Asus G701VI: Unlock Hidden Bios Settings

Asus G701VI: Unlock Hidden Bios Settings

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Have you ever been stuck trying to install Ubuntu on the Asus Rog G701VI? With the default bios, You can’t. It’s not your fault: the Sata controller is stuck in Raid using Intel RST.

How does the issue look like? Usually, when trying to install Ubuntu, you simply won’t see any disk installed on the system (despite there is physically one or more).

That’s a shame if, like us, you’re a software developer. My colleague spent two years using Ubuntu inside a virtual machine (using VirtualBox) after finally giving up: it was slow, laggy and the VM crashed often.

Fortunately, there is a solution: Unlocking Bios Hidden Settings. Unlike the guide from Eldudorino which is pretty evasive on the steps to unlock the bios, this step-by-step guide shows you with screenshots and explanations how to unlock your Asus G701 Bios.

I’m pretty sure this guide can be used to unlock hidden bios settings on other laptops using AMI Bios.

CH341A programmer on bios chip Initial Attempt using CH341A Programmer on bios chip…

No need to fiddle with a hardware programmer, everything explained here works with only software! We spent a few hours trying with a CH341A programmer using FlashROM without any success. That’s when we thought: isn’t there a software bios editor?

Disclaimer

Be very careful. Flashing your laptop with an incorrectly modified bios file can brick it. You are solely responsible of what you do and can’t take us liable for any damage that may result from the procedures described in this article.

Also, it seems like some revisions of the Asus G701 feature a new bios chip that’s write protected. In that case, a hardware programmer (like the CH341A) is mandatory. Software bios modifications don’t work in that case.

Software Tools

The G701VI is an absolute beast featuring an Intel 6700HQ and a Nvidia GTX 1080 graphic card within an 17 inches laptop case. The problem is you can only run Windows on this laptop. Linux has no support for Intel RST Drivers.

How do we solve this issue? By disabling Intel Rapid Storage Technology in bios. As this option is not readily available out of the box (you can only choose between RAID and… RAID!), we have to:

  • Dump the Bios: First, we’re going to load the bios from the bios chip into a binary file using AMI Firmware Update,
  • Edit the bios menus: using AMIBCP, we’re going to edit the dumped bios binary file, and unlock hidden menus,
  • Flash Modded Bios: that’s the final part of the guide. We’re going to replace the factory bios with the modded one with unlock advanced settings.

Don’t worry: you can download both tools here. Let’s start!

Unlocking Bios

Dumping Bios

Let’s first save the original bios file:

  • Open AMIFlash Aptio,

AMIFlash Aptio

  • Click on Save button to save the bios to a binary file. Make sure to keep a backup of this file in case you would like to revert to the original bios file.

Dumping Bios to a file

This process takes a few seconds to a few minutes to save your existing bios to a file on your hard disk drive. Now that we have dumped the bios to a file, we can edit the bios.

Editing Bios File

Let’s now edit the bios binary file using another tool:

  • Open AMIBCP,

Edit Bios using AMIBCP

  • Select the bios file you dumped from disk,

Open Bios using AMIBCP

  • Now, Open Setup Configuration tab, unfold Setup > Advanced > SATA Configuration and locate SATA Controller(s) setting. Once this setting visible in the bios, by setting it to Disabled, it switches the SATA Controller from RAID to AHCI (which is supported by any Linux distribution),

Unlock Sata Controller Setting

  • In Access/Use, select Supervisor instead of Default. This will effectively make the option available in the bios,

Save modded bios

  • Save modded bios to another file. DO NOT OVERWRITE original bios file, keep a backup of it in case something goes wrong.

You should end up having 2 files: the original and the modded bios. It’s now time to flash the bios chip with the modded bios.

Flashing Modded Bios

Let’s flash the modded bios file to the flash chip:

  • Open AMIFlash Aptio,

AMIFlash Aptio

  • Select the modded bios file you saved previously by clicking on Open,
  • Keep default settings: flash only main bios image,

Flash Main Bios Image

Finally, click on Flash. The flashing procedure takes a few minutes. Let it work and don’t do anything

Make sure to flash your bios with AC Adapter connected and battery fully charged. Close as many programs as possible to avoid any crash during the bios update. Once updated, reboot the system and cross your fingers!

Bios Settings

On boot, enter bios (usually by pressing F2)

  • Go to Advanced Menu. You should see a menu called SATA Configuration. Press Enter to go in that menu.

SATA Configuration

  • Disable SATA Controller(s) in Bios: it doesn’t really disable disks, it switches them to AHCI by disabling the Intel RAID storage controller,

Disable SATA Controllers in Bios

  • Linux distribution like Ubuntu doesn’t support Fast Boot well (boot is likely to end on GRUB Terminal),

Disable Fast Boot

  • Finally, go to Save & Exit, and select Save Changes and Exit.

You can now install Linux on your Asus G701VI!!

Installing Ubuntu

Using your favorite USB Key filled with an Ubuntu ISO, you should be able to install it on your favorite laptop now.

Installing Ubuntu on Asus G701VI

Here is ours once the installation is finished.

Installing Ubuntu on Asus G701VI

And here ends this guide explaining How to install Linux on Asus G701 Laptops by using advanced bios unlocking skills. I’m still wondering why big companies like Asus are restricting their products this way. Why not enabling this setting by default? It doesn’t hurt, and makes sense for people who need to use alternative operating systems.

Of course, maybe only 2% of the people are using Linux. We design buildings with disabled people accessibility although most people are healthy.

I feel like we have a right to use a product we have bought the way we want. From my point of view, that goes into the same healthy direction as selling products we can fix ourselves, instead of trashing them.

By - CTO.
Tags: Asus G701 Bios Unlock

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