Safe BIOS upgrade option | Ultimate Ubuntu installation

Mike Lovell mike at
Thu Mar 26 22:11:24 MDT 2009

Jones, Scott (GE Money, consultant) wrote:
> I have a system with a BIOS date of 8/2007. It works, runs, but I
> believe a BIOS update would let the onboard SATA controller work better.
> I am nervous about running a BIOS upgrade though. The mobo is from
> MicroStar Int'l (MSI). Anyone know how to safely a) find the correct
> upgrade image, and b) apply it, on a system running Linux. 

Do you know the model of the motherboard? That is an essential part of 
finding the BIOS update. If you go to this page, , you should be 
able to follow the drop down boxes on the right to find your 
motherboard. (Note, they say mainboard). There should be a link near the 
top right of the page that says BIOS which will take you to a page that 
lists the available BIOS downloads. It looks like they provide .zip 
files that contain the flash utility, the new BIOS, and a doc telling 
how to update it. From the one I checked (for a random motherboard since 
I don't have any MSI), it looks like their flash utility only operates 
from a Win98 or ME boot disk. Yeah, Sucks. If you don't have access to a 
really old windows machine to make a boot disk, you can try to find on that will work. From my experience, 
most flash utilities have smarts to check to make sure the BIOS you are 
trying to flash is for the board you have. But above all else, read the 
docs that come with the new BIOS. Good luck and since I don't have an 
MSI board, I can't verify this. So please don't blame me if something 
breaks. Hopefully that provides enough info.

> My other question is about installing in this case Ultimate Ubuntu 2.0.
> The package to install could be ANYTHING, so it's not about the package,
> but about installation. I'd like to install this package on this same
> system, and then have GRUB allow me to pick which version at boot time.
> Do I just run the install and carve up the drive, partition it for space
> for the two versions? Should I set up a separate partition for data to
> share between the two versions? 

Hrm. Easiest route would be to just install 'Ultimate Ubuntu' and tell 
it to carve up the space for a new installation. If it is using 
debian-installer, it should configure GRUB for you. Slightly more 
complicated set up would be to share your home directory between 
installations. I would do this by moving /home to its own partition and 
then mounting it to /home for both installations of Ubuntu. If you don't 
want to mess with moving it to a new partition, you can mount the 
'other' installation to a different directory, like /mnt/disk, and then 
symlinking /home to the home directory on the 'other' installation, like 
Another more work solution, would be to install 'Ultimate Ubuntu' to a 
disposable location, like a vm, and find the packages that it installs 
for the eye candy. You didn't ask about the packages, but you probably 
find the packages by doing 'apt-cache search ultimate' or 'dpkg -l | 
grep ultimate' to find the packages. Then just dpkg -i the packages off 
of the installation media for 'Ultimate Ubuntu'. You will have to take 
care of any dependencies yourself. But should be manageable.
<ranting>oh silly eye candy. why make a custom distro just for eye 
candy? it just gets in the way and complicates things.</ranting>

Hopefully that helps you out.


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