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Thread: HOWTO: Flash BIOS, The Ubuntu Way

  1. #81
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Ubuntu Jaunty Jackalope (testing)

    Re: HOWTO: Flash BIOS, The Ubuntu Way

    Quote Originally Posted by twowheeler View Post
    I tried the biosdisk method from this thread, but the bios upgrade file from Dell is R71684.exe, a windows-only file. In freedos I get "This program will not run in DOS mode." It will not run in wine either (no great surprise.) Any suggestions?
    Try a windows live cd, there are several available on the net, ofcouse stricktly illigal but they will do the job. Be carefull and check them for virusses before using them. On the other hand if you only use it for the bios update and don't run a windows partition who cares
    The cloud is evil. Ubuntu One > /dev/null !!!

  2. #82
    Join Date
    Apr 2006

    Lightbulb Re: HOWTO: Flash BIOS, The Ubuntu Way

    In my previous post I mentioned that I really couldn't find the fdoem.144.gz file on the freedos website. Flashrom didn't recognize my BIOS either so that wasn't an alternative.

    In this thread loveyoung mentioned dosemu, but his howto made use of a floppy and my computer doesn't take floppies. So that didn't seem like a solution for me. It could have pointed me in a right direction, but I am not really an experienced linux user or have a lot of technical computer knowledge.

    I went to the freedos IRC to ask if someone might know where I could find the fdoem.144.gz file. On the freedos IRC I met mcericicq, who was very friendly and helpful. Though he couldn't help me with the fdoem.144.gz file, he described in 8 steps howto create a bootable BIOS cd with the use of dosemu. It took me some small steps more, but they were easy to figure out.

    I promised mcericicq to post in this thread how I did it. So here it is. Create a bootable BIOS CD with the help of dosemu. It worked for me and should work for you... but no guarantees!

    1 Start with installing dosemu. Open up a terminal and paste:

    sudo apt-get install dosemu
    and run dosemu from the command line

    close it afterwards, but this creates the .dosemu directory you need later

    2 Next step is to create an floppy image you can use in dosemu. Copy & paste this line in the terminal

    dd if=/dev/zero bs=1024 count=1440 of=floppy.img
    3 To be used in dosemu this floppy image needs to be dos read/writeable, To do this type in the terminal

    mkdosfs  floppy.img
    4 copy the floppy.img to the .dosemu directory. On the command line:

    mv -i floppy.img .dosemu
    5 To be able to mount the floppy image in dosemu you need to create a dosemu.conf file in your home directory and edit a line. The dosemu.conf is available in /etc/dosemu/dosemu.conf So copy it to your home directory by typing this at the command line:

    cp -i /etc/dosemu/dosemu.conf ~/
    Dosemu will only use this file when you rename it to .dosemurc
    You can rename it on the command line with:

    mv -i dosemu.conf .dosemurc
    6 Next step is to edit your ~/.dosemurc Type in a terminal

    gedit ~/.dosemurc
    Find line 81, that says: # $_vbootfloppy = ""

    delete the # and change that line in

    $_vbootfloppy = "floppy.img +hd"

    save the file and close gedit.

    7. Now it is time to boot dosemu with in the terminal

    xdosemu -C
    8.In xdosemu: note this line:

    D: = LINUX\FS/HOME/yourusername attrib = READ/WRITE

    D:, or whatever letter is mentioned, is where dosemu has your home directory mounted, that will be usefull to know later on

    Look for this line:

    Z: = Linux\FS\${DOSEMU_LIB_DIR}/DRIVE_Z attrib = READ ONLY

    It probably says Z: otherwise use the letter mentioned.


    and then type

    sys a:
    This will copy KERNEL.SYS and COMMMAND.COM to the floppy.img

    you can check if it worked by going to A: and type ls

    9 Now copy all the files you need to flash your bios to A:
    Go to D: or wherever dosemu has your home directory mounted, you can copy the files with

    copy yourfilename a:\
    use ls to see your directories and you can switch directories with cd or go back with cd\

    9 close dosemu with

    copy the floppy.img from .dosemu to your home directory and create and image with

    mkisofs -o Bootable-CD-BIOS-Image.iso -b floppy.img floppy.img
    This will give you an Bootable-CD-BIOS-Image.iso file that you van burn to an empty disc with many cd burners. Or from the command line with:

    cdrecord -v Bootable-CD-BIOS-Image.iso

    Please post any questions about this howto in this thread and i will try to answer them. Be aware that i have very limited knowledge about this subject. Now that fdoem.144.gz is no longer available, maybe ciscosurfer wants to rewrite his howto and incorporate mine. He seems to understand what he is suggesting and i cannot totally say that But that is up to him ofcourse. (It would be a good thing; just search for fdoem.144.gz with google and you see how often his howto is copied on other sites/forums)
    Last edited by joris1977; May 4th, 2009 at 09:41 PM. Reason: stupid misstakes

  3. #83
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    A blue state of mind

    Re: HOWTO: Flash BIOS, The Ubuntu Way

    Quote Originally Posted by nyarnon View Post
    Try a windows live cd, there are several available on the net, ofcouse stricktly illigal but they will do the job. Be carefull and check them for virusses before using them. On the other hand if you only use it for the bios update and don't run a windows partition who cares
    If only it were that simple. This @*&#! Dell program won't run on the ram disk that the windows live cd uses. It apparently will only run on the hard disk.

    I can't believe it, but I may have to partition my hard drive and install windows 2000 (I have an old CD) just to run the BIOS update!!!

    Edit: Eureka -- all I needed was this site.
    Last edited by twowheeler; April 22nd, 2009 at 03:39 AM. Reason: solved
    My new favorite open source software combo: apache2 + php5 + mysql + drupal + civicrm

  4. #84
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Ubuntu 8.10 Intrepid Ibex

    Re: HOWTO: Flash BIOS, The Ubuntu Way

    Gigabyte support only offer bios updates for windows machines, but i have found that wine makes the process easy for extracting the .exe file and then copy to usb thumb drive and and select the Q-Flash utility from the bios options.

    Regards John

  5. #85
    Join Date
    Jan 2008

    Re: HOWTO: Flash BIOS, The Ubuntu Way

    Quote Originally Posted by marmux View Post
    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 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

    3) biosdisk needs dos2unix and some other stuff. Everything should be ok doing
    sudo apt-get install sysutils syslinux
    4) I unpacked and installed biosdisk with (in the directory where the tarball is)
    tar -xzvf biosdisk-<version>.tar.gz
    cd biosdisk-<version>
    sudo 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
    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
    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
    sudo mv /tmp/FILE.img /boot/
    7) modify grub's boot menu with
    sudo gedit /boot/grub/menu.lst
    adding the following lines at the end:
    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!
    tried this and shows the following on boot:
    "Error 11: Unrecognized device string

    Press any key to continue..."

    which then returns to the grub menu.

    fyi, the biosdisk install option is somewhat silly
    in that it places the img boot entry above all other
    kernel boot entries and changes the the default number
    to the normal default kernel. back up menu.1st 1st.

  6. #86
    Join Date
    Nov 2007

    Re: HOWTO: Flash BIOS, The Ubuntu Way

    Quote Originally Posted by ciscosurfer View Post
    To create the disk you must first unpack the image file by changing directories to where the image was downloaded and issuing the following:
    gunzip FDOEM.144.gz
    Just wanted to add a third method (my preferred method). I'm not sure how you'd format it to match with the rest of the methods on the page, so I'll include all of the instructions that I use when updating a bios. Why use physical media (floppy or CD rom) and physical effort (inserting/removing media) when you could make the computer do all the work for you?

    Creating the disk (No CD or Floppy method)

    First, acquire the appropriate DOS image and extract it:

    gunzip FDOEM.144.gz
    Now mount the image so that you have access to it:

    mkdir /tmp/floppy
    sudo mount -t vfat -o loop,quiet,umask=000 FDOEM.144 /tmp/floppy
    Put the files in the floppy image by placing them in the folder where you just mounted the image. For my Foxconn motherboard, this was:

    unzip -d /tmp/floppy
    Now that the BIOS updating files are on the floppy image, unmount it and move it to the /boot/ directory so that GRUB can use it to boot:

    sudo umount /tmp/floppy
    rmdir /tmp/floppy
    sudo mv FDOEM.144 /boot/biosupdate.img
    For GRUB to boot the disk, it needs memdisk. This is in the syslinux package, so install it (if necessary) and copy memdisk to where GRUB can get to it easily:

    sudo apt-get install syslinux
    sudo cp /usr/lib/syslinux/memdisk /boot/
    Finally, we need to add the boot-screen option to boot up our bios update disk, so open the GRUB menu:

    sudo gedit /boot/grub/menu.lst
    and add the following lines at the end of the file (after the line "### END DEBIAN AUTOMAGIC KERNELS LIST"):

    title       BIOS upgrade
    kernel      /boot/memdisk
    initrd      /boot/biosupdate.img
    Note that for nonstandard installations where the standard boot options are not executed from the path /boot/, you will need to modify the paths above correspondingly. For example, I have /boot/ on its own partition, and instead of seeing the default "/boot/initrd.img-2.6.28-13-generic" as a boot path in /boot/grub/menu.lst, I saw "/initrd.img-2.6.28-13-generic". This meant that the paths had to be put in as "/memdisk" instead of "/boot/memdisk".

    Reboot, and you should have the option to select "Bios Update" from the GRUB boot menu.

    EDIT: Also, in addition to the posts linked to from the first post, this post was helpful in coming up with this method:
    Last edited by Eric89GXL; July 10th, 2009 at 05:46 PM.

  7. #87
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala

    Re: HOWTO: Flash BIOS, The Ubuntu Way

    That is very cool. Thank you, Eric89GXL.

  8. #88
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Ubuntu 14.04 Trusty Tahr

    Re: HOWTO: Flash BIOS, The Ubuntu Way


    Well done! Will incorporate into tutorial. Thanks for sharing this

  9. #89
    Join Date
    Jul 2009

    Re: HOWTO: Flash BIOS, The Ubuntu Way (Compaq Presario)

    This is a helpful post, but there was an issue for my situation I had to approach another way.

    My Compaq Presario V6000 (AMD 64) had problems and needed a flash upgrade. Dual boot with Vista and Ubuntu 9.04. The Windows Vista partition was dead.

    Unfortunately for me, HP uses an .exe flash utility that only works in a Windows environment: WinPhlash. The best solution is to use a Windows boot disk, which you can make with BartPE. But my laptop wouldn't read any Windows boot disks from CD or USB.


    After much trial and error and Web research, I hit upon a flash solution that works with HP and Compaq laptops. Here's a short list of steps:

    1. Download the HP Bios upgrade .exe file for your model from
    2. Extract all the files.
    3. HP Bios files have the extension .WPH (i.e. 30B7F42.WPH) - make a note of the file. It should be about 1MB.
    4. Search the Web for the Phoenix DOS flash utility phlash16.exe and download.
    5. Search and download a DOS boot disk image (iso file)
    6. Use an Ubuntu utility such as ISO Master to add the bios file (.WPH) and the Phlash16.exe program to the DOS boot disk image.
    7. Burn the image to a CD (I like to use a read/write CD if getting the image right takes several tries)
    8. Shut down the machine
    9. Boot to the CD. Dos will load.
    10. At the command line type "phlash16 ########.wph /X" (Notes: substitute the name of your bios file for #; the /X switch is needed for phlash16 to work, bypassing HIMEM)

    Follow the prompts - a lot of beeping later, your HP or Compaq laptop will be reflashed.

  10. #90
    Join Date
    Apr 2007

    Re: HOWTO: Flash BIOS, The Ubuntu Way

    I tried the method described by Eric89GXL, but the BIOS files were Win32. After poking around in the BIOS files, I found the boot disk image. After verifying the image was correct, I copied it to /boot/biosupdate.img instead. When I rebooted into it it worked perfectly.

    So, following his instructions and using the boot disk image directly from the manufacturer worked perfectly. It may be a better/easier method for others, since any new BIOS updates can be performed by copying the new bootdisk image to /boot/biosupdate.img, then rebooting into it.

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