BIOS Upgrade

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Revision as of 19:07, 13 October 2007 by WilliamPoetra (Talk | contribs) (Alternative method to the above "alternative method")

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This page is meant to describe ways to update the BIOS on a ThinkPad that only runs Linux for users that don't have ready access to Windows. If you have Windows on your ThinkPad you can just boot into it and follow instructions on the IBM website.

NOTE!
In one case (APM setup on a type 2379 ThinkPad T40) it was not possible to upgrade the BIOS from Windows XP; a downgrade to Windows 98 was required to successfully run the BIOS upgrade app. The symptoms in this case were that, once the files had been extracted to the hard disk, and the machine was to reboot into the upgrade app, it would beep and hang just before reboot, requiring a power cycle. Once the power was cycled, it would simply reboot back into XP without performing any BIOS upgrade actions. So even if you have Windows, you may still need to use the info on this page.

Before You Begin

Updating the BIOS in Linux (with few exceptions) is not officially supported by IBM/Lenovo. However there are work arounds.

ATTENTION!
By following any of the instructions here you are accepting the very real risk of turning your thinkpad into a big expensive paper weight, as a firmware update gone wrong can create unfixable problems.

Proceed at your own risk!

It is also important to understand that Thinkpads from IBM have two separate firmwares: the BIOS, and the Embedded Controller program. A given BIOS version will require a certain version of the Embedded Controller program.

The IBM documentation is sometimes unclear about the order in which these two firmwares should be updated. On most, but not all Thinkpads, the correct update order is Embedded Controller program first, and then the BIOS. Make sure to do the two updates immediately one after the other. Newer models from Lenovo update both the Embedded Controller program and the BIOS at the same time, so you don't have to worry about it.

BIOS Upgrade Paths

For every firmware (either BIOS or Embedded Controller program) update on the IBM web site there used to be two different firmware update programs provided. The Diskette Updater and the Non Diskette Updater. For newer Lenovo Models the Diskette Updater is replaced with a bootable CD-Image and the Non Diskette Updater is renamed BIOS Update Utility, both of which update the BIOS and the Embedded Controller program at the same time. A list of links to firmware downloads can be found at BIOS Upgrade Downloads for nearly all Thinkpad Models.

The Diskette Updater

The Diskette updater appears to be a 16 bit DOS program which asks you to accept a license agreement. It will run in Windows, DOS, OS/2, or Dosemu perfectly, but requires a real floppy disk attached via a real floppy controller. A USB Floppy Drive will not work.

The Bootable CD Image

Newer models from Lenovo can be updated using the Bootable CD Image. This should be the easiest way for non-Windows users and also maybe a more secure way for Windows users, as well. As the image is provided as a plain ISO-file without any Windows enclosure, you can simply burn it to a CD-R/RW with any modern operating system, as long as you have a CD/DVD-RW Drive and are then able to boot from it.

Extracting a Bootable CD-ROM Image from the Non Diskette Updater

ATTENTION!
Though this process was successfully tested on one version of .exe files found on IBMs website this doesn't mean it will work for all of them. Proceed at your own risk. Consult the list at the bottom of this page to see other users' experience with your model Thinkpad.

This installer appears to be a 32bit windows .exe which is designed for updating the BIOS directly from a running Windows OS. It turns out that this .exe is really a wrapper license program around Windows .cab files (see BIOS-Bootsplash). If you install the Linux program cabextract you can expand these .cab files directly. Run the following:

$ cabextract FILENAME.exe

This will extract 8 files in the current directory. One of them will be FILENAME.img. In this discussion, "FILENAME" represents the name of the Non Diskette file that you downloaded, such as "1NHJ04US".

You can test that this is really a floppy image by running:

# mkdir mntfloppy
# mount -o loop FILENAME.img mntfloppy
# ls -la mntfloppy

If the results of # ls -la mntfloppy look like a dos floppy, and no read errors were displayed, you have a pretty good chance that the floppy image is usable.

Unmount the image after you are done:

# umount mntfloppy

Now, you can proceed to BIOS_Upgrade:Creating a Bootable CD from a Floppy Image, below.

Updating Thinkpad X Series

X Series Thinkpads do not have an internal drive. If there is no Windows installed, the BIOS must be updated by booting from an USB drive or a drive that is integrated in the docking station. Since a while Lenovo provides BIOS updates in form of bootable CD images. Unfortunately, these images are intended to be used with the docking station's CD drive. If you do not own such a drive, things get complicated.

The problem is that current BIOS updates are quite large, about 3 MB in size. Booting from CDs typically works like booting from a 1.44 MB or 2.88 MB floppy disk. The floppy image is stored on the CD and is referenced in the CD's boot record. Because the BIOS update file are that large, they do not fit on such a floppy image. Thus, they must be stored on the CD outside the virtual floppy image. To access these files a driver for the CD drive has to be loaded. Since Lenovo's CD images are intended to be used with a docking station's CD drive, it is not possible to use them for BIOS updates by booting from an USB CD drive.

But there is hope. The CD images provided by Lenovo can be modified such that they contain drivers for USB CD drives. I tested the following with a Thinkpad X60s.

The idea is to take Lenovo's ISO CD image and modify it such that a USB CD drive can be used instead the CD drive in the docking station. Unfortunately, simply replacing the drivers is not enough. While doing the BIOS update, the USB ports seem to get disabled or something. Therefore, before starting the update process the CD contents have to be copied to a RAM disk. I will describe the procedure step by step.

  1. Download the ISO image style BIOS update from Lenovo's website. This file will be refered to as /tmp/bios-lenovo.iso.
  2. Extract the floppy image from this ISO image. You can use the following shell script for this task (or an alternative one from [1]). Simply save this code into the file /tmp/extractbootimage.sh, set the x-flag (chmod +x /tmp/extractbootimage.sh) and call it using the command /tmp/extractbootimage.sh /tmp/bios-lenovo.iso /tmp/bios-lenovo.img. The floppy image contained in the ISO image will then be saved to /tmp/bios-lenovo.img. Here is the code of the shell script:
    #!/bin/bash
    
    # This script extracts the floopy boot image from bootable ISO images
    #
    # Written by Joachim Selke (mail@joachim-selke.de), 2007-04-07
    
    ISOFILE=$1
    IMAGEFILE=$2
    
    if [ ! -r $ISOFILE ]; then
            echo $ISOFILE: file does not exist or is not readable
            exit 1
    fi
    
    if [ -z $IMAGEFILE ]; then
            echo Error: no image file specified
            exit 1
    fi
    
    ISOFILESIZE=`stat -c %s $ISOFILE`
    
    # collect El Torito data
    # see http://www.phoenix.com/NR/rdonlyres/98D3219C-9CC9-4DF5-B496-A286D893E36A/0/specscdrom.pdf for reference
    
    BOOTCATALOGPOINTERBYTE=$((17 * 0x800 + 0x47))
    
    if [ $ISOFILESIZE -lt $(($BOOTCATALOGPOINTERBYTE + 4)) ]; then
            echo ISO file is too short, possibly damaged
            exit 1
    fi
    
    # absolute pointer to first sector of boot catalog:
    BOOTCATALOG=`od -A n -t x4 -N 4 -j $BOOTCATALOGPOINTERBYTE $ISOFILE | tr -d [:blank:]`
    
    BOOTCATALOGBYTE=$((0x$BOOTCATALOG * 0x800))
    
    echo Boot catalog starts at byte $BOOTCATALOGBYTE
    
    if [ $ISOFILESIZE -lt $(($BOOTCATALOGBYTE + 32 + 2)) ]; then
            echo ISO file is too short, possibly damaged
            exit 1
    fi
    
    # media type of boot image
    # only floppy disk images are supported by this script
    BOOTMEDIATYPE=`od -A n -t x1 -N 1 -j $(($BOOTCATALOGBYTE + 32 + 1)) $ISOFILE | tr -d [:blank:]`
    
    if [ $BOOTMEDIATYPE -eq 1 ]; then
            echo Boot media type is 1.2M floppy disk
            IMAGEBLOCKS=$((1200 / 2))
    elif [ $BOOTMEDIATYPE -eq 2 ]; then
            echo Boot media type is 1.44M floppy disk
            IMAGEBLOCKS=$((1440 / 2))
    elif [ $BOOTMEDIATYPE -eq 3 ]; then
            echo Boot media type is 2.88M floppy disk
            IMAGEBLOCKS=$((2880 / 2))
    else
            echo Boot media type is $((0x$BOOTMEDIATYPE)). This type is not supported yet.
            exit 1
    fi
    
    # absolute pointer to start of boot image
    BOOTIMAGE=`od -A n -t x4 -N 4 -j $(($BOOTCATALOGBYTE + 32 + 8)) $ISOFILE | tr -d [:blank:]`
    
    BOOTIMAGEBYTE=$((0x$BOOTIMAGE * 0x800))
    
    echo Boot image starts at byte $BOOTIMAGEBYTE
    
    if [ $ISOFILESIZE -lt $((0x$BOOTIMAGE * 0x800 + $IMAGEBLOCKS * 0x800)) ]; then
            echo ISO file is too short, possibly damaged
            exit 1
    fi
    
    echo Extracting boot image ...
    
    dd if=$ISOFILE of=$IMAGEFILE bs=2K count=$IMAGEBLOCKS skip=$((0x$BOOTIMAGE))
    
    echo Finished
    
  3. Mount the floppy image as root using the loop device:
    # mkdir /tmp/bios-lenovo.img-mnt
    # mount -o loop /tmp/bios-lenovo.img /tmp/bios-lenovo.img-mnt
    The image is now mounted as /tmp/bios-lenovo.img-mnt.
  4. Download needed drivers. First download some USB drivers from Panasonic Japan. Save the file to /tmp/f2h_usb.exe This file is a self-extracting EXE file, that can be executed under Linux using Wine:
    $ wine /tmp/f2h_usb.exe
    You will be asked where to save the extracted files. Choose /tmp. A new directory /tmp/F2h containing the needed drivers will be created. Additionally, you will need drivers for the RAM disk mentioned. Download them from the ReSizeable RAMDisk project. Unzip them to /tmp/srdisk.
  5. Let's modify the floppy image:
    $ cp /tmp/F2h/Usbaspi.sys /tmp/bios-lenovo.img-mnt/
    $ cp /tmp/F2h/USBCD.SYS /tmp/bios-lenovo.img-mnt/
    $ cp /tmp/F2h/RAMFD.SYS /tmp/bios-lenovo.img-mnt/
    $ cp /tmp/srdisk/srdxms.sys /tmp/bios-lenovo.img-mnt/
    $ cp /tmp/srdisk/srdisk.exe /tmp/bios-lenovo.img-mnt/
    Now add the following lines to /tmp/bios-lenovo.img-mnt/config.sys replacing the line DEVICE = A:\IBMTPCD.SYS /R /C:
    DEVICE = A:\SRDXMS.SYS
    DEVICE = A:\RAMFD.SYS
    DEVICE = A:\USBASPI.SYS /V
    DEVICE = A:\USBCD.SYS /D:TPCD001
    

    Finally, edit the file /tmp/bios-lenovo.img-mnt/autoexec.bat replacing the last line (saying COMMAND.COM) by the following:

    A:\SRDISK 10000
    COPY *.* D:
    D:
    COMMAND.COM
    

    Maybe the RAM disk gets a drive letter different from D: on your system. In this case, you have to change the above lines accordingly.

  6. Unmount the floppy image (as root):
    # umount /tmp/bios-lenovo.img-mnt
  7. Copy the content of the original CD image to a new directory and create a new ISO file:
    # mkdir /tmp/bios-lenovo.iso-mnt
    # mount -o loop /tmp/bios-lenovo.iso /tmp/bios-lenovo.iso-mnt
    $ mkdir /tmp/bios-new.iso-mnt
    $ cp /tmp/bios-lenovo.iso-mnt/* /tmp/bios-new.iso-mnt
    $ cp /tmp/bios-lenovo.img /tmp/bios-new.iso-mnt/boot.img
    # umount /tmp/bios-lenovo.iso-mnt
    $ mkisofs -relaxed-filenames -b boot.img -o /tmp/bios-new.iso /tmp/bios-new.iso-mnt/
  8. The file /tmp/bios-new.iso is the modified ISO file. Just burn it to CD and use this CD for updating your BIOS (boot from it using your USB drive). Please give some comments here if it worked for you.

Alternative method using a USB stick

Note: none of the above methods worked on my X60s. This method worked for me, however. PhilipPaeps 16:41, 24 August 2007 (UTC)

This method was surprisingly painless once I convinced my ThinkPad X60s to boot DOS from a USB stick. I used VMWare and some mystical tool to get DOS on the stick. If you can find another way to get a bootable DOS stick, please update this section!

  • Tell VMWare to create a virtual floppy image for you and format it under Microsoft Windows and tell it to create a system disk. You can do this by clicking into "My Computer", then right-clicking on the "Floppy" icon and selecting "Format". In the box that pops up, you need to check the box that says "Create an MS-DOS startup disk" and then click "Start".
  • In a command prompt again: C:\DriveKey\HPUSBF.EXE E: -Q -B:A:\, replacing the E: with the "drive letter" associated with your USB stick (you can find this letter in "My Computer" under "Removable Storage"). WARNING: this wipes anything on the USB stick. You will end up with a USB stick which appears empty at this point, but there is DOS on it somewhere.
  • Now mount the BIOS update ISO image from Lenovo as a virtual CDROM using VMWare again and copy the files from it to the USB stick: copy D:\*.* E:\.

At this point, you may want to fiddle with the splash image, as described elsewhere on ThinkWiki.

  • Reboot and press F12, tell the BIOS to boot from your USB stick.
  • cd flash ; updtflsh.exe

Think happy thoughts. The ThinkPad will beep quite ominously (and loudly!) a couple of times. Do not let this worry you too much. After about three minutes, the program will ask you to press enter to restart and hopefully all will be well.

Comments

  • I have followed your excellent instructions. The CD booted, the update program ran but stopped working and responding while updating. Luckily the BIOS was not destroyed. Since destroying the BIOS is a very high risk, I am going to recover the original Windows on an old HD and will run the update exe update program from there.
  • I followed these clear instructions, and like the comment above I ended up with a CD that booted but the update program stopped working and responding. An ALT-CTRL-DELETE rebooted my x60s, and it works so the BIOS must not have been damaged. I was trying to upgrade from version 2.08 to 2.11, I wonder if these instructions are somehow particular to certain versions? Latch 01:22, 14 June 2007 (UTC)
  • After following the above instructions, the program also stopped working while updating the BIOS. But after changing the drive letter from D: to C: (see code below), it everything worked fine. However, I had some trouble figuring out, which letter to choose over D: at first, as the BIOS Upgrade program started right away.
    A:\SRDISK 10000
    COPY *.* C:
    C:
    COMMAND.COM
    

    Mtx, 1 August 2007, Thinkpad X61s

  • Flashing the bios (2.12) works for me on a X60s (using drive c). Using the DVD-R on an USB-Hub did not work.
    Ra 00:15, 21 August 2007 (UTC)

Alternative method to the above "alternative method"

This is based on the above "Alternative Method" and works on my X60.

1. Download the BIOS Update iso image and the USB Stick Formatter.

2. Now get access to Windows -- be it in an emulator, or a colleague's PC. Steps 3, 4, 5 needs Windows to complete.

3. Install the HP USB Stick Formatter.

4. Go to the directory where you installed the tool: e.g. C:\DriveKey and extract HPUSBF.EXE to HPUSBF\ (using WinRAR).

5. Run the HPUSBFW utility, selecting the location of system files as C:\DriveKey\HPUSBF, and format the USB stick.

6. Extract the iso image to the USB stick, for example to K:\7buj22us (K: being the USB stick).

7. On the target computer, boot with the USB stick and issue the commands "cd 7buj22us" then "command.com"

This brings up the BIOS flash interface and you can update your BIOS from here.

Updating via CD/DVD Drive

The whole thing gets more complicated if you neither have Windows nor a floppy drive installed. This is what this page is intended to describe.

Another possibility which works even without a CD-drive or network is to boot the disk image via the grub initrd mechanism.

Be aware that IBM officially does not support this! The official statement to my support request was:

I'm afraid we only support the options listed on our web page and no you
can't burn a CD/DVD, however you can try to use an external USB FDD
(floppy) drive. The experts recommend a IBM USB FDD, however they have also
tested it with a Sony USB FDD drive.

In order to make sure the drive is recognised you can boot up the FDD with
a bootable dos diskette for w98

But it seems to be possible as Mathias Dalheimer describes this here.

Another indication that it should work is that IBM uses PHLASH16.EXE (at least on T4x/p systems) to flash the BIOS into the chip. The same tool is used by other vendors to flash the BIOS from bootable CD-ROMs.

ATTENTION!
Do not use the SYSLINUX image-loader MEMDISK to boot the images! Some flash tools crash in that situation!

Some interesting but very technical information about the used flash tool can be found here.

Creating a Floppy Image

If you have created a boot floppy on another machine, you need to create an image file of that floppy. This can be easily done in linux by running a command line:

# dd bs=2x80x18b if=/dev/fd0 of=/tmp/floppy.img

You can also create a floppy image by using Ken Kato's VMware's back. It is a free Windoze tool that creates a virtual floppy drive and allows you to produce an image file ready to be ISO'ed. Note: you might have to 'manually' (through application's interface) assign the virtual drive a volume letter in order to be seen by IBM's application (as, by default, it seems not to do it).

You should verify this floppy.img as explained above.

Creating a Bootable CD from a Floppy Image

Once you have your floppy image, either from imaging a real floppy, or from extracting them via the cabextract method above, you need to make a boot CD out of it.

The eltorito bootable CD standard is a wonderful thing. What this means is that a bootable CD can be made with a bootable floppy in such as way that the CD believes that it is a 2.88 MB floppy drive. This allows you to replace a boot floppy by a boot CD in nearly all situations.

It is very easy to create such a bootable CD ISO image in Linux using the mkisofs tool. To do this run a command as follows:

# mkisofs -b bootfloppy.img -o bootcd.iso bootfloppy.img

where bootfloppy.img is the name of the .img floppy image file, for example 1NUJ10US.IMG.

Note: This creates a CD with one file on it and marks that file as the boot image. For more info on this read $ man mkisofs.

You can now burn the bootcd.iso in your favorite CD burning program.

To get an overview which models have been tested with this version, here is a list:

Does work:

Model Tested by
600E (2645-4AU)
  • George Tellalov <gtellalov_dontspamme@bigfoot.com>. BIOS 1.16 from spsdin36.exe worked perfectly with the method bootable cd from floppy image. I highly recommend this upgrade because it made my ibm-acpi module load (it wouldn't load before) and fixed some suspend to ram problems. Here's the cd image I used. Use at your own risk. You can send me a chocolate if it works for you ;)
600E (2645-5bU)
  • Mike Vincent<matchstc-putobvioushere.com>. Bios 1.16 from spsdin36.exe and then to the boot cd worked great for me. Thought I had bricked it three separate times using a "real" floppy! Each from different diskettes .The updater would start, give me the "going to take30 seconds" speech...and then access the HD for 10 minutes. Each time it would reboot fine. Did the cd as described above...worked great first time. Perhaps 10 year old seldom used floppy disc drives have some challenges?
600X (2645)
  • Jonathan Byrne <jonathan@RemoveThisToMailMe.yamame.org>. BIOS 1.11 from spsuit55.exe worked perfectly using cabextract/CD method.
600X (2645)
  • Andy Barnes <andy@RemoveThisToMailMe.itchypaws.co.uk>. As per Jonathan above, extracted BIOS 1.11 from spsuit55.exe using cabextract, created a CD boot image and burnt to CD. Worked flawlessly - thanks to everyone who contributed to this article!
A20p (2629-6VU)
A21e (2628-JXU)
  • Amit Gurdasani <gurdasani at yahoo dot com>. BIOS 1.13 flashed fine with cabextract/CD method. Alarmingly, after the BIOS update, the laptop beeped but did not shut down as was indicated onscreen -- that was frozen on the "do not shut down the laptop" screen. On power down and up again, the BIOS setup showed the newer BIOS image running, and Linux booted up fine. Linux ACPI didn't complain about the BIOS being too old either.
A31p (2653)
  • Matthias Meinke largeeddy@gmx.at, BIOS 1.09 1NET15WW flashed fine with cabextract/CD method.
A31 (2652)
  • Aaron Denney, BIOS 1.13 flashed fine with cabextract/CD method. The cabextract/CD method also worked for BIOS 1.10.
R30
  • Jarrod, 30 August 2007, Thinkpad R30 Type 2656-E0M. BIOS updated to 1.40 (1CETF0WW) using floppy disk/mkisofs/cdrecord. Worked fine, no problems.
R31
R40
R50 (1836-3SU)
  • jlbartos <jlbartos at hotmail dot com>
R50e (1834-PTG)
  • item <item at freemail dot hu> : successfully finished with cabextract/CD method for "1wuj25us.exe" (BIOS version 1WET90WW (2.10), Release Date: 2006/12/22)
  • Christos Nouskas <nouskas at gmail dot com>: upgraded to BIOS version 1WET90WW (2.10) and EC version 1VHT28WW (1.04) using GRUB (BIOS first / EC second)
R51 (1829)
  • Robert Uhl <rob dot uhl at gmx dot de>, Jellby <jellby at yahoo dot com>
R51 (1830-RM7)
  • Will Parker <stardotstar at sourcepoint dot com dot au> successfully flashed 3.20 using existing 3.04 ECP and retained custom boot splash.
R51 (2887)
  • Ingo van Lil <inguin at gmx dot de>
R52 (1858)
  • Stuart McCord <stuart dot mccord at gmail dot com> flashed both BIOS and ECP using cabextract, BIOS flashed first as on IBM website
T20
  • Franz Hassels <fhassel at suse dot com>
T22
  • Daniel Maier <nusse teamidiot de>
  • Mathias Behrle (with cabextract/CD method, Version 1.07 => 1.12) --Mathiasb 11:58, 14 December 2006 (CET)
  • Bob Skaroff (cabextract/CD), 1.06 => 1.12
  • Leo Butler (cabextract/CD), 1.11 => 1.12
T23
  • Bart Snapp <snapp at uiuc dot edu> Note: I followed IBM's instructions to flash the BIOS *first* and the Embedded Controller *second*.
  • Moy Easwaran: BIOS 1.18 / EC 1.06a via cabextract and CD-boot. The BIOS-update exe generated errors in Windows 2000.
  • Joe Renes: BIOS 1.18 / EC 1.06a on 2006-03-20 via cabextract and CD-boot. Piece of cake.
  • Raphael Errani: BIOS 1.20 / EC 1.06a on 2006-11-06 via cabextract and CD-boot (using mkisofs). Worked without errors. 1st Bios, 2nd EC
T30
  • Martin Gühring <guehring at gmail.com> BIOS 2.10 via cabextract the Non-Diskette BIOS -> mkisofs in the directory the exe was extracted to generate the iso -> burn the iso -> boot the CD
T40
T40p
  • Lukas Krähenbühl, ismo at pop dot agri dot ch
  • Thomas Achtemichuk, tom at tomchuk dot com. BIOS 3.15 flashed fine with cabextract/CD method
T41
  • Lev Givon (Bios 3.15 / EC 3.04) <lev at columbia dot edu>
  • Ernesto Hernández-Novich (Bios 3.19 / CP 3.04) < emhn at usb dot ve >
  • James Ballantine (Bios 3.21 / CP 3.04) using nondisk/cabextract/CDRW
T41p
  • Nils Newman, work great. (Version: Bios 3.14 / Embedded Controller 3.04)
T42
  • Dan (BIOS 3.20 / EC 3.04, cabextract/CD method) <tronic171 at evilphb.org>
T42p
  • Robert Schiele <rschiele@uni-mannheim.de>, Joern Heissler <joern@heissler.de>
T43
  • Conrad Rentsch <Conrad dot Rentsch at t-online dot de> (Version: Bios 1.29 / Embedded Controller 1.06)
  • Tom Heady <tom-thinkwiki.org@punch.net>
  • Florian Boucault <florian at boucault dot ath dot cx> (Model : 1871-W34 & Version: Bios 1.23 / Embedded Controller 1.03)
  • Till Heikamp <t dot heikamp at geniusbytes dot com> (Model 2886, Bios 1.22 to 1.29, Embedded Controller 1.03 to 1.06)
T60
  • Roman Komkov <roman at komkov dot org dot ru> (Model 1951, Bios 1.07 to 2.13) Successfully upgraded from CD Image
X20
  • Neil Caunt <retardis at gmail dot com>
X21
  • Patrick Leickner <ranma at web dot de>, (BIOS 2.21->2.25 / EC 1.31->1.36) via non-disk/cabextract/mkisofs/cdrecord
X22
  • David Emery <dave at skiddlydee dot com>, (EC 1.30, BIOS 1.32 using non-disk/cabextract/CD method)
X23
  • Nils Faerber <nils dot faerber at kernelconcepts dot de> (Embedded Controller 1.30, BIOS 1.32 with cabextract/CD method)
X30
  • Hella Breitkopf, www (Embedded Controller 1.04, BIOS 1.07 with cabextract/CD method)
X31
  • Grzegorz KuÅ›nierz <koniu at sheket dot org> (Embedded Controller 1.08, BIOS 3.01 with cabextract/CD method)
X40
  • Robbie Stone <robbie@serendipity.cx>
Z60m
  • Morle 13:09, 20 May 2006 (CEST), (Embedded Controller 1.14 with cabextract/CD method)

Does not work:

Model Tested by

Please note that testing this is at your own risk!!!


Updating via Grub and a Floppy Image

ATTENTION!
Many have warned not to use the SYSLINUX image-loader MEMDISK to boot the images! Some flash tools may crash in that situation! Proceed at your own risk!

Floppy images may be booted from Grub via a utility called MEMDISK, which may be compiled from the SYSLINUX source. Copy the compiled memdisk image and the floppy image to your boot directory and configure grub as follows:

title     Bios Flash
kernel    /boot/memdisk
initrd    /boot/FILENAME.img

Again, proceed at your own risk. This was tested on an R51 type 2888.

This also worked for me on a T41p type 2373. -- James Lee 20:55, 8 May 2006 (CEST)

And it worked for me on a X31 type 2673-CBU. -- Jan Topinski, 18 September 2006

And it worked for me too on a X31 type 2672-CXU, very useful. -- TheAnarcat 16:21, 7 March 2007 (CET)

Same here (worked) on a X31 type 2673-58G --FaUl 15:53, 20 June 2007 (UTC)FaUl

Works well on a X31 type 2672-PG9, but with a big moment between starting update and the updating window -- Starox 22 Jul 2007

And it worked for me on two X40 type 2371 -- Jakob Truelsen, 19 Jan 2007 -- BIOS: 2.07 1uuj21us.exe -- ECP: 1.62 1uhj10us.exe

Not working for me on T43 type 2668-F7G -- Maus3273 20:48, 30 January 2007 (CET) -- BIOS: 1.29 1YUJ18US.IMG -- I got into the bios program, but the machine never restarts after initiating the upgrade.

X41 type 2525-F8G -- Lauri Koponen, 11:08 16 Apr 2007
BIOS: 2.09 (74UJ15US.IMG), is no go. (hangs while initialising the actual flashing process) I tried with 2.07 (74UJ13US.IMG) and 2.06 (74UJ12US.IMG) aswell and they all failed in the very same fashion.
ECP: 1.02 74HJ03US.IMG, works.

It works fine on R30 type 2656-64g, BIOS v.1.40 -- Yuri Spirin, 10 May 2007.

Updating with Network Boot Image

BIOS, Embedded Controller (EC), CD/DVD and Harddisk firmware disks can be booted over the network with PXELINUX as part of the SYSLINUX package.

This requires that you have a DHCP and tftp server configured and setup properly on your network, and is probably not for the faint of heart.

Make sure the firmware bootdisk is in linux 'dd' format, as the self-extracting .exe disks from the IBM website cannot be booted directly as such.

This worked on the R31, X22, T21, T30 and T41p with various firmware updates.


On X22, works with EC 1.30 but NOT with BIOS 1.32

Updating via "IBM Predesktop area", suitable for model X (not have CDROM and floppy)

It's so difficult to update BIOS and ECP without cdrom, floppy disk. Don't know the reason why I couldn't update BIOS and ECP(1QHJ08US and 1QUJ19US) for my IBM Thinkpad X31.Hmm, may be cause of the dividing partition on my hard disk, that is:

Primary: ext3, ext3, ntfs
Extended: Ntsf, fat32
Bootloader: GRUB

No problem, you can use this way to do it:

  • First, config in BIOS

In Security part:

  1. Remove all password of Subpervisor and Power on password
  2. Set Access IBM Predesktop Area to Normal
  3. Choose Enable "Flash BIOS updating by End User" in BIOS update Option.

In Config part:

  1. Choose Enable for Network flash over Lan
  • Second, download the newest version of BIOS update and ECP update

Running: The program extract all files to the folder. There is a .img file (1QUJ19US.IMG, 1QUJ08US.IMG) in each folder. Copy the imformation content in that img file and paste it to one FAT partition(using winimage or TotalCmd to extract)


as seen All files in 1QUJ19US.IMG is extracted to D:\BIOS

695,764  $018E000.FL1
163      0691.HSH
2,049    0691.PAT
163      0694.HSH
2,049    0694.PAT
163      0695.HSH
2,049    0695.PAT
2,049    06D0.PAT
163      06D1.HSH
2,049    06D1.PAT
163      06D2.HSH
2,049    06D2.PAT
163      06D6.HSH
2,049    06D6.PAT
2,049    06D8.PAT
697      CHKBMP.EXE
8,128    COMMAND.COM
26       CONFIG.SYS
24,860   FLASH2.EXE
26       LCREFLSH.BAT
170      LOGO.BAT
330      LOGO.SCR
111,925  PHLASH16.EXE
91,648   PREPARE.EXE
45       PROD.DAT
22,252   QKFLASH.EXE
9,923    README.TXT
4,260    TPCHKS.EXE
39,666   UPDTFLSH.EXE
6,958    UPDTMN.EXE
12,501   USERINT.EXE
15,254   UTILINFO.EXE

And all files in 1QUJ08US.IMG are: D:\ECP

315,404 $018E000.FL2
8,000   COMMAND.COM
36      CONFIG.SYS
16,910  ECFLASH2.EXE
45      PROD.DAT
17,812  QKFLASH.EXE
990     README.TXT
4,260   TPCHKS.EXE
89,738  UPDTEC.EXE
31,134  UPDTFLSH.EXE
12,501  USERINT.EXE
15,226  UTILINFO.EXE
  • Okie, now plug AC Adapter, charge full battery to your laptop and continue third step:
    • Flash BIOS first,

1. Power On, press blue button on keyboard: Access IBM

2. On "Utilities", double click " Diagnostic disk"

3. Your laptop will start PC-DOS, wait when this message appear:

Please insert the first floppy diskette and
Press any key to continue

4. Press Ctrl + Break, you will see :

Terminate batch job (Y/N) ?

5. Okie, press Y, you will get DOS prompt like D:\

NOTE!
D:\ is my RAMDISK, C:\ is my disk format as FAT.!

6. Enter to c:\BIOS

c:
cd c:\BIOS

7. Run FLASH2.EXE /u $018E000.FL1

8. Wait flash progress compelete and reboot.

    • Flash ECP

Follow above instruction from step 1 to 5

6. Enter to c:\ECP

c:
cd c:\ECP

7. run UPDTFLSH.EXE $018E000.FL2

8. Follow UPDTFLSH's instructions

9. Wait flash complete and auto turn off computer.

I done it on my IBM Thinkpad X31.

Enjoy,

Tested by nm.

Check List

The following is important to remember:

  1. You must update both the Control Program and the BIOS at the same time if your current Control Program is not compatible with the new BIOS (see below)
  2. You must find versions of the Control Program and BIOS that are compatible. Not all of them are, so follow the readmes on the IBM website carefully to determine which are.
  3. You must update the Control Program before you update the BIOS

When the Control Program and the BIOS need updating, have both update disks or CDs ready. Update the Control Program first and the system should switch itself off when finished. Insert the BIOS update disk and proceed to update the BIOS. When it's all finished, enter setup, reset the settings to their defaults and reboot. Enter setup again and tweak the settings as necessary.