Changing BIOS Setup Settings that do not Appear to Exist

Published on: July 6, 2000
Last Updated: July 6, 2000

Changing BIOS Setup Settings that do not Appear to Exist

Published on: July 6, 2000
Last Updated: July 6, 2000

In many cases, BIOS setups’ will not allow very many system settings to be altered. Some only allow floppy/hard drives to be configured, along with other minor settings.

This is a major drawback due to the fact that many settings, such as DRAM memory timings and Cache SRAM timings, can have a major impact on your PC’s performance.

The settings may actually exist, but may simply be masked or ‘hidden’ by the computer manufacturer for your own ‘protection’ (– they don’t trust you to modify system settings because of possible instabilities that may occur in some hardware configurations while the settings are altered.) There are a number of ways that the so called ‘hidden’ settings can be viewed and altered, depending on your system:

Most PC’s With AMI BIOS

A programmer by the name of Robert Muchsel has written a program called AMISetup (current is v2.99) that will allow you to access and change the hidden settings of your system.

It works with AMI’s High Flex BIOS’, as well as with AMI WinBIOS. The shareware version has excellent documentation to assist you in your modification endeavors. If you need help on what a particular setting affects, take a look at the BIOS page for guides that contain settings definitions.

PC’s With Non-AMI BIOS (Award, Mr. BIOS, Phoenix, etc.)

Your PC doesn’t have AMI BIOS? Don’t worry just yet. A program called ‘CTCHIPZ’ may solve your problems.

Like AMISetup, CTCHIPZ accesses your PC at the Chipset code level and allows you to alter many undocumented system settings.

There is a catch, however, as the program is chipset specific. The current version (v3.4) will work with the following chipsets (when you use the program, which comes with configuration files for the following chipsets, you need to know the name of the .CFG file for your system – the names are specified next to the chipset/system type):

Misc. with AMI BIOS (RTCAMI.CFG)Cyrix 6×86 Systems (CX686.CFG)Cyrix 5×86 Systems (CX586.CFG)
Cyrix 486DX Systems (CX486DX.CFG)Eteq Micro (ETEQ.CFG)IBM 486DLC (IBM486.CFG)
Intel Aries (ARIES1.CFG)Intel Mercury (INTELPCI.CFG)Intel Neptune (INTELPCI.CFG)
Intel Saturn (SATURN.CFG)Intel Triton FX (INTELPCI.CFG)OPTi 596 (OPTI596.CFG)
Intel Triton VX (INTELPCI.CFG)Intel Triton HX (INTELPCI.CFG)Intel Natoma (INTELPCI.CFG)
OPTi 495 (OPTI495.CFG)OPTi 482B (OPTI482B.CFG)OPTi 391 (OPTI391.CFG)
OPTi 493 (OPTI491.CFG)SiS 461 (SIS461.CFG)SiS 411 (SIS411.CFG)
SiS 401 (SIS401.CFG)Shasta 486 (SHASTA.CFG)Symphony SL82C461 (SYM461.CFG)
UMC 881 (UM881.CFG)UMC 481A (UMC481A.CFG)UMC 482A (UMC482A.CFG)
VIA 495 (VT82C495.CFG)

The CTCHIPZ program can be a bit tricky to use/comprehend unless you know German as it was written by a German programmer and the docs included with the program are in German.

An English translation of the CTCHIPZ docs is avaliable.

Now available! Instructions on Using the CtCHIPZ Utility!

What To Do If All Else Fails

If you have a new PC that doesn’t have AMI BIOS, chances are you won’t be able to alter the settings until a CTCHIPZ configuration file becomes avaliable for your system.

Even some newer AMI BIOS’s will not work with AMISetup. It’s frustrating, but perhaps sometime in the near future alteration of the settings for your PC will be possible. Ask questions about it on USENET, and keep checking back here.

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Written by Bobby

Bobby Lawson is a seasoned technology writer with over a decade of experience in the industry. He has written extensively on topics such as cybersecurity, cloud computing, and data analytics. His articles have been featured in several prominent publications, and he is known for his ability to distill complex technical concepts into easily digestible content.