How to Downgrade a Phoenix BIOS using WinPhlash

The only reason you need to update your BIOS is when your computer is having compatibility issues with other hardware or experiencing problems that are caused by a buggy version of the currently installed BIOS. The old saying “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” applies to updating the BIOS and drivers. Downgrading the BIOS is not something people normally do, but there are times when the older BIOS version works better than the newer/current one and you need to downgrade to it while waiting for a newer, more stable BIOS release.

I recently bought an OEM laptop battery for my Acer notebook and have been experiencing problems with it. First of all, Windows 7 shows an error “No battery is detected” and the battery LED keeps on blinking orange in color. I sent the battery back and recieved a new replacement but it’s still got the same problem.

Finally, the battery seller/manufacturer told me that this issue is caused by the newer versions of Acer BIOS and I need to send my laptop back to the manufacturer to reset it back to the default factory version. The latest version BIOS for Acer TravelMate 6293 is v1.41 and the Acer support website allows me to download 4 versions that are older than the current version.

Fortunately, flashing the BIOS is way easier now because you can do it directly in Windows. Many years ago you will need to use a DOS boot disk such as DrDOS with NO drivers loading up in config.sys or autoexec.bat. Anyway I downloaded an older version of the Acer BIOS that is made for my Acer TravelMate 6293 notebook and ran the Phoenix WinPhlash tool (WinPhlash.exe). By default the “Backup BIOS and Flash BIOS with new settings” is selected and all I need to do is click the “Flash BIOS” button.

WinPhlash goes through the process of loading the new BIOS, analyzing old and new BIOS compatibility, reading the old BIOS, and then saving the old BIOS to a backup file. But upon reaching the final stage “Flash new BIOS”, an error message “The current system BIOS is the same version (or newer) than the version you are trying to flash, so the BIOS will not be changed” appears.

The current system BIOS is the same version

This is actually an extra security check by the Phoenix WinPhlash tool to prevent users from downgrading a Phoenix BIOS. Fortunately, there is quite an easy way to bypass this restriction and force WinPhlash to perform the downgrade anyway. If you want to know how to do it, here is the trick.

If you don’t already have it, Download Phoenix WinPhlash and run the exe to extract.

1. Open the folder where the WinPhlash tool is located and edit the PHLASH.INI file with a text editor like Notepad or Notepad++.

2. Look for the line Advanced=0 which is normally at the second line, change it to Advanced=1 and save.

WinPhlash ini file

3. Now run WinPhlash.exe and you will notice an extra “Advanced Settings” button at the top right of the program. Click on the Advanced Settings button.

WinPhlash Advanced Settings

4. Uncheck the “Flash only if BIOS version is newer than system” box and click OK.

Flash only if BIOS version is newer than system

Now you can successfully flash your BIOS with an older version without getting the error message. Although on the odd occasion a new feature may be included in an update, this is not all that common and the majority of the time, a new BIOS will only include hardware bug fixes or compatibility updates. It is always a good idea to check the motherboard or laptop manufacturer’s website before attempting to flash ANY new BIOS to check if any issues you do currently encounter, have actually been addressed. Again, I would like to stress that normally you do NOT need to upgrade or downgrade your BIOS if everything is working fine on your computer.

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