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It's a very common requirement to be able to update the BIOS logic to fix bugs or add new functionality, and I've needed to do this on all the systems I've worked on.

Traditionally manufacturers have provided a DOS tool to update their flash ROM chips, and unfortunately this is still quite common.

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There is however a generic utility to both read and write the various flash chips found on systems, called flashrom.

I used this to great effect in 2004 (when it was called flash_and_burn) to remotely update Intel 82802AC flash chips.

The BIOS logic is stored in a flash ROM chip and its settings in a small area of battery backed RAM called NVRAM, or more commonly referred to as the "CMOS".

In this article I'll show how to update both from the linux operating system.

It automatically detects the type of flash ROM on your system, so usage is also simple as demonstrated below: Another open source program you may find useful as a reference is uniflash.

Also considering the privileged position of the BIOS in the system, it's worth noting this NIST guideline on BIOS protection guidelines for servers.

For example here are hexdumps (using Using that information I was able to write a simple utility to update the thermal reboot limit BIOS setting, and run it remotely on thousands of systems.

Again I must stress that while you can use this utility as a template for your own, it's not generic and you will have to determine the CRC offset etc. [Update Apr 2011: I noticed an AMI BIOS that had another checksum in addition to the above, that was outside the NVRAM area.

Intelligent Provisioning updates can be performed when an SPP update is available.

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