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BIOS Disassembly Ninjutsu Uncovered (Uncovered series)
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Top Customer Reviews
BIOS extension roms 25 years ago, so
when I found out about this book I
ordered it immediately. Having read 1/2
of it and having built some of the
software (chapter 7) on the cdrom, I
give this book 5 stars, but with a
caveat. This book and its cdrom are
heavily Microsoft Windows-centric.
Doing things with the files on the cdrom
using linux or *bsd instead of Microsoft
Windows, while not difficult, will be
accompanied by a certain amount of pain
as the doer massages file formatting to
make the files work with the gcc
toolchain. It's even worse in my case
since I am running 64-bit OpenBSD and I
can't run any 32-bit software (eg Fasm)
on the 64-bit version of OpenBSD.
The reader of this book not familiar
with x86 assembly code had better have a
dos x86 assembly tutorial handy. All the
BIOS code is written in 16-bit x86
That said, this is a uniquely
informative book on PC BIOS-related
hardware and I recommend it highly to
those who want to learn all about the
workings of the BIOS, either AWARD or AMI.
This book first gives you the Big Picture about the BIOS in PC computers, because you need that to find out where the next chapters fit in. What does the memory map look like? How does the BIOS start up? Then the author zeroes in on subjects that I haven't seen much coverage on anywhere. I didn't know how PCI worked, but he showed me how it was configured by the BIOS. How does the BIOS start up? Well, it's stored compressed, and gets uncompressed into RAM, and run. (Jeeze, the BIOS is really big!) Power On Self Test? BIOS file structure? Award and AMI BIOS layout? All here.
If nothing else, the author has gathered the essentials of a whole bunch of datasheets into one book. BIOS chips. Motherboard specs. CPU specs. PCI specs. On and on and on... You can see why this book stays on my "instant access" shelf.
In the areas the data sheets just do not cover, it's obvious the author has applied both hardware and software probes to find out... what on earth! is going on. Titles like "Obscure Hardware Ports" make my day! How a BIOS uses the CPU cache for RAM before RAM has been initialized ... cool beans!
Of course, he shows how to read and write the BIOS, along with plenty of warnings and caution. You definitely don't want to blunder into that without all the specialized knowledge (and source code!) in this book.
Then we get into how to read/write a PCI plug-in card's ROM, in careful detail.Read more ›