Cатсн²² (in)sесuяitу / ChrisJohnRiley

Because we're damned if we do, and we're damned if we don't!

How to unbrick an EeePC

asus_eee_pc_900_black006Yes you read that right… Before we get to the easy part (I use that term loosely), let me tell you a little story.

There was a guy called Bob (no, not the same Bob from the Pauldotcom show) who had a brand new 1000HG eeepc. It was happy running Ubuntu (and XP, but that’s a problem for another time), but Bob craved for OSX. After spending a few hours fighting to get iDeneb’s version of OSX running on the little machine, he realised that the problem lay with the BIOS. Yes, you can see where this is going. So after looking all over for a modded (OSX ready) BIOS version for the 1000HG, he settled on one for the 1000H. After all the 1000HG is only a 1000H with added 3G support (or so he thought). After following the instructions to reflash the BIOS (renaming the 1000H.rom to 1000HG.rom, putting it on a USB stick, and then booting while pressing fn+F2), the flash program balked and complained about the wrong ROMID. Of course, it’s elementary my dear Bob. ASUS has wisely set the ROMID differently between the versions of BIOS to stop fools from flashing with the wrong version. 5 minutes later and the rom file was open in AMI’s editing tool and the ROMID was changed to the correct number for the 1000HG. If you can’t see where this is going now, then all hope for you is already lost. Anyway, starting up again, the flash utility took the new rom file without so much as a wimper, and flashed without a single complaint. Reboot, and wondrous blackness. No BIOS, no flashing error lights, no error message, no beeps, no power to the USB key I used to flash… OMG Bob you fool, what have you done.

So begins the journey for a fix. Bob tried everything possible. Removing the battery, power cable and pressing the reset point under the eeepc for 30 seconds (and also holding the power for 30 seconds). He tried booting with the correct 1000HG.rom file (from the original CD) on a USB and holding fn+F2 till his fingers bled (ok, maybe not, but you get the idea right). All seemed lost, and the hunt for a fiy seemed to have come up dry. Then, finally in the back of a deep dark eeepc forum he saw a shiny shiny light. FN+CTRL+HOME, Yes, this could be it. After all, 3 buttons are hands down better than 2 (just think of the 3-finger salute, CTRL+ALT+DEL), and FN+F2 wasn’t cutting it as a solution.

There was only one problem with this proposed solution… timing. As they say, timing is everything. So it began. I’ll leave out the part about frustration, having to hold the power down for 3 or 4 seconds to get it to turn off before retrying, and the general annoyance level caused, and move straight to the part involving happy. We rejoin Bob later (about 30 minutes later) having already completed more than 35 nerve racking reboots. However this time around luck was on Bob’s side at last. There was life in the eee pc yet… the flashing tool blinked up onto the previously lifeless screen of eee-death, and as luck would have it (ok it was planned, honest) the USB key with the original BIOS was in the machine’s USB slot. Never before had the text of a BIOS flashing tool shined like the words of *insert name of suitable deity here*. YES, yes, yes… (no not the scene from “when Harry met Sally”) but the sound of eee-resurrection.

One reboot later and Bob had his 1000HG working again. It was then that he swore never to edit BIOS rom files for his systems ever again (until next time) after all, he knew how to unbrick it now 😉

The moral of this story…. always use FN+CTRL+HOME to unbrick your eeepc, because 3 keys are better than 2 any day of the week.

* The names have been changed to protect the innocent (and dumb)
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20 responses to “How to unbrick an EeePC

  1. Gary September 13, 2009 at 19:06

    After banging my head trying the fn+home+ctrl method and every other method I found on the internet, I decided to take the laptop apart. I took the shell off and unplugged the battery. Left it unplugged for a few minutes, plugged it back in, put the casing back together and voila, back in business. I have an ASUS Eee PC 1000HD. I hope this saves someone else countless hours of headaches. I went on youtube and watched a video on installing a touch screen to see how to take it apart. It’s basically 11 screws on the back (not including the ram and HD cover) and 7 screws under the keyboard.

  2. dangquybk October 15, 2009 at 01:26

    Thanks for the instruction.
    I have the bricked eeepc 901. When I sent to warranty service, they said moisture entered and caused the motherboard and keyboard died.
    I have try all the tricks above, no effect at all.
    But after that I opened and detached all parts, remove the CMOS battery.
    Reassemble and restart, it revived like magic 🙂

  3. Dirtchief January 17, 2010 at 04:31

    I tried everything I could find to unbrick my 900a, aside from disassembling it. What worked for me was to press Alt+F2 while on battery power only. It seams to go through th load process a little slower allowing time to hit the keys.

  4. Chris February 11, 2010 at 03:21

    The CMOS battery trick worked for me! Thanks!

  5. Dylan February 18, 2010 at 18:37

    Hi there – I have a slightly different scenario. Eee PC 4G is the model of my computer, while updating the BIOS the battery ran down, and since then it is totally dead, will not boot (I didn’t do this I’m fixing it for a FRIEND who did:).

    I have disassembled the netbook, disconnected the CMOS battery, that didn’t help.

    I have been trying both the Ctrl-Fn-Home and Alt-F2 and Fn-F2, but no luck. Is there any likelihood that this WILL work if I just keep on going, or is my problem too different?

    Lastly, this model has TWO home keys! One is a picture of a house on the bottom row, third key from left in between Fn and Alt. The other says home in blue lettering and is on the left-arrow key. Which one should I try? I assume the letters Home as the blue denotes it is accessed with the use of the Fn key . . .

    thanks in advance for your help!

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