[flashrom] Double success story

Maarten mechno at gmail.com
Wed Jul 14 18:55:55 CEST 2010

Hi all!

I'm here to tell you an success story with flashrom. It is about how
flashrom solving problems created by using official tools.

My first problem emerged when I tied to flash my EPIA-SP to it's latest bios
release (I had some problems with PAL output). Well, VIA has a WinXP and a
DOS tool available. I don't have any XP install so I decided to stick to
FreeDOS. Took me two hours or so but after that I was all set. Having a hard
drive with FreeDOS, viaflash and my image file, I began. I told viaflash to
write the image file to flash. It said "Writing NOW!!!". There was no
progress bar or anything, so I don't know when it crashed. But it did and it
locked the computer completely, as I found out 10 minutes later. Power cable
out, power cable in, no boot.

Bricked. Nice. In an epic quest to find a suitable machine for hotswapping
(I want a chip programmer this christmas, seriously) I found my neighbors
PC. Same flash, same southbridge. Perfect! After some preparations for
hotswapping I booted my GRML Linux disk, told flashrom to write my image,
verified it once more and I were done. If I only used flashrom the first
time... It would have saved me two days of messing around with all kinds of
hardware and inferior pieces of software. Lesson learned.

And now I knew how the job was done I also decided to update my laptop's
bios. Stupid fuck I am I decided to erase the chip prior to backing it up
and/or checking whether the update file did fit into my flash at all. It
turned out to be bigger than 1024k and I panicked somewhat. Luckily a bunch
of helpful people on IRC helped me to get a working image out of a >1024k
Phoenix flash file (it has a footer) and after some commands I had updated
my laptop too. Lesson learned here: Don't throw away your old landing gear
in mid-flight if you are not sure whether your updated landing gear actually
fits in the airplane.

tnx for the great tools!


Maarten "merethan"
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