Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 What are the files and directories in a BIOS softpaq? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 In what operating systems can I update the PC BIOS? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Will I lose my setup configurations when updating the BIOS? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 How do I update my PC BIOS in Vista, Windows XP, or 2000? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 How do I update the BIOS in a DOS environment? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 How do I update the BIOS when not running Vista, Windows XP, 2000, or DOS? . . . . . . . . 6 What are the steps necessary to execute the HPQFlash utility? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 What are the steps necessary to execute the HPQPswd utility? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 What are the steps necessary to create a bootable floppy for BIOS update? . . . . . . . . . . . 14 What are the steps necessary to create a bootable CD for BIOS update? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 What steps are necessary to create the BIOS image CD for F10 ROM flash and recovery? . 15 What are the steps necessary to create a bootable USB flash media for BIOS update? . . . . 15 What are the steps necessary to use Altiris for BIOS update? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 What if the PC does not complete the BIOS flash process? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 What is a processor microcode update softpaq and how is it used? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 How can a processor microcode update be executed in Windows? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 What does the BIOS binary image naming convention indicate? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Can the BIOS POST splash screen be modified? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 How do I update the ME firmware in Vista, Windows XP, or Windows 2000? . . . . . . . . . . 21 How do I update the ME firmware in a DOS environment? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 What are the steps necessary to use Altiris for ME firmware update? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 What if the ME firmware does not complete the update process? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 Can the ME firmware be restored to a previous version after updating? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24
Appendix A – Modifying a DOS boot diskette for Flashbin.exe . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 For More Information . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26
This white paper outlines Hewlett-Packard business PC dc class BIOS flashing options beginning with the 2005 products (e.g. dc7600). The BIOS (Basic Input Output System) is the set of routines typically stored in read-only memory that enable a computer to load the operating system and communicate with the var-ious devices in the computer, such as storage drives, keyboard, monitor, printer, and communications ports. As new processors, devices, and operating system features are made available, the BIOS must be updated or flashed, in some situations, to take advantage. The BIOS can be updated or stored in several methods. Users or administrators can choose the best method depending on the operating environment of the computer(s). BIOS updates are available in a softpaq downloadable containing the BIOS image and upgrade instructions for the various methods. Regardless of the BIOS flash method, business PC products provide a high degree of upgrade reliability and offer failure safe recovery.
Starting with some 2006 products (e.g. dc7700), the biggest change is the integration of an embedded Intel Management Engine (ME) which is used to provide Active Management Technology (AMT) or Alert Standard Format (ASF) management modes. Some HP Business PC products will only offer ASF as config-ured from the factory. AMT capable PC products will allow the user or administrator configuration of the management mode. AMT provides remote access to a system regardless of the state of the operating sys-tem or power state as long as the system is connected to a network. This ability to management a system when it is not powered on and or fully operational is called Out-of-Band (OOB) management. ASF is a subset of the monitoring features of AMT and does not offer the rich range of OOB management options. ME is a hardware and firmware platform resident solution. BIOS update softpaq images for systems incor-porating ME will contain a separate utility and binary for updating the ME firmware.
Another new feature for this product offering is the ability to update processor microcode patches through HPQFlash in a Windows environment.
The remaining sections of this document attempts to ask about the typical BIOS flash scenarios and pro-vide the BIOS softpaq answers to these questions.
What are the files and directories in a BIOS softpaq?
BIOS updates are delivered to customers through downloadable softpaqs. Softpaqs are self -executable programs which contain the BIOS image files and utilities to allow the BIOS to be updated in various manners. Regardless of the upgrade manner chosen by the user or administrator, HP business PC BIOS provides flash recovery in the event of a BIOS flash failure. The softpaq is executed by selecting the file SPXXXXX.exe, where XXXXX is a unique identification number assigned to each softpaq. The softpaq will present the user with information about the softpaq contents, how to use the softpaq, and a brief explana-tion as to the PC enhancements offered.
After acknowledging the license agreement, the softpaq will allow the user or administrator to extract the contents to any directory. The following files and directories are an example of the extracted from a typi-cal BIOS softpaq:
The softpaq contents will depend on the target system; therefore, not all softpaq products will require all the files and directories previously mentioned. For example, HP Business PC products, which do not inte-grate the Management Engine, will not require the contents of the ME Flash directory. HP Business Blade PC products do not support the Windows BIOS updates and will not require the HPQFlash directory con-tents.
In what operating systems can I update the PC BIOS?
The BIOS can be updated or restore in Vista, Windows XP, or 2000 SP4 or later using the HPQFlash application. DOS environments can use the Flashbin.exe utility. In situations with other Windows versions (NT, 98, 95, ME), Linux, or other operating systems, the BIOS can be updated using F10 setup Flash System ROM feature.
Will I lose my setup configurations when updating the BIOS?
F10 setup configuration options, passwords, and settings are not lost during BIOS update or restore.
How do I update my PC BIOS in Vista, Windows XP, or 2000?
In single PC situations, the user or administrator should use the HPQFlash executable. For a system admin-istrator with a network of Windows business PCs to update, HPQFlash can be deployed through the use of System Software Manager (SSM) to update all the appropriate PCs. HPQFlash requires the Windows Management Interface (WMI) service to be installed and running on the target PC.
How do I update the BIOS in a DOS environment?
The Flash Bin Firmware Upgrade Utility (Flashbin.exe) can be executed in a DOS environment to upgrade or restore a PC BIOS image. The utility uses a driver (flsh.cpu) for specific hardware flash operations. The BIOS binary image should be included in the same directory as the utility and driver with the name for-mat XXX_MMmm.bin. The user can execute the utility by simply typing flashbin. The current PC BIOS will be examined for compatibility with the binary image. If the BIOS image file is an older BIOS version that the current PC BIOS, the user will be warned. After the user confirms that the BIOS upgrade/restore should proceed, the utility will begin the flashing process. The user will be warned not to reboot or power cycle the PC during the flash process. However, if the process is interrupted or does not complete success-fully, the business PC flash recovery process will automatically activate upon reboot. After the BIOS upgrade process has successfully completed, the user must reboot or power cycle the PC for the new BIOS image to take affect.
The Flashbin utility must be executed in a DOS environment. If the user does not have DOS bootable media available, a DOS bootable floppy, USB flash media, or CD can be created to deliver the Flashbin utility, driver, and BIOS image.
If the BIOS administrator/setup password has been established on the business PC, the Flashbin utility driver must be assigned the password. Assign Password (Assignpw.exe) can be used with DOS Flash if an administrative/setup password has been previously set on the target PC. To assign a password to DOS Flash, change directories to the directory that contains Flashbin.exe and type assignpw flsh.cpu. You will be prompted to type in the password. Press Enter after you have typed in the password. You may use the backspace key to correct mistakes. You will then be prompted to confirm the password that you just entered. Pressing Enter before any password keys have been typed in will unassign the previ-ously assigned password. You may need to do this if the administrative/setup password is deleted from the client machines. To assign a new password, run the Assign Password utility again.
How do I update the BIOS when not running Vista, Windows XP, 2000, or DOS?
BIOS can be updated using the F10 setup Flash System ROM feature. Reboot the PC and press F10 to enter setup. In the File menu, select the Flash System ROM item.
This flash utility will present the user with the option to select the media containing the BIOS image file (7F1 _MMmm.bin). F10 ROM-based flash can accept the binary file from the root directory of any remov-able media such as USB, legacy floppy diskette, and CD. Note that the BIOS image of some products are too large to fit on a diskette. On those systems, Diskette will not be listed as a media source choice. The BIOS.iso file, included in the softpaq, should be used to create a BIOS image CD. When flashing with F10 ROM based flash, the CD media must be El-Torito compatible.
When the media is selected, the user is presented with a list of valid binaries. If the BIOS cannot read the media or media files, an error message will be displayed and another media source can be selected.
Once the desired binary image is selected and confirmed, the BIOS will begin the flashing process. The flash process should not be interrupted. The percentage completion will be displayed during the process.
The user is prompted when the process is completed. The new BIOS code will not take effect until the PC is rebooted.
Alternatively, the user or administrator can use a Preboot eXecution Environment (PXE) to boot to a PXE server, such as Altiris. The Flashbin utility can be executed in the PXE DOS-like environment to perform the BIOS upgrade.
What are the steps necessary to execute the HPQFlash utility?
The HPQFlash application is executed in the Windows environment by selecting the HPQFlash.exe file. The initial HPQFlash application window will be presented as follows reminding the user that additional applications should be closed before proceeding.
The user must have administrative privilege on the PC to proceed with the BIOS update. Otherwise, the application will respond with a warning message and exit without updating the BIOS image. If the PC has an administrative or setup password configured, HPQFlash will require the user to enter the setup password before the BIOS can be successfully updated.
If the user selects the Next button, enters the correct password (if needed), and has the appropriate rights, the application will interrogate the current PC BIOS image and compare it to the BIOS image file (ROM.CAB) in the same directory as the FLashbin.exe. If the BIOS image file is not applicable to the PC, a warning message will be displayed. If the image is applicable, HPQFlash will display the current BIOS and the BIOS version contained in the ROM.CAB file.
If the image file is applicable to the PC but is an older BIOS version that currently installed, the user will receive the following warning; however the older image can be restored to the PC if the user selects the Next button.
If Next is selected, the BIOS flashing process will begin, and the user is warned not to interrupt the flash-ing process. Interrupting the flashing process can corrupt the BIOS image. If the BIOS does not update successfully, the business PC would enter flash recovery when rebooted.
After the flash process has successfully completed, the PC will be automatically restarted or immediately if the user selects Restart before the timer expires. The user can select Cancel to avoid the restart, but this is not recommended since the updated BIOS image will not be in effect until the PC reboots.
What are the steps necessary to execute the HPQPswd utility?
The HPQPswd application is executed in the Windows environment by selecting the HPQPswd.exe file.
The initial HPQFlash application window will be presented as follows options to the user or administrator.
As indicated in the image, this utility will create an encrypted password file required to execute the HPQ-Flash application in a silent mode on an administrative/setup password protected PC. HPQPswd utility is an application which allows the user (typically a system administrator) to create an encrypted password file which can be used with the /p option of the HPQFlash application. This option is usually used along with the /s option to perform a silent mode update of a PC BIOS on Hewlett-Packard computers which have a BIOS administrative/setup password set. The password file can be named and stored in any loca-tion. However, it is best to store the file in the same subdirectory as the HPQFlash application. The HPQ-Flash application silent mode will execute without user interaction.
What are the steps necessary to create a bootable floppy for BIOS update?
The BIOS image of some products are too large to fit on a diskette; therefore, the following information would not be applicable to those products. To create an MS-DOS boot disk from Windows XP Profes-sional, the following steps can be executed:
If Windows XP is not accessible, a bootable diskette can be created using FreeDOS (http://www.free-dos.org/). FreeDOS is available as an ISO image and as a diskette distribution in 1.44MB format. For your convenience, a 1.44MB boot disk image is also available.
After the disk is formatted with either method, additional steps are required to prepare the diskette (see “Appendix A – Modifying a DOS boot diskette for Flashbin.exe” on page 24) before coping the contents of the DOS Flash directory (i.e. Flashbin.exe, Assignpw.exe, and BIOS image file (XXX_MMmm.bin)) to the media. Assignpw.exe is required if PC to be updated has administrator/setup password set.
What are the steps necessary to create a bootable CD for BIOS update?
A bootable, El -Torito compatible, CD can be created for BIOS update. Most third party CD burning soft-ware supports the creation or a bootable CD emulating a floppy, and a subset of those also support the creation of a bootable CD emulating a hard disk. The BIOS image of some products are too large to fit on a diskette. For these platforms, the ISO image must be made from a bootable hard drive image. This is most easily done using bootable USB flash media as the image source. To conserve space, ensure the partition is just large enough to hold the BIOS image. For BIOS images that can fit on a floppy diskette, bootable CD with floppy emulation would require the user to create a bootable floppy diskette such as in the manner described in the previous question. The third party CD software can create an image from the floppy and transfer this to the CD. Once the CD burning process is complete, the business PC can be booted from the CD, and the Flashbin utility can be executed.
If the administrator/setup password has been established on the business PC, the Flashbin utility driver must be assigned the password. Assign Password (Assignpw.exe) can be used with DOS Flash if an administrative/setup password has been previously set on the target PC. To assign a password to DOS Flash, change directories to the directory that contains Flashbin.exe and type assignpw flsh.cpu. This procedure should be executed on the floppy diskette files before creating the CD media.
What steps are necessary to create the BIOS image CD for F10 ROM flash and recovery?
The softpaq BIOS.iso allows the user or administrator to create binary image CD that can be used to locally restore or update the system BIOS. This feature requires that a system is available with CD burning software and a compatible CD-R/RW drive installed.
The following steps describe how the file can be used:
What are the steps necessary to create a bootable USB flash media for BIOS update?
A USB Flash Media Device can be made “bootable” to execute the Flashbin.exe utility. Please read the following requirements and procedure completely before attempting to make the USB flash media device bootable. If you are not comfortable with the steps, please do not attempt this procedure. Data loss can result from improper execution.
To verify this in your system:
NOTE: Unplug all USB storage devices (except USB floppy drive) connected to the system other than the USB flash media device that you plan to make bootable.
IMPORTANT: Make sure you have typed the correct drive letter noted in Step 7 or data loss can occur.
After the USB flash media is made bootable, the Flashbin.exe, Assignpw.exe, and BIOS image file
(XXX _MMmm.bin) can be copied to the media. Boot the PC to be updated from the USB media and exe-cute the Flashbin.exe as prescribed previously in the “How do I update the BIOS in a DOS environment?” on page 5.
What are the steps necessary to use Altiris for BIOS update?
This section contains instructions for using Altiris Deployment server to deliver a BIOS update. This infor-mation assumes that an Altiris Deployment server has been successfully configured. The basic steps required for BIOS update through the Altiris Deployment server is as follows:
Step 1: Copy Flashbin.exe, Adminpw.exe, and BIOS image to the server
Step 2: Create Flash.bat
Step 3: Create ROM Flash Event in Altiris
Step 4: Connecting the Test Unit to the Altiris Console
The ROM Flash Event Setup is completed and will be delivered to the client PC.
What if the PC does not complete the BIOS flash process?
HP business PC products provide flash disaster recovery if the BIOS flash process fails to complete. The BIOS will automatically detect that the BIOS flash process did not properly complete and boot in recovery mode. With most business PC models, the user or administrator will be presented with the following screen.
It will boot the PC in a recovery mode and search the root directory of the removable media sources (floppy, USB, or CD) for a compatible binary image. The BIOS.iso file, included in the softpaq, should be used to create a BIOS image CD if the user or administrator desires to use CD media for BIOS recovery. When flashing during recovery, the CD media, containing the BIOS image file, must be El-Torito compati-ble. Floppy or USB media sources can simply contain the BIOS binary image file in the root directory. Once a binary image is located, the BIOS update process will be attempted again. The automatic flash recovery will continue until the BIOS is successfully updated or restored.
If no binary image is found, the PC will attempt to boot to diskette or USB flash media. The boot media must have DOS in order for the disaster recovery mode to successfully boot.
What is a processor microcode update softpaq and how is it used?
Typical processors download code from the BIOS during initialization referred to as microcode. If a new, supported processor is installed in the business PC which requires a microcode currently not adequately provided by the BIOS, the BIOS will issue a POST warning “1801-Microcode Update Error”. To add this microcode to the BIOS, a processor microcode softpaq is provided to update the BIOS. Processor micro-code changes can be updated in the BIOS without having to change the entire BIOS. Binary file micro-code image is uXX_MMmm.bin where the u indicates microcode, XX is the general BIOS family, MM is major version, and mm is the minor version. Microcode updates can only be accomplished by using Flashbin.exe utility.
Microcode update images are offered for the general BIOS family and can be applied to any particular BIOS of that family. For example, microcode image u7D_0101.bin can be applied to any BIOS in the 786D family such as 786D1 or 786D2. Minor version numbers are incremented to indicate minimal changes to the microcode typically involving an updated version of a previous released microcode. Major version number changes indicate a greater degree of change to the microcode source such as the addi-tion of a new processor microcode.
How can a processor microcode update be executed in Windows?
With the latest version of HPQFlash to support the 2007 HP Business PC products (e.g. dc7800), proces-sor microcode patches can be updated in a Windows environment. As detailed in the previous section, the microcode softpaq specific to the general BIOS family can be downloaded containing the image file uXX _MMmm.bin. This image file must be copied to the same directory as the HPQFlash.exe utility. Once that process has been completed, the microcode update can be executed by running the command HPQ-Flash -u uXX_MMmm.bin from the directory containing the utility and microcode image file. To log the operation output, the command can be extended to HPQFlash -u uXX_MMmm.bin -l <log-file> where <logfile> is replaced with the file name target.
What does the BIOS binary image naming convention indicate?
Binary image format is XXX_MMmm.bin. The XXX portion indicates the BIOS family. The MM is the major version number. The mm is the minor version number. The BIOS family is a collection of BIOS products all originating from the same basic code source. For example, 7DX would indicate a BIOS image from the 786D BIOS family. Minor version numbers are incremented to indicate minimal changes to the BIOS source code typically involving minor problem fixes. Major version number changes indicate a greater degree of change to the BIOS source code such as new feature additions, additional hardware support, or significant POST modifications.
Can the BIOS POST splash screen be modified?
The Image Flash (Flashi.exe) utility can be used to replace the POST splash image stored in the BIOS part or save the current image. This DOS utility is typically provided for re-sellers who may want to be able to put their own logo in place of the standard Hewlett-Packard image. Error checking is done to insure that an image that does not meet the requirements above cannot be flashed into the ROM part. The utility allows browsing through directories on the current disk. The images found can be viewed and a back-ground color and a foreground color can be chosen from the colors in the image’s palette. The utility also has a command line option to quickly flash a new image.
The image stored in the BIOS will be compressed with RLE4. If the image being flashed is already in RLE4, the image flashed will be identical to the original except the second byte in the Bitmap Header will be a checksum. If an uncompressed bitmap is flashed, the Image Flash Utility will encode it using RLE4 and save it. Therefore, when using the save (/s ) feature to get the current image, the newly saved image will be in RLE4 format, regardless of the format of the original image.
Usage to Flash Image:
Command Line Mode: Flashi.exe [Image_File] [Foreground_Color] [Background_Color]
The normal execution method will provide the user with additional interaction so that the image can be selected from various files and a preview can be seen before the image is committed to the BIOS.
There is only a command line mode to save the current image. You cannot save the current image under an existing file name.
Usage to Save Current Splash Image (command line only):
Command Line Mode: Flashi.exe /s name
How do I update the ME firmware in Vista, Windows XP, or Windows 2000?
FWUpdLcl.exe utility in the ME Flash\Local-Win directory is designed to update the ME firmware within a local Windows environment. For more information and utility options, view the readme.txt file located in the ME Flash\Local-Win folder. The ME can be updated by executing the following command FWUp-dLcl.exe <XXX_bbbb.bin> -generic. The ME Flash folder contains a binary update image for the ME. The binary image file is named XXX_bbbb.bin where XXX is the abbreviated ME firmware version and bbbb is the build version number. For example, 210_ 1028.bin is the ME update file version 2.1.0 with the build number of 1028. The update binary image and the Local-Win folder contents can be cop-ied to any Windows accessible media such as a CD/DVD or USB flash media device, including HP Drive Key and M-Systems DiskOnKey.
The following image shows the successful completion of the ME FW update process in a Windows XP environment. The update process will stay at the “Performing Update…” step for most of the time.
After the update is complete, the ME firmware is executing the update image, a system reboot is not immediately required.
How do I update the ME firmware in a DOS environment?
Another FWUpdLcl.exe version is included for ME firmware within a local DOS environment. For more information, view readme.txt located in the ME Flash\Local-DOS folder. The ME can be updated by exe-cuting the following command FWUpdLcl.exe <XXX_bbbb.bin> from the directory containing the utility and update image file. The ME Flash folder contains a binary update image for the ME. The binary image file is named XXX_bbbb.bin where XXX is the abbreviated ME firmware version and bbbb is the build version number. The update binary image and the Local-DOS folder contents can be copied to any DOS media such as a USB flash media device, including HP Drive Key and M-Systems DiskOnKey®. The update process output is similar to the Windows-based version.
What are the steps necessary to use Altiris for ME firmware update?
This section contains instructions for using Altiris Deployment server to deliver a ME firmware update. This information assumes that an Altiris Deployment server has been successfully configured. The basic steps required for ME firmware update through the Altiris Deployment server is as follows:
Step 1: Copy FWUpdLcl.exe and ME firmware update image to the server
Step 2: Create Flash.bat
Step 3: Create ME Flash Event in Altiris
Details: [path of the file]
Step 4: Connecting the Test Unit to the Altiris Console
The ME Flash Event Setup is completed and will be delivered to the client PC.
What if the ME firmware does not complete the update process?
The ME retains a recovery image of the current firmware during the update process. If for any reason the ME cannot successfully complete the update, the ME will continue to function properly with the current firmware image.
Can the ME firmware be restored to a previous version after updating?
The ME firmware cannot be regressed to a previous version after successfully completing the update pro-cess. The ME firmware can only be updated to a newer image.
HP’s Business PC BIOS provides update methods to allow the user or administrator to manage the BIOS upgrades and ME firmware in a flexible manner. HPQFlash offers a familiar, Windows application inter-face that allows the user to confidently update the BIOS and processor microcode. Setup-based-flash and recovery provides a convenient, local upgrade method which is not dependent on the PC operating sys-tem. The Flashbin utility provides a traditional DOS upgrade operation for local or remote situations.
Administrators can use the remote management capabilities of such tools as SSM and Altiris to deliver enterprise wide upgrade ability.
Regardless of the BIOS flash method, business PC products provide a high degree of upgrade reliability and offer failure safe recovery. We are confident that HP will remain the premier provider of comprehen-sive BIOS upgrade solutions in the industry.
Appendix A – Modifying a DOS boot diskette for Flashbin.exe
To copy Flashbin.exe, flsh.cpu, and the BIOS binary image onto the Windows XP MS-DOS boot diskette, the following modifications must be made:
To copy Flashbin.exe, flsh.cpu, and the BIOS binary image onto the FreeDOS boot diskette, the following modifications must be made:
For More Information
For the HP sales office nearest you, refer to your local phone directory, or call the HP regional office listed below.
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Phone: (650) 857-1501
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Phone: (852) 2599-7777
© 2007 Hewlett-Packard Development Company, L.P. The information in this document is subject to change without notice. The only warranties for HP products and services are set forth in the express warranty statements accompanying such products and services. Nothing herein should be construed as constituting an additional warranty. HP shall not be liable for technical or editorial errors or omissions contained herein.
Microsoft, MS-DOS, Windows, and Windows NT are trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the U.S. and other countries. 397813-002, 8/2007