UnitiServe BIOS settings - disable read-only mode

Starting a new discussion on the Phoenix BIOS used in the UnitiServe.

I would like to boot from the CD/DVD drive, but the boot drive options are set to read only. How can one enable modifications in the BIOS?

If this cannot be done, I’m sitting with a bricked UnitiServe…

Yup, and I can assure you naim will not help unless you send it in and I am willing to bet no one has circumvented the bios.

Its disappointing but the motherboard in that thing was out of date when they released it, it has ddr2 as a hint to its age with Windows XP. Hopefully you did not spend a lot on it. Time to move on perhaps?

Quite honestly a server does not and probably should not have a hifi manufacturers logo on the front. We are talking computers here.

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Luckily I’ve only spent money on the CMOS battery. I told the seller about the issue (the unit is not booting up), and we’ve come to an arrangement (based on whether I can re-use some of the components). At this stage, it’s most likely only going to be the chassis/enclosure.

I was hoping to boot with Linux from the DVD drive, but seems as if the computer hardware is a closely guarded secret. And not being able to modify the BIOS is not helping either.

To be honest, if only I’ve done some more homework before deciding to buy the UnitiServe, I would never have done it (purely based on the fact that it’s using XP Embedded, I haven’t touched a Windows PC or device for more than 10 years now).

Naim has moved on to Linux (or a custom bult OS but derived from Linux), not so?

I have no idea what they do now to be honest. My personal opinion is that servers are best created by PC makers not hifi companies. FWIW that serve case has standard mounts for a mini ITX and such a motherboard will fit in back panel as well. But Richard will be telling us off before long you’ll need to search out other forums!

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Yes the Core uses Linux.

Ok, I’ll migrate to chill mode (now that I’m over the initial disappointment). Still in anger mode, actually…

Kubler-Ross - five stages of grief or disappointment

You can buy a second hand Innuos mini, for less than the price for Unitserve repair at factory. And it’s much more friendly and up to date.

Perhaps its time to just rip out innards and replace with a Raspberry Pie and big SSD drive, and then you have a serviceable and upgradable modern streamer


Good idea, either a Raspberry Pi, or a mini ITX

After you changed the battery, did you reset the BIOS to Naim defaults? It won’t start up if you didn’t.

I have, yes. Tried multiple times. Also saved BIOS changes before exit. The first reboot after changing the battery displayed this on the screen: Building DMI Pool … Success

Followed by a blinking cursor for about 5 minutes, I then switched off again.

There is a thread on this forum about a rebuilding of indexes that took a long time before that person’s unit started up, not sure if that is perhaps the case here?

If you have a display hooked up to the Unitiserve then you should be able to see what stage it has got to. This is sounding more and more like hard disc failure to me.

Presumably you can go into the BIOS and using the Naim defaults, just change the boot location to CD-ROM?

And in case he has any ideas, seeing as this Unitiserve is heading for the dump as you are so far from Salisbury, maybe it’s worth seeing whether @NeilS has any other advice to offer.

Most of the story is in another thread Neil -

Another thought, have you thought of removing the drive, and plug it into another computer with a USB adaptor, then try a repair (FSCK) on that drive?

That’s the plan, but I was hoping to boot directly via the CD drive without having to remove the hard drive.

You’ll probably want to run a SMART check on it first. Is it not CHKDSK for windows?

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The drives are in the correct locations in the BIOS & as you have found the boot order cannot be modified.
If the boot is stalling at DMI pool, then the system is not progressing as far as the POST & would suggest a motherboard/RAM hardware issue.


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Then, if the ram is in separate slots, take it out and reinsert it. An old trick needed after transport sometimes.

Hi @johan.pretroius @garyi

The Unitiserve comes from a 2006 design that was intended for the NaimNet range of products. NS01, NS02, NS03, then Hifi product HDX and finally Unitiserve. The server software was mainly done by a company called Digifi who are no longer in business + Microsoft dropped support for XPE ages ago. We managed to sort a software update out about 3 years ago to keep these old servers going, as Rovi (metadata provider) closed down their cd lookup service and broke things in the process. The tech industry just assumes software and hardware has a far shorter shelf-life than hifi.

Some easy diagnostics steps based on you have done the bios battery already:

  • pull the Naim pci soundcard (yes, we made & designed our own!), see if that helps matters
  • re-seat the ram stick
  • check the main hard-drive in a usb caddy on another pc - it’s ntfs formatted
  • If you’re handy with a soldering iron change the electrolytic caps on the mainboard - they dry out.

Regarding the locked bios, as an embedded product we had to put a few layers of protection in to minimise easy hacks on them. It’s not intended for end users to customise or as an open development platform.

Of course our service teams should be able to quote to repair it, but if the device was sold for parts / non working state then it is probably financially not worth having it repaired. Computing has moved on a long way in 15 years.

Hope that helps

Steve Harris
Software Director
Naim Audio Ltd.


Thank you for the info, Steve. It’s good to have a better understanding of the architecture and configuration, and I get the reasoning behind protecting your investment as well.

I’ll try out some of your suggestions and revert.

Hi Steve

I hope it is OK if I kind of capture Johan’s thread. My dealer just offered me a UnitiServe (2TB), it is an unused, like new device that has been in his storage since it was delivered. So far, so good. And I have been given some time to test it. I run it with my SuperUniti.
First question is related to the software: your website indicates 1.7b as latest update, but this particular one lists 1.7cRC1 as its suftware. Is that the most recent version?
Second question is about the UI. I can install the Desktop Client, but the first thing it tells me is that the “music server” (which I assume to be the Unitiserve) runs a newer software version and that I should update “this application” (which I assume is the Desktop Client). Is there a newer version of the Desktop Client than indicated on your website (
And, is there any other UI so I could edit album information, details like composer, genre etc.? The Desktop Client only allows me to edit Album Name and Artist. There is access to the data through Windows, but trying to edit results in an authorization issue, I do not have the “Adminitration Rights” to edit my CD-collection. Kind of odd.
Last question: the unit gets relatively warm, is that nomal?
I really would not bother to ask, but the CD-copies are just brilliant. I do understand there is no more support, and if the unit breaks down I am in trouble, but I am thinking of buying the UnitiServe, rip my entire collection, do a good copy and then, if the UnitiServe ever breaks down one day use that copy on a NAS.

Thanks for your advice and

Best regards