Flashing a GigaByte/VIA BIOS from Linux (Shallow Thoughts)

Akkana's Musings on Open Source Computing and Technology, Science, and Nature.

Mon, 21 Feb 2005

Flashing a GigaByte/VIA BIOS from Linux

In the storm a couple of days ago, our server crashed: turned out we had some sort of power glitch that killed the UPS. Curiously, the other machines stayed up, including mine. I thought everything was fine, until I tried to power down that evening and found myself in an infinite-reboot cycle.

Since then my machine has been increasingly flaky, sometimes sending no video signal to the monitor at startup, sometimes not booting at all, never able to power down. Dave suggested downloading the latest BIOS and re-flashing.

The motherboard is a GigaByte GA-6VTXE (amusingly, the manual for it doesn't mention the company name anywhere, so I had to google for the model). It turns out that it has an option ("Q-Flash") to flash a new BIOS image without needing Windows or DOS. Hooray!

Sounded good, anyway: but the download images for the BIOS updates were a bit worrisome since they had names like bios_6vtxe_f9.exe. I downloaded the latest and put the .exe on a DOS-formatted floppy. The BIOS saw the file on the floppy, but said it was the wrong size (469k when it expected 256k).

Turns out that the file does need to be extracted from Windows in order to turn that 469k .exe file into the expected 256k image. It can't be unpacked by unzip, unrar or any other Linux utility I've found.

In other words, GigaByte is making their download files twice as big as they need to be in order to introduce an unnecessary Windows requirement into the Q-Flash process, which otherwise would be completely independant of operating system.

Sigh. (And no, the BIOS update didn't fix the problems, which are probably hardware. But it was worth a try.)

(Update: looks like it was the obvious, the power supply.)

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[ 13:28 Feb 21, 2005    More linux | permalink to this entry | ]

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