Saturday, May 28, 2011

Updating the BIOS using EZ-Flash on the Asus 1215N

The stock BIOS that ships with the Asus 1215N is a fine BIOS... for a stock system.  Unfortunately, it doesn't allow access to more than 2.8GB worth of RAM.  As most people upgrade their systems, this is a bit of a downer - adding another 2GB for only 800MB more usable is no good.

Fortunately, updating the BIOS is easy - once you know the trick.  Remember all that "Create a DOS boot CD, run the flasher" rubbish?  No more!  The Asus EZ-Flash system lets you flash directly from a USB stick (or, possibly, other media - but as the 1215N only has a USB port, it's the one we're using). 

The trick is that if you try it, it probably won't work.

Why?  EZ-Flash seems to require a hideous FAT16 filesystem to function.  It also seems to require that the ROM be named "1215N.ROM" (for unknown reasons possibly related to old junk on my USB key).  If this is enough for you to succeed, awesome, otherwise read on...


Creating a FAT16 filesystem is relatively easy under Windows. 

This WILL blow away any old data on your USB key.  This should be obvious...

Delete the partitions, create a new one (or just use the RAW partition - this works too), and then create a "FAT" filesystem.  Not a FAT32 filesystem - just FAT.

Copy the ROM from the Asus download site to the USB key as "1215N.ROM" and then reboot with the USB stick in.

After rebooting, in the BIOS, press Alt-F2 repeatedly.  The system should recognize the USB key and flash the BIOS, opening up your full amount of RAM!

From what I hear, the system can support 8GB, but I think 8GB in a netbook starts to get into "Wait... what?" category.  However, it might be worth trying if you're doing something RAM-heavy and CPU-light...

Portable-compute on!

21 comments:

  1. Hey! great article. I just tried it out but ezflash gets stuck at "reading 1215N.ROM". Any ideas?

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  2. Are you sure you created a FAT16 filesystem/partition? It's easy to not do that properly under Linux.

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  3. Just wanted to say thanks for this post! I never would've figured out the EZFlash procedure on my own. Just updated my 1215N and it was a piece of cake.

    I'm soooooo glad to be done with floppy flashing.

    Thanks again!

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  4. Glad it was useful! This seems to be one of my more popular posts. I have seen confirmed reports that the 1215N can support 8GB of RAM as well - I've been tempted to upgrade, but I really don't even fully use 4GB.

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  5. Doesn't work -- stuck at "reading 1215N.ROM".

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  6. Btw you can properly create fat16 partitions with gparted on Linux

    Either way I did it with windows xp and I'm still stuck at reading file, trying to update to r902. Maybe a different release will work... ?

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  7. It took me an hour or so to get a flash drive formatted as FAT - finally found this utility and made it happen. Sat too long at "READING ROM" but suddenly it was over. thanks!

    http://www.ehow.com/how_5982304_partition-usb-flash-card.html

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  8. Hi! Tried updating BIOS through the Asus Update tool. I have the latest 0902 BIOS but it still reads 2.7 usable RAM. Should I redo it the old school way? Any suggestion? Thanks!

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  9. After some unsuccessful attempts to connect my Asus1215N running Ubuntu 12.04 to a HDMI tv, I found my daughter's Lenovo laptop with Ubuntu 14.04 works fine. I decided to update my Asus. Along the process something went wrong and I rebooted the Asus (hard reboot, pushing the ON button). After that, it does not reach setup (F2) nor boot manager (ESC). TAB still works, and I can see it gets stuck with:
    Auto-detecting USB Mass Device Storages . .
    Device #01 :

    Do you thing it could be solved by this BIOS update procedure, or it seems like I damaged the hardware while plugin in and out USB and HDMI devices while testing? Please, help.

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    Replies
    1. I don't know why... after I left the computer for half an hour, it returned to normal. Good and bad: I do not like when mysteries set on :-)

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  10. Hi,
    I have Asus 1215N laptop in which i am facing a problem BOOTMGR missing. I tried to upload 1215N.ROM from USB but it is not reading it and it says not found in USB.. can you help me in this regards..

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  11. Thanks, this work for me! Now, what is the best Linux OS for the little PC?

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    Replies
    1. Running Windows 7 on main partition. and Newest Peppermint Distro on another set of partitions.

      The "Best" is a matter of opinion but I tried Mint, (Good) Ubuntu (OK) Ultimate (Good) and Peppermint (Great)

      BUT after ASUS Updater Tool messed up my BIOS we be working on finding a FIX to Dos Bios Repair.

      Delete
  12. Thank you LORD for this post.
    It was te micro SD card that did the trick at the end.
    Formated as Fat16.
    If anyone is having trouble to format their usb/or microsd card under windows, you might find this article useful.

    http://superuser.com/questions/202160/how-do-i-format-my-8-gb-usb-drive-to-fat-fat16-in-windows-7

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for the URL as it did have good info.
      But I don't understand ASUS making a laptop /eeepc with a BIOS firmware that required the OLD ( I do mean OLD) Fat system rather than leaving their "cave man" day, and using a Fat 32 system.

      After all it was the ASUS Updater Tool that messed up my BIOS in the first place, than I have to mess up SD or USB and jump backwards in time and use a FAT 16 format? Double Woe!

      Again thanks for sharing the URL and Thanks BitWeasil for the Original Post, since ASUS were not able to HELP!

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  13. UPDATE;;;; It says Quote...Don't forget that when using a flash drive for BIOS flashing, it should be formatted as fat32.
    Which is found at ASUS support forum page. . .
    https://vip.asus.com/forum/view.aspx?id=20090420211645831&board_id=1&model=Maximus+Formula&page=1&SLanguage=en-us

    So guess I will find another 2GB USB and format Fat 32 and have another Formatted Fat 16 ....

    This is mo fun than getting a tooth pulled!

    Thanks again for any info that helps!

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    Replies
    1. I have tried FAT16 and FAT32 with a properly named file... nothing happens, it won´t update.

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  14. I have tried everything. I am stuck at "File 1215N.RON not found on USB Device". The flash drive is a brand new 256 Mb (took me three days to get one) formatted in FAT16. It was stuck at reading usb and not finfing the file for an entire night... nothing. If anyone knows what to do, I would like to hear it. Thanks everyone!

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    Replies
    1. I have also tried with the same drive, now formatted in FAT32... still stuck at "File 1215N.ROM not found on USB Device".

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    2. in the EZ Flash screen you read:

      Checking for USB Device!
      USB Device found.
      Reading file "1215N.ROM"
      File "1215N.ROM" not found on USB Device!
      Checking for USB Device!
      USB Device not found.

      And it all starts again, forever,

      Delete
  15. Hey unknown,
    If that is your real name.....lol...
    Hope you get that fixed!
    Did you got to vip.asus forums!
    http://vip.asus.com/forum/view.aspx?id=20090420211645831&board_id=1&model=Maximus+Formula&page=1&SLanguage=en-us

    Did you reread that sticky post?
    Try this....http://www.driverguide.com/driver/detail.php?driverid=23604
    OR
    http://www.driverguide.com/driver/detail.php?driverid=14130
    AND or this.....
    http://www.driverguide.com/driver/detail.php?driverid=28184

    Did you got to American Megatrends .... AMI to download the actual INSTALLER for the BIOS manufactured mother board.... I think the name was AMIBOOT.ROM that the BIOS finds and you have to have your 1215N.ROM on the same stick at ROOT also. That may or may not fix the "looping" and their AMIBOOT.ROM should find the Repair ROM.

    II havn't down mine REPAIR Yet...As I have shut of my 1215N since Asus Updater spit out a "Warning" after the update was supposed to work. So I'm thinking that the BIOS file was corrupt or whatever that Asus supplied, to mess up its own update.

    well good REPAIRING.......

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