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Operating Systems Software Hardware

Cross Platform BIOS Flash Upgrades? 103

Posted by Cliff
from the when-the-LCD-isn't-the-lowest-anymore dept.
niko9 asks: "I am a Linux user who lives in an all Linux household. I build all my Linux boxes from components that I know will play nice with Linux. I was recently contemplating building a box with a Tyan Tiger K8W dual-Opteron motherboard, as the original BIOS did not provide support for the built-in Intel Gigabit NIC. Tyan has since released a BIOS revision, but the instructions for flashing the BIOS explicitly state that you need a Windows 95/98 boot disk. As someone who doesn't know anyone who runs Windows 98, nor do I own any copies of any Microsoft operating system, how does someone complete the delicate task of a BIOS upgrade? Wasn't Windows 98 recently retired? An email to Tyan's tech support has so far not yielded any response. When will motherboard manufacturers realize that upgrading your BIOS is better off being a neutral OS event? Does anyone know of any motherboard maker that doesn't require a specific OS to flash a BIOS?" A simple solution is to not fight the requirement. Windows and DOS bootdisks are readily available on the Internet, and all you need to do is grab a floppy, write the image to it, and put it in a safe place for such occasions. The gist of the question is still valid, however: what will it take to get BIOS manufacturers to make an OS neutral BIOS upgrade path?
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Cross Platform BIOS Flash Upgrades?

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  • Well, (Score:4, Informative)

    by Sevn (12012) on Monday December 29, 2003 @12:48PM (#7828141) Homepage Journal
    I know how I did it. I did a search on google for a "dos boot disk image", found one, downloaded it, then used "dd" to make it. After that it was a matter of mounting the dos floppy and copying my new bios file to it. Reboot, run flash.exe, done.
    • Manufacturers can instead provide a disk image then users on any platform could upgrade the BIOS.

      For example, I have an old Dell which needed a BIOS upgrade the other year and had to go to the trouble of finding a Windows user to download and uncompress the disk image for me. If it have been available as purely a disk image, it would have been a non-issue instead of a black spot against Dell on my next x86 purchase.

      If more users were to suggest using disk images instead of the MS-DOS/MS-Windows only ex

  • Buy another board (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jasoncart (573937) on Monday December 29, 2003 @12:48PM (#7828143) Homepage
    Vote with your feet... if you don't like the manufacturer's apparently alligence to MS then go buy a different make.
    • I think the author is ready to, but (like me) doesn't know which manufacturer he can go to. I know my asus has a windows-flash-bios-update-system, too...and when I was shopping around last summer, I didn't come across anything that didn't.

      I'd like to emphasize the question posed in the original post " Does anyone know of any motherboard maker that doesn't require a specific OS to flash a BIOS?"

      Voting with your feet is great, but you gotta have a place to walk to.
      • Re:Buy another board (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Sprinkels (41102)

        My Asus (A7V333) board has an BIOS update program built into the BIOS.

        Press Alt-F2 during the POST and insert a floppy with the BIOS image file. Updated my BIOS a few weeks a go.

        Asus has some documentation [asus.com] on their website

        Don't know if will work without a normal floppy drive.

      • BIOS flash software needs to be run.
        In order for a computer to run it needs to be booted and have some OS.
        There are no guarantees that the computer being flashed even has a hard drive yet, or that the hard drive is talking because the machine is using an old BIOS.

        The computer can't really be running a full house OS from the hard drive when it is time to flash the BIOS, because when the BIOS flashes it needs to power down and power back up again without giving the OS a chance to politely close everything do
        • Have you tried this with FreeDOS? I'm not that brave.

          What happens when you no longer have floppy drives? I have never flashed any of my Macs but now I'm wondering how I would do it.
          • Mac's work differently.. they use openfirmware.
          • What happens when you no longer have floppy drives? I have never flashed any of my Macs but now I'm wondering how I would do it.

            Done it recently. Downloaded the Open Firmware update with Software Update, clicked on it to install. It asked for my password, shut all applications, then advised that it would reboot the machine, that I would see various progress bars, then be welcome with a dialog box advising of the success of the operation. If not, reboot the computer.

          • As for what happens when we no longer have floppy drives, good question. Actually quite telling as my new desktop doesn't have a floppy disk and I wanted to burn a bootable CD today. Had to fire up another machine (that has a floppy) to create a binary image of the floppy disk (used Roxio to make the image on that machine), copy the image file across the network to my new box and finally .. success.

            Not sure what is going to happen if I ever need to update the BIOS, although I alway leave a small (4G) par
        • because when the BIOS flashes it needs to power down and power back up again without giving the OS a chance to politely close everything down and disconnect all the users etc

          Does it really have to? The only reason I ask, is because some time ago, I screwed up a bios flash. The method I used to fix it, was to pop the chip out, and put it in a running PC, re-flash, and replace the chips. It fixed my problem, and the running PC was able to function without an eeprom even installed. From what I gather,
        • Tomsrtbt, Floppix (that's two floppies), Fdlinux, etc., etc.
      • The IBM Thinkpads I service (a 570, a X20 and an A31) all have had "OS Neutral" versions of the BIOS updates that creates a DOS bootable floppy with the BIOS on it. They of course also have Windows-based updater versions as well, but as long as I have a "neutral" method I don't begrudge this (too much :).

        Of course, this is about the only time I attach a floppy to these machines. Therefore a bootable CDROM image, Linux or not, would be alot future-proof and could contain more information. Since bootable CDs
    • Re:Buy another board (Score:3, Informative)

      by Zathrus (232140)
      Oh please.

      A "Windows 95/98 boot disk" is nothing but a DOS boot disk. If you don't have DOS or Windows, then just get FreeDOS [freedos.org], an open source version of DOS. It'll work just fine for a boot disk for ROM flashing. There's even a single diskette "distro" that you can download (although, frankly, you don't need anything more than kernel.sys and command.com as best I can tell). They even have a FAQ on this. And two manufacturers (MSI and ASUS) ship it with their utilities.

      Good luck finding anyone who will pro
      • by jamesh (87723)
        now there's another TLA ready for recycling.
      • there was some work on /dev/bios, but as best I can tell it's a deeply outdated hack now

        I wish /dev/bios was a reality! There's nothing I'd like more than a simple 'dd if=biosfile of=/dev/bios' to flash my BIOS.

        One can only hope.
        • Oh, I agree -- it'd be cool. But I wouldn't expect it to occur without a good bit of cooperation from both the BIOS makers and the MB makers. It was allegedly integrated into the OpenBIOS project, which is a good place for a start.
  • I'm curious, (Score:5, Interesting)

    by nocomment (239368) on Monday December 29, 2003 @12:50PM (#7828163) Homepage Journal
    Why couldn't they make a bootable downloadable iso image? Sure you lose a CD, but really, the last time I used a floppy it was just to upgrade the BIOS. I know OpenBSD has a really small downloadable iso for netowork installs. They could use a similar thing, but instead of formatting drives, and installing an OS, it could just boot and run the BIOS flash program. Easy, os agnostic, wouldn't require any work once the bootable image was done.
    • So what's stopping you from creating a DOS boot disk on a CD and flashing the BIOS that way?
      • that's the way I do do it. But what about people who don't have access to that OS? hrm, would freedos? or pcdos do the trick?
        • FreeDOS has done the trick for me before. Being on dialup, I disassembled AWDFLASH.EXE first to make certain it didn't pull any undocumented DOS stunts, then got the FreeDOS image, and did it. It worked fine. But I've only done it once. YMMV.
          • FreeDOS has done the trick for me before...

            Why windows 98?

            I strongly suspect that lazy technical writers neglected to explain why they insisted on a windows 95/98 boot disk. I strongly suspect that they needed a boot disk that left the computer in real mode. If this is the case then freedos, or any version of msdos or drdos would work.

            So, somebody should mod the parent up.

    • Re:I'm curious, (Score:3, Interesting)

      by M1FCJ (586251)
      For some servers, IBM does this. Even better, the ISO image is actually a small linux distro, which is much better than having a small floppy. Downside is last time I updated some SCSI BIOS on an IBM server, I downloaded an 300MB image. It does more than that but I only needed to upgrade one single component, not the whole operating system.
    • Re:I'm curious, (Score:3, Insightful)

      by afay (301708)
      Or better yet, why don't they make freedos images [freedos.org] that you can just write to a floppy? I can see the reason for not moving to some different os because the bios flash program would need to be rewritten. However, considering there is a free version of dos that doesnt need royalty payments, i would think they would be able to provide floppy images.
      • This interests me greatly. What if you created a freedos partition on your linux box, then you could download the images directly to /mnt/freedos, reboot into freedos, run the program, and reboot back into linux. This sounds like a really simple permanent solution. Of course short-term, just create a freedos floppy and boot from that. I think I might try making my next server without a floppy and testing this out.
        • I've done that on remote machines: reserve 1 cylinder and have a corresponding GRUB entry for DOS. When it comes to perform the flash upgrade or NIC configuration, copy the necessary programs to that partition, call an onsite person and walk them through selecting the correct partition to boot from and any other menu driven tasks. When it is finished, they just reboot the machine. They don't have to worry about having a few floppies on hand (the floppy drives are unused and are generally full of dust, so

        • What if you created a freedos partition on your linux box, then you could download the images directly to /mnt/freedos, reboot into freedos, run the program, and reboot back into linux. This sounds like a really simple permanent solution.

          You call that simple? How's making a bootable usb key, takes no space at all, and putting bios's on that whenever the occasion comes up.
          • --The number of computers that actually support booting from a bootable USB key is *vanishingly* small compared to the number of "legacy" PCs that DON'T.

            --Linux is complete overkill for BIOS flashing, all you should need is something like FreeDos and a floppy drive.
            • The number of computers that actually support booting from a bootable USB key is *vanishingly* small compared to the number of "legacy" PCs that DON'T.

              Who gives a shit, this is for MY COMPUTER, and it works for ME. In addition the newer machines that do not have floppies, would probably have the ability to boot off of usb. Machines that can't boot off of USB, I use bootdisk.com and flash in DOS. For the machines I work on, USB is just easier.
      • None of my computers have a floppy drive. It would make more sense to start using bootable CD ISOs.
    • Re:I'm curious, (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      SAVING a copy of the old BIOS as part of the flash process dosen't work with bootable CDs.
    • Why couldn't they make a bootable downloadable iso image?

      I dunno about everyone else but I like to make a backup copy of the old BIOS before I flash it. Can't do that very easily with a CD-only system...
    • Sure you lose a CD

      You're saying that you don't have at least one rewritable?
  • Gigabyte (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Merlin42 (148225) * on Monday December 29, 2003 @12:51PM (#7828172) Homepage
    I have a gigabyte ga-7vaxp. It will has a section in the bios menu that allows you to flash the bios from a fat formated floppy before the os boots. Very nice, if you still have a floppy drive (my current system is floppy-free).
    • I actually have a very similar system (7-VRXP), and was depressed when I had to add a floppy drive to it to make the RAID work under XP. My new solution after this is to hopefully add an external USB floppy drive that I can use when needed.

      Back on topic, Gigabyte and a few other hardware manufacturers (nvidia for instance) take pains to make us Linux users more able to keep our hardware up to date from the system. Unfortunately those changes have to come from the consumers, not from the manufacturers in
    • The recent ASUS Mainboards can flash from a fat formated floppy disk too. Just press ALT-F2 during boot and the build-in Flash Utility starts. (At least with my Asus N7N8X Deluxe - Nforce)

      But I would be glad if I hadn't to build in a floppy every time I want to flash the bios.
  • Bootdisks (Score:2, Informative)

    by sdelement-x (580553)
    try out http://www.bootdisk.com/ This web site has a range of bootdisks from win95 to win2000 and so on. If you ever need a bootdisk, I'm sure it'll be there.
    • Unfortunately the bootdisks are .exe's. However it seems unzip is able to extract a .IMG file from them that can be written to a floppy with:
      dd if=boot98sc.IMA of=/dev/fd0 Or whatever your filename happens to be.
  • If you need a prebuilt bootdisk, bootdisk.com [bootdisk.com] is usually a good place to start looking.

    They have images available for just about any OS you need.

  • bootdisk.com [bootdisk.com] has all sort of boot disks for this situation.

    Back to the original question about an OS neutral solution, it will probably happen when people start clamoring for it. It wouldn't take much for companies to put a disk image up that has freedos and the new bios image on it so people can flash their bios just by booting the floppy. The problem will arise though when the machine you need to flash won't have a floppy drive, then I guess it's time for the motherboard companies to create ISOs of boota

  • by Sevn (12012) on Monday December 29, 2003 @12:55PM (#7828194) Homepage Journal
    They could pop a tcp/ip stack and a dhcp client on a chip so you could do a network download/install of a new bios from the motherboard bios menu. This assumes you have some sort of NAT and dhcpd network and a built in NIC or wireless adapter. It's common enough that it would make life easier for a lot of people. Especially corporate environments.
    • They could pop a tcp/ip stack and a dhcp client on a chip so you could do a network download/install of a new bios from the motherboard bios menu.

      That is a slick idea. The best way to do that is to build an interface ala Linksys' web configurator. This allows for smooth operation of most cable/dsl providers -- and will work with most idiosyncracies (PPPoE, etc). It'd be an easy update. I guess that either the BIOS standards are really important, or mobo manufacturers just don't give a shit (otherwis

      • Sounds like an easy inroad for hackers.....
        • Sounds like an easy inroad for hackers.....

          Howso? It doesn't have to run a web server (I never implied that it did) for the configurator (it just has to be easy like Linksys' web interface). The only possibility that I can see for expliots are for a MIM attack. This can be taken care of pretty easily with public key authentication, and it's still more secure than the current model (download BIOS updates over WWW/FTP unauthenticated, no hash, and no security at all). I'm not talking about any service

          • Ok, so you were saying that the BIOS menu would look like the Linksys Web Config tool...ok that makes sense. I thought you meant you would update the BIOS using a web based interface from another computer.

            You just have to make sure that the TCP/IP stack is totally dead when not in use so that no maligned incoming packets can cause damage.
    • ... and then, with this new slick feature, the latest virus sweeps through MS land and, upon reboot, directs said corporate environments to a site which flashes the BIOS to incorporate the latest whiz-bang spam tool which now, instead of running in your software, is now in your firmware. It's a great idea for ease of use but I think there is a reason it hasn't been (at least in the consumer market) done yet.
    • That sounds very reminiscent of the update procedure for my Baystack 350 switch [nortelnetworks.com] which used bootp IIRC.
  • though, there's ways.
    freedos might be enough too, booting from cdrom might be useful enough(and have the space for the actual update as well..).

    and if you really just need to do it(the free as in beer group) then 98 and all earlier rescue/bootdiscs are easily found with with google.

    though personally i got an aging 6gigger still connected that works as the boot device and has a fat32 partition for the odd bios/firmware upgrade/tweak.
    -
  • A bootdisk IS OS neutral. No matter what OS you have it will work. The real problem is when you consider something like Abit Flash Menu. It's an awesome windows app that automatically updates your BIOS over the net from within windows. Restart for it to take effect. I wish they had that for linux.
  • I'm not so concerned with OS-neutral BIOS updates. I can google for boot floppies.

    The thing that gets me is that I've gotta use a floppy for BIOS updates. It's the only thing that I'll ever need a floppy for anymore (and I don't put those into any desktop machines anymore, for home or work). Why can't we just kill the floppy beast? Is it so hard to manufacturers to release updates on an ISO image (or something -- anything else!)? It costs me about the same either way (~$.75 for a floppy or CD-R).

    • **BTW -- why do they require DOS anyway? Do they just not want to recode their updaters? Do their coders just know DOS really well and they don't want to hire new programmers? Why can't they release on some stripped-down live Linux ISO (being free/free and all)?**

      straight direct access to hardware without fuzz.. though if you're writing the device drivers too i can't see how it would be a THAT big of a problem in xp/nt world either..
      • straight direct access to hardware without fuzz.. though if you're writing the device drivers too i can't see how it would be a THAT big of a problem in xp/nt world either..

        I can't see why that can't be done with a free OS (like a Linux/BSD/etc). You don't have to run any particular OS (to have a DOS license) -- run whatever the hell you want -- just have something that can boot their image. Sure, direct hardware access isn't super-easy -- but they own the mobo, they know how it works and how to addre

    • I used to think the same thing about getting rid of floppies, until I bought a machine without one.

      Even though it's slow, and small, a floppy is the one common denominator among almost every PC in use today - except mine.

      Floppies Just Work(tm).

      I don't have to configure networking. I don't have to ask them to burn me a CD (some don't even have burners). I don't need ten different networking configurations for every possible OS version out there. I don't have to wait for a CD to finish burning(5 minutes
      • Even though it's slow, and small, a floppy is the one common denominator among almost every PC in use today - except mine.

        Floppies Just Work(tm).

        With regards to point #1, this is untrue. PC manufacturers (like IBM, Dell, and Gateway) are phasing out floppies. They don't just come with PC's anymore (and haven't for the past year or so) -- you have to specifically request/purchase one. I'd be willing to guess that CD-R's are more common than floppies now (completely antecdotal -- I have nothing obj

        • The CD-RW has not replaced the floppy. You cannot edit the files on a CD-RW the same way you would edit files on a floppy or zip disk. You either erase and reburn the entire disk, or you copy the files to a temp directory and reburn once you're finished. And since reburn takes about 5-10 minutes, I really doubt students will save and backup their work at regular intervals.

          Yes, a CD-RW does hold more. But they don't solve the fundamental problem of being able to edit one's work from any computer.

          Until
          • Until something better comes along, I'm using Zip disks. The larger ones will hold 750MB, and they are almost as fast as a hard drive. Plus, I can edit and save files in place, without going through some special software

            It's your money...so this is all up to you. However, Zip disks are a HORRIBLE idea for removable storage if you care about reliability. If you haven't heard about it, do a google search for the click of death (or the related class-action lawsuit). The only storage media that caused mor

            • > As far as reliability -- you're just plain wrong. CD-R's don't just die in your closet after 6-months. Something else has to happen -- like scratching from improper storage.

              --I'll call bullshit on this one. I've heard of cheap CDR media dying, and AAMOF my Memorex CDRWs die after about 5-6 rewrites, even if I blank the entire disc. Cheap(er) media is more susceptible to failure, period.

              --I have some old leftover CDR media that looks TRANSLUCENT after 6-8 months. When I saw that I immediately rippe
              • --I'll call bullshit on this one. I've heard of cheap CDR media dying, and AAMOF my Memorex CDRWs die after about 5-6 rewrites, even if I blank the entire disc. Cheap(er) media is more susceptible to failure, period

                You hit the nail right on the head -- cheaper media is more suseptible to failure, preiod. It's pretty much regardless of the type of media, when you buy cheap, you get cheap.

                --I have some old leftover CDR media that looks TRANSLUCENT after 6-8 months. When I saw that I immediately ripped


    • So get a boot floppy image, add your BIOS update du jour, and create a bootable 1.44MB El Torito CD image from it. Voila! Bootable CD that is the same as having a floppy drive. (Yes, the CD appears as a: ).

    • A lot of MB manufacturers have utilities now that will flash your BIOS from within Windows. ASUS has an update utility that does the BIOS download from their ftp site and flashes it all in one go.

      I can't vouch for them being problem-free, but I've never had a problem with those sorts of widgets.

    • # mkisofs -b floppy.img -o image.iso && cdrecord dev=(machine specific) -vv image.iso && rm image.iso
      On systems with a ElTorito capable BIOS (practically any x86 machine built since 1996) this will allow you to boot a floppy image from a CD-R. No floppy needed. Of course if you don't like your data, there's always:
      # dd if=floppy.img of=/dev/hda && reboot
      I wouldn't recommend that though.
      • # mkisofs -b floppy.img -o image.iso && cdrecord dev=(machine specific) -vv image.iso && rm image.iso

        Yah, I know how easy it is to make an image. The point I was trrying to make is that this is neither easy nor is it intuitive for the "normal" user. Floppies need to be killed once and for all. This adherence to floppies being used for little jobs like BIOS updates just extends their lifetime. This doesn't help.

        # dd if=floppy.img of=/dev/hda && reboot

        Believe it or n

        • The point I was trrying to make is that this is neither easy nor is it intuitive for the "normal" user. Floppies need to be killed once and for all.

          Floppies suck - I agree with you there. If there's no reason to break compatability, however, then you shouldn't. I'm merely pointing out that the bootable floppy image is completely useable on a floppyless system where a non-floppy image system may be unuseable on existing systems. Sure, it could be made more user friendly (in fact I know there are lots of po
    • I'd just like to point out that the successor of floppy disks are NOT cds. If you boot DOS from a cd, you're not going to be able to write to the media and for flashing that means no BIOS back-up. CDs just aren't the solution.

      I don't understand why so few seem to know about the "new" floppies, namely the USB memory keys. These things are smaller than floppies, blazingly fast (USB 2.0 vs traditional floppies anyone?) and all modern BIOSes can boot from one, either through a floppy emulation (el-torito-like)

  • I'm pretty sure that a freeDOS boot floppy would work just as well as a Win95 boot disk.

    Most BIOS flashing utilities run in 16 bit real mode, and I believe the reason why Tyan specifies a Win95/98 boot disk is because it's the version of a DOS boot disk that most readily available. I'd bet that the utility would run just fine under DOS 6.0, or any other DOS.

    And if you really must insist on using Linux, you might want to look up DOSemu, if it still exists. Last I heard, they're using the freeDOS kernel.
  • Honestly, a dos boot disk has to be the most common and easily aquired items in the computer world. You can go to BootDisk.com [bootdisk.com] and get your boot disk. And as far as having win98 to make a 98 boot disk I havent myself or known anyone that actually used win98 to make a boot disk. Again they can make one from newer versions of Win or they can download one.

    So if a dos boot disk it the simplest and most common type of disposable boot disks for doing a bios flash than why change.

    Side point is that most bios f

  • Check out these [bootdisk.com]. They have a selection of bootdisks for different purposes. Unfortunately, you do need windows to make them as they come in some dinky VB exe that writes to the floppy instead of a raw image. Anyway, make one and make a few copies and you should be fine for a while.
    • Did you not read his question? How does this POSSIBLY help? He wasn't asking where to get bootdisks. He was asking how to flash a bios when neither he nor anybody he knows has windows. God damn.
      • Umm mhe is being told where to get a dos boot disk, and I believe bootdisk.com has some .img files (or at least links to them, at least they used too) So how is he not helping. I feel sorry for him not because he can't flash his bios from linux (the last thing I would want to do is flash my bios with other processes running) but that he is to fanatical about linux to understand that some OS's are better for specific tasks. And guess what DOS is pretty much perfect for flashing your bios.

        Sheesh.
    • I should add some additional clarification. This site will be of use if you have access to any version of windows from 95 on. There may be pure images available as well, so you don't need a windows machine to extract them to disk. Check it out.
  • Okay, first off, "offering an .iso of OpenBSD" is the most ridiculous solution I'v ever heard. Why not just ship an EEPROM burner?
    How about this: They require a DOS boot floppy because
    a: These tools usually operate in real mode
    b: DOS is real mode
    c: DOS fits on a floppy
    d: DOS isn't free

    Oh, wait, DOS IS FREE [freedos.org].
    STOP WHINING. Your knee-jerk reaction to "this needs DOS" is to think inside the box and whine about how MSFT eats babies and is a monopoly and nobody considers freedom important and TEH LUNIX RO
    • OH, and ahem DOS ISOs [ibiblio.org].
      Freaks.
    • If you're so smart, then provide a FreeDOS ISO that works with most BIOS upgrades before yuo start bitching.
    • Dont Do It!!! (Score:4, Informative)

      by jcavanaugh (28919) on Monday December 29, 2003 @02:43PM (#7829091) Homepage
      I tried once to use FreeDos to flash upgrade the bios on a Tyan board. (I also did not have Win98 anywhere in the house).

      Big Mistake. It vaporized my bios and I had to resort to unusual methods to recover the board. Fortunately I had 2 of the exact same board, so I was able to remove the bios eproms from both boards and copy from the good one to the corrupted one.

      Freedos might be good for a lot of things, but bios flash upgrades isnt one of them...

      Caveat Emptor...

      --
      John Cavanaugh
      • why is this? surely the flashing program isn't using any dos-specific calls to actually do the writing.
      • I've used FreeDOS at home & work for flashing BIOS's and have not had an issue. You just need to be sure no XMS, EMS, or UMBPCI TSRs are loaded.

        Some single disk version will load one or more of these (usually XMS) and this can cause a small risk of causing issues, but so can MS-DOS/Win9x boot disk with HIMEM or EMM386 loaded.

      • I think this is a rather simple case of user error.

        Did ya get the proper bios image?
        Did you boot up with no drivers loaded - and especially no driver "loaded high"? That means no atapi.sys, no mscdex and no mouse.com.

        FreeDOS a fscking clone of MS-DOG for crying out loud. No more - no less. Having failed at such a rudimentary task does not give you voice to discredit and slander a perfectly functional system.

        Besides - don't whine about not having win98 in your house - you download thousands of (MS/PC/DR/N
  • by Anonymous Coward
    C'mon, what is more neutral than dos? Espicially with win9x officially leaving the support track what other use is there for dos?

    I want linux, down with MS is less than a neutral mantra.

    How about MOBO makers supply you with a memory card from an old tandy... wait how about old NES cartridges, who knows what OS is on them.

    My sarcasm is not meant to fan the flames but choose your battles man. Changing bios upgrade methods to a truly neutral format isnt going make anyone feel warm and fuzzy except yo
  • Just get a win98 boot disk, and flash the Bios.. Linux (or any other OS) won't care, it will just detect the new hardware. (or updated) and then you can configure the approperate devices.
  • ... about this sort of problem is:

    An email to Tyan's tech support has so far not yielded any response.

    nik09 didn't say how long it had been since he send the question, and given the holidays it's entirely possible that Tyan just hasn't yet gotten around to responding to his question, but its also all too common that when faced with questions like this one companies simply choose not to respond. At all!

    That really pisses me off. I'm a paying customer, and while it may not be worth the manufacturer's

  • They could make diskettes that don't use DOS at all. When they start executing code from the boot sector, the code would just raw read the ROM image from sectors x through y and then perform the same commands that their DOS based floppy does. DOS stands for Disk Operating System but in the case of flashing a ROM the only disk access needed is to read one file and possibly make a backup of the existing image first. Cramming DOS onto a flash disk is a waste of space and costs the manufacturer more than it's w
  • http://www.nu2.nu/

    Of course his bandwidth has just been exceeded... Slashdot effect! Also he just came out with a WinXP Boot CD and it's rather popular.
  • Some do. (Score:2, Informative)

    by RustyTaco (301580)
    Well, sort-of. Compaq is now providing Linux binary-magic-wrapped-in-a-shell script BIOS updates for some of their servers. I upgraded a Proliant ML530(G1) and it's RAID controler from within Debian/sid rather painlessly. It's not cat new.bios.bin > /dev/mtd0, but it's probably safer that way.

    - RustyTaco
  • Asus P4B533 (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Hes Nikke (237581) <slashdot@@@gotnate...com> on Monday December 29, 2003 @06:17PM (#7830823) Journal
    my P4B533 [asus.com] (always off, as it's an expensive space heater) has a feature called ASUS EZ Flash [asus.com]. it does exactly what you're looking for, it flashes the BIOS before any OS loads.

    'course i've been too timid to try it out :P
    • My Asus A7N8X has this also. It kicks much ass. Now that Win98 is supposedly retired I think we can expect more vendors to follow Asus' lead here.

  • Years ago I used to use Win98 but switched to Linux. It didn't take me long to realize that having a dos or win boot disk wasn't a bad thing so I befouled a floppy disk and made one with my roommates computer. Used dd to make an image of it and have had it ever since. It's come in useful for BIOS updates even on a machine with no floppy drive. If anybody wants a copy just e-mail me and I'll get it to you.

    Anybody hardware that may require a boot disk at some time should provide one. If they had to pay
  • I Saw an article awhile back, but it was something along the lines of the person pulled their BIOS chip out of the computer While it was still running, and then put in another chip of the same specs, Flashed it with the BIOS of the other mobo, and then pulled it and put the original BIOS back in, and replaced the freshly flashed BIOS into the computer it originally came from. Search around.
  • Just use dosemu under linux, booting freedos to make a boot disk from the manufacturer's files and instructions. Then boot on the freedos-based boot disk. Simple and you can set it up from within Linux. An alternative to dosemu (which can be a beast) is dosbox [sourceforge.net] which is a dos emulator that runs on any platform and can be used to make boot disks. Although it runs it's own version of DOS, it can be made to make freedos boot disks.

    I also have been very surprised that bios manufacturers haven't been using f
  • Give me a break (Score:1, Flamebait)

    by Lord Kano (13027)
    The gist of the question is still valid, however: what will it take to get BIOS manufacturers to make an OS neutral BIOS upgrade path?

    No, it's not. It's a stupid question, based upon a stupid premise.

    As someone who doesn't know anyone who runs Windows 98, nor do I own any copies of any Microsoft operating system, how does someone complete the delicate task of a BIOS upgrade?

    You're either living in a spider hole like Saddam or you're lying.

    You don't know anyone who runs Win 95, 98, ME, 2000, or XP

A motion to adjourn is always in order.

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