How-to flash an a6km bios

Published on 26-06-2009 in [ astuce, asus ]

I'm the owner, for three years now, of an Asus laptop (ref : A6km Q007h). It came with Windows XP, which I kept until May 2007 or so, when I decided that the dual-boot time was over and I could only use Ubuntu Linux. I tried Ubuntu Dapper Drake first, then I upgraded directly to Feisty Fawn (good version). I followed the release cycle, upgrading to Gutsy Gibbon and Hardy Heron. Then, for different reasons, I installed an ArchLinux, which is still my only distro at the moment.

The main problem when you use Linux on non-evolutive hardware such as a my laptop is that you are compelled to "tell yourself that you don't really need [some] features" (Linux hater's blog). In May 2007, for example, the webcam on my model was not working (it now works, due to clever reverse-engineering from users, not thanks to Asus...). And, more annoying, if any USB device was plugged at startup, the boot process hanged with no error message. It means that you have to unplug your USB mouse or hard-disk at powering down, or check it when switching the laptop on.

The problem lies in the buggy bios version. DSDT tables may be used to correct it -- at least, some users claim it worked for them -- or one should downgrade its BIOS. I have only figured out today how to do it -- yes, shame on me. My difficulty was to know how to have the file visible from the bios : CD/DVD were not solutions (since they are not recognize by the BIOS for flash), floppy was not present (it's a laptop). My previous attempts with hard disk FAT partitions failed, probably because I used FAT 16 (?). As far as USB key are concerned, I thougt they were not appropriate on to do it with ASUS BIOS.

Flashing a BIOS is dangerous, do it at your own risks, backup your data before.

Here's the procedure, step by step :

  • You may use a USB key, or any other FAT32-formatted disk you have
  • Download the correct (and old - 2005 !) version : link (thanks, Arch Wiki)
  • Unzip the file on the usb key
  • Reboot and press 'F2' at startup, to enter BIOS option
  • Find "Easy Flash"
  • If you're doing it right, you may see A: and C:. Choose C: with arrows
  • Press 'Enter' and follow the instructions.

The process was quick and easy. I plugged my USB mouse (though I don’t use it very much those days) and rebooted : it works !

Note : I also discovered, while wandering my BIOS options, that a USB key is listed as … harddisk drive instead of “removable device” (important to try a linux distro on a key).