Upgrading the BIOS on an EEE PC (with Linux)

This took me a while to figure out, so I wrote directions to hopefully make it easier for other people.

  1. First, you need to get the proper firmware for the EEE PC you are going to flash. Go to http://www.asus.com/ and find the latest firmware for your model.
  2. Extract the *.ROM file from the *.zip file, and place it on your Desktop.
  3. Rename the *.ROM file to [MODEL].ROM. (For example, the EEE PC 1000 would be named “1000.ROM”, 1000H would be “1000H.ROM”) Due to how the boot block was written, the name is case sensitive apparently.
  4. Insert your flash device, unmount it (if it gets automatically mouted,) and open it with fdisk. Set it up like the following:
    #fdisk /dev/sdd
    Command (m for help): p
    Disk /dev/sdd: 129 MB, 129499136 bytes
    17 heads, 32 sectors/track, 464 cylinders
    Units = cylinders of 544 * 512 = 278528 bytes
    Disk identifier: 0xc3072e18
    Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks    Id   System
    /dev/sdd1               1         465      126448    6  FAT16
  5. Now that you have the drive properly partitioned, we need to format it.
    #mkfs.msdos -F 16 /dev/sdd1
  6. After the format completes (and your device activity comes to a halt), unplug the flash drive, plug it back in, and if necessary, unmount the device if it automatically mounts.
  7. Mount it with the following command:
    #mount /dev/sdd1 /mnt/temp/ -o rw,flush,uid=1000,utf8,shortname=win95
  8. Now, copy the renamed *.ROM file to the flash device. After you copy it, refresh the listings to make sure everything is in uppercase. If not, rename it, and try again.
  9. If everything is good, then we can unmount the device.
    #umount /dev/sdd1
  10. Now we can start the flashing process. With the flash device still plugged into the system, restart the system. As soon as you see the BIOS screen, hold down Alt, and hit F2. This should load up the BIOS updater from the boot block.
  11. Now just wait for it to find your flash device, and the *.ROM file on it. If it halts at “Reading file 1000.ROM”, or similar, you did something wrong. Otherwise, it should look similiar to this:
    Boot Block Compatible Version Ver.026
    Please do NOT insert any disc into CD-ROM or Floppy drive
    if you want to recovery with an USB device.
    EZ-Flash starting BIOS update.....
    DO KEEP the power supply on and NOT touch the system while performing BIOS
    Checking for USB Device...
    USB Device found.
    Reading file "1000.ROM".  Completed.
    Start Erasing...\
    Start Programming.../
    Start Erasing EC Firmware...
    Start Programming EC Firmware...
    The BIOS update is finished.
    Please press power button to shut down the system.
  12. After the BIOS update is completed, your BIOS settings will revert back to factory defaults. It will prompt you when you restart that the settings were lost, and everything was reverted. It will ask you to hit F1 to enter Setup. Do that.
  13. Change everything back to how it was. One thing I should note: It disables the Wireless, Camera, and Bluetooth for some reason. Enable these again in the BIOS if you want them.

This may help someone…

Unfortunately, I have not posted anything in a while. Well, hopefully this will make up for that and help someone.

Folder opens every time you log into Windows.
Well, in my case, it was “C:\Program Files\Dell” that kept on constantly opening. Here is why, and how I fixed it.
First of all, the folder is launching on startup most likely because of a mistake in the path to the program. For example:
C:\Program Files\Dell Support\...
is different than
"C:\Program Files\Dell Support\..."
Notice how one has the quotes, and the other does not. This is the issue, because the quotes tell Windows that that entire thing is the path. Otherwise, Windows thinks the path ends at “C:\Program Files\Dell” Since there is a space after “Dell”. So, just look around the registy for paths formated as such, and hopefully you will find the issue.
Now, you may be asking me why there can be a space in “Program Files”. Well, I have two theories for that, but I have not bothered to test either of them.
1. Windows can’t open a folder called “C:\Program” because it does not exist, so that line is ignored.
2. Windows by default is aware of a space in-between ‘Program’ and ‘Files’.

Unable to Remove / Modify programs in the Add / Remove applet in Windows
and / or
Missing programs in the Add / Remove Applet
and / or
Missing information for the listed programs in the Add / Remove applet.

Yeah, this one is one of those problems I would hope would get caught sooner than later. What it boils down to is something / someone removing all the uninstall information from the Windows Registy. Yes, I mean virtually everything. Your best chance at fixing this issue would be to go back with a System Restore point to a time that it worked.
The program that broke it for me and removed absolutly everything with my uninstall information was “Yahoo! Browser Services”. Luckly, the second time around before I tried to remove this program, I exported my uninstall information from the registry so I could reimport it after if it broke.

Linux Kernel Video Modes

I figured this may be of some use to someone, as you can’t really find these in any obvious spot. To use any of these codes, all you need to do is add vga=code to the kernel parameters when booting. Using 1600×1200@32 bits as an example, the kernel parameter would be vga=799. If you want to be asked every time you boot the kernel, use vga=ask.

320×200 640×400 640�480 800×500 800�600 896×672 1024×640 1024�768 1152�720 1280�1024 1440�900 1600�1200
4 bits 770 (302) 774 (306)
8 bits 768 (300) 769 (301) 879 (36F) 701 (303) 815 (32F) 874 (36A) 773 (305) 869 (365) 775 (307) 864 (360) 796 (31C)
15 bits 781 (30D) 801 (321) 784 (310) 880 (370) 787 (313) 816 (330) 875 (36B) 790 (316) 870 (366) 793 (319) 865 (361) 797 (31D)
16 bits 782 (30E) 802 (322) 785 (311) 881 (371) 788 (314) 817 (331) 876 (36C) 791 (317) 871 (367) 794 (31A) 866 (362) 798 (31E)
24 bits 783 (30F) 803 (323) 786 (312) 882 (372) 789 (315) 818 (332) 877 (36D) 792 (318) 872 (368) 795 (31B) 867 (363) 799 (31F)
32 bits 804 (324) 809 (329) 883 (373) 814 (32E) 819 (333) 878 (36E) 824 (338) 873 (369) 829 (33D) 868 (364) 834 (342)

Edit: For the record, I do realize that this table does not fit entirely within this layout. If you want to see the whole thing, just copy and paste it into a spreadsheet or something. Otherwise, I may make it into it’s own page or something eventually.

Certified Microsoft Desktop Support Technician

Earlier today, I took both the 070-271 and the 070-272 exams and passed them. That means I’m now a certified Microsoft Desktop Support Technician

Exam Date: Tuesday, March 4, 2008 at 9:00 AM
Candidate: Blake Johnson
Candidate ID: sr3276439
Exam Series: 070-271
Exam: Supporting Users and Troubleshooting a Microsoft Windows XP Operating System
Grade: Pass
Exam Date: Tuesday, March 4, 2008 at 12:30 PM
Candidate: Blake Johnson
Candidate ID: sr3276439
Exam Series: 070-272
Exam: Supprting Users and Troubleshooting Desktop Applications on a Microsoft Windows XP Operating System
Grade: Pass

A+ Certified

I took the first 2 major A+ exams this morning, and passed them both. It turns out I’m now A+ certified.

Exam Date: Monday, February 4, 2008 at 8:30 AM
Candidate: Blake Johnson
Candidate ID: COMP001001501574
Registration #: 224035823
Exam Series: JK0-601
Exam: CompTIA A+ Essentials Exam
Validation #: 961549007
Grade: pass
Exam Date: Monday, February 4, 2008 at 10:45 AM
Candidate: Blake Johnson
Candidate ID: COMP001001501574
Registration #: 224035865
Exam Series: JK0-602
Exam: CompTIA A+ 220-602 Exam (IT Technician designation pathway)
Validation #: 1459159371
Grade: pass