Flashing BIOS from Linux

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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.


There are a few ways that you can use to flash the system BIOS under Linux.


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


Method 1: AUR (Recommended)

BiosDisk is available from the Arch User Community Repositories.

Method 2: From Source

Grab the source from the biosdisk web page. Extract the source from the tar ball and run the install.sh file as root.


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:
    biosdisk mkfloppy [-o option] [-d device] [-k baseimage] /path/to/.exe 

  • The mkimage action will create a floppy image on the user's hard drive. Usage is the following:
    biosdisk mkimage [-o option] [-i destination] [-k baseimage] /path/to/.exe 

  • 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:
    biosdisk mkpkg [-o option] [--install] [--distro=] [--name=] [--version=] [--release=] /path/to/{.exe | .img}

  • 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}


Flashromis 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.


Method 1: Community Repo (Recommended)

sudo pacman -S flashrom

Method 2: AUR

Flashrom Flashrom Flashrom is also available from the Arch User Community Repositories.

Method 2: From Source

Grab the source from the Flashrom web page. Extract the source from the tar ball and run make and make install.


Find out if your motherboard and chipset is supported by flashrom at this website. Supported Hardware 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 -r backup.bin

Write a BIOS image (proprietary or LinuxBIOS) on the ROM chip:

 $ flashrom -wv newbios.bin

WARNING: This will overwrite your current BIOS! Make sure you know what you're doing! You've been forewarned !!


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.


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. You can also find a local copy of this image attached at the end of this article. 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

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.

modprobe vfat
modprobe loop

Consult /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:

mkdir /tmp/floppy
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):

# 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

Doublecheck that everything went OK, that those two files weren't too big for the floppy:

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

Finally, unmount the floppy disk image:

umount /tmp/floppy

Step 3: Burn a bootable CD which will emulate floppy device for us

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.

mkisofs -o bootcd.iso -b FDOEM.144 FDOEM.144
cdrecord -v bootcd.iso

Step 4: Reboot, flash, reboot, enjoy your new BIOS

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.