Windows XP BIOS Flash

seekermeister

Honorable Member
#1
I need to flash the BIOS on my Lenovo M52 ThinkCenter, so I downloaded what is listed as the current version from Lenovo. The problem is in confirming that I actually got the right one, because the version 2EKT46a listed, downloads as 2EJT46a instead, regardless of the format chosen.

The instructions found here:

http://download.lenovo.com/ibmdl/pub/pc/pccbbs/thinkcentre_bios/2ej946a.txt

If I understand, it says that 2EKT46a is the ID for burning an image to a CD, which is what I have chosen to do, but when I view the contents of the disc, it only contains a file named 2EJT46a.img, along with a folder of various utility files.

Maybe this is still right, but since I truly dislike flashing a BIOS in the first place, I don't want to make any avoidable mistakes. Can someone who actually knows confirm if this is the right file to flash with or not?
 


Josephur

Windows Forum Admin
Staff member
Premium Supporter
#2
Lenovo's tools are pretty good at confirming the BIOS is correct before flashing, but that being said of course its not 100%.

Make sure your type matches also, mentioned in that txt file is ThinkCentre M52 (type 8099, 8110, 8111, 8112, 8113, 8114, 8115, 8116, 8211, 8212, 8213, 8214, 8215, 9210, 9211)

As long as one of those types is yours, and your sure its a ThinkCentre M52 (triple check) I would go ahead and flash. That being said BIOS flashing for someone that is not sure its going to fix an actual problem may not be worth it in the first place. (I always update mine like a fiend, but I'm a true techno geek). It's not too uncommon for the binary files to be named that much differently as the build # on the BIOS gets increased by the developers when they are fixing bugs, etc.
 


seekermeister

Honorable Member
#3
Yes, I'm certain that there is no mismatch between the exact model of machine and the downloaded file, it's just that I'm uncertain that the download is in the proper format for the method I intend to use, because of the number jumble mentioned. I've been thinking about it, and since the file that I burned to a disc has an .img extension, I guess that confirms that the file is intended only to be used from a CD/DVD, or is it possible to use that file type from a floppy or flash drive?

I'm equally certain that I need to do this flash, because the motherboard that I purchased was used, and the current BIOS on it is about 12 versions old, plus I know of one issue that it should clear, and hopefully more.
 


seekermeister

Honorable Member
#4
Hmm, I guess my question is moot, because I just attempted to use the DVD to flash it with, and for whatever reason, it appears that the BIOS is not designed to boot from a disc, which raises the question of why they would have a version of flashing that uses a CD/DVD player in the first place?

The DVD player works, and is listed on the intial BIOS screen, but when you go into the setup for the BIOS, there is no Boot tab, so that you can set it to boot to anything other than a hard drive and possibly a floppy drive. The instruction sheet omits any mention of having to reset the boot device and simply says to power the machine on with the disc already in the drive, which makes it sound as though it would run the flash automatically, but it doesn't. I would have preferred not to use the floppy method, but the only other method available to to run the update is from Windows, which doesn't particularly thrill me either.

I've never used the floppy installed on this PC, so I have nothing to go on to base my confidence level in it, and my floppies are so old, that I'm not sure of them either. Just how reliable of a method is flashing the BIOS from Windows?
 


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#5
I would recommend using a USB to flash the BIOS.
 


seekermeister

Honorable Member
#6
I thought about that, but none of the files available for download are designed for USB. Besides that, the BIOS has no option to boot to a flash drive.

EDIT: For reference, here is the download page:

http://support.lenovo.com/en_US/downloads/default.page?

Just scroll down a little to the BIOS section. This is the biggest download page that I have ever come acrosss.
 


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seekermeister

Honorable Member
#7
After thinking more on this, I realized that the disc is probably not bootable. I used Imgburn to create it, but found no special option to make it bootable. The only file outside of the utility folder is the .img file, which isn't bootable by itself, and the contents of the utility folder (shown in the screenshot) doesn't have anything that I recognize as something to boot from. BIOS.png

Of course, unless the machine is designed to automatically boot from a disc when inserted, I guess it really doesn't matter if the disc is bootable or not.
 


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Josephur

Windows Forum Admin
Staff member
Premium Supporter
#8
The txt file you linked to originally mentions
2ej946a.iso that is bootable, not .img?

You can use any decent burning software (I like CDBurnerXP) to burn it and it will be bootable.

I've flashed many BIOS's from Windows without any issues, just don't do it if the machine is known to freeze/BSOD or currently has viruses/malware lurking about.

Oh and make sure the AC Power is connected, obviously.
 


BIGBEARJEDI

Fantastic Member
Premium Supporter
#9
I agree that Flashing BIOS from Windows will work--generally, but occasionally you can run into problems. :hide:

Specs on the M52 show it has a floppy drive, and that's the next best way to attempt to flash your BIOS. It doesn't sound like you've done the "Floppy Flash" before, so it can be intimidating; but prior to the advent of cd-rom and dvd technologies, that was the predominant method of doing this procedure. I've done hundreds if not thousands of these. The M52 specs also shows that the BIOS support "Boot Control" so you should be able to read the Bootable CD you created; but it's possible your optical drive is dusty--try blowing it out; especially BOTH lenses since there 2 lenses; one for cd and one for dvd when you clean it with compressed air. Are you able to boot other bootable cd/dvd discs on that drive? Such as a WindowsXP or Win7 disc? Ensure you can boot a known good bootable disc. If you cannot, that drive especially if it came with the original M52 could be several years old and faulty. Try booting to a usb external cd/dvd optical drive if you have one--however, many BIOSes will not support flashing via an external USB optical drive, even if the BIOS will let you boot from it! :down:

Couple of things here for you to consider:

On this system, there is a BIOS "Diskette Boot Inibit"; make sure that's disabled, othewise you'll be spending hours troubleshooting and trying to find a good floppy drive to work with your system and it will appear the internal floppy is bad; when in reality it's just this setting. o_O Have run into this on other computers like Gateway/eMachines as well.

Next thing is, prior to Flashing your BIOS, you should consider using a BIOS backup utility (the good ones are all free!) and make a backup copy of your BIOS to a clean floppy disk *that is once you get your floppy drive working for read/write*. There are several utilities on the ubcd linux tools set cd in the BIOS section that can assist you with that task. If you fail to do this step, and if you've never done the "Floppy Flash" dance I mentioned above; it's easy to do it wrong and brick that new Motherboard replacement you just got! Take the extra time and use one of the utilities like "!BIOS v3.20" AND BACKUP THAT BIOS to a floppy! This way, if you mess things up, you have a shot at re-flashing your BIOS from the backup floppy and rescuing the Motherboard.

I failed to do this one time, and got a bad BIOS download from the HP website, and bricked a Motherboard for my then largest Customer and bricked his Motherboard! I lost that Customer and all the derivable income that he had been providing me forever! Live and learn I guess.

Good luck with your "Flash Dance"! :brew: :pumpkin: :usa:

BIGBEARJEDI
 


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