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SuperMicro iKVM Video Only

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Frustrated that the IPMI iKVM session on your brand new SuperMicro server says “Video Only” at the top and your virtual keyboard won’t work?  I was.  I’m sure the culprit could be any of a number of issues, but for me it was a BIOS setting.

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Written by Lee Verberne

2012-06-21 at 21:55

Posted in Hardware

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Quicktip: Updating AMI BIOS on SuperMicro Mainboards

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At SuperMicro’s Support site you can download a new version of your AMI BIOS to update your mainboard.  They recommend you not do this unless you’re experience problems.  I was experiencing problems, and — after trying and failing to locate a change log — I thought I’d give it a try anyway.  So my options are:

  1. Download a Windows executable that will write a bootable floppy disk.  Wait, what?
  2. Download a zip file containing a binary blob and a DOS executable to flash the BIOS.  You know, for if you already have DOS installed.

Sweet.  Floppy disk.  Can’t remember the last time I’ve seen one of those things.

Anyway, it turns out there’s a clever, painless way to make this work.  All you need is a little VMware misdirection.  Here’s what I did:

  1. dd if=/dev/zero of=floppy.img bs=1k count=1440 (not sure this was necessary, but I did it anyway)
  2. Attached floppy.img as floppy drive to my Windows 7 VM
  3. Ran the funky Windows executable from SuperMicro and detached the disk
  4. Inserted a USB flash drive (as disk3) and dd if=floppy.img of=/dev/disk3
  5. Booted said USB flash drive in yon mainboard

FreeDOS booted and the AMI BIOS update automatically ran.  Easy.  Be careful with that flash drive, though.  Now it’s an auto-running BIOS killer.

Written by Lee Verberne

2012-06-20 at 16:37

Posted in Hardware

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