Flashing without a floppy drive

Don't ask how to hack password. (BIOS Passwords)
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DanceMan
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Just bought an HP Omnibook 500 thin 'n light and I'd like to flash the bios. HP's bios appears to be one of those .exe files that writes to a floppy. This notebook has no onboard floppy or optical drive. It came with an outboard Targus cd drive that seems to run from a pc card scsi adapter (it's labelled Card Bus Cable II). The manual indicates this notebook had a floppy and optical drive in a docking station that I don't have. There is also a cryptic reference to a floppy drive that would fit in place of the hard drive, which seems to install similarly to the IBM 390E with a pin to slot adapter on the back of the hdd.
I'd be tempted to just put the flash file on a 2.5" hard drive, along with DOS boot files if necessary, but I assume the code in the flash file would want to run from the A: prompt and would not work from the C drive.

Anyone have any experience in dealing with an OEM flash file written for a floppy on a machine that has no floppy?
so many parts, so little time.....
edwin
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Can you rpovide a direct link to the bios update file/page? Maybe we can find a way to circumvent the problem.
edwin/evasive

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System error, strike any user to continue...
DanceMan
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This link is to the HP download page with two versions of the bios.

This link is to the latest bios.
This is a self-extracting compressed file that contains the system BIOS for the HP Omnibook 500/Pavilion XU100/ZU1000 Series notebook PC. Download file into an empty directory and from Windows execute file. For further information, see APPNOTE.TXT after creating the BIOS diskette
so many parts, so little time.....
KenH
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I've noticed that flashdrive software also has the ability to make the
stick bootable whilst formatting..
Perhaps boot off a bootable flash drive...
DanceMan
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KenOath wrote:I've noticed that flashdrive software also has the ability to make the
stick bootable whilst formatting..
Perhaps boot off a bootable flash drive...
If the bios file is a batch file that auto runs and is written to run from the A:> prompt, booting from a drive that is not A is unlikely to work. That is the issue.
so many parts, so little time.....
eprimetime
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I have been messing around with this, and it's not to hard to at least extract the files from the *.exe file. From there, I apologize, but I do not have the time to help futher, but hopefully someone else will, as it is simply a matter of tracing through some batch files and seeing exactly what is being done.

As far as BIOS upgrades this is one of the more sophisticated things I've seen. It checks to make sure everything is set up: active screen set to LCD, that the laptop is on AC power, you name it. Actually pretty cool.

Anyway, you will need two tools, one free and one trial.

go to www.7zip.org and download the free 7zip archiver. I do not know if anoher archiver can handle this format, as I didn't test them. There are very few formats that 7zip cannot handle, however, and that's what I use. Feel free to try whatever you normally use first, if you want to.

go to www.winimage.com and download WinImage. Trial software. You can download either the exe version which will actaully install it, or the zip version that does not need any installation. If you don't anticipate using it again, just get the zip version


Ok, assuming you have the BIOS file, use 7zip to extract the file. Again, I do not have time for specific howtos, if you can't figure it out repost and hopefully someone else will respond, and I may be able to come back later with more detailed instructions.

Once you have it extracted, there will be two files. The copydisk.exe file is a disk image writer. It is not needed, and can be deleted. The other file, bios.img, is an image of a floppy disk. I was clued in by it's size, of 1440K.

Open that file with WinImage, click on the \ in the left hand pane at the top to select the root of the image file, then choose extract from the Image menu. Tell WinImage where you want to put the files, and make sure the last radio button, is selected, so that the folder paths are kept.

That's it. From there, I would start by looking at the Autoexec.bat file to trace down and see exactly how the floppy disk works. It should not be too hard to adapt it to run from either a USB memory stick or hard drive.

Hope that helps,

eprimetime
DanceMan
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Thanks for the assistance. I already use 7zip. Should be able to use your instructions to alter the file to run from a hard drive.
so many parts, so little time.....
rottenmutt
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if you have a cdrom just burn the img to a cd as a bootable disk...
DanceMan
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Picked up a USB floppy drive at a yard sale. The HP bios (and a Compaq X1000 I have) will both boot from the USB floppy drive if I boot the notebook with the USB drive connected and enter the bios. Once the drive is connected before booting, a line will appear in the bios section for boot order listing "Boot from removable drive" as an option. Setting this first in the boot order will result in the notebook booting to the USB drive.

With that accomplished, flashing from the floppy created by the HP file was straightforward.

Curiously, the X1000 will boot directly to that USB floppy drive (a Compaq branded NEC fdd), but in Win 2000, it will not run without installing a driver, a driver that is not on the W2k install disk. I'm willing to bet Ubuntu would run it directly, but haven't tried it yet.
so many parts, so little time.....
edwin
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I bet it will run in XP no problem as well.
edwin/evasive

Do not assume anything

System error, strike any user to continue...
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