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Flashrom enables BIOS flashing via Linux

May 8, 2009 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 6 views released an almost-final 0.90 version of open source BIOS flashing firmware it says was nine years in the making. Flashrom offers Linux and UNIX users a BIOS flashing mechanism they can call their own, with support for 150 flash-chip families and 75 chipsets, says.

By its very nature, BIOS firmware is operating system-independent, since it loads before a computer's OS in order to identify, test, and initialize the device's processor, memory, graphics card, and peripherals. But, updating a BIOS to incorporate bug fixes and other improvements requires booting a computer into an operating system, then using the latter to run BIOS flashing software.

All too often, Linux users have been forced to update their BIOSes via MS-DOS boot disks loaded with DOS BIOS flashing utilities. But now, they no longer need suffer that indignity, thanks to a BIOS flasher that runs under Linux. According to, Flashrom offers a command-line interface, can operate remotely through SSH, and can even re-flash multiple machines simultaneously.

Claimed by Coreboot to be faster than most vendor flash tools, Flashrom supports Linux, FreeBSD, DragonFly BSD, Solaris, Mac OS X, and other UNIX-like OSes. It's said that on some motherboards, the tool also enables hot-flashing, in which a BIOS chip is physically replaced while the system is running.

According to Coreboot, Flashrom features include:

  • Supports parallel, LPC, FWH, and SPI flash interfaces
  • Supports more than 150 flash chip families and half a dozen variants per family
  • Agnostic to flash chips, with support verified for DIP32, PLCC32, DIP8, SO8/SOIC8, TSOP32, TSOP40, and more
  • Supports more than 75 chipsets, some with multiple flash controllers
  • Mainboard enabling code offered for dozens of nonstandard mainboards
  • No physical access needed; root access is sufficient
  • No bootable floppy disk, bootable CD-ROM, or other media required
  • Reflash remotely via SSH
  • Reflashes ROM in a running system; no instant reboot needed
  • Cross-flashing and hot-flashing possible on compatible systems
  • Scriptable, enabling reflash of multiple identical machines simultaneously


Flashrom 0.90 is available now as a free download. More information may be found at, here.

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