Hi Fred: Enjoy the great newsletters. Read each one from start to finish. I have a problem that I’m hoping you can shed some light on or point me in the right direction.

During the boot process I get "ERROR Can’t write to ESCD". It will continue to boot but Windows ME doesn’t behave the way it did before. (I have an ASUS A7A266, Rev 1.03 Motherboard that has been flashed to BIOS version 1011, with an AMD XP2100 CPU.) Do you have any ideas on what can be done to solve this problem? I have contacted ASUS but have received no reply. —Earle Barnes

Most PCs (except really old ones)  have an ESCD—an "Extended System Configuration Data"— area in the BIOS. The ESCD remembers information about your hardware (especially Plug and Play devices) from boot to boot so your system doesn’t have to sniff out and allocate resources for each device from scratch— thus speeding boot time. If the ESCD area fails, the system may still boot, but more slowly because each piece of hardware has to be re-identified and re-set up. You also may get odd behavior because the hardware resource allocations (IRQs, etc.) can change from boot to boot. (See http://www.pcguide.com/ref/mbsys/res/pnpESCD-c.html )

"Flashing" a BIOS— running a special program to update the software and data electrically "burned" into the BIOS chip— can sometimes fail. As you say your BIOS has been flashed, my guess is that something didn’t "take" during that process, and that your ESCD area or subsystem is scrambled.

I’d suggest you try re-flashing your BIOS with freshly-downloaded files from either the BIOS maker or motherboard vendor site. That will probably fix things, but if not, it may mean that your BIOS chip itself has developed a problem. In that case, I’d consider getting a new BIOS chip. They’re not very expensive: See http://www.google.com/search?q=replacement+bios 

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Fred Langa

About Fred Langa

Fred Langa is senior editor. His LangaList Newsletter merged with Windows Secrets on Nov. 16, 2006. Prior to that, Fred was editor of Byte Magazine (1987 to 1991) and editorial director of CMP Media (1991 to 1996), overseeing Windows Magazine and others.