Disclaimer

Flashing a modified BIOS is really dangerous.  If you brick your PC by following what I wrote here, I am not responsible and I cannot help you.  Even though this procedure worked for Asus H81M-E and B85 Pro Gamer, there is NO guarantee that it will work for other Asus UEFI BIOS.  If you are not using an Asus UEFI desktop motherboard, you should not try what I wrote here at all.  This procedure does NOT work for Asus laptops, do not try it on Asus laptop.

Introduction

I need to add SLIC 2.1 to an Asus H81M-E motherboard.  Performing the same steps I did in the past for older (non-UEFI) Asus and Gigabyte motherboards did not work.  I experienced the following difficulties:

  • andyp’s AMI BIOS mod tool does not recognize the AMI BIOS of H81M-E.  This turns out to be easily solved – use andyp’s Phoenix / Insyde / EFI BIOS mod tool instead.
  • The real problem is that after creating a modded BIOS, it cannot be flashed due to “Security Verification Failed” error.  While different solutions exist, I believe I have identified the simplest one for my situation.  This was not immediately obvious to me, it toke me considerable time to read different forum threads and articles before coming to this conclusion.  So I write this article in order to help other Asus UEFI motherboards users.

(Note 1: By the way, I feel that Asus H81M-E is a really nice motherboard for its ultra low price as of March 2015 – in my geographic area it costs less than 8GB DDR3, and less than one third of the price of i5-4460.  Originally I feared that it might come with an old BIOS that does not allow booting up of a Haswell Refresh CPU to perform necessary BIOS upgrade, but my 2015 February-imported board came with BIOS 2105, which is far more up-to-date than I hoped.  Reportedly this board can also overclock Pentium 20th Anniversary G3258 CPU, creating a combination with super price-performance.)

(Note 2: Two weeks later I bought Asus B85 Pro Gamer – the standard ATX version, not the micro-ATX version – for another PC intending to overclock it with Devil’s Canyon i5 4690K.  This March 2015 imported board came with BIOS 2103, i.e. already latest.  It is beyond nice – it is really impressive.  At a reasonable cost it comes with visibly higher quality components, Intel LAN, shielded audio, and has 8-phase VRM that should be good for overclocking.  Although some people believe motherboard VRM phases do not matter for Haswell overclocking, I think it matters, otherwise there should not be high end Z97 motherboards with 12 phases VRM.)

How to mod Asus desktop motherboard UEFI BIOS for SLIC

Note:

  • There is potentially an even simpler method than what I will describe below – some people suggested the use of Asus USB BIOS Flashback to avoid the Security Verification Failed error.  However, only some Asus motherboards have this feature.  Besides, I read some reports of this method not working.
  • For those who want to understand more, I highly recommend reading the whole thread of “How to permanently add SLIC in (newer) ASUS EFI“.
  • For the purpose of this article, only the “New Module method (Guide by akcent)” is used.
  • This method is permanent – SLIC remains even after BIOS update.  For most people this is a very good thing, however, if some people want this removed later it is not as easy.

Procedure:

  • Download the correct model and version of BIOS of the desktop motherboard from Asus web site and unzip it to get a .cap BIOS image file
  • Download MMTool and run it
  • In MMTool, click Load Image, change file type to .cap, then load the .cap BIOS image
  • In the bottom table inside MMTool, look at the FileName column and find DummyMSOA or MSOA
  • If you can find either of them, close MMTool and continue with this procedure.  If you cannot find any DummyMSOA or MSOA, stop here – this procedure is not meant for you.
  • Take a moment and watch this excellent animated guide by akcent carefully:
  • Run the latest version of Phoenix / Insyde / EFI BIOS mod tool and select the .cap BIOS image (Note: especially for new chipset such as Z170, make sure you use the latest version.  For X99, you must not use any version earlier than 2.58)
  • After a little processing it may show one or more Recovery Filenames – choose one that is closest to the actual model name of the motherboard and remember it (or write it down, or even take a screen capture)
  • Manufacturer: choose ASUS
  • SLIC File: Since I need SLIC 2.1, I simply choose ASUS.BIN from the supplied SLIC21 folder
  • SLP File: keep this blank
  • Key File: although the tool came with a key file containing WUJYN1EF3JJRWYVX9ATP6HRBD , I created (via Notepad) and used a key file containing 9C134SIMF51GYI8HEDJ2F47ZW instead
  • R/W File: keep this blank
  • Certificate: keep this blank
  • Method: choose “New Module” (not simply “Module”)
  • [For Asus X99 only, click Advanced and tick “Allow FV selection with Module methods”]
  • Click “Go”
  • [For Asus X99, when the tool shows a list of several entries, choose the second “File Volume”]
  • Find the output file, then rename it to the shorter Recovery Filename shown earlier [Note: do not skip this rename operation]
  • This procedure is really for Asus UEFI desktop motherboard – if you are not using one, do not attempt to flash it!!!  This does NOT work for Asus laptop!!!
  • Experts say to use a DOS-based flashing utility, but I was a little lazy and just used the EZ Flash 2 from within BIOS, then access a USB flash drive containing the renamed output file  (Note: If you still get a Security Verification Failed error, try the other key, and make sure you’re using the latest version of the tool, version 2.63 or later, and make sure you use the correct recovery name.)
  • After BIOS flashing, load optimize defaults and reconfigure the settings if necessary
  • Save settings and exit
  • For those who are looking for Asus H81M-E BIOS 2107 with permanent SLIC 2.1, try this at your own risk.
  • For those who are looking for Asus B85 Pro Gamer BIOS 2103 with permanent SLIC 2.1, try this at your own risk.  (Important: this is NOT for the micro-ATX B85M Gamer.)

Activate Windows 7 Ultimate by Asus OEM SLIC

Other better written articles can be found on this subject, so I just summarize the key steps:

  • Boot up Windows 7 Ultimate
  • Download a copy of ASUS21.xrm-ms and save it to somewhere, e.g. D:\
  • run cmd as Administrator
  • slmgr.vbs -ilc D:\ASUS21.xrm-ms
  • slmgr.vbs -ipk 2Y4WT-DHTBF-Q6MMK-KYK6X-VKM6G  (for Asus only.  If you need other keys, try google)
  • Then check activation status by
  • slmgr.vbs -dli

*** If anyone followed the procedure I wrote here, please leave a comment indicating the motherboard, BIOS version, which SLIC, which KEY, and your results.  Thank you.

*** BIOS mod requests should be posted to this forum, not here.

Advertisements