92 - BITS - Intel BIOS Implementation Test Suite

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Introduction

The Intel BIOS Implementation Test Suite (BITS) provides a bootable pre-OS environment for testing BIOSes and in particular their initialization of Intel processors, hardware and technologies. BITS can verify your BIOS against many Intel recommendations. In addition, BITS includes Intel's official reference code as provided to BIOS, which you can use to override your BIOS's hardware initialization with a known-good configuration, and then boot an OS.

You might want to use BITS if:
- You're a system or BIOS developer, and you want to validate that your system meets Intel's recommendations.
- You're an OS or application developer building on technologies provided by Intel platforms, and you want to check if your system (or one of your user's systems) has configured those technologies correctly.
- You're an advanced user or developer, and you want to check your BIOS to see if it configures Intel hardware correctly, and if not, to make a stronger case to your BIOS vendor to get it fixed.
- You need to poke hardware in a low-level way, and you need a pre-OS environment to work in to avoid OS interference.

BITS functionality fits in three broad categories:
- Validate: run test suites to verify recommendations
- Configure: override BIOS using Intel reference code
- Explore: experimental tools and information gathering

BITS consists of a modified GRUB2 bootloader, with many additional commands to probe and manipulate hardware configuration, as well as scripts using these commands to test and reconfigure hardware.

The current version of BITS focuses primarily on CPU configuration and power management. BITS supplies general tests and functionality for all Intel x86 platforms, as well as additional specific support for Intel® processors based on the microarchitecture code name Nehalem and newer, which includes Intel Core i7, i5, and i3 desktop and mobile processors, and corresponding Intel Xeon server processors.

For more information, visit: http://biosbits.org/

You can see what tests you can perform on a BIOS with screenshots at http://biosbits.org/screenshots/

Adding BITS to your grub4dos USB boot drive

1. Download the latest ISO from http://biosbits.org/download/
2. Unzip the download and look for the ISO file - e.g. bits-767.iso
3. Copy the ISO file to your grub4dos USB boot drive
4. Add the following menu text to your menu.lst file (run RMPrepUSB and press F4 to get menu.lst into Notepad):

title bits-767.iso
map /bits-767.iso (0xff)
map --hook
root (0xff)
chainloader (0xff)

5. Test the menu entry using the QEMU button in RMPrepUSB - You should see a 'Welcome to GRUB!' message:


Wait for about 10-30 seconds and you should now see a grub menu like the one below:



6. You can now test any BIOS by booting from this USB drive and running BITS!

WARNING!

If you find that after using BITS, you can no longer access your internal hard disk, please try the following:
  1. Disconnect the power cable from the computer
  2. Remove the main battery (if you have a notebook or tablet/slate)
  3. Press the Power On button to discharge the circuit board
  4. Reconnect the battery and power cable and switch on the system
If this still fails, try leaving the system for 10 minutes with a power cord disconnected. If that still does not fix the problem, try resetting to the BIOS defaults. If that still does not fix the problem, try complaining to Intel!