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Updating your ThinkPad BIOS under LINUX

operationroot hardware


  • A Lenovo Thinkpad laptop built in the last few years. I have tested this on machines built in or after 2012.
  • A Debian based Linux distribution, for example Ubuntu.
  • An empty USB stick, that is at least 50MB (yes you read that right) in size. The bios images are small in size.
  • Read the disclaimer.

General concept:

Use "geteltorito" to extract the update image from ISO image of bootable update CD, downloaded from Lenovo's drivers page.

Lenovo bios updates generally are available in two forms. A bootable update CD and an executable bios update tool to run within Windows. You need the former, the bootable CD.

Write the extracted image to a USB Flash drive using dd.

"geteltorito" is available in Ubuntu (at least since Trusty, 14.04) from package "genisoimage".

How to:

Install the genisoimage package:

sudo apt-get install genisoimage

Extract the boot image from the ISO (assuming the iso you downloaded from Lenovo was called e.g. "g6uj14us.iso"):

geteltorito g6uj14us.iso > biosupdate.img

Install the boot image to USB Flash drive, make sure to install to the correct device! You can use the "Disks" utiltiy or any other onboard tool to figure out the correct "/dev/" path for the target device you want to write/intall the boot image to. I have used USB sticks and removable USB hard drives for this purpose before. Both work.

sudo dd if=biosupdate.img of=/dev/ bs=512K

Reboot and press F12 to select booting from USB. If you have your boot options set to prefer booting from USB HD, USB FDD, or USB CD before booting from the internal drive then you shouldn't need to press F12 and the machine will just boot from the boot drive you wrote in the step above.

If all went well, you should be able to boot the Thinkpad's ISO image and flash the BIOS. I have tested this successfully on T430u, T440, X1 carbon 3rd Gen, x230, x270 and T460


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