Asus Eee PC BIOS woes with Windows 7

David Meego - Click for blog homepageThis issue is not related to Microsoft Dynamics GP, but caused me a lot of frustration and wasted time.  I decided to post about it on the blog to hopefully make life easier for anyone else "out there" who has the same problem and is searching for answers. This is a bit of a saga, so bear with me.


I have an ASUS Eee PC 1005HA-H netbook (in piano black) and I love it.  It is a beautiful looking machine with a 10" screen, long battery life and a reasonable amount of power for running Office applications and browsing the internet, etc.  You can check out the overview and specifications on the ASUSTek site.

It came with Windows XP and the first thing I did was to install Windows 7 Ultimate onto it.  Windows 7 had drivers for everything except one unknown device.  Eventually, Windows 7's Problem Report utility suggested that I download a driver for the ACPI (Advanced Configuration and Power Interface).  Once this driver was installed the Device Manager had drivers for all the components of the hardware.

However, I noticed that the multi-touch and scrolling functions of the touchpad as well as the keyboard function key controls for volume, etc. were not working.  By installing the Windows XP versions of the drivers for the touchpad and audio card as well as the Super Hybrid Engine software I was able to get all the function key controls working.

Note: The Super Hybrid Engine software controls CPU and FSB clock speeds and optimises battery life.

At the time of this initial installation, I also saw that ASUS released a 0703 ROM BIOS upgrade and so I downloaded the ASUS Update windows based tool and the ROM image and upgraded the BIOS. Everything was fine with the machine working perfectly.

Windows 7 runs like a dream on the machine, even with Aero transparency turned on.

The Problem 

OK, so "If it ain't broke, don't fix it"..... Nah, I am a nerd and want the latest and greatest.  So when I recently saw that there was a couple of new ROM builds 0801 and 0905, I installed the ASUS Update tool again and installed 0905. I had previously updated the BIOS and all was well that time. Newer is always better, isn't it?  What could go wrong?

Rebooting the machine, I checked the BIOS version. Everything looked great.  Restarted Windows 7, logged in and the following error message appears:

Missing ASUS ACPI Driver, Please install ASUS ACPI Driver

Every time you click OK to dismiss the error, a new window with the same message appears. If you try to re-install the ACPI Driver, it will just roll back and fail.  If you remove the driver entirely all the function keys and power control functionality stopped working.  Then again, while the error was popping up, all that functionality is broken anyway.

After a bit of research on the font of all knowledge (Bing Search), it seems that the only way to fix the issue is to roll back to the 0703 BIOS.  It appears that the 0801 and 0905 builds change something that breaks the ACPI Driver for Windows 7.  Windows XP works fine with the new BIOS builds.  We are going to need a new ACPI Driver for Windows 7 before we can use the new BIOS builds. 

So now I knew what was required to fix the issue, but Murphy's Law was working against me.

The Solution

I already had a copy of the 0703 build of the ROM BIOS, so I tried to use the ASUS Update windows tool to roll back the BIOS.  It told me that it would only work on ASUS machines and that it needed the ASUS ACPI Driver installed first.  Great... it is because of the failure of that driver that I want to downgrade the BIOS.

Next idea, use the DOS level AFUDOS.EXE tool.  I already have USB drives set up to boot into Windows 98 command prompt and Windows Vista PBE (Pre Boot Environment) command prompt. So I use the Windows 98 drive and copy the AFUDOS tool and the ROM image to the drive and reboot.  It takes a few goes to get the machine to allow me to select the device to boot from, but I eventually get a Windows 98 command prompt.  Relieved, I run the tool ... only to be told that the BIOS I want to install is older and cannot be installed.

After more research and a few downloads, I managed to get a special Engineering Edition of the AFUDOS tool which with a couple of extra command line parameters will allow an earlier build to be installed:

AFUDOS /ixxxx.rom /pbnc /n               where xxxx=name.rom

Running this version of the ROM update tool (attached), I was finally able to restore the BIOS to version 0703 and everything is sweet again.

After the panic and stress was over, I tried looking again for information on what had happened and found this blog post:

Windows 7 on my ASUS EEEPC 1005HA and its ACPI Adventure

I wish I had found this earlier as it would have saved me a heap of time.

Oh, well .... we live and learn.


23-Oct-2007: ASUSTek have released new Windows 7 drivers which now work with (in fact, require) the 0905 BIOS, see follow-up post: Asus Eee PC BIOS joys with Windows 7