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Today I bought a webcam that is actually the first I know that has a firmware update (Did not even know that was possible/needed for a webcam). It got me thinking on how, for example I can update my Intel motherboard via an burned ISO image that carries the update and other ways to apply firmwares to different types of hardware. But since not all are that easy to upgrade, what applications or terminal ways are available in Ubuntu to apply firmware updates to different hardware that only offer the update via Windows.

Cases like motherboard, hard drive (SSD specially since I will receive my first SDD next month), video cards, etc.. What are some of the ways to update hardware firmware in Ubuntu.

For this question I am incline to skip smartphones/cellphones since they have a different way of doing it. I want to focus on internal hardware and some external common ones, like the webcam I mentioned, printers (if they happen to have firmware updates) and other common computer hardware.

Note that there is no specific brand for a hardware. the question is looking for what ways in Ubuntu are available to update the firmware of common hardware, including but not limited to for example burning an ISO image of a firmware updater. But for other cases that do not offer an ISO image, what ways exist to update the firmware.

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Most hardware devices can be updated using a bootable CD. You have to download the file and put it on the same CD. Most firmware updates, and BIOS updates for that matter are not OS specific. – Mitch May 17 '12 at 15:36
up vote 1 down vote accepted

There is no common method of updating device firmware; it is entirely up to the manufacturer to do so in a proprietary and usually secret way. In other words, you have to use whatever method each manufacturer supplies for their device, which generally is either windows software, or a dos boot disk.

The one near exception to this is hard disks ( and other ata devices ) because the ata standard does provide a command to update firmware, and hdparm supports uploading firmware with this command in theory, but I have yet to see a drive maker actually supply the raw firmware image that you could use with hdparm.

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Did not know that hdparm had that option. Can you provide any other tools that can update firmware available in Ubuntu. – Luis Alvarado May 17 '12 at 19:12
@LuisAlvarado, that's the only one I know of and I have yet to be able to actually use it in practice. – psusi May 17 '12 at 22:24

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