Difference between revisions of "Flashing BIOS from Linux"

From ArchWiki
Jump to: navigation, search
m (Method 2: From Source: there is a package in the AUR for this. we don't need a section on compiling from source.)
(Add summary to Dell instructions)
 
(77 intermediate revisions by 42 users not shown)
Line 1: Line 1:
 
[[Category:Mainboards and BIOS]]
 
[[Category:Mainboards and BIOS]]
 +
[[ja:Linux から BIOS を書き換える]]
 
This article aims on providing information on flashing your system BIOS under Linux. Most manufacturers provide a Windows executable or a BIOS executable that can only be run under Windows. However, there are a few utilities, that allow you to upgrade your system BIOS under Linux.
 
This article aims on providing information on flashing your system BIOS under Linux. Most manufacturers provide a Windows executable or a BIOS executable that can only be run under Windows. However, there are a few utilities, that allow you to upgrade your system BIOS under Linux.
  
 
{{Warning|Flashing motherboard BIOS is a dangerous activity that can render your motherboard inoperable! While the author of this article has successfully run this procedure many times, your mileage may vary. Be careful! You may want to consider updating [[microcode]] instead if it is supported by your system.}}
 
{{Warning|Flashing motherboard BIOS is a dangerous activity that can render your motherboard inoperable! While the author of this article has successfully run this procedure many times, your mileage may vary. Be careful! You may want to consider updating [[microcode]] instead if it is supported by your system.}}
  
==Introduction==
+
{{Note|
There are a few ways that you can use to flash the system BIOS under Linux.
+
* HP users may download Windows BIOS updater from HP website, extract *.exe file and locate ISO image for burning to a CD. Using CD, upgrade is possible from BIOS menu using 'Firmware Upgrade' without using below tools. See [https://h30434.www3.hp.com/t5/Notebook-Operating-System-and-Recovery/How-to-update-BIOS-on-Linux/td-p/4869835 this] thread for details.
 +
* For users with Dell computers, Dell recommends Linux users flash their BIOS following information located [https://www.dell.com/support/article/us/en/19/sln171755/updating-the-dell-bios-in-linux-and-ubuntu-environments here] (in short, put the .EXE on a USB stick and use the F12 boot menu to access the firmware's flash utility).
 +
}}
 +
 
 +
== fwupd ==
 +
 
 +
fwupd is a simple daemon to allow session software to update device firmware on your local machine.
 +
 
 +
Large vendors including Dell and Logitech use this way to distribute firmware updates to Linux.
 +
 
 +
fwupd only supports flashing BIOS updates in UEFI mode.
 +
 
 +
See [[fwupd]] for further information about installation and usage.
 +
 
 +
== BiosDisk ==
  
==BiosDisk==
+
[https://github.com/dell/biosdisk BiosDisk] simplifies the process of flashing your system BIOS under Linux.
[http://linux.dell.com/biosdisk/ BiosDisk] BiosDisk simplifies the process of flashing your system BIOS under Linux
 
===Installation===
 
====Method 1: AUR (Recommended)====
 
[https://aur.archlinux.org/packages.php?ID=38248 BiosDisk] is available from the Arch User Community Repositories.
 
  
===Usage===
+
{{Note|This is only supported on systems when booted in "Legacy mode". In UEFI mode you will need to use a different method.}}
To use the biosdisk utility to create a BIOS flash image, first download the latest raw BIOS image for your system from your manufacturer's website. Make sure however, that you always get the BIOS executable and NOT the Windows executable. You then have one of several options: create a floppy, create a dd floppy image, create a user-installable distribution-specific package (e.g. RPM), or actually install the image for your bootloader.
 
  
* The mkfloppy action will create the biosdisk image and write it directly to a floppy disk. Usage is the following:
+
=== Installation ===
  
    biosdisk mkfloppy [-o option] [-d device] [-k baseimage] /path/to/.exe
+
[[Install]] the {{AUR|biosdisk-git}} package.
  
* The mkimage action will create a floppy image on the user's hard drive. Usage is the following:
+
=== Usage ===
  
    biosdisk mkimage [-o option] [-i destination] [-k baseimage] /path/to/.exe
+
To use the biosdisk utility to create a BIOS flash image, first download the latest raw BIOS image for your system from your manufacturer's website. Make sure however, that you always get the BIOS executable and NOT the Windows executable. You then have one of two options: create a ISO or install the image for your bootloader.
  
* The mkpkg action will create the floppy image, and use it to create a user-installable package specific to the distribution (example: RPM). When the package is installed, it will use the distribution's built-in tools to update the system's bootloader so that the user can boot to the image from the hard drive to flash the BIOS, without needing a floppy drive. Currently only Red Hat/Fedora RPM packages are supported. Usage is as follows:
+
* The mkimage action will create a ISO image on the user's hard drive. Usage is the following:
  
    biosdisk mkpkg [-o option] [--install] [--distro=] [--name=] [--version=] [--release=] /path/to/{.exe | .img}
+
# biosdisk mkimage [-o option] [-i destination] /path/to/.exe  
  
 
* The install action will create the biosdisk image, copy the image file to /boot, and then update the bootloader with an entry for the image. Then all the user has to do is boot the system and select the image to flash the BIOS; this will load the biosdisk image directly from the hard drive and flash the BIOS.
 
* The install action will create the biosdisk image, copy the image file to /boot, and then update the bootloader with an entry for the image. Then all the user has to do is boot the system and select the image to flash the BIOS; this will load the biosdisk image directly from the hard drive and flash the BIOS.
  
    biosdisk install [-o option] [--name=] /path/to/{.exe | .img}
+
# biosdisk install [-o option] [--name=] /path/to/.exe
 +
 
 +
== Flashrom ==
 +
 
 +
[http://www.flashrom.org/Flashrom Flashrom] is a utility for identifying, reading, writing, verifying and erasing flash chips. It is designed to flash BIOS/EFI/coreboot/firmware/optionROM images on mainboards, network/graphics/storage controller cards, and various programmer devices.
 +
 
 +
{{Warning|If you have a laptop/notebook/netbook, please do NOT try flashrom because interactions with the EC on these machines might crash your machine during flashing. flashrom tries to detect if a machine is a laptop, but not all laptops follow the standard, so this is not 100% reliable.[https://www.flashrom.org/Board_Testing_HOWTO]}}
  
==Flashrom==
+
=== Installation ===
[http://www.flashrom.org/Flashrom Flashrom]is a utility for identifying, reading, writing, verifying and erasing flash chips. It is designed to flash BIOS/EFI/coreboot/firmware/optionROM images on mainboards, network/graphics/storage controller cards, and various programmer devices.
 
  
===Installation===
+
[[Install]] the {{pkg|flashrom}} or {{AUR|flashrom-git}} package.
====Method 1: Community Repo (Recommended)====
 
sudo pacman -S flashrom
 
  
====Method 2: AUR====
+
=== Usage ===
[https://aur.archlinux.org/packages.php?ID=23390 Flashrom-svn] is also available from the Arch User Community Repositories.
 
  
===Usage===
+
Find out if your motherboard and chipset (internal) is supported by flashrom at this website. [http://www.flashrom.org/Supported_hardware Supported Hardware]
Find out if your motherboard and chipset is supported by flashrom at this website. [http://www.flashrom.org/Supported_hardware Supported Hardware]
 
 
You can also find out if your hardware is supported by issuing the following command
 
You can also find out if your hardware is supported by issuing the following command
sudo flashrom
 
The above command will tell you your motherboard and chipset. You can then find out if your's is supported by issuing this command
 
flashrom -L | grep whatevernameyougotfromthefirstcommand
 
  
Read the BIOS image into a file:
+
# flashrom --programmer internal
  $ flashrom -r backup.bin
+
 
Write a BIOS image (proprietary or LinuxBIOS) on the ROM chip:
+
The above command will tell you your motherboard and chipset. You can then find out if yours is supported by issuing this command:
  $ flashrom -w newbios.bin
+
 
  $ flashrom -v newbios.bin
+
# flashrom --programmer internal -L | grep CHIPNAMEfrompreviouscommand
 +
 
 +
On modern mainboards you probably get more than one rom chip listed. You have to select the chipname you get from the upper command. Then you use the {{ic|-c}} option to select which rom is affected by the command
 +
 
 +
# flashrom --programmer internal -c "CHIPNAME" -r backup_CHIPNAME.bin
 +
 
 +
Write and verify the new BIOS image (proprietary or Coreboot) on the ROM chip:
 +
 
 +
# flashrom --programmer internal internal -c "CHIPNAME" -w newbios.bin
 +
 
 +
If you want to flash other flash chips on your mainboard, you will find all options with
 +
 
 +
# flashrom
 +
 
 +
{{Note|1=With Linux kernel versions greater than 4.4, {{ic|CONFIG_IO_STRICT_DEVMEM}} a new kernel security measure can make flashrom stop working, in that case you can try adding {{ic|1=iomem=relaxed}} to your kernel parameters. [https://www.flashrom.org/FAQ FAQ].}}
 +
 
 +
== FreeDOS ==
  
==FreeDOS==
 
 
[http://www.freedos.org/ FreeDOS] a free DOS-compatible operating system, is up to the challenge, no need for proprietary DOS versions. So, all you need is a bootable floppy disk image with FreeDOS kernel on it.
 
[http://www.freedos.org/ FreeDOS] a free DOS-compatible operating system, is up to the challenge, no need for proprietary DOS versions. So, all you need is a bootable floppy disk image with FreeDOS kernel on it.
  
===Unetbootin===
+
=== Unetbootin ===
By far the easiest way to make a bootable FreeDOS USB Stick is using {{pkg|unetbootin}}, available in the [[Official Repositories]].
+
 
 +
By far the easiest way to make a bootable FreeDOS USB Stick is using {{AUR|unetbootin}}.
 +
 
 +
You should format a pendrive with FAT16 and flag it as "boot" (you may do this through a GUI with {{Pkg|gparted}} or {{Pkg|partitionmanager}}). Then, after mounting the flash drive, select under distribution '''FreeDOS''' and your mounted stick. The app will automatically download the image for you and copy it to the drive. Finally, you may copy everything you want to flash there (BIOS, firmwares, etc).
 +
 
 +
{{Warning|Unetbootin may not function properly on some Lenovo systems. It may be necessary to create the bootable stick on a different device. See [http://reboot.pro/topic/9849-blinking-cursor-at-boot/ here].}}
  
You should format a pendrive with FAT16 and flag it as "boot" (you may do this through a GUI with {{Pkg|gparted}}, {{AUR|qtparted}} or {{AUR|partitionmanager}}). Then, after mounting the flash drive, select under distribution '''FreeDOS''' and your mounted stick. The app will automatically download the image for you and copy it to the drive. Finally, you may copy everything you want to flash there (BIOS, firmwares, etc).
+
=== Gentoo ===
  
If you want to do it the hard way, keep reading. ;)
+
Check out [[gentoo:BIOS Update#FreeDOS environment|FreeDOS Flash Drive]] on the Gentoo Wiki if you want to create a bootable FreeDOS Flash drive.
  
===Gentoo===
+
=== Pre-built images ===
Check out [http://en.gentoo-wiki.com/wiki/FreeDOS_Flash_Drive FreeDOS Flash Drive] on the Gentoo Wiki if you want to create a bootable FreeDOS Flash drive.
+
 
 +
Yet another simple solution: [http://myhq.it/sites/myhq.it/files/FreeDOS-1.1-memstick-2-2048M.img.bz2 FreeDOS pre-built bootable USB flash drive image by Christian Taube]. Instructions can be found [https://archive.is/6QPXD here].
 +
 
 +
=== Using a FreeDOS-provided Disk Image + USB stick ===
 +
 
 +
As of writing (2017-07-11), {{AUR|unetbootin}} doesn't support versions of FreeDOS more recent than 1.0 (current version is 1.2). The following procedure worked to upgrade an Inspiron 17-3737 to the A09 BIOS. (Dell offers this as a possibility [http://www.dell.com/support/article/ca/en/cabsdt1/SLN171755/updating-the-dell-bios-in-linux-and-ubuntu-environments?lang=EN#Creating%20a%20USB%20Bootable%20Storage%20Device on their site])
 +
 
 +
Some notes before starting:
 +
 
 +
* You can check your current BIOS version with {{pkg|dmidecode}}. You might already be at the latest version.
 +
* Ensure that your hardware vendor has verified this method works (use of FreeDOS to run BIOS update {{ic|.exe}})
 +
* Laptop users should not attempt this without AC power
 +
* This is dangerous, and you assume all risk for following this procedure.
 +
 
 +
Procedure:
 +
 
 +
# Grab the latest USB installer from the [http://www.freedos.org/download/ FreeDOS Download Page]
 +
#* author note: used the "Full" version on suspicion that it might include more drivers, etc (pure speculation)
 +
# Extract the archive, you get a ''.img'' file
 +
# Determine which of {{ic|/dev/sdX}} is your USB stick (use {{ic|fdisk -l}})
 +
# Write the image directly to the block device:
 +
#* {{ic|1=dd if=FD12FULL.img of=/dev/sdX status=progress}} (where {{ic|X}} is the letter representing your USB stick as a block device, don't write the image to a partition)
 +
# Double-check that the image copying worked:
 +
#* {{ic|fdisk -l}} (you should see a single partition on a DOS disk with the bootable ("boot") flag set)
 +
# Mount the partition, and copy over the ''.exe'' used to update your firmware
 +
#* Stay on the safe side and limit the filename to 8 characters (without extension), upper case
 +
#* Ensure that you verified any checksums provided by your hardware vendor
 +
# Unmount and reboot. Do whatever is needed to boot from the USB drive
 +
 
 +
Now you will find yourself in the FreeDOS live installation environment.
 +
 
 +
# Select your language
 +
# You will be prompted to install FreeDOS
 +
#* Select "No - Return to DOS"
 +
# You should see a prompt ({{ic|C:\>}})
 +
# Run {{ic|dir /w}} and verify that your firmware upgrade tool is present
 +
# Run the executable
 +
#* author note: in the case of the Dell tool, the machine displayed a spash screen and then rebooted. Upon reboot, it started the firmware upgrade automatically, and ran for about 2 minutes with the fan at full speed)
 +
# Once the process specific to your vendor completes, optionally verify through the BIOS setup screen, as well as by running {{pkg|dmidecode}} when you're back in linux
 +
 
 +
=== Images that are too large for a floppy ===
  
===Images that are too large for a floppy===
 
 
If your flash image is too large for a floppy, go to the [http://www.fdos.org/bootdisks/ FreeDos bootdisk website], and download the 10Mb hard-disk image.  This image is a full disk image, including partitions, so adding your flash utility will be a little trickier:
 
If your flash image is too large for a floppy, go to the [http://www.fdos.org/bootdisks/ FreeDos bootdisk website], and download the 10Mb hard-disk image.  This image is a full disk image, including partitions, so adding your flash utility will be a little trickier:
  
{{bc|
+
First find the first partition (at time of writing, the first partition starts at block 63; this means that the partitions starts at offset {{ic|1=512 * 63 = 32256}}).
# modprobe loop
+
You can either use:
# losetup /dev/loop0 <image-file>
+
 
# fdisk -lu /dev/loop0
+
{{hc|# file -sk ''<image-file>'' {{!}} sed -r 's/.*startsector ([0-9]+).*/\1/'|
 +
'''63'''
 
}}
 
}}
  
You can do some simply maths now: block size (usually 512) times the start of the first partition.  At time of writing, the first partition starts at block 63.  This means that the partitions starts at offset 512 * 63 = 32256:
+
Or:
  
{{bc|1=
+
{{hc|# fdisk -l ''<image-file>''|2=
# mount -o offset=32256 /dev/loop0 /mnt
+
 +
Units = sectors of 1 * '''512''' = 512 bytes
 +
 +
      Device  Boot  Start    End  Blocks  Id  System
 +
              *        '''63'''  19151  9544+  1  FAT12
 
}}
 
}}
  
Now you can copy your flash utility onto the filesystem as normal. Once you're done:
+
Now you can mount the image:
 +
 
 +
# mount -oloop,offset=$((63 * 512)) ''<image-file>'' /mnt
 +
 
 +
Then you can copy your flash utility onto the filesystem as normal.
 +
Once you're done:
  
{{bc|
+
# umount /mnt
# umount /mnt
 
# losetup -d /dev/loop0
 
}}
 
  
 
The image can now be copied to a USB stick for booting, or booted as a memdisk as per normal instructions.
 
The image can now be copied to a USB stick for booting, or booted as a memdisk as per normal instructions.
  
===Usage===
+
=== Usage ===
'''Step 1: Download FreeDOS boot disk floppy image'''
 
We are fortunate that guys at FDOS site have prepared one suitable for us. Use the OEM Bootdisk version, the one with just kernel and command.com, because it leaves more free space on disk for the flash utility and new BIOS image. After you download the image, you need to decompress it. In other words:
 
wget http://www.fdos.org/bootdisks/autogen/FDOEM.144.gz
 
gunzip FDOEM.144.gz
 
  
'''Step 2: Copy your BIOS flash utility and new BIOS image to the mounted floppy disk image'''
+
The OEM Bootdisk version is recommended, as it only includes {{ic|kernel}} and {{ic|command.com}} thus leaving more space for the flash utility and new BIOS image. Download the [http://www.fdos.org/bootdisks/autogen/FDOEM.144.gz FreeDOS image] and [[decompress]] it.
  
Requirement for this step is that you have support for the vfat and loop file systems in the kernel. Or you can have those features compiled as modules. In the latter case, load the modules before the next step, like this.
+
Copy your BIOS flash utility and new BIOS image to the mounted floppy disk image. Load the necessary modules:
modprobe vfat
 
modprobe loop
 
  
Consult {{ic|/proc/fileystems}} to see if you have the needed file systems supported. If you do, you should be able to "loop mount" the floppy disk image to some temporary path:
+
  # modprobe vfat
  mkdir /tmp/floppy
+
  # modprobe loop
  mount -t vfat -o loop FDOEM.144 /tmp/floppy
 
  
If the mount went without errors, copy BIOS flash utility and new BIOS image to the mounted floppy disk image. You'll probably have to unzip the archive you downloaded from your motherboard vendor site, to get to those two files. Here's just an example for my motherboard (in your case, files will have different names, of course):
+
{{ic|/proc/fileystems}} shows if the needed file systems are supported. "loop mount" the floppy disk image to a temporary path:
 +
 
 +
$ mkdir /tmp/floppy
 +
$ mount -t vfat -o loop FDOEM.144 /tmp/floppy
 +
 
 +
If the mount went without errors, copy the BIOS flash utility and new BIOS image to the mounted floppy disk image. You will probably have to unzip the archive you downloaded from your motherboard vendor site, to get to those two files. For example:
 +
 
 +
{{hc|# unzip 775Dual-VSTA\(2.60\).zip|
 +
Archive: 775Dual-VSTA(2.60).zip
 +
inflating: 75DVSTA2.60
 +
inflating: ASRflash.exe
 +
}}
  
# unzip 775Dual-VSTA\(2.60\).zip
 
Archive: 775Dual-VSTA(2.60).zip
 
  inflating: 75DVSTA2.60
 
  inflating: ASRflash.exe
 
 
  # cp 75DVSTA2.60 ASRflash.exe /tmp/floppy
 
  # cp 75DVSTA2.60 ASRflash.exe /tmp/floppy
  
Doublecheck that everything went OK, that those two files weren't too big for the floppy:
+
Check that the two files were not too big for the floppy:
  
Filesystem          1K-blocks      Used Available Use% Mounted on
+
{{bc|
 +
Filesystem          1K-blocks      Used Available Use% Mounted on
 
  /tmp/FDOEM.144
 
  /tmp/FDOEM.144
 
                           1424      990      434  70% /tmp/floppy
 
                           1424      990      434  70% /tmp/floppy
Finally, unmount the floppy disk image:
+
}}
  umount /tmp/floppy
+
 
 +
Unmount the floppy disk image:
 +
 
 +
  # umount /tmp/floppy
  
'''Step 3: Burn a bootable CD which will emulate floppy device for us'''
+
The next step is to burn the floppy image to a CD/DVD-RW media, but in a way that it can be booted afterwards. First create a bootable CD image, and then burn it.
  
Next step is to burn the floppy image to a CD/DVD-RW media, but in a way that it can be booted afterwards. First we need to make a bootable CD image, and then burn it. Notice that on some modern distributions, cdrecord is renamed to wodim, and mkisofs to genisoimage, but the parameters below should be the same.
+
# genisoimage -o bootcd.iso -b FDOEM.144 FDOEM.144
mkisofs -o bootcd.iso -b FDOEM.144 FDOEM.144
+
  # wodim -v bootcd.iso
  cdrecord -v bootcd.iso
 
  
'''Alternative Step 3: Add your image to Grub's menu.
+
You may alternatively add your image to the [[GRUB]] menu. Install [[syslinux]] and copy {{ic|memdisk}} and your image to {{ic|/boot}}:
You will need to install syslinux and copy memdisk to {{ic|/boot}}, and put your image there as well.
 
  
  cp /usr/lib/syslinux/memdisk /boot
+
# cp /usr/lib/syslinux/memdisk /boot
  cp FDOEM.144 /boot/flashbios.img
+
# cp FDOEM.144 /boot/flashbios.img
  
Now add an entry to your {{ic|/boot/grub/menu.lst}}:
+
Now add an entry to {{ic|/boot/grub/menu.lst}}:
 
    
 
    
  title Flash BIOS
+
{{hc|/boot/grub/menu.lst|
  kernel /memdisk
+
title Flash BIOS
  initrd /flashbios.img
+
kernel /memdisk
 +
initrd /flashbios.img
 +
}}
  
 
Or for GRUB2 in {{ic|/boot/grub/grub.cfg}}:
 
Or for GRUB2 in {{ic|/boot/grub/grub.cfg}}:
  
  menuentry "Flash BIOS" {
+
{{hc|/boot/grub/grub.cfg|<nowiki>
  linux16 /boot/memdisk
+
menuentry "Flash BIOS" {
  initrd16 /boot/flashbios.img
+
linux16 /boot/memdisk
  }
+
initrd16 /boot/flashbios.img
 +
}
 +
</nowiki>}}
 +
 
 +
Or for syslinux in {{ic|/boot/syslinux/syslinux.cfg}}:
 +
 
 +
{{hc|/boot/syslinux/syslinux.cfg|
 +
LABEL flashbios
 +
MENU LABEL Flash BIOS
 +
LINUX ../memdisk
 +
INITRD ../fdboot.img
 +
}}
 +
 
 +
Finally reboot your machine, making sure the CD drive is first in the boot sequence, and run the BIOS upgrade procedure when the CD boots. If using the GRUB method, choose the new entry on the list, and it should boot into FreeDOS.
 +
 
 +
== Bootable optical disk emulation ==
 +
 
 +
The script Geteltorito.pl will extract the [[wikipedia:El Torito (CD-ROM standard)|El Torito]] boot image. It has worked on Lenovo laptops like X220, X230, X260, W540, T450 and T450s. It may work for other vendors as well.
 +
 
 +
=== Installation ===
 +
 
 +
Install the {{AUR|geteltorito}} package.
 +
 
 +
=== Usage ===
 +
 
 +
Get the bios update iso from the vendor support site. Run the ''geteltorito'' image extraction:
 +
 
 +
$ geteltorito.pl -o <image>.img <image>.iso
 +
 
 +
Copy the image to the usb thumbdrive:
 +
 
 +
# dd if=<image>.img of=<destination> bs=512K
  
'''Step 4: Reboot, flash, reboot, enjoy your new BIOS'''
+
Reboot and boot from the USB drive, follow vendor directions.
  
Finally reboot your machine, make sure that your CD drive is first in the boot sequence, and then run your BIOS upgrade procedure when the CD boots. If using the GRUB method, just choose the new entry on the list, and it should boot into FreeDOS.
+
{{Note|If you get the message "Secure Flash Authentication failed!", it means that some security check did not allow the flash to happen. It can help to go to the BIOS options page "Security" > "UEFI BIOS Update Option" and disable "Secure RollBack Prevention" and enable "Flash BIOS Updating by End-Users". You can set them to what you want after flashing.}}

Latest revision as of 11:57, 28 July 2018

This article aims on providing information on flashing your system BIOS under Linux. Most manufacturers provide a Windows executable or a BIOS executable that can only be run under Windows. However, there are a few utilities, that allow you to upgrade your system BIOS under Linux.

Warning: Flashing motherboard BIOS is a dangerous activity that can render your motherboard inoperable! While the author of this article has successfully run this procedure many times, your mileage may vary. Be careful! You may want to consider updating microcode instead if it is supported by your system.
Note:
  • HP users may download Windows BIOS updater from HP website, extract *.exe file and locate ISO image for burning to a CD. Using CD, upgrade is possible from BIOS menu using 'Firmware Upgrade' without using below tools. See this thread for details.
  • For users with Dell computers, Dell recommends Linux users flash their BIOS following information located here (in short, put the .EXE on a USB stick and use the F12 boot menu to access the firmware's flash utility).

fwupd

fwupd is a simple daemon to allow session software to update device firmware on your local machine.

Large vendors including Dell and Logitech use this way to distribute firmware updates to Linux.

fwupd only supports flashing BIOS updates in UEFI mode.

See fwupd for further information about installation and usage.

BiosDisk

BiosDisk simplifies the process of flashing your system BIOS under Linux.

Note: This is only supported on systems when booted in "Legacy mode". In UEFI mode you will need to use a different method.

Installation

Install the biosdisk-gitAUR package.

Usage

To use the biosdisk utility to create a BIOS flash image, first download the latest raw BIOS image for your system from your manufacturer's website. Make sure however, that you always get the BIOS executable and NOT the Windows executable. You then have one of two options: create a ISO or install the image for your bootloader.

  • The mkimage action will create a ISO image on the user's hard drive. Usage is the following:
# biosdisk mkimage [-o option] [-i destination] /path/to/.exe 
  • The install action will create the biosdisk image, copy the image file to /boot, and then update the bootloader with an entry for the image. Then all the user has to do is boot the system and select the image to flash the BIOS; this will load the biosdisk image directly from the hard drive and flash the BIOS.
# biosdisk install [-o option] [--name=] /path/to/.exe

Flashrom

Flashrom is a utility for identifying, reading, writing, verifying and erasing flash chips. It is designed to flash BIOS/EFI/coreboot/firmware/optionROM images on mainboards, network/graphics/storage controller cards, and various programmer devices.

Warning: If you have a laptop/notebook/netbook, please do NOT try flashrom because interactions with the EC on these machines might crash your machine during flashing. flashrom tries to detect if a machine is a laptop, but not all laptops follow the standard, so this is not 100% reliable.[1]

Installation

Install the flashrom or flashrom-gitAUR package.

Usage

Find out if your motherboard and chipset (internal) is supported by flashrom at this website. Supported Hardware You can also find out if your hardware is supported by issuing the following command

# flashrom --programmer internal

The above command will tell you your motherboard and chipset. You can then find out if yours is supported by issuing this command:

# flashrom --programmer internal -L | grep CHIPNAMEfrompreviouscommand

On modern mainboards you probably get more than one rom chip listed. You have to select the chipname you get from the upper command. Then you use the -c option to select which rom is affected by the command

# flashrom --programmer internal -c "CHIPNAME" -r backup_CHIPNAME.bin

Write and verify the new BIOS image (proprietary or Coreboot) on the ROM chip:

# flashrom --programmer internal internal -c "CHIPNAME" -w newbios.bin

If you want to flash other flash chips on your mainboard, you will find all options with

# flashrom
Note: With Linux kernel versions greater than 4.4, CONFIG_IO_STRICT_DEVMEM a new kernel security measure can make flashrom stop working, in that case you can try adding iomem=relaxed to your kernel parameters. FAQ.

FreeDOS

FreeDOS a free DOS-compatible operating system, is up to the challenge, no need for proprietary DOS versions. So, all you need is a bootable floppy disk image with FreeDOS kernel on it.

Unetbootin

By far the easiest way to make a bootable FreeDOS USB Stick is using unetbootinAUR.

You should format a pendrive with FAT16 and flag it as "boot" (you may do this through a GUI with gparted or partitionmanager). Then, after mounting the flash drive, select under distribution FreeDOS and your mounted stick. The app will automatically download the image for you and copy it to the drive. Finally, you may copy everything you want to flash there (BIOS, firmwares, etc).

Warning: Unetbootin may not function properly on some Lenovo systems. It may be necessary to create the bootable stick on a different device. See here.

Gentoo

Check out FreeDOS Flash Drive on the Gentoo Wiki if you want to create a bootable FreeDOS Flash drive.

Pre-built images

Yet another simple solution: FreeDOS pre-built bootable USB flash drive image by Christian Taube. Instructions can be found here.

Using a FreeDOS-provided Disk Image + USB stick

As of writing (2017-07-11), unetbootinAUR doesn't support versions of FreeDOS more recent than 1.0 (current version is 1.2). The following procedure worked to upgrade an Inspiron 17-3737 to the A09 BIOS. (Dell offers this as a possibility on their site)

Some notes before starting:

  • You can check your current BIOS version with dmidecode. You might already be at the latest version.
  • Ensure that your hardware vendor has verified this method works (use of FreeDOS to run BIOS update .exe)
  • Laptop users should not attempt this without AC power
  • This is dangerous, and you assume all risk for following this procedure.

Procedure:

  1. Grab the latest USB installer from the FreeDOS Download Page
    • author note: used the "Full" version on suspicion that it might include more drivers, etc (pure speculation)
  2. Extract the archive, you get a .img file
  3. Determine which of /dev/sdX is your USB stick (use fdisk -l)
  4. Write the image directly to the block device:
    • dd if=FD12FULL.img of=/dev/sdX status=progress (where X is the letter representing your USB stick as a block device, don't write the image to a partition)
  5. Double-check that the image copying worked:
    • fdisk -l (you should see a single partition on a DOS disk with the bootable ("boot") flag set)
  6. Mount the partition, and copy over the .exe used to update your firmware
    • Stay on the safe side and limit the filename to 8 characters (without extension), upper case
    • Ensure that you verified any checksums provided by your hardware vendor
  7. Unmount and reboot. Do whatever is needed to boot from the USB drive

Now you will find yourself in the FreeDOS live installation environment.

  1. Select your language
  2. You will be prompted to install FreeDOS
    • Select "No - Return to DOS"
  3. You should see a prompt (C:\>)
  4. Run dir /w and verify that your firmware upgrade tool is present
  5. Run the executable
    • author note: in the case of the Dell tool, the machine displayed a spash screen and then rebooted. Upon reboot, it started the firmware upgrade automatically, and ran for about 2 minutes with the fan at full speed)
  6. Once the process specific to your vendor completes, optionally verify through the BIOS setup screen, as well as by running dmidecode when you're back in linux

Images that are too large for a floppy

If your flash image is too large for a floppy, go to the FreeDos bootdisk website, and download the 10Mb hard-disk image. This image is a full disk image, including partitions, so adding your flash utility will be a little trickier:

First find the first partition (at time of writing, the first partition starts at block 63; this means that the partitions starts at offset 512 * 63 = 32256). You can either use:

# file -sk <image-file> | sed -r 's/.*startsector ([0-9]+).*/\1/'
63

Or:

# fdisk -l <image-file>
…
Units = sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes
…
      Device  Boot  Start    End  Blocks  Id  System
              *        63  19151   9544+   1  FAT12

Now you can mount the image:

# mount -oloop,offset=$((63 * 512)) <image-file> /mnt

Then you can copy your flash utility onto the filesystem as normal. Once you're done:

# umount /mnt

The image can now be copied to a USB stick for booting, or booted as a memdisk as per normal instructions.

Usage

The OEM Bootdisk version is recommended, as it only includes kernel and command.com thus leaving more space for the flash utility and new BIOS image. Download the FreeDOS image and decompress it.

Copy your BIOS flash utility and new BIOS image to the mounted floppy disk image. Load the necessary modules:

# modprobe vfat
# modprobe loop

/proc/fileystems shows if the needed file systems are supported. "loop mount" the floppy disk image to a temporary path:

$ mkdir /tmp/floppy
$ mount -t vfat -o loop FDOEM.144 /tmp/floppy

If the mount went without errors, copy the BIOS flash utility and new BIOS image to the mounted floppy disk image. You will probably have to unzip the archive you downloaded from your motherboard vendor site, to get to those two files. For example:

# unzip 775Dual-VSTA\(2.60\).zip
Archive: 775Dual-VSTA(2.60).zip
 inflating: 75DVSTA2.60
 inflating: ASRflash.exe
# cp 75DVSTA2.60 ASRflash.exe /tmp/floppy

Check that the two files were not too big for the floppy:

Filesystem           1K-blocks      Used Available Use% Mounted on
 /tmp/FDOEM.144
                          1424       990       434  70% /tmp/floppy

Unmount the floppy disk image:

# umount /tmp/floppy

The next step is to burn the floppy image to a CD/DVD-RW media, but in a way that it can be booted afterwards. First create a bootable CD image, and then burn it.

# genisoimage -o bootcd.iso -b FDOEM.144 FDOEM.144
# wodim -v bootcd.iso

You may alternatively add your image to the GRUB menu. Install syslinux and copy memdisk and your image to /boot:

# cp /usr/lib/syslinux/memdisk /boot
# cp FDOEM.144 /boot/flashbios.img

Now add an entry to /boot/grub/menu.lst:

/boot/grub/menu.lst
title Flash BIOS
kernel /memdisk
initrd /flashbios.img

Or for GRUB2 in /boot/grub/grub.cfg:

/boot/grub/grub.cfg
menuentry "Flash BIOS" {
 linux16 /boot/memdisk
 initrd16 /boot/flashbios.img
}

Or for syslinux in /boot/syslinux/syslinux.cfg:

/boot/syslinux/syslinux.cfg
LABEL flashbios
	MENU LABEL Flash BIOS
	LINUX ../memdisk
	INITRD ../fdboot.img

Finally reboot your machine, making sure the CD drive is first in the boot sequence, and run the BIOS upgrade procedure when the CD boots. If using the GRUB method, choose the new entry on the list, and it should boot into FreeDOS.

Bootable optical disk emulation

The script Geteltorito.pl will extract the El Torito boot image. It has worked on Lenovo laptops like X220, X230, X260, W540, T450 and T450s. It may work for other vendors as well.

Installation

Install the geteltoritoAUR package.

Usage

Get the bios update iso from the vendor support site. Run the geteltorito image extraction:

$ geteltorito.pl -o <image>.img <image>.iso

Copy the image to the usb thumbdrive:

# dd if=<image>.img of=<destination> bs=512K

Reboot and boot from the USB drive, follow vendor directions.

Note: If you get the message "Secure Flash Authentication failed!", it means that some security check did not allow the flash to happen. It can help to go to the BIOS options page "Security" > "UEFI BIOS Update Option" and disable "Secure RollBack Prevention" and enable "Flash BIOS Updating by End-Users". You can set them to what you want after flashing.