Atari VCS BIOS update 20: Disable secure boot & password search techniques I tried. – GSM FRP

Episode 027 : The recent Atari VCS BIOS update to revision 20 changed (or disabled) accessing the BIOS Password with the one I previously exposed. In this video, I demonstrate how to disable (partially) the Secure Boot verification for booting unsigned operating systems (Lakka, Batocera, etc), show some of the techniques I used to try and find the password, discuss a risky but reported proven way to get into the setup tool, and lastly share my final thoughts of why I am moving on from the Atari VCS (for now).

The Lenovo in the video is a ThinkCentre M720 Tiny
Part Number: 10T700DJUS
Specs are:
* 9th Generation Intel® Core™ i5-9500T Processor with vPro™ (2.20 GHz, up to 3.70 GHz Turbo Boost, 6 Cores, 6 Threads, 9 MB Cache)
* 8 GB DDR4 2666MHz
* Integrated Intel® UHD Graphics 630
* 256 GB PCIe SSD


19 thoughts on “Atari VCS BIOS update 20: Disable secure boot & password search techniques I tried. – GSM FRP”

  1. Thanks @Retro Axis for posting this. You probably saw a few of my comments reaching out to you about this ridiculous BIOS update from ATARI. I agree 100 percent with you. I will probably also want to move on unless ATARI changes their "rules". This is supposed to be an Open system however ATARI tried to go around that by saying its a "Console". Its NOT a console. Its a Mini PC so they should have sold it as that. After they pushed this update it upset a lot of people. You should have the option to do whatever the hell you want to in our BIOS. I know the argument of "well you should not mess with BIOS" because they "Don't support" Well that BS. Any PC company (DELL, HP) and others give access to their BIOS to make changes and are still supported. IF ATARI did not want that then they should NOT have "architected" their system as such. If they want to call it a Console like XBOX or PS then CLOSE it they should have done that. However we both know they were never ever going to do that. This is a MiniPC so now they have "sliced" their "limited' user base even more with their "UPDATES" This will only affect their sales and I feel their product will make going forward. They should have just sold it as a MiniPC and let it be a "Nostalgic" little PC and tried that. Thanks again for posting this. You are a true PC Champion!!!!

  2. I did the bios shorting method from AtariAge. Worked. It got me back to where I was before the latest bios update. I really don't want to do it again though. I am in my 50s, and my hands and eyesight aren't what they used to be.

  3. once again Atari is stabbing them self in the back. I dont think i am going to buy one now, if this is how there going to run things . There are far beter mini pcs to buy in the same price rang. come Atari , if it wasn't for us none of this would have never even made it off the ground .

  4. At this stage, before Atari even sells at retail, direct sales, saying it's a failure seems very
    premature, and biased. I understand you're irritated at the update, but it's not stopping it
    from being used as a Mini-PC right now. We can still run Windows, and Linux, and others,
    but of course I want like some BIOS access, and an easier way to boot non-UEFI systems,
    but the BIOS is not a limit on GPU RAM. It's only a reservation; it stops RAM overclocking.
    I expect another BIOS update anyway, in due course, along with another system update…

    Nice that you got the Lenovo cheaply. Prices (here, NL) for that box 2nd-hand remain high!
    This video is really just talking about normal Linux UEFI tools though, not VCS specific, so
    it makes a good series bridge, indeed. Good luck with your new general Linux video series!

  5. So let me address this "failure" comment, since apparently it triggers people to be rude and post childish responses here in the comments. The Atari Jaguar was a failure because Atari rushed it out the door before it was ready to try and beat the competition, namely Nintendo, Sony and Sega. The Jaguar CPU was complex and difficult to program. You can read a great write up at Atari Age ( or ( Had they waited, would it have made a difference? Perhaps, but without a time machine, we'll never know. I remember playing with a Jaguar at a friend's house who had all of the game systems b/c their dad worked for K-Mart and brought home the consoles as soon as they hit the warehouse. I have a fond place in my heart for the Jaguar system, and have collected even some homebrews that were made in recent years. My correlation between the VCS-800 and the Jaguar as far as failure relates specifically to the timing of the launch. In the case of the Jaguar, it was too early and needed more time to develop. In similar fashion, my observation or opinion is that the VCS-800 may be too late. I could be wrong, and again I am watching and waiting to see what happens. I invested in these machines with the purpose of believing at the time, the conditions were right for Atari to re-enter the segment. However, due to the delays and current market conditions, I am not so sure. Everyone keeps reminding me that the backer machines are PRE GA or pre-retail devices. And that is great, because it shows they at least learned from the Jaguar failure and are letting this bake and get tested more. But going back to market conditions and timing. We just had the Playstation 5 and XBox One X launches this Christmas. Are they too late to market? Is the PC/Console Hybrid story compelling enough for consumers? Do people really want to use their TV as a computer? Just because I don't, doesn't mean the market is non-existent, right? What happened to Web-TV? If I already have a Steam account, and I can get the same content as what is on the Atari VCS, do I really want another store to keep track of my apps? These are the questions I am asking and what leads me to question the market potential. There are some very positive things about the VCS, that I have shared on this channel, and that make the VCS stand apart. But is it enough? That is what we all want to know. Yes, some of you may be more optimistic or passionate about the success of this platform, and I commend that positivity and hope the same. I'm curious to know what you think?

  6. Well this is bogus. Until they rollback their policy I can't really in good faith recommend their product. Glad that I haven't really messed with the VCS for a while – now I can go in and disable the main OS for now and leave as is.

  7. Thank you for putting all the effort into digging into this. Extremely disappointing results, but glad you laid it all out there in the video. I was lucky to have been monitoring the reddit sub before I rebooted mine and I was able to disable the emmc altogether, but I feel like most folks who haven't got the visibility into this issue are going to get this bios almost inevitably during initial setup.

    Cheers, Great video, I subbed.

  8. Is it possible to boot Batocera or other unsigned Linux distros by adding the .efi file from a signed distro like Ubuntu or Debian to the BOOT directory?
    I was attempting this last night but for some reason Ubuntu wouldn't load on my Atari VCS on a USB drive anyway lol.
    Also, do the drives need to be formatted as Master Boot Record?

    Thanks 😀

  9. So not only did the community lose the hobbyist BIOS, my system's stability is shot in Win10. Games that gave me a rock-solid 50FPS in windowed mode for 7 weeks are now BSODing and crashing to desktop.

  10. I'm trying to disable secure boot. I have the new password and I'm able to access the BIOS, but when i go to "administer secure boot" (to turn off secure boot) it says "the operation is only allowed before booting any boot device!!! Please reset system and enter this menu directly if need use this operation".

    Therefore I can't turn off secure boot. Any ideas?

  11. How can I get my system to boot up.

    I opened my Atari first time. It starting updating and it was taking over two hours. So I shut Atari off to see if it would help. Now Atari turns on and off with fan on and Atari sign on tv. The unit keeps turning on and off.

    What should I do next?

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