Monday, January 2, 2012

Laptop BIOS modding

Really, H/w manufacturers? You now make it difficult for me to buy my own upgrade components for MY laptop?

Fortunately, there are folks out there who figured out how to work around this awful practice. It turns out, that BIOS firmware is just software after all. And modifying that software is possible. (It did require I installed an OS I haven't run or supported in over 12 years... alas, what's one to do? I know, figure it out or write the tools necessary for doing this.)

So here's how I was able to use a wifi nic in laptop that isn't *approved* by the company that doesn't *OWN* my laptop.

Finally figured this out.

1. Download the bios mod: w520 bios mod

2. Download official bios

3. Flash official bios

4. Edit environment.dll with hex editor (the one in the flash tools dir), per this page: environment.dll

5. Create flash.bat per this page: flash.bat

6. Run flash.bat as admin.

7. Profit!

Took almost a week to find these nuggets and figure out the process.

Pretty unhappy that h/w manufacturers would cripple my hardware - whitelisted hw stiffles innovation and is completely anti-competitive. Not to mention downright rude and invasive.


Ryan Rix said...

Don't blame hardware manufacturers, blame the FCC.

Hardware manufacturers are required to test that their devices are within spec of the various radios that are in the device and it would be impossible for them to test every combination on the market, it's thus impossible for them to legally allow every single radio on the device because if the device is out of spec, it's their responsibility.

Unknown said...

@Ryan Rix The laptop manufacturer is not responsible for radios in devices they have not produced themselves; if a radio doesn't work within spec in a laptop, it's the radio manufacturers problem (they built a faulty radio since it doesn't work right in a, I presume, "standards" compliant laptop)