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Samsung does not provide a way to flash the BIOS of NC10 netbooks from within Linux. That does not come as a complete surprise for this type of consumer hardware. What is worse is that you won’t even find DOS utilities (for flashing from a bootdisk) on the NC10 page at samsung.com, for that; you have to somehow guess that you need to go to samsungpc.com (!?!!?). Anyway, with FreeDOS and a bootable thumbdrive I am able to flash my BIOS. I then dump the BIOS from Linux with the Flashrom utility.
These are the dumps so far:

You can use flashrom to flash your BIOS with these images, all without leaving Linux. I’ve signed them with GPG (keyID 08B6A4AE), and I also provide an MD5 hash which you should check before flashing. You might even want to verify your current BIOS against a provided dump of the same version; this way you can reassure that you have the exact same hardware:

root >>>flashrom -v NC10-07A.rom 
Calibrating delay loop... OK.
No coreboot table found.
Found chipset "Intel ICH7M", enabling flash write... OK.
Found chip "Macronix MX25L1605" (2048 KB) at physical address 0xffe00000.
Flash image seems to be a legacy BIOS. Disabling checks.
Verifying flash... VERIFIED.

It’s probably wise to use flashrom to make a backup dump of the original BIOS of your NC10.
I have an NP-NC10-KA03UK. KA03 is the revision code, printed on the white sticker on the netbooks’ bottom. The roms have been proven to work on other revisions, too — check the comments, or just try it on yours. Please post your revision code if you successfully flashed a revision that hasn’t been posted yet.

One further note: The purchase time in the BIOS will be set to ‘2009/01′ which is when I got mine. But, should the need arise, you may be able to hex-edit the dump and reflash to reflect your true date of purchase (or any date really – you may as well edit it to announce you bought it in August, 1982 if you feel like it). In the 11CA release you’ll find the date at offset 18031E. If that doesn’t work, just flash it with the backup dump you made. You did dump your original BIOS, didn’t you?

Needless to say, these BIOS images are unofficial. But then again, even flashing your bios with the utilities provided by on samsungpc.com void your warranty. You and you alone are responsible for any damages arising from the use or inability to use the images I provide. They are provided ‘as-is’.


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36 Responses to “Flash your Samsung NC10’s BIOS from Linux”

  1. mistersixt

    Hi,

    which version of “flashrom” did you use for flashing the BIOS? Also, when I try to boot with FreeDOS I always get “invalid opcode” during the bootup, did you use a special DOS version?

    Kind regards, Joerg.

  2. Wicher

    I used Flashrom v0.9.0 .
    As for the FreeDOS bootdisk, I used makebootfat 1.4 and FreeDOS “almost 1.1″ and this howto. Good luck! And btw, I have good trust in Flashrom.

  3. mistersixt

    Man, this is so bad… I tried makebootfat with FreeDOS, but when the Netbook boots off the stick I only get a black screen with the cursor sitting in the top left corner.

    Concerning flashrom, I have version r3844, the syntax seems to be completely different from your “0.9.0″ – so I am bit “nervous” using it to be honest ;-) !

    Regards, mistersixt

  4. mistersixt

    Me again, I just wanted to let you know that I compiled the latest version of flashrom and successfully wrote the 07A version to the flash ;-) !

    kind regards, mistersixt.

  5. Wicher

    Thanks for reporting back! Your success will encourage less brave users.

  6. mintlars

    Hey

    I tried to upgrade my bios with your 11CA rom, but flashrom halt on this message:
    Verifying flash… VERIFY FAILED at 0×00000b12! Expected=0×63, Read=0×62, failed byte count from 0×00000000-0×001fffff: 0×68aa6

    Does this mean that the hardware on my machine is different from yours? I absolutely need to update my bios to get the brightness controls to work. What do I d now?

  7. Wicher

    Do you have the KA03 revision? Check the white barcode sticker on the netbook’s bottomside. What does it say?

  8. mintlars

    It doesn’t seem like it. Says KA01. I bought it almost right when it came in store.

  9. Wicher

    And are you talking about verifying (flashrom -v) or writing? Verification will only succeed if you have the exact same version of both the dump and the bios. So if you’re comparing 11CA against your bios (which is not 11CA, otherwise, why flash it) it’s perfectly natural for the verification to fail.

  10. mintlars

    Haha, that just goes to show what a n00b I am in this area. I want to write to bios, but I’m having a hard time understanding how I could do it without a windows partition.

    Ok, so if I understand this correctly, I should verify your roms against my own bios and it should be ok if it’s the same version(hopefully). So if I want to WRITE the new bios after that I’m not sure how to do it. That’s my problem.

  11. Wicher

    Yes, you got it right this time ;-)
    You write the image to your flash mem with ‘flashrom -w NC10-11CA.rom’.

  12. mintlars

    Hmm…verification failed this time too :(. Guess your NC10 and mine don’t really match. Thanks for your help anyway. *off to find another solution*

  13. Wicher

    Try a FreeDOS bootable USB thumbdrive with the DOS flash util from samsungpc.com. That’s how I do it.

  14. Stefan

    Thanks for this blog post. I’ve installed flashrom from ubuntu karmic and it worked fine. Using the latest 11CA firmware, the LCD brightness keys are working again.

  15. Wicher

    Thanks for reporting back, Stefan. Would you happen to know the exact model of your NC10? The white sticker on the bottom should tell you.

  16. upsuper

    Thanks for sharing this rom. I’ve successfully installed it and it worked fine as well.
    But it brings a new problem that my purchase time in BIOS is changed to 2009/01, but I bought it on Aug. 2009.

    I just found that you are interested in our exact model, mine is NP-NC10-KAB1US.

  17. Wicher

    Tanks a bunch for reporting, upsuper. 2009/01 is when I bought mine. I had a hex-look at the ROM and (in the 11CA release) you can probably use a hex editor to alter the date at offset 18031E. You can set it to ‘1492/06′ or maybe ‘UpSuper’ (=same length) if you’d feel so inclined ;-)

  18. upsuper

    As I’ve tried, it is no use to modifiy the string at offset 18031E. The purchase time just disappears if I use my modified version of your rom file. I found another offset which contains the date string, but even if I change them both, it makes no difference either.

  19. 升级到 Ubuntu 9.10 - 鬼の领地

    [...] NC10 的 BIOS:Smörgåsbord » Flash your Samsung NC10’s BIOS from Linux [...]

  20. Wicher

    How odd. Apparently, those bytes get a special treatment of some sorts. Have you tried blanking (zeroing) the dates?
    Anyway, should you need a bios with your own date of purchase, you can always flash it with the dump you (hopefully) made of your original BIOS.

  21. Tobias

    I updated the BIOS using the DOS-version of the firmware update from samsung.

    I prepared FreeDOS booting on a USB-stick I got stuck when booting it though, it said “Invalid opcode”. If you get this replace “memdisk” with the version which is in the syslinux 3.83-package. After doing that it booted as it should.

  22. Kit Sunde

    I have a KA01 and it worked like a charm, thank you. :)

  23. Gotisch

    Just wanted to say thanks KA03 here so no problems at all :)

  24. Erska

    Thank you! For providing these flash imagos and instructions how to get Samsung NC10 brightness adjustment working again.
    flashrom is brilliant sw replacing DOS, usb and disket boot messup.
    Best Regards from China / Hangzhou: Erska

  25. http://bc-bd.org » Blog Archive » xbacklight, squeeze and my NC10

    [...] created a FreeDOS USB stick with information available from Smörgåsbord and fdos.org, copied the BIOS to it, bootet from the stick and successfully flashed my [...]

  26. Nick

    Hey, can you please explain in more detail how to dump a backup of your bios and how to apply your dump?

    Wicher Reply:

    Both these actions can be performed in linux with the flashrom utility linked to in my article. Its website provides ample documentation.

  27. Nick

    Also how do I know which rom to overwrite?

    Wicher Reply:

    AFAIK the NC10 has only one BIOS EEPROM chip. That’s the one you’ll be writing to, you can’t make a choice.
    You use the flashrom utility to write one of the ROM dump files to your flash chip. It will overwrite whatever was on that chip.

    Nick Reply:

    Thanks mate :)

  28. Samsung NC10 Firmware-Upgrade w/o Windows - synapseninferno

    [...] operating system on the it. Which apparently mine had never experienced: right after the purchase, a very useful blog entry about flashing directly from Linux. This entry also offers a ROM image of the 11CA firmware, which [...]

  29. Alex

    Hi,

    Thanks a lot for this post, worked like I charm, my brightness keys are working now :) . I downloaded the NC10-11CA.rom file (as I understood that this is the latest update) and executed:
    flashrom -w NC10-11CA.rom
    As mintlars (comments in the beginning), I was not sure to understand in the beginning, but know I do (I hope). The following check with flashrom:
    flashrom -v NC10-11CA.rom
    will actually verify whether you have the exact same flash as given in the file. If that fails, it just means that you have another bios version then in the file. It also failed for me, then I was writing the rom file and everything was fine. BTW my model number is NP-NC10-KA01DE (DE I guess indicates the German model that I have ;) ).

    thanks again!
    Alex

  30. Francisco

    It works perfectly in my Samsung NC10, my model is: NP-NC10-KA06CL. CL is for my country: Chile. So the only thing I have to say is “muchas gracias”. :)

  31. karmue

    Worked great. NP-NC10-KA06DE

  32. error27

    Cool. Thanks. That worked from KA01DE to the 11CA.

    It printed a couple sort of frightening messages on the way, but the verify worked and it fixed my backlight issue. With the KA01 it didn’t support the backlight under linux at all. For other BIOS revs it part way worked because you could set the backlight setting in the BIOS to “user controlled” and it worked. But with the 11CA it just works by default.

  33. Terry

    After messing around a while with different options, the simplest solution seems to be to create USB stick in Windows with UNetbootin for Windows, then save the appropriate DOS executable BIOS pkg from http://www.samsungpc.com to the stick. Boot the NC10 to USB stick after elevating USB in boot order in BIOS, ignore numbered menu, press Enter to A:>, type C: to enter C:>, then type ‘filename’ of your download in my case ‘11CA07D0′ and the file executes. Plug in first or it will not execute and prompt you to plug in. Pull out USB, reboot and you are done. I tried the Linux approach and followed everything and it didnt work despite multiple attempts as described. This was a piece of cake the way I described. Good luck!

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