Saturday, March 21, 2009

Asus EEE 901 - fixing the black screen problem

Since I got it a couple of says ago me and my new Netbook have been on something of a journey - it is on its forth operating system already, if you count Linux, which barely made it out of the packaging before it annoyed me. This journey would have been much happier and smoother if it was not for one very common problem - generally known on the forums as the "Blank Screen" or "Black Screen" bug.

With XP and Vista, install was as expected until I installed the correct driver from the Intel site for the 945 Express graphics chip. After the first reboot the usual windows loading screens happen then all goes black. From the sounds and drive activity it seems to be still running but is not usable. Windows 7 had the same issue but this had the driver already, so it just went black as soon as installation finished.

A quick fix is to plug in a monitor and press fn-F5 to switch to it, then switch back, when the screen carries on working fine. Crazy!

Some digging on the forums later and it is a bug with every BIOS update for the EEE 901 after 1101, which was quite an early release. So until it is fixed properly, this is the procedure to fix the problem:

1. Get a USB stick that you don't mind formatting
2. Download and install the HP USB format tool (you don't need any HP gear to use this!)
3. Get some DOS system files - if you don't have any use these:
4. Run the tool - choose your USB drive, select Quick Format and Create a DOS Startup Disk, and navigate to the files you just got ready.
5. Download the v1101 bios from the ASUS site
6. Rename your 1101.rom file to 901.rom and copy it to your now bootable USB stick
7. With the USB stick in your EEE 901 boot it up and press ALT-F2 when its doing its BIOS checks - it should now do lots of updating. Let this process finish and it should reboot.
8. It will tell you to look at the BIOS settings, this is a good idea so press F1 when promtped. Load default settings, adjust as wanted and save and exit.

You should now be able to actually use a graphics driver!

1 comment:

  1. This problem is familiar to many, it seems to me that every experienced PC user has encountered this in the past, since this is an old version of the BIOS. I remember how much time people spent on reinstalling the drivers, but not everyone knew that the problem was in the BIOS. This is for those who are tired of downloading drivers from different places, ASUS Drivers Download, it's conveniently and simply. Thanks to the author for the article, it reminded me of my beautiful teenage period.