USA :mad: unavoidably tied up with POLITICS :mad: for the last half-decade (and in many ways, many years going back before 2008!) I can't be certain that in my mid-50s, if I'll EVER be able to get another CAD or electronic manufacturing position ever again.

Thanks for the help...when I can actually give my next Win-7 install a try, I'll be writing once more!

Thanks and Yours Sincerely,

DaveC..;)..!!
 
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TrainableMan

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The custom install is required for anyone bypassing Vista, so nothing surprising there.

The biggest things I see: it says your AutoCAD software may not work and your Canon Bubble-Jet may not work and it is not sure about drivers for your SCSI adapter (if the adapter doesn't have drivers than NO SCSI devices will work).

I don't see any mention of whether your processor supports 64-bit but I know your MOBO does as long as your CPU chip does, so you probably can run 64-bit. Probably your best chance of everything working is with 32-bit W7. But there other possibilities such as the dual-boot the advisor mentioned - not ideal because of your limited space and the fact you have to reboot the machine every time you need to switch between WinXP and Win7. Another possibility is to get Windows 7 Professional which includes licensing for a Virtual XP environment, although the Virtual environment runs a little slower that the XP would on the other side of a dual-boot.

So your best hope of getting them to work in the actual W7 environment, not in any XP (virtual or dual boot), is if you install 32-bit Windows 7. But that is not a guarantee, it is a best-case scenario. Do you have XP disks so you could reinstall XP if W7 doesn't work?
 
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Perhaps a few of my previous posts' text and links might not have been noticed...

Dear Trainable Man:

DaveC here once again...as I HAD mentioned in my last post's fourth paragraph:

"...The "software" screen couldn't give me a definite compatibility confirmation on my copy of AutoCAD 2009 LT, but as my most recent job interview revealed that the place I was hoping to work was, in fact, running AutoCAD LT 2008 on Win-7 ALREADY with no issues, I can't imagine my copy of ACAD LT 2009 having any."

I WILL admit that my previous post had to have a "pause" in it to attend to something away from the PC for a moment or two here at home early this morning, and got posted a bit TOO quickly...sorry about the WHOOPS, if that did happen earlier on Thursday!

The driver issue for Win-7 concerning my veteran BJ-330 wide-carriage printer IS something that's been in the back of my mind for a while...however, I DO have my full, "legal and original" Windows XP CD disk with Service Pack 2 already "on board" with the operating system. In addition, the version of Windows 7 that I've got for the eventual install, IS a full 32-bit version of Windows 7 Professional (with its Service Pack 1 on the DVD), as I already knew it was the basic version that could support a dual-core processor, which the AMD Athlon64 X2 CPU that I've got (the "Windsor"-core 2.8 GHz clock, 5400+ model) in the Biostar A770+ mobo DOES have, but it's never had an OS to run with before that could support both of its CPU cores!

Of course, I DO have the OFFICIAL Adaptec-provided Windows 7 driver for my 2940U2W SCSI card...it's on my existing hard disks, and on my 16 GB thumb drive - as well as the Biostar-provided Windows 7-specific mobo drivers for the A770+, for its onboard LAN circuits, the onboard audio, as well as a Vista-specific SATA driver, which could be useful for my future Win-7 Pro "real install". All the drivers for the A770+ at its "downloads" page seem to be available in both 32-bit and 64-bit versions...but as I've got a LOT of older software titles to support from the Win-XP days and before, the 32-bit copy of Win-7 Pro WAS specifically selected and ordered last winter, in anticipation of that need.

While the ACTUAL reason for the "obstinate 'blue-screen-of-stop' behavior" from my copy of Win-7 Pro during my first install attempt might not ever be "really" definable, having only a SCSI interface hard disk system on my PC at that time...combined with not knowing IF there was any way of loading SCSI drivers during the install process was possible for any Win-7 install — especially for my veteran 2940U2W card, could have been a major reason! The idea of going with a pair of 250 GB SATA drives before I try installing Win-7 again, IS one way around that chance...adding the mobo-driven 5 inch "system fan" (the under-$20 add-on) to the A770+'s "sysfan" header could be another small hardware issue, and back during that first attempt three months ago, the ancient 1990s vintage Sound Blaster Live 5.1 soundcard, meant for Windows 9x-aged OSes, was ALSO still present in my system, which has been removed since then.

I simply WANT to be patient about all this, as I still can easily continue with my job search with my current Win-XP install. But, IF that starts to become a challenge with any form of resultant "difficulty" with any manner of Internet access or use, then things COULD "start happening real fast" to go forward with an attempt or two with installing my copy of Win-7 to get the job search to resume...the twin 250 GB SATA disks and system fan COULD get ordered at the beginning of a future month, if the need arose.

Please give those links in THIS reply a look when time permits...I sure WOULD love to have that Biostar A85 mobo, but with no job, the "upgrade advisor" run as you recommended, at the very least, let me know that my existing Boistar mobo SHOULD be able, with a few different devices and software drivers, to load and run Win-7 Pro if that eventuality of NEEDING it for my ongoing job search ever comes up.

Thanks again and Yours Sincerely,

DaveC..;)..!!
 

TrainableMan

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The Advisor does not mention any issues with the MOBO.

Why do you want to get 2 x 250GB harddrives rather than one 500GB or larger?

As for the SCSI driver and AutoCAD software, hopefully you are right; the Advisor just is not as certain.
 
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Dear TrainableMan:

Dave C here again, and I was QUITE remiss in not telling you that, thanks to the fact I've been able to get disability benefits since I last wrote to you, I've used some of those funds to bring together an all-NEW PC, around a Biostar A85S3 mobo, using a pair of 250 GB Seagate 250 GB SATA-3 hard disks, and only using a new-to-me Adaptec 29320LPE SCSI card to run my dependable HP ScanJet 3C scanner in Windows 7 Pro, with Hamrick Software's VueScan flatbed scanner driver.

I usually prefer to use separate hard disks for keeping my applications and data files on a dedicated physical hard disk volume, if whatever operating system I'm using starts to become unstable for ANY reason. One disk gets the operating system(s) on bootable drive(s), with a small logical partition for operating system utilities like anti-virus, hard disk partitioning, etc. on one physical drive, and the apps/data files on the other physical drive.

Now, I'm facing the NEED to get a third hard disk (a second OS physical volume) to install a 64-bit version of Windows 8.1 to start learning SolidWorks in a college class I'm now in, and based on whatever replies I get to the recent thread I started regarding the hoped-for ability to place the Win-7 32-bit OS on the GPT-formatted "third" hard disk that will be getting the 64-bit Win-8.1 install

Again, I'm quite sorry to have not told you about the newly-built PC...when you're helping out your one remaining parent, who's going to be an octogenarian in six months, things can get forgotten all too easily!

Thanks and Yours Sincerely,
Dave C..;)..!!
 

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