Updating BIOS on ALIX 2 series (fixing “NET: Registered protocol family 16” boot freeze)

I recently tried to install voyage linux on an ALIX computer and found that versions 5.0 don’t run on it hanging with “NET: Registered protocol family 16” message during the boot. After quick research I found that “MFGPT workaround” option should be disabled in the bios settings in order to fix the problem.

Unfortunately BIOS versions prior to 0.98d do not have that option, so I had to upgrade the BIOS. The instructions for the upgrade are available at http://pcengines.ch/freedos.htm. For some reason only “LBA Copy” method worked for me, though others report that “File Copy” is the most reliable method. By default LBA is turned off on ALIX, so make sure that you change the bios settings from CHS to LBA. To do so when you see the memory check during the boot press “S” then “L”, “Q”, “Y”. If you don’t do that you’ll be getting something like “.Error!.” or the system will just freeze after “FreeDOS” message, depending on the method you’re using for the FreeDOS installation.

Now format the flash card (For some reason the method didn’t work for me until I reformat the card), write the image, copy the new BIOS files, properly eject the card from the card reader (use the “Safely Remove Hardware” tray icon for that), insert the card into ALIX and boot from it.

I copied the new bios files into directory BIOS, so after boot I need to issue the following commands:

C:\>cd BIOS
 Volume in drive C has no label
 Volume Serial Number is 4752-912D

 Directory of C:\BIOS

.                    <DIR>  09-10-08  2:11p
..                   <DIR>  09-10-08  2:11p
ALIX1    BIN       524,288  12-10-07  2:00p
ALIX2    BIN       524,288  12-10-07  2:00p
ALIXBIOS TXT         5,052  12-10-07  2:01p
SB       COM         1,648  08-30-07  2:36a
         4 file(s)      1,055,276 bytes
         2 dir(s)      14,086,144 bytes free
ALIX flash update (C)2007 PC Engines GmbH
Flash ID = 1 FFFF GPI = FF
Flash ID = 0 9D37 GPI = 01
Reading 512KB flash image alix1.bin................
Compare Erase Program Verify - update OK.

Now power ALIX off and replace the FreeDOS card with Voyage card and enjoy the problem gone.

2 thoughts on “Updating BIOS on ALIX 2 series (fixing “NET: Registered protocol family 16” boot freeze)

  1. Thanks a lot for the details. But I had great difficulty in installing FREEDOS on CF card (Under windows vista) using physdiskwrite tool. So I tried File Copy option, which as you mentioned never working for me also. But getting write error after writing some bytes into CF card with physdiskwrite tool. The following link http://m0n0.ch/wall/list/showmsg.php?id=339/49 offered great help in solving this problem.

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