Flashing the BIOS from Linux (OpenSUSE 11.0)

Published: | by Julian Knight Reading time ~2 min.
📖 Posts | 📎 Hardware, Linux, Virtualisation | 🔖 bios, opensuse, virtualbox

I’ve been a bit quiet here recently because I’ve mainly been working with my business laptop currently running Windows 7. You can see more about this on my other blog – Much Ado about IT. However, the power supply on that died recently so I’m back to my trusty desktop which runs OpenSUSE 11.0 24×7. I managed to get hold of an upgraded CPU for this a while back but I’ve not really had an incentive to upgrade till now. The new CPU supports hardware virtualisation but I need to enable this in the BIOS. Of course, this machine (based on an ASUS A8N-SLI Deluxe motherboard) has an old BIOS that doesn’t allow me to turn on these features so I needed to upgrade to the latest (v1805). But, I only run Windows under VirtualBox on this computer and I don’t have a floppy drive so updating a BIOS is no trivial matter! After some Googling, here is the answer: 1. Install the coreboot-utils package 2. As root, at a command prompt, run “flashrom” to check that your chipset is supported for writing 3. Extract the .bin file from the archive containing the updated BIOS image 4. Make a backup of the existing BIOS with “flashrom -r backup-bios.bin” 5. For the paranoid, try writing that backup back to the BIOS with “flashrom -wv backup-bios.bin” to ensure there are no errors. Reboot at this point for the really paranoid 6. Now flash the new BIOS with a similar command to step 5 7. Reboot and check that the new BIOS is OK If you get an error from flashrom saying that the new BIOS is the wrong size, you may have had a problem unpacking the bin file from the archive as I did. Unpack the whole archive to a folder. If flashrom doesn’t work for you, there are lots of other ways – I like using GRUB to boot from a floppy disk .img file – very “Linuxy”.


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