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Old 27th July 2008
mc_i2020 mc_i2020 is offline
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Default Flashing BIOS from freebsd

Hi,
I have a Dell Vostro 1400 laptop for which Dell released a BIOS update recently which is a .exe file which is supposed to be run from within windows or DOS. How can I update my BIOS from within freebsd with this file? Can I use wine or is too dangerous?
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Old 27th July 2008
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> can I update my BIOS from within freebsd with this file? Can I use wine?

no way!

use windows or dos, whichever is supported (preferably dos) and follow the instructions for flashing the bios exactly as given. also, make a note (hardcopy) of any bios backup recovery procedures given _before_ you begin.
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Old 27th July 2008
DrJ DrJ is offline
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Use DR-DOS (or whatever they call it now -- FreeDOS?) -- the CP/M descendant. It is available for free and fits on a bootable floppy or CD. You can use that to flash the BIOS.
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Old 27th July 2008
BSDfan666 BSDfan666 is offline
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Flashing a BIOS is a delicate procedure, it should definitely be done in real mode... that way it's the only process running, uninterrupted.

Some vendors release a Windows utility that creates a disk image, such a utility would probably be useless under Wine... as would any utility that actually attempted to flash the BIOS. (Why do people attempt such things?).

@DrJ, DR-DOS/Caldera DOS are unrelated to "FreeDOS", which is a GPL DOS replacement project.. all 3 can probably be used, but the flashing utilities might depend on MS-DOS though.

One of my AMD computers has something called "EZFlash", the BIOS is protected from bad flashes, and it can be flashed without Windows or DOS. (via a special boot menu..).
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Old 27th July 2008
DrJ DrJ is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BSDfan666 View Post
@DrJ, DR-DOS/Caldera DOS are unrelated to "FreeDOS", which is a GPL DOS replacement project.. all 3 can probably be used, but the flashing utilities might depend on MS-DOS though.
I never remember the name.

What I do when I build computers is to always have a W2K disk to do the initial work. The utilities are fine, and there is no registration required. It is a use for old IDE drives, which tend to collect. The only issue is that some of the most recent video cards (primarily ATI) don't supply w2K drivers any more.
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Old 28th July 2008
ddekok ddekok is offline
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Dell does have a Linux utility called biosdisk that takes the .exe and creates a FreeDOS (IIRC) image that can then be booted into (I used grub to load the image).

I have used it on my Inspiron 6400 running Gentoo. You may be able to use a LiveCD to flash the BIOS.

I have no idea if this would work, but my train of thought goes something like this:

1) boot LiveCD
2) install biosdisk
3) create bios update image
4) save somewhere accessible (USB key maybe?)
5) reboot LiveCD and interrupt the boot loader
6) have bootloader run bios update image
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Old 28th July 2008
mc_i2020 mc_i2020 is offline
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Hi,
Thanks for the biosdisk utility. I tried to run it's install script but it seems to be geared for linux distributions. It checks for all the dependencies in /usr/bin where as it should check for the software installed from ports in /usr/local/bin for freebsd, since I installed it's dependencies through ports. I'm now looking at the alternatives... Suppose I make a freeDOS liveCD. What exactly do I do next?

Thanks
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Old 28th July 2008
ddekok ddekok is offline
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I have looked into it a bit more, and found this: http://www.linuxinsight.com/how-to-f...ppy-drive.html

Once again, it is Linux-centric, however, it does provide a more portable solution. This here is my attempt at a FreeBSD variant of the Linux solution linked to above:

Code:
# get and extract FreeDOS image
fetch http://www.fdos.org/bootdisks/autoge/FDOEM.144.gz
gunzip FDOEM.144.gz

# Create memory disk and mount. mdX is a place holder,
# mdconfig will indicate the proper device.
mdconfig -a -t vnode -f FDOEM.144
mount -t msdosfs /dev/mdX /mnt/floppy

# Copy bios update app to disk and unmount. Replace
# update.exe with the name of the executable from Dell.
cp update.exe /mnt/floppy
umount /mnt/floppy

# Make ISO and burn to CD
mkisofs -o boocd.iso -b FDOEM.144 FDOEM.144
cdrecord -v bootcd.iso
Please note: this has not been tested, use with caution.

Once the system is booted with the CD, you should get a DOS prompt of some sort. Enter the name of the Dell executable to run it.

Last edited by ddekok; 28th July 2008 at 10:14 PM.
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