The pain of bios updating (M3N78-VM / ASUS)

I’ve hopefully bought a new CPU to stick in the office server. All being well, it’ll be super quick and so on.

Looking at ASUS’s website, I made sure to choose a CPU the motherboard supports. I saw it required a BOS update, so fine… that shouldn’t be hard, right?

Think again.

  1. Downloaded BIOS file (possible from this link)
  2. Downloaded FreeDOS, burnt to CDR so I could boot into a DOS like environment.
  3. Copied BIOS file + AFUDOS update utility to USB stick.
  4. Rebooted, booted off CDR, chose to run LiveCD (No Drivers)
  5. Then tried to use AfuDos.
  6. Be good – take a backup first (afudos.exe /obiosbackup.rom
  7. Try and install a newer one (afudos.exe /iM3N78-~1.ROM) – fails with a message like “invalid bios id in rom”. Quite unhelpful.
  8. I tried various different .rom file names, but no combination of motherboard (M3N78) and bios version name seemed to work.
  9. Eventually, Googled a LOT more, and found that there is an ‘engineering’ version of the AfuDos tool, which allows you to force the update, and ignore any stupid check….
  10. For the sake of it, I tried to restore the backup I’d taken, using the original afudos.exe, but this didn’t work (WTF?)
  11. Downloaded ‘engineering’ afudos tool (try e.g. here)
  12. Ran with ‘afudos.exe /ibiosbackup.rom /n’ (the /n tells it to not do the stupid check) – worked… OK.
  13. Rebooted
  14. Entered back into DOS, and ran: ‘afudos.exe /iBiosIWantToUse.rom /n
  15. Crossed fingers, hoped I wasn’t going to brick the stupid motherboard…
  16. Success.
  17. Reboot. Carry on life.

The ‘onboard’ ez-flash utility ASUS provide seems totally useless.

Oh well, hopefully we’ll soon have 6 cores of goodness powering Jenkins.


  1. >> The ‘onboard’ ez-flash utility ASUS provide seems totally useless
    >> Try and install a newer one (afudos.exe /iM3N78-~1.ROM) – fails with a message like “invalid bios id in rom”. Quite unhelpful.

    There is an 8 char limit on the ROM filename. So let’s say your new BIOS file is ‘M3N78-VM-ASUS-1801.ROM’, you should rename it to M3N78.ROM

    I do believe it’s mentioned in the manual somewhere, not completely sure however.

  2. Yes, but the trouble with that is I don’t keep hold of boxes/cds etc – it should have been documented on the asus website – but it wasn’t.

  3. Odd one.
    I’ve had better success with the AFUWin than AFUDos – not useful for non-win servers though.
    OTOH, the buit-in flash tool has never been an issue (also using Asus range, inc M3N’s),
    though it does only support 8.3, it does the old tidle trick and still works.
    Virtually no flash tools care what name the file is (it recognises the file by some metadata)

    ‘Sometimes’ you may need to flash a previous bios to allow the newer to become accepted, which may have been your case, though simply forcing the flash did the trick too.

  4. Hi,

    I am having a problem getting the BIOS to read off of my USB stick. I have copied both the BIOS.ROM file as well as the afudos.exe to the USB Stick. I get the error:

    USB Device Found.
    Reading file “M3N78.ROM”
    File “M3N78.ROM” not found on USB Device.

    I am not able to go into BIOS. My computer is not able to POST. BIOS checksum error. And i am have no idea if we can change boot sequence to boot from USB to use the DOS environment.
    Am in a lot of pain.
    Can anyone help?

  5. After fiddling around with various live boot CDs I finally ended with this simple process:
    1) download BIOS from ASUS
    2) burn file to a data CD (not bootable)
    3) run the ASUS EZ flash utility…will detect file on CD
    4) done!

  6. You guys are idiots.

    I updated to the 2301 BIOS version by simply using the provided BIOS flashing program that was on the CD you got with the motherboard…

    The whole process (finding the update up to installing it) didn’t even take 5 minutes of my life.


  7. I have the exact same problem, but I’m trying to update the bios since the usb doesn’t work, I’m using floppy, now i can’t make out if the floppy isn’t reading properly and that’s why it says rom id incompatible, if i force it and it installs the bios incorrectly because the floppy is dirty, then it’ll be *u**e*

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