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Thread: A separate bootable partition to flash bios?

  1. #1
    Maximum Bitrate kbyrd's Avatar
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    Lightbulb A separate bootable partition to flash bios?

    This really isn't directly a Linux question, but I thought it might appeal more to Linux users. I just installed Debian on my M10000, while partitioning, I had this idea for bios flashing. I left a 10MB partition, and I was planning on installing freedos or something, then making that a boot target in grub.

    Here's the problem:
    I don't have a floppy, buying one for BIOS flashing seems silly. Of course, I can make a CD out of a bootable floppy image. The problem is that I don't know how to add awdflash.exe and *.BIN (the new bios file) to these bootable images. So, I would be smart and leave the .BIN and flash exe on the hard drive. Of course, I boot from my Dr DOS (or whatever) mini boot CD and it can't read the NTFS ot ext3 partition where my awdflash and .bin files are.

    So, I thought of leaving a small fat16 or fat32 partition as a dropbox for bios flashing. Well, if I'm going to do that, it seems the better thing to do is to actually be able to boot Dr-DOS or FreeDOS or something from that little partition.

    Has anyone done this? I tried to boot the FreeDOS installation disc, but it complained it couldn't find a partition to install on. (I've got 3 primary partitions, 1 is ext3, 2 is fat16, 3 is swap). It doesn't have to be DOS, just some stripped down OS whose filesystem I can read from Linux and which has free programs for flashing the BIOS on the EPIA M motherboards.

    Advice?
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  2. #2
    Newbie etown's Avatar
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    You might run into trouble installing DOS onto your 2nd partition. How big is your first partition? The easiest solution would be to move your first ext3 partition to hda2 and make hda1 the dos partition (assuming you haven't already installed the OS).

  3. #3
    Maximum Bitrate kbyrd's Avatar
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    I've already installed. Maybe I'll see if I can get parted to do the dirty work for me.
    It doesn't have to be dos, are there any flash tools for Linux? I could install a little busybox system. Now that I think about it, if there are linux tools, why can't I use my running system? What are the risks of flashing the bios while running a full-blown install of Linux?
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  4. #4
    Constant Bitrate tdb30_'s Avatar
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    Try using the dos partiton type I think its e1 or f2. I don't think it will hurt anything of you play around with the partition type for that partition.

    You would think it would recognize fat16, but maybe its looking for a specific partition type and thats not it.

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    Newbie etown's Avatar
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    Here: http://www.nenie.org/misc/flashbootcd.html
    that should help you out.

  6. #6
    Maximum Bitrate kbyrd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by etown
    Here: http://www.nenie.org/misc/flashbootcd.html
    that should help you out.
    Thanks, I saw that before. For some reason, I keep thinking the bootable harddrive partition is better solution to the problem. I haven't tried any more though. I get back to it eventually. What I would really like is a way to take one of those floppy images and stuff it onto my little partition. Then, I could do away with the floppy image, and I could add whatever flashing programs and bios bin files I want.
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  7. #7
    Newbie etown's Avatar
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    You should be able to dd the image straight to your 2nd partition, and then setup lilo or grub to boot that partition. Assuming that you haven't violated any of the basic bootable partition rules (1024th cyl and all that crap).

  8. #8
    Maximum Bitrate kbyrd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by etown
    You should be able to dd the image straight to your 2nd partition, and then setup lilo or grub to boot that partition. Assuming that you haven't violated any of the basic bootable partition rules (1024th cyl and all that crap).
    I didn't think 1024th cylinder problems existed on modern BIOS' or is it a problem with the OS?
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  9. #9
    Newbie etown's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kbyrd
    I didn't think 1024th cylinder problems existed on modern BIOS' or is it a problem with the OS?
    OS. DOS is not a modern OS.

  10. #10
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    I'm late, sorry...
    I think you can simplify things by using the ultimate boot cd.
    It has some bootdisks and utility that helps you in recovering tasks.
    It has freedos with ntfs driver, so you can place the bios file and the awdflash in your ntfs partition (if you have one).

    bye!

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