As I blogged about the other day, one of the biggest frustrations I've had with Vista x6 has been with updating the BIOS on my Ferrari 5000. BIOS providers haven't realized that BIOS upgrades happen on 64-bit machines too, and have apparently been in a a hole for the last 5 years. I tried a whole bunch of things, including downloading 3 separate DOS-based flashers by Phoenix Technologies. When my Windows 98-based USB boot keys didn't work, I knew I'd have to bring out the big guns.
So here, for your reading enjoyment, is the Definitive Guide to creating a Windows Vista Bootable USB Key. You'll need a key with a minimum of 256MB to make this happen.
- Download and install the Windows Automated Installation Kit.
- If the key is not already formatted FAT32, then do so.
- Copy everything in the "C:\Program Files\Windows AIK\Tools\PETools\x86" directory (except for the "EFI" folder, ESPECIALLY if you only have a 256MB key) to the root of the key. This is IMPORTANT. "bootmgr" must be in the root, and "boot" muse be a 1st level folder.
- Open an Administrative command prompt, navigate to the USB key, and run "bootsect /nt60 X:", where X is the letter of the USB key. This will initialize the Vista boot loader on the USB key.
- Create a folder on the USB key for the 32-bit Windows-based flash utility, and copy all the BIOS files to it.
- Make sure there is at least 64MB of free space left on the key. If there is not, redo steps 2-5 on a bigger key.
- Reboot your computer to the BIOS settings menu and adjust the settings so you can boot to the USB key.
- Reboot again, and select the USB key as your boot device.
- After several minutes, you'll be presented with the Aurora background and a command prompt. Drive X is the WinPE environment. Your USB key will be the next in line after your hard drives and DVD, respectively. Navigate to the Windows flashing executable, and run it.
If you have a bigger key, you can add other utilities to it, as long as they are stand-alone apps. I'm still working on an easy tutorial for installing a full-fledged copy of Vista to a microdrive. More on that later.
Anyway, there you have it. Now you have a 32-bit solution for BIOS updates on 64-bit machines. Thanks to MSFN.org for the basic instructions that led me on the right track.