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Thread: HOWTO: Flash BIOS, The Ubuntu Way

  1. #11
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    Re: HOWTO: Flash BIOS, The Ubuntu Way

    @loyeyoung,

    I applaud your effort and think other ways of accomplishing this task are worth mentioning. I don't, however, know very many people who still use a floppy. But if you do and it works for you (notice I included similar code to create a floppy bios flasher as well, and all in all, the code is less than yours. But that's neither here nor there. ). I also don't know what you mean when you say my instructions contain untested software to be used on Debian or Ubuntu. All software I mention is available through the repositories (and has been tested on Debian and Ubuntu) with the exception of the FreeDOS FDOEM image, which doesn't get used in any capacity until the reboot anyhow to provide the environment to allow your machine to process the new bios code.

    But like I said, and am a firm believer in: it's always good to have many points of view.
    Last edited by ciscosurfer; May 10th, 2007 at 04:03 AM.

  2. #12
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    Re: HOWTO: Flash BIOS, The Ubuntu Way

    This is a very informative post and not to take anything away from it, but Dell already has a utility that I just learned about for flashing the BIOS on their machines running GNU/Linux:

    http://linux.dell.com/projects.shtml (BIOSdisk, a little past halfway)

    It seems pretty interesting and lets you make a floppy, floppy image, installable package (currently only RPM, but my hope is that they update it to include DEBs since they're pre-installing Ubuntu now), and even an option to add it to your bootloader so your next boot will kick off the update automatically! I've never tried it so I can't say how well it works, but I'd be interested to see if any Dell owners have tried it and used it successfully.

  3. #13
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    Re: HOWTO: Flash BIOS, The Ubuntu Way

    Quote Originally Posted by msak007 View Post
    This is a very informative post and not to take anything away from it, but Dell already has a utility that I just learned about for flashing the BIOS on their machines running GNU/Linux
    I just gave Dell's utility a try, and it worked perfectly to make a bootable image to flash the BIOS. However, their software is targeted to Fedora, so it needs some little tweaks.
    I have a Dell Inspiron 1300 laptop running Ubuntu Feisty.
    I had tried before to run the .exe file under M$Windoze, but since my battery is dead it didn't let me go through. So this is what I did under Ubuntu. Again, try it at your own risk...

    1) I went to ftp://ftp.dell.com/bios and downloaded the updates I needed (I was 6 versions behind!!!). In my case, they are executables files with name ME051xyy.EXE where xyy is the version number.

    2) I downloaded the biosdisk-<version>.tar.gz tarball from http://linux.dell.com/biosdisk/

    3) biosdisk needs dos2unix and some other stuff. Everything should be ok doing
    Code:
    sudo apt-get install sysutils syslinux
    4) I unpacked and installed biosdisk with (in the directory where the tarball is)
    Code:
    tar -xzvf biosdisk-<version>.tar.gz
    cd biosdisk-<version>
    sudo sh install.sh
    which should install the script /usr/sbin/biosdisk

    5) since the installed script is a sh script, under Ubuntu (and under any Debian based distro I think) this must be modified into a bash script because of some shell conflict. Therefore, do
    Code:
    sudo gedit /usr/sbin/biosdisk
    edit the first line #!/bin/sh into #!/bin/bash, save and exit.

    6) Install the FILE.EXE executable Bios update file downloaded from Dell with
    Code:
    cd <the directory where FILE.EXE is>
    sudo biosdisk install FILE.EXE
    this produces a /tmp/FILE.img image file and then exits, complaining that the automated procedure only works under Fedora. The file must then be manually copied with
    Code:
    sudo mv /tmp/FILE.img /boot/
    7) modify grub's boot menu with
    Code:
    sudo gedit /boot/grub/menu.lst
    adding the following lines at the end:
    Code:
    title           BIOS Flash FILE
    kernel          /memdisk
    initrd          /FILE.img
    Then reboot and select the new entry in the boot menu. This should launch the DOS utility to flash the BIOS. If everything goes well, it should check if the system is OK, ask if you want to update the BIOS, update it and automatically reboot.

    I hope this helps!

  4. #14
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    Re: There is a MUCH easier way.

    i fount the part where i'm told to unzip the .exe a bit confusing, but once i realized you are simply telling me to unzip whatever file i have to get to the .exe, everything went smoothly. thank you for taking the time and writing this!

  5. #15
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    Re: HOWTO: Flash BIOS, The Ubuntu Way

    I just completed the BIOS update to A14 on my Inspiron 6400 and it worked. The instructions from marmux are spot on.

  6. #16
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    Talking Re: HOWTO: Flash BIOS, The Ubuntu Way

    Quote Originally Posted by msak007 View Post
    This is a very informative post and not to take anything away from it, but Dell already has a utility that I just learned about for flashing the BIOS on their machines running GNU/Linux:

    http://linux.dell.com/projects.shtml (BIOSdisk, a little past halfway)

    It seems pretty interesting and lets you make a floppy, floppy image, installable package (currently only RPM, but my hope is that they update it to include DEBs since they're pre-installing Ubuntu now), and even an option to add it to your bootloader so your next boot will kick off the update automatically! I've never tried it so I can't say how well it works, but I'd be interested to see if any Dell owners have tried it and used it successfully.
    Sounds good to me!

  7. #17
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    Re: There is a MUCH easier way.

    Quote Originally Posted by r2d22 View Post
    i fount the part where i'm told to unzip the .exe a bit confusing, but once i realized you are simply telling me to unzip whatever file i have to get to the .exe, everything went smoothly. thank you for taking the time and writing this!
    Sorry for the confusion. The main reason I was so detailed was to allow users to understand the full scope of what is about to occur. Could it be rewritten to better explain what's going on? Possibly. But all in all, I believe most users will get the gist of it. And I'm glad you got it working for yourself.

    It is my hope that in the future that more and more computer manufacturers will adopt native methods to flash our motherboards BIOSes. If you can find a native solution, that's fantastic, and by all means (usually) a quicker and smoother solution.

    As always, read up on current flashing information for your board before attempting anything--you might be surprised to find a solution that "fits the bill" and takes care of everything for you.

  8. #18
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    Re: HOWTO: Flash BIOS, The Ubuntu Way

    Is there any way you could create a variation of this how-to for making bootable USB pen/flash drives?
    To err is human, to forgive is very ... dog-like.

    Thomas Aaron
    FetchMasters, LLC

  9. #19
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    Re: HOWTO: Flash BIOS, The Ubuntu Way

    When I try to create the CD image, and I get to the part where I need to copy my .exe and new bios file to /mnt/temp, I get an error:

    No space left on the device.

    Any thoughts on that?

    Best,
    Tom
    To err is human, to forgive is very ... dog-like.

    Thomas Aaron
    FetchMasters, LLC

  10. #20
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    Re: HOWTO: Flash BIOS, The Ubuntu Way

    Quote Originally Posted by ciscosurfer View Post
    Thanks for the tip. I've added this information into my HOWTO as an "EDIT".

    Glad this HOWTO was helpful for you.
    I have tried many options to flash a Foxcon 661 board and have failed after about 500 attempts thinking Iwas so dumb.
    I have removed and changed the BIOS jumper the TBL_EN jumper, tried AFU860H and AWDflash all to no avail
    AWD flash stops when you get to the Program and the AFU860 comes back and says the jumper must be in as the Bios is write protected.
    Any tip would help. have tried all combinations of jumpers and there is no write protect jumper on this board.
    The manual is absoluteley ****** useless.
    Their tech support is laughable and has suddenly today disappeared from the Auto reply address they send you email from
    HELPPPPPP.

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