- The purpose of this article is to provide information on how to update the BIOS of a computer. It is always best to fully review all documentation from the vendor regarding BIOS updates before proceeding. However, as a courtesy to the Ubuntu Community, information has been collected here that others have successfully used to update their BIOS.
Considerations before updating the BIOS
Reviewing installation instructions
- To ensure the best results, one should review all documentation from the vendor. This may be a separate document from their website, or a README extracted from the executable file via Archive Manager.
BIOS update changes previously set configurations
- Some BIOS updates will add new settings within the BIOS, as well as adjust previously existing settings to something different than what was set previously. One would want to take note of the settings prior to updating, in case the desired settings do become changed, or the new feature would have an undesirable impact.
UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface)
If the system has an UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) based BIOS, one would want to backup the EFI partition first. To do so, copy the /boot/efi/EFI/ folder to a safe location. If the BIOS update either adjusts or removes it, one may restore it to its intended location, for example, via live environment.
Acer Aspire One AOA110 or AOA150 netbook
Please see here.
One may reinstall OS X for a firmware update following Apple's instructions here.
- ASUS provides within their BIOS a utility called Easy Flash. Please search the Asus website for instructions.
When searching for the latest BIOS update, please make sure one checks the OS for both Windows and Linux to get the latest fixes. For example, the latest BIOS available for Windows was a later version in comparison to Linux for the Eee PC 1005HA Seashell.
If you are using UEFI and your F12 boot options include "Flash BIOS upgrade", one may download the BIOS upgrade .exe from Dell's website, and put it to your /boot/EFI/ folder. Reboot and select "Flash BIOS upgrade" option. In the dialog select the .exe file you have just downloaded and continue with the process.
For more on Dell specific procedures, please see here.
Please be advised HP was previously blocking review of their software updates (BIOS, firmware, drivers, etc.) from non-Windows operating systems for many PC models. This was last identified for HP Pavilion Elite d5200t ATX CTO Desktop PC but has since been partially fixed. What happened previously was the Software & Drivers tab at the top was missing. If one uses any browser in Windows, the tab did not show up. To work around this problem, one may change the URL from:
http://support.hp.com/us-en/drivers/selfservice/HP-Pavilion-Elite-d5200-ATX-Desktop-PC-series/3824586/model/3824587Now the tab shows up, but doesn't bring you to the drivers page for that model. Instead, one has to go lower in the page and click the button "Software and Drivers" and then click the button "Go".
Boot into BIOS (F10) to upgrade BIOS
One may update the BIOS during startup as per HP's website. Please keep in mind that the USB drive must be formatted with FAT32 (NTFS won't work).
- Lenovo makes available up to three different methods with which to update the BIOS. They are presented in the order one should utilize them:
A self-contained bootable ISO environment. There are instances where one may not update via the Windows .exe, and only update to a certain level via the ThinkVantage System Update. Hence, it is recommended to try this first.
- Windows only executable file.
ThinkVantage System Update. In certain circumstances, the Windows only executable file may not work. However, the ThinkVantage System Update has a different update implementation, that can work when the Windows only executable file does not.
- MSI offers an update via a command from within the UEFI/BIOS to select and load a specific file from a USB drive.
- Boot into the BIOS setup (by pressing DEL-key while MSI splash screen is shown).
- Take note of the exact model (e.g. GE70 2oe).
- Take note of the currently installed BIOS version (e.g. E1757IMS.517).
- Take note of any changed configuration (as these will all be reset to defaults).
Search msi.com for the exact model (if you can't find it, try to create an account and register your device via its serial number from inside the battery compartment).
Download and extract update file (~ 8 MB) to a USB stick following this guide.
- Reboot into BIOS and start the update by selecting the file (e.g. E1757IMS.520).
- If after the update Ubuntu isn't starting and instead fails with a red failure dialog, check the boot options in your BIOS (e.g. try "UEFI with CSM").
- Unfortunately, for many models, Samsung does not provide via their website the option to see the latest BIOS version, the release notes for a given BIOS version, or allow one to download a dedicated, OS vendor independent BIOS upgrade method. Instead, they provide a Windows only software update program (SW Update), that is used to both check if a BIOS update is available, and if so, then download and install via this program.
However, if one has a Samsung computer with Ubuntu installed, one may find what the latest BIOS version is by executing at a terminal:
sudo dmidecode -t0 | grep Version
which will note:
The last two letters are used as the "PlatformID" in the following URL:
<Content> <ID>1079</ID> <Version>13XK</Version> <Importance>0</Importance> <MsgType>0</MsgType> <AutoInstall>0</AutoInstall> <ExclusiveInstall>0</ExclusiveInstall> <FilePathName>ITEM_20130405_1079_WIN_13XK.exe</FilePathName> <FileSize>3424280</FileSize> <Downloaded>0</Downloaded> </Content>
One now has confirmed the latest version of the BIOS as per Samsung without having to install Windows to find out. If one wanted to download this version of the BIOS, one may go to the URL:
Toshiba has made available a BIOS .exe for certain models (ex. Toshiba Satellite L305D-S5934) that when executed, generates an ISO to burn to disc, and in turn allows one to boot to the disc to update the BIOS. This .exe was successfully run in Ubuntu via WINE to generate this ISO, the ISO burned in Ubuntu, and the BIOS updated successfully.
Vendor independent updating methods
One may utilize an evaluation copy of Windows from here to update when one may only use Windows.
Windows System Repair Disc
In Windows 7, create a System Repair disc. Put the BIOS file on a spare USB drive (formatted as FAT32), boot to to the System Repair disc, navigate to the USB via command line and execute the file.
USB Recovery Drive
In Windows 8.1, create a USB recovery drive. Put the BIOS file on the USB drive.
Boot into Windows
- One may do this via swapping in dedicated drive, or dual boot.
In a Windows Enterprise environment, use Windows To Go.
- Request recovery media from the vendor, so one may utilize it for an update.
Boot to FreeDOS and execute the .exe file. If one is using UEFI, one may want to use Legacy mode, versus UEFI.
Step-by-step instructions - http://www.linuxinsight.com/how-to-flash-motherboard-bios-from-linux-no-dos-windows-no-floppy-drive.html
While Using WINE worked once for one person, for one piece of hardware, at one point in time of Ubuntu and WINE development, it would be considered a last resort. It would be conservative to believe that using WINE to update the BIOS holds a potentially higher risk in comparison to using Windows to damage your motherboard beyond troubleshooting, necessitating a warranty event or purchase of a new motherboard.
Question: What tools in linux are available to indicate my BIOS would want to be upgraded?
Answer: One may utilize fwts, as well as review your dmesg logs for errors.
Question: Is updating the BIOS of a host possible with a virtualized guest environment?
Question: Are BIOS updates risky?
Answer: No. OEMs typically advise when performing a BIOS update, do not interrupt the power supply.
Question: My logs advised to update my BIOS should I?
[ 1.770772] [drm] Wrong MCH_SSKPD value: 0x16040307 [ 1.770774] [drm] This can cause pipe underruns and display issues. [ 1.770775] [drm] Please upgrade your BIOS to fix this.
Question: The BIOS release notes doesn't specifically cover my problem. Should I update anyways?
Answer: Yes. Not all BIOS fixes are documented in the change log, tested to your specific problem under the same operating system, or tested under your operating system at all.
Question: If the problem isn't reproducible in Windows, but is reproducible in linux, could this be a BIOS issue?
Question: If the release notes don't say anything about linux or Ubuntu, should I update the BIOS?
Answer: Yes. Your vendor may only test and have release note commentary about a different operating system, so it wouldn't advise on if your problem is resolved.
Question: If I didn't change anything in the BIOS, and my problem started happening after restarting from an update, is it possible an outdated BIOS issue?
Answer: Yes. Updates to Ubuntu can cause buggy BIOS problems to manifest that the prior version did not. The solution is to update a buggy and outdated BIOS, not rely on unintentional WORKAROUNDs.
Question: Whose responsibility is it to keep my BIOS updated?
Answer: The responsibility to keep the BIOS updated lies solely with owner of the hardware. However, as a courtesy to the Ubuntu Community, update methods that may not have been offered by your BIOS vendor are available in this article.
Question: If I don't update my computer's buggy and outdated BIOS, are there negative consequences?
Answer: Yes. First, one could be vulnerable to publicly documented BIOS security vulnerabilities. For example, Row Hammer, Lenovo Service Engine BIOS vulnerability, SMM Incursion Attack, etc. Second, not keeping the BIOS updated is not respecting the time of triagers or developers. If one isn't willing to put the effort in to keep this updated, one shouldn't expect others to be motivated to help.
Question: If a BIOS update came out after my problem started to occur, should I update?
Dell's BIOS knowledge base article http://www.dell.com/support/Article/us/en/19/SLN284433/EN